Venison chili is rich and hearty, made with ground meat, bacon, veggies, and healthy beef bone broth. This deer meat chili recipe is a comforting, paleo and keto-friendly, low-carb meal for hunting season or any cold-weather night. Make it on a stovetop or in a slow cooker!
Whether you know someone that likes to hunt deer or you just want to eat a different kind of meat, chances are you have heard of deer meat.
It's also called venison, and it is very popular, especially during hunting season. This recipe is perfect for days when it is colder out, and you need something that will warm you up.
Venison chili is a wonderful way to put a fresh new spin on a classic recipe. Keep reading, and you'll be wanting to cook with deer meat too!
Ingredients Needed For Crockpot Venison Chili
This recipe uses pretty basic ingredients that are packed with flavor and low in carbs. As it slowly cooks all day, it will fill your house with the most amazing aromas!
When you are on a low-carb diet, always get bacon that has no added sugar. This means to avoid any "maple-cured bacon". Just look at the ingredients and pick out the ones that don't have sugar as an ingredient.
I always use all three aromatics in my chili - garlic, onion, and bell peppers. I only used one bell pepper in this chili, but you can use a chili pepper or even more bell peppers if you like.
The type of venison isn't as important. You can use either ground venison or cubed. Both will taste amazing.
I used beef bone broth, but you could also use chicken bone broth. I'm sure vegetable broth will taste good too, but the meaty broths will have a fuller flavor.
For the spices, feel free to experiment and use as much or as little as you like. I used chili powder, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. But you can use your own chili seasoning mix if you prefer.
I have heard of people adding a dash of cinnamon to their chili too. If you try it, let me know in the comments down below!
Vegetables are optional, but I think they add nutrition to the chili, so I always add a zucchini. You could add yellow squash or carrots as well.
Please note: Check out the recipe card at the bottom for a full list of ingredients used to make this low-carb recipe.
Here are some tips to help you make venison chili in the slow cooker easily and with the most flavor:
- Use a liner. Slow cooker liners are great to use because they make cleanup easier. In addition to that, liners help regulate the heat coming from the inner crock and prevent scorching. If you have any hot spots, the liner will absorb the excess heat and distribute it evenly.
- Avoid lifting the lid. As mentioned earlier, removing the lid of a slow cooker during cook time should be avoided if possible. Doing so allows heat to escape, and it can take some time for the proper temperature to return. That being said, zucchini is added 30 minutes before cooking is complete. Therefore, it will be necessary to remove the lid one time.
How To Make Deer Meat Chili In The Slow Cooker
All of the instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. I have instructions for both the stove top and slow cooker.
First, here are some photos and tips about the recipe process, and I'll explain how to make it in the slow cooker.
Start out on the stovetop. Fry the bacon first because you will use some of the bacon grease to cook the rest of the ingredients. After the bacon is nice is crispy, put it in the slow cooker.
Cook The Aromatics
Next, saute the onion, pepper, and garlic in the bacon grease. Keep cooking it until the onion is translucent.
Add The Venison
Add the venison to the pan with the garlic, peppers, and onion, and cook until it is browned.
When it is all cooked, add it to the slow cooker.
Add The Rest Of The Ingredients
Add all the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Mix it up really well. The bay leaves are optional.
Cover the slow cooker and cook it on either high or low. That's it!
What To Serve With Venison Chili
This is a very hearty chili recipe, so it's amazing all by itself. However, if you want something on the side that is low in carbs, add some cloud bread. It is light and tastes amazing with spicy chili.
Frequently Asked Questions About Venison Chili Recipe
Before we get to the recipe card at the bottom of this post, here are some questions people often ask about how to make it.
What are the benefits of eating deer meat?
If you’re a hunter or friends with someone who hunts, you’ve likely tasted some homemade deer jerky. It’s super popular because it’s a great snack to take along while hunting.
Deer meat and the meat of elk, reindeer, antelope, and caribou are all considered venison. Wild game like venison is leaner than ground beef, has fewer calories per serving, and more vitamins and minerals.
Plus, the flavor of venison is much heartier than the flavor of ground beef. That extra flavor makes for a more comforting, filling meal, and it’s what makes ground venison chili so appealing.
Where can I buy ground venison?
If there are no hunters in your family and you don’t have a local source for venison, don’t worry. There are many places online (including Amazon!) where you can purchase ground venison.
Another option is to grind your own venison. It’s very simple to do and will save you money over having a butcher grind it. But again, you’ll first need to source the deer meat.
If you want to grind your own meat for deer chili, check out these tips from Cabela's.
Butchers recommend that at least 10 percent pork be added to a ground venison blend. Not only does the pork add flavor, but it also adds fat. As a result, you’ll make a ground meat dish that everyone will love!
How do you make deer chili on the stovetop?
Although I have a slow cooker venison chili recipe option, I recommend making it on a stovetop. Not only will it save you time, but it also allows you to add seasonings during the cooking time. You can monitor and taste the hearty meat stew as it cooks.
