This delicious sweet and spicy chili with brown sugar is our family’s favorite! With the perfect flavor combination, this subtly sweet, yet sassy chili is sure to win anyone 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 can say confidently this one is a winner.
This recipe while simple to make, is packed with complex flavors. The real key to this is the brown sugar! Brown sugar is going to give your chili a subtle sweetness you never even knew you were missing.
With both subtly sweet tones and punches of heat, this chili, lives up to it's name, it truly is sweet and sassy!
If looking for more sweet and sassy recipes give our Honey Garlic Meatballs a chance, you will not be disappointed!
Ingredients for Brown Sugar Chili
- Ground Beef
- Green and Red Bell Peppers
- Yellow Onion
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Brown Sugar
- Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- Cumin (optional)
- Chili Powder (optional)
- Diced Tomatoes
- Diced Green Chilies
- Kidney Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Tomato Soup
Best Way to Make Chili Less Spicy
As mentioned, chili can have many varying levels of spice. If you or someone in your family is sensitive to spice though, you can definitely adjust the level of seasonings in to tailor the recipe more to your taste.
As is, I would say this recipe probably has too much heat for your average kid. While I like it as is, both my younger kids and my aunt’s older children think as is, this recipe is to spicy however.
If I know I have a more sensitive crowd, then I will leave out the cayenne pepper all together. You could also adjust the amount of cumin and chili powder to help with the level of spice.
How to Make Sweet and Spicy Chili
Preheat a large skillet or pan. Then cook beef and sauté vegetables on medium to high heat. You will know it is done when the meat has had time to brown and the onions appear translucent.
My aunt likes to make this all in one big pan. However, I start off my chili in my biggest skillet and transfer it to a big soup pot.
First add spices to the pot and stir everything together. Secondly, transfer everything in the pan to a larger pot on medium heat.
Add water, brown sugar, diced tomatoes, green chilies, beans, corn and tomato soup to the large pot. Stir and allow chili to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Be sure to stir occasionally.
How to Make Chili in 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. And if you really want to make life easier use one of these crockpot liners and save yourself from having to do any heavy cleanup!
What toppings go with Chili?
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 meal experience. Some of our favorite toppings include:
- 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 though is with a sourdough loaf. For instance, we almost always have a loaf in our freezer!
PRO CHEF - MOM HACK
Most importantly though, 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 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 and use it as your base in our favorite Southwestern Tamale Pie.
How about when you just need a night off of cooking, chop up your favorite taco toppings and serve it over a bed of chips, and you've got taco salad!
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