Sweet and Spicy Chili

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Award-winning sweet and spicy chili recipe! Petite tomatoes and small beans keep all of the family happy. Adjust the spices to your liking.


I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share this recipe with you.  This Sweet and Spicy Chili is one of our favorite recipes, and it is especially good at this time of year!  There’s not much better than coming home to a bowl of hot chili on a cold evening.

I’ll have to be honest that I’ve not been a huge fan of chili all of my life.  I remember my mom making chili when I was young and it was not my favorite.  She was often gracious enough to leave out the kidney beans which made the soup more tolerable, but there were still tomato chunks inside.  And when I was younger, I liked tomato chunks about as much as my kids do now…and that is not at all. sweet-and-spicy-chili-recipe

I’m happy to say that I’ve come along way with what I’m willing to eat…and even love to eat!  This sweet and spicy chili is now one of my favorite meals.  This recipe makes a huge pot of chili, so it is a great meal to serve to company, or you can just enjoy the leftovers.  I like to cook the sweet chili recipe one day ahead of time, and then on the day we are going to eat it, I let it simmer in the slow cooker all day.  It gets all of those flavors nice and blended together.

And…I’m proud to say that even the kids ask for this dinner!

Here’s what makes this kid-friendly:

1.  I use canned petite diced tomatoes.  I never even knew they made such a thing until I started making chili about a year ago.  These little tomatoes are a lifesaver.  So yes, there are tomatoes in there, but they are teeny little pieces.  After it cooks all day, the kids never even notice them:)

2.  There’s no kidney beans…just black beans and navy beans, which are smaller and hide a lot easier than kidney beans.

3.  This chili is full of meat.  My family loves a meaty chili, so I picked up 4 pounds of Certified Angus Beef® ground beef at our local Meijer store and added it in this big pot of soup!

4.  The kids love how this soup is slightly sweet.  You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking, or even leave it out altogether.  ¾ cup  sugar is perfect for us. sweet-and-spicy-chili-recipe

When we have this chili, I serve it with noodles, cheddar cheese, chopped onions and sour cream on the side.  This is a basic recipe that is completely versatile and will be a great addition to your winter menus!

**Not cooking for a crowd? You can easily halve this recipe!**


Sweet and Spicy Chili Recipe

4.68 from 65 votes
This chili recipe makes a huge pot of soup to feed a crowd!
Servings 20 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 4 pounds Certified Angus Beef® ground beef
  • 4 small onions chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 30 ounces beef stock
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes with juice (14.5 ounces each)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15.5 ounces)
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained (15.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup pimentos chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (plus an additional 2 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar to taste
  • dash oregano
  • dash red pepper flakes


Stovetop Directions

  • In a large saucepan, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Drain. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Mix well and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes. The longer you simmer the soup, the more the flavors deepen.
  • Discard the bay leaves and serve.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • In a large saucepan, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Drain. 
  • Place the browned beef in a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chili on low for 6-8 hours.



I like to make our chili the day before, then let it simmer in the crockpot all day on the day we are going to eat it. 
Serve with noodles, cheddar cheese, sour cream and chopped onions on the side.


Serving: 296g | Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g
Author Lizzy T
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 366

About Lizzy T

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6 years ago

4 stars
I dislike the texture of any bean. Little tip, I put mine in my magic bullet blender and then add it to the sauce. Can’t even tell but it gives a nice flavour to the sauce that changes it from pasta sauce to chili 🙂

1 year ago

5 stars
Yummy 🤤 my first time making this and I really like it

2 years ago

1 star
Super disappointed in this recipe…. Came out way too watery.

3 years ago

5 stars
Great recipe. I halved it just in case I didn’t like it. The only changes that I made was to use only 1 pound of hamburger (again just in case I didn’t care for it) and I used 2 cans of kidney beans because I love them. Additionally, I used cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. Other than that it was spot on. The amount of spices were perfect. Absolutely delicious!

3 years ago

How about using dry beans thats what i have here? How much do i use? Thank you.

3 years ago

This looks great! But I’m worried about it fitting in my crockpot. Will it fit in a 6 quart? Thanks and can’t wait to try!

4 years ago

5 stars
Thanks for the recipe, it just won me first place in our 2019 office chili cookoff! Greatly appreciated!

4 years ago

5 stars
It is cooking as I write this post. Sunday football will be great tomorrow.

4 years ago

5 stars
Thank you so much for this recipe! Going to try it tonight. Only have one question, your recipe calls for 2 cans of tomato sauce and then another can. Do I need 3 cans of tomato sauce then or is that a typo. Sorry I’ve never cooked chilli before; I just want to get it right.

—thanks, Sheryl

4 years ago

5 stars
Oh my gosh Julie- you got mad street cred for your cinnamon rolls recipe so when I needed a chili recipe your blog was the first place I looked. Of course, you did not disappoint! This chili was awesome! Thank you so much for sharing and man oh man do I wish I could be there for a holiday feast with your family!!!

5 years ago

Hi there! The recipe calls for 1/2 thyme, is that 1/2 a teaspoon, tablespoon?

Thank you

Stephanie J. Schiltz
5 years ago

Just want to double check on recipe before I make it: I don’t see any cumin. Is that an omission or no?
Thanks, Steph

Stephanie J. Schiltz
5 years ago

My Mom sometimes add cubed potatoes to chili. My husbands fx always served chili over mashed potatoes. I never cared for either. I do like chili over plain spaghetti, like Cincinnati chili. Usu. first night is chili with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Cincinnati chili for leftovers.

6 years ago

5 stars
I love the idea of putting chili on a bed of macaroni noodles! I too used to hate eating chili when I was younger but it has definitely grown on me 🙂

9 years ago

This chili sounds delicious! I always hated kidney beans growing up….(I like them now)……so my childhood self especially thanks you 🙂