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Bourbon Chili

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  • Prep 15 min
  • Total 1 hr 30 min
  • Servings 4
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Add bourbon and brown sugar to hearty beef chili for an extra touch of full-bodied flavor.
by: Macheesmo
Updated Mar 8, 2017
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  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 to 16 oz) red kidney beans, undrained


  • 1
    Peel and chop the onion to measure 1 cup. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
  • 2
    In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked.
  • 3
    Into the beef, stir the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or two.
  • 4
    Pour in bourbon to deglaze pan. Use bourbon to scrape up any bits stuck to pan.
  • 5
    Add tomatos and tomato sauce and brown sugar to pot. Heat the mixture to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover with lid; cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • 6
    Stir in the beans with their liquid. Heat to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cook uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.
  • 7
    Serve with chips, chives, sour cream, or grated cheese.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • I’ve always loved the chili recipe from The Betty Crocker™ Cookbook. It’s a no frills chili that is pretty simple to make but really delivers in the flavor department. The cool thing about any classic recipe is that it can work as a great base for variations! In the case of my bourbon chili variation, I thought it would be nice to kick up the complexity of the recipe with Kentucky bourbon and brown sugar. Almost any chili recipe worth its salt will have a few classic ingredients including onions, beef, tomatoes, and beans. Of course, this is just my opinion. There’s some debate over these ingredients, but I consider them to be the standard, classic recipe. When you add bourbon and brown sugar to the mix, the chili gets slightly sweet. It’s the kind of thing that people won’t be able to put their finger on when they try it, but they’ll love it. You just need a little bit of both. No need to over-do it. I like to serve my chili with sour cream and chives. You could also serve it with chips, crackers, or grated cheese. There’s really nothing like a warm bowl of chili on a crisp fall day. It’s great for a football game or just to warm the soul. Give this bourbon chili a shot and be sure to check out The Big Red Cookbook!
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