Game Day Chili

No tailgate is complete without this hearty Game Day Chili. When you’re gearing up for the big game this tangy beef chili with a hint of bourbon will keep you satisfied well through half-time.

If you want to switch up your tailgate menu game this season then try this Chili Con Carne, Black-Eyed Pea Chili, or even this Pumpkin Sausage Chili.

game day chili

Game Day Chili

As someone who graduated from a major football university and grew up in a state where the game was practically religion, I know tailgating is taken seriously. Meals and spreads are planned seasons before the snap of the ball.

As the temperatures begin to shift and kick-off is just around the corner this game day chili is will keep you warm well through half-time.

With a slightly sweet taste from the brown sugar and a kick from the bourbon, this hearty beef and two bean chili is a strong component for any tailgate gathering. Don’t be conservative when it comes to sides, this meal is best served with cornbread on top.


The Secret Ingredient in Game Day Chili

Bourbon. A barrel-aged spirit made primarily from corn, and strongly associated with the American south gives this recipe its game face. Though I prefer the whiskey liqueur this can easily be swapped out for an ale or strong craft beer. To remove the alcohol completely add an additional 1/4 cup of the beef broth instead.

game day chili

How to Freeze Chili

If you plan on preparing this before the festivities begin, or desire a simple dinner in the future this recipe is easily made ahead. Simply prepare the chili and place it in a freezer-friendly bag to store in the freezer.

When ready remove from the freezer and let thaw slightly. Place in a large pot and set heat to low, stirring frequently, until the chili is heated throughout.

bourbon chili

How to Make Chili

Using a large heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven will allow you to fit all your ingredients for a one-pot-meal. Start with browning the meat and sauteing the onions and garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the bourbon (or other alcohol), and let simmer until the chili thickens to the consistency you desire. Remove from heat and stir in the alcohol.

beef and pinto bean chili

Other Awesome Tailgate Recipe Ideas


Game Day Chili

No tailgate is complete without this hearty Game Day Chili. When you're gearing up for the big game this tangy beef chili with a hint of bourbon will keep you satisfied well through half-time.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 636kcal
Author: Aimee Mars


  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce
  • 6 ounces Tomato Paste I used the canned version
  • cups Beef Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 cans Pinto Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon or Whiskey or Beer


  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat and add the ground beef, onion, and minced garlic. Cook the mixture until the meat has browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and return to stove.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, broth, spices, and beans. Let simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in bourbon (whiskey or beer will also work too). Top with sour cream or shredded cheese.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1403mg | Potassium: 1927mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1909IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 10mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @AimeeMarsLiving or tag #AimeeMarsLiving!

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About The Author


I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my space here and love to connect with new friends through food. I’ve always felt sharing meals brings people together, which is one of the many reasons I began this site.


5 thoughts on “Game Day Chili

  1. Making this recipe for the first time. Super excited. Quick question, the 2 cans of tomato sauce, are they 8oz or 15oz?

    1. Hey Cathy, use 15 ounce cans for the tomato sauce. I also recommend making this a day ahead so all the flavors can marinate overnight. You can add more tomato sauce if you need to thin it out the next day too.

  2. This was so so so good! You need to put this one on Foodgawker so I can save it 🙂

    I will admit that I didn’t use canned tomato puree and just lightly pureed fresh tomatoes and only used about half of the tomato paste (I’m not a tomato paste gal). But this is really awesome! I love the hint of sweetness from the brown sugar.

    1. Thanks Kristin! Good call on the Foodgawker! I’m slowly getting around to posting all my recipes there. I love that you made the recipe your own by changing it up and honestly I’d prefer the pureed fresh tomatoes. I’ll let you know when I get it submitted so you can save it.

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