Bison Chili Recipe

This Bison Chili Recipe was built for batch-cooking and feeding a crowd because it makes a huge amount. It comes from Karen Anderson‘s friends Tanya Guetre and Michelle Kozy. They used to have a lovely little store and catering company called Savour. When they made this chili, she would buy it by the gallon. When they closed their store, they very kindly shared the recipe so Karen could continue to enjoy it. Slightly adapted, here is Karen Anderson‘s version of a way to enjoy Alberta bison with southwestern flare.

Chipotle Bison Chili

Makes 7 quarts
Takes 1 hour active time + 2 to 3 hours’ simmering time
Rating Competent to proficient


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1½ lb bison steak/roast, cut in 1-inch cubes
1½ lb extra-lean ground bison
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 large onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups green, yellow, or orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons garlic paste
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
2 heaping Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (with skins on)
Two 28-ounce (796 ml) cans whole tomatoes
19-ounce (540 ml) can red kidney beans
19-ounce (540 ml) can pinto beans
19-ounce (540 ml) can black beans
10-ounce (300-gram) package frozen chopped spinach
¼ cup tomato paste
2 Tablespoons dried or ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, measured then chopped
1 Tablespoon dried or ½ cup fresh chopped basil
4 cups low-sodium V8 juice
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1½ teaspoons pepper
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup lime juice
1½ Tablespoons hot sauce
Toppings: sour cream, guacamole, grated cheese, lime slices, and cilantro leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the bison in small batches and brown the meat over medium-high heat, until most of the pink is gone. Transfer each browned batch to a very large stockpot or slow cooker until all the meat is cooked. Then, in the same frying pan, cook the carrots, onions, celery, and peppers over medium heat until just softened. Add a splash more oil if necessary to prevent the vegetables from sticking and burning.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chipotle peppers followed by the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Stir in the fresh tomatoes and allow their moisture to deglaze (loosen the sticky bits) at the bottom of the pan. Once the tomatoes are soft, add this mixture to the stockpot and set the big frying pan aside to soak in the sink.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, all the beans, the still-frozen spinach, tomato paste, parsley, cilantro, basil, and V8 juice to the stockpot and mix well.
  4. Turn the heat to medium-low, bring to a simmer, and then add the sea salt, pepper, molasses, lime juice, and hot sauce. Adjust the herbs and spices to taste.
  5. Simmer for approximately 2 to 3 hours to allow all the flavours to meld and the meat to become tender. Taste and adjust seasoning again before serving.
  6. Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, grated cheese, lime slices, and fresh cilantro leaves.

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Recipe by Karen Anderson from Eat Alberta First, copyright © 2023 by Karen Anderson.