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Beer (Recipe: turkey mole chili)

Turkey mole chili

One great thing to know about beer:

Even if you don't drink beer (and I don't), there are good reasons to keep it in your pantry. Beer tenderizes marinades, adds a yeasty puff to batters like tempura, and leaves behind a hops/barley/malt flavor in stews after most of the alcohol cooks out, much lighter and less sweet than the residual flavor of wine. If you're lucky and have friends who bring their own six-packs to dinner, leaving the unconsumed bottles behind (out of generosity or forgetfulness), you can use whatever they leave -- regular beer or ale or lager, nonalcoholic beer or "near beer" -- in most recipes, except when you're baking.

Cooking or baking?
Both. Use regular beer for baking, but in most cooking recipes, you can substitute nonalcoholic beer. (Which, I guess, isn't really beer at all. But it works.)

Unopened, beer will keep at room temperature in the pantry forever. An opened bottle of beer has no shelf life -- use it or lose it.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Beer (more facts and ingredient photos)
Canola oil
Chili powder
Smoked paprika
Canned black beans

Turkey mole chili

Turkey mole chili

Inspired by a gift of some spicy, chocolatey mole my friend Candy brought home from Mexico, this chili is a little bit Mexican (chocolate and chile peppers) and a little bit Cuban (black beans and rice). Of all of the turkey chili I've made, I honestly think this one's the best. The recipe serves 4-6, but you'll want to double it and freeze some.


2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder (mild or hot, your favorite; I like Penzeys Chili 3000)
1 heaping tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton dulce)
1/4 cup storebought or homemade mole
1 12-oz bottle O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer or any beer you have on hand
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned, chopped tomatoes
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Lime wedges, for serving


In a small Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the turkey, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the onion, and cook for 1 minute; then add the garlic, and cook for one minute more. Add the chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika, and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the mole.

Pour in the beer, beans, tomato and chicken stock, and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes. Then uncover the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes, until the chili has thickened but there is still a bit of liquid in it.

Serve over noodles, steamed rice, or on its own, garnished with a wedge of lime.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes with beer:
Beef, ale and onion stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Shallot and beer marmalade, from David Lebovitz
Beeramisu, from 101 Cookbooks
Carbonnade: beef and beer stew, from Simply Recipes

Turkey mole chili, perfect for any Mexican food celebration. Make ahead and freeze. [ThePerfectPantry.com]

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I'm planning a meal of beef braised with beer and onions in the near future for all the reasons you mention. The taste is like no other. Does the classic recipe for beer bread count as baking?

I always seem to have beer in the fridge -- leftovers from what friends bring to a party. I never drink it, so this is great recipe to have!

Just went to the store for mole (had everything else). Bought the Dona Maria mole in a jar instead of "ready-made" mole in a small carton (same brand). Is there a difference? Looking forward to serving this for dinner tonight and getting rid of two cans of O'Doul's which have been in the fridge for two years!

Well, I'm 2 for 2 with your recipes! Made this tonight and it turned out perfect. I wasn't sure about the smoked paprika...I really didn't like the smell of this spice. I served it over dilanti pasta...guess it was good, because the family gobbled it up!

TW, of course beer bread counts as baking, even though it's so easy to make. I am truly grateful to friends who leave me odds and ends of beer; it's great for cooking.

Julia, same here, and I use whatever they leave interchangeably in stews.

Judy, I don't think there's any difference. The mole in the jar is ready-to-use and will be perfect for this chili.

Tim, I'm delighted! If you don't have (or don't like) smoked paprika, you can substitute more cumin, or a few drops of liquid smoke.

Funny I have a package of mole mix that I just founds in the depths of the cabinet. This will be a perfect use!!!!

This recipe sounds divine on a chilly fall night (no pun intended). Interesting that you can use non-alcoholic beer in recipes and it will perform just as well. I did not know that!

I love adding beer to chili. It just adds so much depth to the flavor. I love your turkey chili recipe!

This was a fabulous chili and a KEEPER! We will be making it all fall/winter long!

This looks like something my family might just eat. I'm far more adventurous than they, so what looks wonderful to me in a photo doesn't always go over with the 'picky eaters.' I think it's gorgeous... :o)

I made this recipe and I love it!! Can't imagine chile without mole now.

Wow delicious, thanks for the recipe!

I've been looking all over for a beer/mole chili recipe! Thank you so much for your post! I can't wait to try it!

UUmm! i am loving this especially with the mole in it. I sometimes add dark unsweetened cocoa powder to my chili to get that flavor! Nice one Lydia!

I noticed a little error : "Pimenton dulce" would be your normal paprika, smoked paprika usually sold by the name of "pimenton ahumado"

Douglas, thanks. In the US, sweet smoked paprika is always sold as pimenton dulce, and sweet Hungarian paprika is sold as just that, Hungarian paprika. Perhaps it's a difference from one country to another. Good for readers to know that outside the US, pimenton ahumado might be the name they will find.

No idea if this site is still accepting comments or if anybody is reading them. But wanted to let you know that I still make, and love, this recipe in 2022. Having it for dinner tonight, topped with shredded lettuce, pickled jalapeños and onions, and cheese. So delicious and BTW, it freezes like a dream.

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