this is the Venison Chili Recipe you need in your life!

venison chili in a bowl topped with sour cream and green onions

Chili in the air seems more manageable when you have venison chili in the belly, doesn’t it? Many homes have a go-to chili recipe they use time and again that is a personal favorite. Chili recipes are like ordering coffee… no one person makes it the same way. Venison chili is even more familial and can be widely found in states where hunting is popular…like WI and MN. Dontcha know ;).

What if you have never made venison chili before? What then?

Try this venison chili recipe and build on it.

Start with the basic ingredients, master it, and then learn your favorite changes and additions. Included is a list at the bottom of the post with ideas to personalize this recipe so you can create your personal chili recipe.

This venison chili recipe calls on the use of canned tomatoes and sauce to speed up the process and get chili on the table fast, fast, fast. Using canned products also makes it easier and less intimidating for the beginning cook. Don’t worry, you are NOT sacrificing flavor in any. which. way. Promise!

saute onion for venison chili

Saute up some chopped onions, add minced garlic (fresh or canned is fine!), and then brown up your meat.

What can I make with venison?

Anything that uses ground beef, pork, or similar. However, venison is a very lean meat and if you are subbing for ground beef or another meat with a high-fat content you may want to add a little bit of oil to your pan to help add needed fat to the dish.

pot of venison chili with ingredients in the background

Add your canned tomatoes, sauce, and chili beans with your seasonings and let that simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Β One-pot. The end.

There are those chili recipes that employ long periods of time on the stove; or cooking chili in a slow-cooker, or all sorts of different ingredients. All of those are personalized variations of a basic chili recipe which all include tomatoes, meats, onion, garlic, and seasonings. All delicious, probably. But if you haven’t made chili before or are looking for a solid and quick recipe… try this recipe first. And then play.

bowl of venison chili with sour cream and green onions, two spoons, and cinnamon rolls.

Let’s bring up the fact that this chili is served with cinnamon rolls in the pictures. This is for the Iowan readers in da house. Apparently, serving chili with cinnamon rolls is a thing where you all live. Maybe it’s not true but just in case, the chili is being served with cinnamon rolls.

Is deer meat good for you?

Isn’t that completely personal? Venison is high in protein and is a leaner than many meats. So, if you are looking for a good, lean red meat, venison is a great choice! But gosh, I can’t answer for you if venison is good for you. That’s your doctor’s job :).

On another note, we primarily use venison whenever we make chili. Ground turkey has a similar fat content and texture to venison if you prefer or don’t have access to venison. My husband comes from Wisconsin and a hunting family so we have venison easily available to us. If you have access to venison but don’t particularly like using venison try using a 1/2 and 1/2 blend of venison with a higher fat content meat like beef or sausage. Using the second meat gives me the needed flavor while still saving money by using what is available.

Here are some ideas for personalizing your venison chili recipe…

  • add or subtract from the seasoning amounts
  • include diced jalapenos or green chiles
  • add chopped green or red peppers
  • use kidney or pinto beans instead of or in addition to the chili beans
  • try different meats like sausage, lamb, beef, or turkey.
  • add a can of beer
  • simmer on low for several hours
  • add spices like cumin or oregano
  • go beanless.
  • or meatless.
4.34 from 3 votes

Venison Chili Recipe

A basic chili recipe for the beginning cook. Fast, easy, and requiring few ingredients. This one features venison but can easily be made with traditional ground beef.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, venison
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 lb. venison or ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans 14.5oz diced Hunt's tomatoes (low sodium)
  • 2 cans 14.5oz chili beans
  • 1 can 14.5oz Hunt's tomato sauce (this is NOT pasta sauce, rather tomato sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  1. Coat the bottom of a large soup pan with a small amount of oil.
  2. Brown the meat in the pan.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. NOTE- if using ground beef drain off the fat right now, before adding the other ingredients.
  5. Add the cans of tomatoes, beans, sauce (these will be undrained), chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir.
  6. Simmer on low for 20 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add additional salt & pepper as needed.
  8. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and chives.

Recipe Notes

Using a low-fat meat like Venison works perfectly for this recipe because the liquid from the canned tomatoes nicely adds the moisture needed to compensate. Chili is a great recipe for ground venison!

Other great Minnesota recipes:

Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish

Swedish meatballs. Traditional recipe with oats instead of bread to make this a gluten-free recipe.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Toast Skagen



  1. Phillip hughs
    April 21, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    Made some of the best chili I’ve ever eaten with this simple recipe. I highly suggest it to anyone. I use it every time. Y’all know how us Texas boys are bout our deer and chili. Thank you for sharing

    • Nellie
      April 22, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      Oh yippee! So glad to hear you enjoyed this. And if Texas boys are happy…that is high praise, indeed!

  2. November 27, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    Great basic recipe, Janel. Have never made chili with venison, but I happen to have some ground moose in my freezer. Not kidding. (It’s a long story.) Definitely need to try this!

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