Bison Black Bean Chili

Bison chili just may become the best chili recipe you’ve ever tasted. Unlike any other healthy chili recipe you’ve had before, iron-rich bison is cooked low and slow in dark red wine, with several layers of spices, bulgur, and fiber-rich black beans. It’s a hearty, healthy, comfort food and one delicious dinner!

Black Bean and Bison Chili (titled photo)

I’ve made chili with many different proteins, and different cuts of meat. Ground meat chili is the most popular here in the northern midwest U.S., while the gang down in the southern half of the U.S. tend to favor big pieces of meat in their bowl.

There’s pretty much a chili for every taste bud out there, too.  Turkey, beef, and even lamb have made their way into my chili bowls, but there’s something very special and healthy about this bison chili recipe! Here’s why:

FOOD FACTS ~ BISON   (facts gathered from the National Bison Association)

THE ANIMAL: Bison are handled as little as possible. They spend their lives on grass, much as they always have, with very little time in the feedlot. They are not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals or hormones. The members of the National Bison Association feel so strongly about this that they have a resolution opposing the use of these substances in the production of Bison for meat.

Bison black bean chili photo collage

Nutrition in Bison Recipes

Nutrition facts: Bison is a lean, and highly nutrient dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids to its caloric value. Comparisons to other meat sources have also shown that Bison has a greater concentration of iron, as well as some of the essential fatty acids necessary for human well being.

Readers’ Digest magazine has even listed bison as one of the five foods women should eat because of the high iron content. I, along with an estimated 3 million Americans, suffer from iron deficient Anemia.  Eating iron-rich foods is very important to keeping red blood cells and oxygen flowing through our bodies, so bison recipes are high up on my list of foods to make and consume often. The fact that bison is delicious makes it more of a win-win for my body, and for yours, too!

Oh, and another great iron-rich recipe is spinach, which many people turn their noses up at. Not me…Bring on the rich, creamy creamed spinach!

Steakhouse Style Creamed Spinach

Because of its high nutritional value and special handling methods, bison can be expensive.  If you haven’t learned yet, I’m not the richest kid on the block.  With a grocery budget of just $40 a week, I have to use low cost ingredients in my recipes. But purchasing quality meat like bison keeps Brian and I healthy, saving us money on medical costs. So, for me, it’s worth the investment.

stock pot and bowl filled with iron-rich bison chili with black beans and bulgur

About the bison chili recipe:

Bison chili can’t be made in 15 minutes like my bratwurst chili can. Because there are layers of flavor that need time to develop, it takes a bit longer. But the extra time is worth it!

Instead of beef stock, I used red wine as the base flavor.  Why? Similar to wanting a glass of red wine to compliment a fine steak, wine brings out the flavor of bison in a way that water or stock can’t. I abstain from alcohol, but alcohol in the wine cooks out, so I’m not concerned about it. If you completely abstain from alcohol, substitute some organic, no-salt-added beef stock and you’ll be in for a fantastic treat.

pot of bison black bean chili
pot of bison chili with black beans

Bison Chili with Black Beans

Lean, delicious, iron-rich bison is seasoned with dark red wine and several layers of spice, corn, bulgur, and fiber-rich black beans to create a healthy and delicious chili!
4.72 from 14 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 421 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison (also known as buffalo)
  • 1 large yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 14 ½ ounces canned organic no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn niblets frozen or canned
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce seeds removed and finely diced (see notes)
  • 2 Tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 30 ounces canned organic no-salt-added black beans rinsed
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups no-salt-added beef bone broth or beef stock


  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bison, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add chipotle pepper, and cook until the onions are starting to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add bulgur, ancho chile powder, chili powder, instant coffee, and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Stir in beans, corn, and tomatoes.
  • Add wine and beef stock and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the bulgur is tender, about 50 minutes.


Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are usually found in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. They come with the seeds and membrane intact, which makes them VERY spicy. To mellow the flavor and reduce the spice, remove the seeds with a knife before finely chopping the pepper. br]
Recipe adapted from [Eating Well


Serving: 1gCalories: 421kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 24gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 435mgPotassium: 816mgFiber: 13gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1040IUVitamin C: 7.7mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 5.1mg
Tried this recipe? Mention @itsyummi or tag #itsyummirecipe!


bison chili recipe photo collage


  1. I do enjoy bison and yet I don’t buy it often. This is reminding me to put it on my shopping list soon. Nice chili too.

    1. Bison really is a healthy treat for me, Renee. I don’t buy it often, but when I do, it’s never a disappointment! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. Becca, your chili looks terrific!! We love bison, too, but it seems we just get it in restaurants. That will have to change. xo

    1. Thanks, Liz! I used to have a hard time finding ground bison, but then I found out about the Navarino Valley Elk & Bison Ranch… located about 15 miles from where I live. Sweet, right?! 🙂

  3. So great that you added the nutrition information for bison. I’ve never tried it but am anxious to.
    Your chili looks delicious!

  4. I’ve never cooked with bison and can’t wait to try it because your chili looks awesome and delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow, that’s a whole lot of different types of chili. I’ve never cooked with Bison before but if it tastes as good as yours looks, it’s a winner.

    1. There’s a chili love fest going on, Karen! If you’ve never tried Bison, you’re in for a HUGE treat. It’s SUPER lean and healthy, and SO tender!

  6. Your chili looks amazing! We have almost the same kind of flavors!! Love that you used Bison meat!

  7. I love bison and it’s definitely something I don’t make at home – I usually eat it out. This is a great looking chili!

  8. Gotta love a recipe that packs a protein punch. This is great for those who work out and need to fuel efficiently. And uh, it looks like it tastes amazing!

  9. Becca, your Bison food facts confirm the wonderful attributes I’ve been hearing about lately. And I love the use of it in this chili recipe. The ingredients list inspires me to get a batch going!

  10. 5 stars
    Oh yum Becca! I have never eaten bison before, but I would LOVE too, especially after reading your post! Great chili recipe!

  11. There was a lot of bison farming where we lived in Wisconsin, enough that the cost of meat was roughly the same as grass fed beef. I haven’t ever really tried it and it’s impossible to get where we live now (Morocco) but love that your chili includes my favorite- corn!!

  12. We made bison burgers a few years back, and I remember the flavor being amazing. I bet bison would be great in a chili!

  13. I love bison! I can get it in my regular grocery store, but no it’s not cheap, like you say. I really appreciate your taking the time to highlight all the pertinent info on how bison are raised and all their health properties. Seems like a very important meat we should be eating more of, and maybe less beef. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Julie! I think it’s important to have accurate facts so that we can make the best decision for ourselves and our families. 🙂

  14. I’ve never had bison before, but after drooling over these gorgeous pics it is on my bucket list of foods to try.

    1. Aww, thank you for the sweet compliment, Leslie! I hope you have a chance to try Bison some day soon. It’s really wonderful 🙂

  15. I love chilis that have layers of love. 🙂 Looks like I’m going to have to add bison to the grocery list!

  16. 5 stars
    This was super delicious. Even with substitutes I did for the chipotle peppers and red wine. Love it with lots of sour cream. My three-year-old twins do too!

  17. 4 stars
    Loved the flavour and spice in this chili. Subbed out bulgar for quinoa and used only 1/3 cup. Used less corn, beans and wine than recipe recommends. Did not have instant coffee so I added tsp of cocoa powder to enhance flavours instead. This chili is rich and flavourful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please rate this recipe!