This delicious sweet and spicy chili with brown sugar is our family’s favorite! With the perfect flavor combination, this subtley sweet, yet sassy chili is sure to win you over. Honestly, this is hands down one of the best chilis I’ve had… and I have had my fair share of chili having attended many a chili cook off competition and even judging one or two.
I love the subtle sweetness the brown sugar brings when combined with the heat of these spices. Truly this chili is both sweet and sassy. If looking for more sweet and sassy recipes give our Honey Garlic Meatballs a chance … you will not be disappointed! Or our One Pot Beef Stroganoff, Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole and Easy-Peasy Chicken Pot Pie are other delicious comfort food recipes.
CHILI, A BOWL OF SURPRISE
Something I love about chili is until you have tasted it, you don’t quite know what you are in for. I mean, if I eat a bowl of vanilla ice-cream, for the most part, I know what to expect every time. Cold, smooth, soft texture, a simple yet sweet flavor.
Chili though, chili is not like that. You can get a bowl of chili and not have any idea what you are about to encounter. Flavor, texture, heat, spice… chili comes in many shapes and forms. No one chili is the same. One can be loaded with meat, others filled with beans and no meat in sight. It can be bland or jam packed with flavor. This recipe while simple to make, is complex in flavor. Upon first bite you taste the subtly sweet tones and then are hit by all the fun spices to follow.
CAN YOU TAKE THE HEAT
As mentioned chili can have many varying levels of spice. If you or someone in your family is sensitive to spice you can definitely adjust the levels of seasonings in this recipe to tailor it more to your taste. As is, I would say this recipe for sweet and spicy chili has too much heat for your average kid. Both my younger kids and aunt’s older children do not enjoy this chili as is.
If I know I have a younger or more sensitive crowd I will sometimes choose to leave out the cayenne pepper all together. You could also adjust the amount of cumin and chili powder to make the chili more to your liking.
It’s Chili Time
Alright, it’s time to get cooking so LET’S GO, as Dallin would say. Preheat a large skillet or pan. My aunt likes to make this all in one big pan. Unfortunately I do not have a pan big enough to do it in, so instead I start off in my biggest skillet and then transfer to a big soup pot once hamburger, onions, peppers and spices are all cooked and mixed in.
Prefer a Crockpot?
This recipe could easily be adjusted to be prepared in a crockpot if you prefer. After browning the meat and sautéing the onions move everything to a crockpot instead of a large pot. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Allow your chili to cook for 4 hours on high or 6 on low.
Now that we’ve got our chili cooked, the real fun begins. Choosing your toppings. There is something so satisfying about building your own customizable experience.
Some our favorite topping options:
- Shredded Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Greet Yogurt
- Crumbled Bacon
- Sliced Avocado
- Shredded Lettuce
- Sliced Olives
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Diced Onions
- Chopped Green Onions
- Crushed Tortilla Chips
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Sourdough Toast
My most favorite way to enjoy a bowl of chili is with a sourdough loaf from a local bakery or, we always have Costco’s ready to bake sourdough loaves on hand!
PRO CHEF – MOM HACK
Make future meal planning easy. Double the recipe and stretch it across several meals. Serve it up tonight as a bowl of chili with sourdough toast, and then freeze the rest.
Next week pull it out again, serve on top of loaded baked potatoes or chili dogs. Pull it out of the freezer a few weeks from now, (when you need a night off of cooking) chop up your favorite taco toppings, serve over a bed of chips and you’ve got taco salad!
Or the next time you bring home leftover fries from your favorite restaurant, pop them in the air fryer or oven, top with the chili and cheese for chili cheese fries. I mean the options are truly endless!
- 1 pound ground beef, cooked
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, 16 ounces
- 1 can diced green chilies, 4 ounces
- 1 can kidney beans - drained and rinsed, 16 ounces
- 2 cans pinto beans - drained and rinsed, 32 ounces
- 1 can canned corn - drained, 15.25 ounces
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup, 10.75 ounces
Add the Spice and Heat
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1½ tablespoon chili powder
- Preheat large skillet or pan. Add oil, ground beef, bell peppers and onion.
- Cook beef and sauté vegetables on medium to high heat until meat is browned and onions appear translucent.
- Add all the spices and stir together. Feel free to adjust the cayenne pepper, chili powder and cumin to your liking for spice/heat level.
- Transfer everything in pan to a large pot on medium heat.
- Add water, brown sugar, diced tomatoes, green chilies, beans, corn and tomato soup to the large pot.
- Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot, garnished with your favorite toppings. We enjoy ours with shredded cheese, sour cream and a piece of toasted sour dough bread!
- As is, this recipe is too spicy for my children. If they will be eating it I usually leave out the cayenne pepper.
- I let the chili simmer for closer to an hour as I like my peppers, corn and onion a little on the softer side.
- This could easily be adjusted to be prepared in a crockpot if you prefer. After browning the meat and sauting the onions move everything to a crockpot instead of a large pot. Allow to cook for 4 hours on high or 6 on low.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 470Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 764mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 14gSugar: 27gProtein: 27g
Looking for a dessert to round out the meal? I would suggest trying your hand at our super easy, Key Lime Pie. It offers cool, light refreshing flavors, a perfect pairing with this sweet and spicy chili recipe. You can’t go wrong with this duo. And if Key Lime isn’t your thing, give our Double Berry Custard Pie a go.
We Have a Family Vlog!
Did you know we have a family vlog? It is actually our beginnings. Before we ever took a step in the kitchen with you and shared our first recipe, we shared our family through videos. And it grew and grew. As we would cook a meal or try a new recipe people on the vlog countless people would reach out and ask for recipe after recipe. And eventually The Dashley’s Kitchen was born!
Through this journey we have been blessed with many opportunities and made countless friends and loved ones all over the world. In our latest vlog we planned an at home Disney World – Magic Kingdom surprise. You can visit us on YouTube and check it out here.