Buffalo Chili

One of our best chili recipes, this hearty bison chili is easy to make and has deep layers of flavors

This award-winning buffalo chili recipe gets its tangy sweetness from the BBQ sauce and red pepper that play well with the lean ground buffalo and kidney beans.

What makes this hearty buffalo chili stand out is how the ground buffalo absorbs all of these interesting flavors from the other ingredients while adding its own special touch.

We like to use our Old No. 44 BBQ Sauce when we’re making this chili. The flavors in the sauce compliment those in the buffalo without overpowering it.  If you don’t have any on hand feel free to substitute your favorite tomato-based bbq sauce that’s not too sweet.

This is a recipe we often recommend to people looking for something interesting to make for potlucks and chili cook-offs both because it’s delicious and because between the buffalo, BBQ sauce, and red pepper it has a unique enough flavor profile to be intriguing without it being too difficult for people to wrap their taste buds around. So far we’ve heard that it’s won two different chili cook-offs.

The toppings we usually serve with this chili are sour cream, smoked cheddar cheese that’s been shredded, and diced green onions.

If you’re interested in learning more about cooking with buffalo read Thinking About Buffalo as an Ingredient for a more in-depth look at a fascinating ingredient.

A few things that go well with this chili are homemade Buttermilk Biscuits or Sourdough Bread.

Buffalo Chili

Bison Chili

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 16 oz cans light red kidney beans
  • 1 4 oz can roasted green chilies
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Spice Mixture

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper


  • Start by dicing the onion, celery, and red pepper. Mince the garlic.
  • In a large heavy bottomed pot sauté the onion and celery for three to four minutes. Add in the buffalo meat to brown, making sure to break the meat up as you stir everything together.
  • Once the meat has finished browning drain off any excess grease. Then put the pot back on the heat at a low simmer. Stir in the tomato paste and tomatoes making sure to break the tomatoes up as you add them in.
  • Mix in the kidney beans, roasted green chilis, red pepper, and garlic. Followed by the ketchup, BBQ sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Make sure to mix everything up well, before adding in the Ancho chili, chipotle and regular chili powders, cumin, smoked Spanish paprika, salt, and pepper. Bring everything up to a boil, give it a couple of stirs and then lower the heat to a low simmer and let it cook for at least an hour.
  • Serve hot, with your choice of chili toppings; we like a good smoked cheddar and cornbread.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Comfort Food, Soups & Stews


Check these out for more:

Nutrition Facts
Bison Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 385 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 79mg26%
Sodium 1643mg68%
Potassium 801mg23%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 1145IU23%
Vitamin C 29.6mg36%
Calcium 60mg6%
Iron 4.7mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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