Sweet and Spicy Chili Recipe – my all-time favorite recipe for game day! This chili has all the kick you’d expect, with a hint of sweetness, too.
Growing up in a house full of girls there was little to no “man food” – as my mum might have called it – and even less football (sorry Dad!) My first experience with chili was with my husband – although, at the time I think we were 17 or 18 and not yet married or even engaged.
My mom had given me a cookbook for Christmas with recipes for entertaining and I thought we’d try making this sweet and spicy chili recipe for a little Superbowl party (also my first one of those!)
It’s been a looong time since that disappointing evening when Green Bay beat the Patriots, and over the years we’ve tried many versions of chili, and I look forward to sharing them with you!
Sweet and Spicy Chili FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions about our Sweet and Spicy Chili Recipe:
What can I add to chili to make it spicy?
Our recipe calls for fresh jalapenos. I remove the vein and seeds, but if you want it really spicy you can include those. We also use chili powder for an extra kick.
How can I make my chili sweeter?
We add honey to help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and make it sweeter. This recipe also includes a little mashed sweet potato (optional) which adds sweetness. You could also use yams, squash, pumpkin, or even zucchini.
What onion is best in chili?
Most people use yellow onions, however, I prefer sweet Vidalia onions in my chili. As a bonus, they don’t make my eyes water nearly as much!
What can you add to chili for more flavor?
This recipe has loads of spices including coriander and cumin which, along with the paprika, adds warmth and a little smokiness.
Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?
No, red beans and kidney beans are different. However, either can be used in this chili recipe. Beans are super healthy because they are high in fiber, protein and B vitamins.
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Tips for Making Chili
- Always brown the beef because that adds depth of flavor to your chili.
- Make sure your spices are not stale. Most ground spices can be kept for as much as 3 years! However, keep in mind that they lose flavor over time. I replace mine at least once a year.
- Drain and rinse the beans in a colander before adding them to the chili.
- If you are not using a vegetable puree, add in 1/2 cup of tomato paste to thicken the chili.
Sweet and Spicy Chili Recipe
If you’re not cooking for a big crowd, you might want to halve this recipe. After two decades of making this recipe, I’ve finally perfected it in every way!
When you make this please be sure to tag me on Instagram @jugglingactmama or #jugglingactmama – I’d love to see your pictures! And if you get a chance, please comment and leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below!
- 1 large green pepper
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 40oz can of red kidney beans
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28oz can tomato puree
- 28oz water
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoons coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
- 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce – I use my Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce – find the recipe here.
- In a skillet heat up the olive oil. Simmer the onions and green peppers until tender. (You can chop or dice your vegetables depending on how chunky you like your chili. I like to put mine in the food processor so I don’t have any big chunks.)
- Transfer the cooked vegetables into the pot. Add the raw ground beef and use a spatula to break it up a little.
- Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, granulated garlic, cumin, coriander and chili powder.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato puree. Rinse the cans and dump that water into the pot as well (no more than about one 28oz can total).
- Add the beans, including the water in the can, to the stockpot.
- Stir in the sweet potato – you could leave this out, but we had a little extra leftover, and it helps thicken the chili and adds a bit of sweetness to the flavor. Other vegetable purees would be good in this too, like squash, pumpkin, carrot or even zucchini.
- Season with additional salt, pepper, onion powder, granulated garlic, cumin, coriander and 2 tablespoons chili powder.
- Stir in the honey and the barbecue sauce.
- Cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Note: This makes a big batch, so if you’re not having a crowd, you can freeze half in airtight bags or freezer-safe canning jars. I like the bag method because then it’s easy to reheat in a crockpot! Serve with your favorite toppings like cheese and sour cream – and your favorite sides, like Cheddar Bacon Muffins or Cheddar Garlic Cornbread!