In contrast, removing the lid of a slow cooker allows heat to escape. For that reason alone, you shouldn’t add any seasonings during the cooking time.
Another great reason to make venison chili on a stovetop is to achieve the best flavor possible! Most of us know that when you make any type of chili, it’s necessary to brown or sear the meat.
Since a slow cooker doesn’t have the capability to brown meat, you’ll need a stovetop to do that. Rather than having to wash the pot and your slow cooker, why not just keep making it in the pot?
It makes sense to me, anyway.
Other Venison Recipes To Try
If you’re a fan of game meat, I think you're gonna love this dish because it’s my best venison chili recipe. You should also give these low-carb dinner recipes a try:
- Deer Jerky might not be a dinner recipe, but it is one of my favorite low-carb deer meat recipes that I have ever made.
- Mexican Zucchini Skillet uses ground beef, but you can easily use ground venison instead.
- Stuffed Peppers are easy to make with venison and are very filling.
- Cheeseburger Casserole has bacon - just like my chili - and is filled with cheese too.
- Hamburger Stew is usually made with ground beef, but venison is an easy swap.
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Venison Chili (Crock Pot Slow Cooker Option)
- 8 ounces no sugar bacon chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper diced (or use chili pepper)
- ¼ cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ pounds ground venison cubed venison works too
- 4 cups beef bone broth or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- 1 dash ground black pepper optional
- 3 medium bay leaves optional
- 1 medium zucchini diced
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, cook bacon until browned well. Push to side of pot.
- Add onion, pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers have softened.
- Add venison and season with salt and pepper if desired. Sauté until well browned (about 15 minutes).
- Stir in the broth, chili powder, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt, optional pepper, and optional bay leaves. Allow to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Blend in diced zucchini and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
Slow Cooker Crock Pot
- Cook bacon until browned. Add to slow cooker.
- Cook onion, pepper and garlic in bacon fat for about 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers have softened and onion is translucent. Add in ground venison and cook until browned. Transfer to slow cooker.
- Stir in the broth, chili powder, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt, optional pepper, and optional bay leaves. Cover and cook on high 2 to 4 hours or low 6 to 8 hours.
- Blend in diced zucchini and continue cooking until zucchini is tender (about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Use a liner to make cleanup easier
- Avoid lifting the lid during cooking so it cooks at the right temperature.
Low Carb Sweeteners | Keto Sweetener Conversion Chart
Array ( [calories] => 306 [carbohydrates] => 8 [protein] => 28 [fat] => 18 [saturated_fat] => 7 [cholesterol] => 87 [sodium] => 513 [potassium] => 701 [fiber] => 2 [sugar] => 4 [vitamin_a] => 1440 [vitamin_c] => 28.6 [calcium] => 34 [iron] => 4 )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
© LowCarbYum.com - Unauthorized use of this material without written permission is strictly prohibited unless for personal offline purposes. Single photos may be used, provided that full credit is given to LowCarbYum.com along with a link back to the original content.
First published on August 26, 2019. Last updated on May 18, 2021 with higher resolution photos and additional recipe tips.
Elsie S. Stewart
I tried this recipe and it's really good. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try the recipe.
How would you cook it in an Instant Pot?
You could use the standard "stew" program or set it for slow cook.
Has anyone added beans to this recipe?
You can add beans if you like it that way and aren't concerned about the carbs.
Have you ever subbed out the zucchini for sweet potatoes? I'm hoping to try that as the husband isnt a fan of zucchini. Just wondering when I would add it in to the chili, I might need to experiment a bit ????
I've never used sweet potatoes, but they would need a longer cooking time so they may need to be added for the whole cook time.
Great, thanks! Were trying it out today... I'll let you know how it works out!
This chili looks amazing. Can you believe I have never tried venison?!
It's not easy to get if you don't hunt or know someone who hunts. But there are farms selling it commercially.
We love venison, and I appreciate having such a practical slow cooker recipe for chili! Thank you!
I've never tried venison before but this one looks so delicious especially in the Winter. The recipe also looks so easy to follow and I can't wait to try this.
I love recipes that use venison. I often have some in my freezer and am looking for new ways to use it. I can't wait to try this!
Hearty, savory and perfect for Fall and Winter dinners!
I've never cooked with venison but this recipe makes it so much approachable and easy. Looks so flavorful.
Mmm... now you have me craving chili! I can't wait to try this. Love the venison and zucchini in there.
I've made a Native American chili for years. Recipe came off the Pine Ridge Reservation. I use either 2 lbs of venison or 1 pound each of Elk and Venison; 2 T chili powder, 1 C beef broth, 2 cans Rotel and 1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes (all with juice), 1 lg onion, chopped, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin and 6 corriander seeds. Makes the best chili I've ever eaten. I like your idea of adding bacon to your recipe. I may have to try it next time I make mine. My recipe makes a thick, hearty chili. Our recipes are somewhat alike.
Thanks for sharing the Native American version. I'll have to give that a try!