Spicy Chicken Chili with Cheesy Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

We have officially arrived in cozy-town. Tailgates, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and the long-awaited sweater weather.

Enter this chili.

Honestly, there’s nothing better than a pot of chili bubbling away on the stove. The flavors growing more complex and savory and spicy while you’re watching football with pals or generally relaxing on the couch. Maybe you’ve got a view of the leaves changing outside because I’m seriously sentimental with the whole autumn thing if you haven’t noticed.

The only thing that could make it even a bit better would be pumpkin beer! That quintessential fall pumpkin good-ness weaving its way into the dish in a punchy, malty way. And we really push the limits here by also making cheesy biscuits with pumpkin beer that bake right on top of the chili. Ever since I made this cobbler, I’ve been obsessed with the whole “bake on top” thing.

Sound good? Yes please!

One of my favorite parts of using pumpkin beer in these biscuits is that it actually lends a magical baking purpose. The biscuits are leavened with baking soda and baking powder. Their job is to emit carbon dioxide while they bake causing the biscuits to get all tall and fluffy. The beer has a bunch of dissolved carbon dioxide from the yeast in the brewing process which you know if you’ve literally ever opened, poured, or drank a beer. That carbon dioxide gives the dough a head-start and a great lift as you’re rolling it out. The pumpkin? Just an extra benefit.

Voila! An excuse to consume more beer. Oh, and the cheese. That’s important too. 😉

This chili/biscuit combo is barely adapted from the wonderful mind of Jessica. It’s one of my all-time favorite fall recipes to make. I once made the biscuits in the shape of pumpkins with a pumpkin cookie-cutter, so you can always go that route if you’re as crazy about the season as I am! In that case, you should bake the biscuits separately from the chili, another option baking the biscuits in general. You can use chicken thighs in place of the breasts if you like, but the chili cooks long enough with the chicken and “stewing liquid” that I think breasts are an easy alternative we all have in our freezers. I also have another tried and true family chili with cornbread sticks I posted a couple years ago, so I suggest you go super chili-crazy and make all of it. Let’s break out the sweaters and blankets pronto.

Alsooo, I’ve recently discovered something that probably everyone else in the universe knows that Beacon Hill is basically the most wonderful, autumnal place. Please can I live there now. I’ve uploaded some photos to the new This Month page if you’d like to drool with me about the historical Boston neighborhood. Excuse all the door pics because I’m just a general creep. Plus, I’ve heard that they put garlands up all over the place for Christmas, so you can be expecting that in a couple months! xoxo

Spicy Chicken Chili with Cheesy Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

Barely Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Serves 6

For the Chili

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

2 red bell peppers, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

⅔ cup pumpkin beer

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

2-8 oz cans tomato sauce

1-15 oz can pinto beans

8 oz tomato puree

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon brown sugar

For topping: sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese

Cheesy Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, finely grated

1 ¼ cups pumpkin beer

  1. Start with the chili. Mix together the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl. Season the chicken with the seasoning mix on all sides. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pot.
  2. Add the chicken to the pot and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip and cover. Cook for another 5 minutes and check the temperature. You want the chicken to be browned and cooked through (165⁰F). Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the remaining tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic to the pot. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for about 6-8 minutes. It should be fragrant.
  4. While the onion, peppers, and garlic are cooking, shred the chicken. You can use a couple of forks to do this or with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir into the onion mixture. Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste, stirring to distribute it evenly with the mixture. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 more minutes. Increase the heat to medium and pour in the pumpkin beer. Use it to deglaze the pot, scraping up bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and tomato puree to the pot. Stir it together. Then, add the remaining spices and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Let simmer and cook for 30 mins to an hour or more. The longer it sits, the more flavors that develop. When you’re ready to eat, taste and season with additional salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. as needed.
  6. Now, we make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425⁰F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until pieces the size of peas remain. Stir in the cheese with a fork. Make a well in the middle and pour the beer into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula to bring the dough together, stopping when the dough just comes together. Use your hands if you need to in order to get it incorporated.
  7. Pat the dough into a circle/rectangle that is about 1 ½ inches thick. Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass, cut the dough into rounds. I got 16 biscuits that are a bit on the smaller side, so cut the size you’d like! Pat together and re-flatten any dough from the biscuit scraps to get as many biscuits as possible.
  8. If you’re baking the biscuits on top of the chili (pictured here), pour the finished chili into a very large baking dish. The next size up from 9×13 is perfect. Place the biscuit rounds on top as you cut them. Bake for 15 minutes on the center rack. Remove from the oven and gently lift up on the biscuits to prevent them from settling too much in the chili and making the bottoms excessively soggy. Cover the dish with foil and bake from another 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are set. If you’re starting with cold chili, the timing may take another couple of minutes.
  9. If you’re baking the biscuits separate from the chili (on a sheet pan), place the cut biscuits onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, or drop by large spoonfuls for less pretty biscuits, and bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven.



  1. OMG obsessed with Beacon Hill! So cute! Also love the idea of this chili with the biscuits on top. Major cozy fall vibes right here. (PS – saw you’re reading Handmaid’s Tale. I’d HIGHLY recommend the “Red All Over” Handmaid’s Tale recap podcast, which covers both the book and the TV show. It’s hilarious and it gives me life.)

    • Kelsey
      October 16

      Thanks for the rec Sara! Will have to check the podcast out. And isn’t Beacon Hill the cutest?! xoxo

  2. October 13

    This is actually the ultimate comfort food. I can only imagine how delicious & rich those flavors are!! I still have yet to try the whole biscuits baked on top of a savory dish kinda thing, but you have inspired me to get on that ASAP. xx

    • Kelsey
      October 16

      Ruby– the biscuits-on-top thing is truly the best! Hope you try it! xoxo

  3. This looks incredibly delicious, and so perfect for a fall dinner! I’ve been searching for a good new chili recipe to try, and I think yours just sealed the deal thanks to those dreamy cheesy pumpkin beer biscuits on top – who can resist cheesy biscuits??

    One question though: if I can’t find pumpkin beer at the store, should I just sub regular beer?

    • Kelsey
      October 18

      Thanks Shannon! And I would just use a beer that still has a pretty robust flavor. Maybe a light IPA. Nothing too too bitter. xoxo

  4. You had me at pumpkin and biscuits!! This looks to die for. I am currently drooling.
    Thank you for sharing!


    • Kelsey
      October 18

      Thanks Sabrina! xoxo

  5. October 17

    ooooo so good! i get sentimental about Autumn too but with good reason! it is such an amazing time of year. and plus it calls for gorgeous delicious bakes like this

    • Kelsey
      October 18

      Yes, I agree Ruby! xoxo

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