The perfect balance of flavors, this sweet chili recipe is the ultimate comfort food for cold winter days. Made with pantry staples, it’s simmered on the stovetop for an easy meal great for weeknight dinners, meal prep, and more!
If you’ve never had sweet chili, prepare for your mind to be blown! Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional beef chili recipe, but the sweet and savory flavors of this dish just take the classic comfort food to a whole new level. It's become my new favorite way to enjoy a bowl of chili.
It’s the perfect cozy easy recipe to curl up on the couch with and is guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out. Even better, it comes together stove top in one pot and can be enjoyed throughout the week!
Pair it with cornbread or soft pretzels, and it will have all your guests drooling and coming back for seconds …and thirds. Made with lean protein and plenty of veggies for nutrients and fiber, it’s a fairly “healthy” recipe that you can feel good about serving to the whole family.
Give it a try, and it’s guaranteed to make it into your regular dinner rotation!
What Is Sweet Chili?
Sweet chili is exactly what it sounds like! We take the classic flavors of traditional tomatoey chili and add a touch of sweetness. The maple syrup in this recipe pairs perfectly with the savory beef and adds a subtle maple flavoring to the dish.
Some sweet chili recipes add as much as ½ cup of brown sugar to the pot! I have found that just a dash of maple adds the perfect hint of sweetness without it becoming a sugar-packed meal.
Ingredients and Notes
- Olive oil - Helps soften and cook the garlic and onion, creating a rich caramelized flavor while adding a boost of healthy fats.
- Garlic - For a bold taste.
- Vegetables - Onions, bell pepper, corn, and diced tomatoes add plenty of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber while enhancing the savory flavor of this sweet chili recipe.
- Ground beef - I prefer lean ground beef between 85% - 90% fat-free to add protein without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. However, any beef you like best would still taste great.
- Cocoa powder - Used to add more depth and richness.
- Maple syrup - Just a dash creates the best sweet taste without the need for loads of refined sugar.
- Seasonings - Chili, oregano, and sea salt combine to add extra savoriness and just a hint of spice.
- Black beans - Included for extra texture and added protein.
- Tomato sauce - Added to the broth for a soup-like texture that’s still loaded with flavor.
- Vegetable broth - Use low-sodium if you can, and feel free to swap it out for any broth you have on hand.
- Toppings - Technically optional, topping your sweet chili off with Greek yogurt or sour cream and plenty of shredded cheese makes it a truly drool-worthy recipe.
- Add a diced jalapeno to the chili for some heat.
- Throw in a diced sweet potato for more bulk. Cook it with the meat so it has enough time to soften.
- Add another can of black beans, or add kidney or navy beans for more protein.
How to Make This Sweet Chili Recipe
Simmered on the stove, this sweet chili recipe will have your entire house smelling divine. All you’ll need is a large pot, a wooden spoon or spatula, and bowls for serving!
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and sauté the garlic and onion until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring frequently.
Step 2: Brown the meat. Add the beef, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and seasonings. Break up the meat, and let it cook until it is just barely pink.
Step 3: Combine the remaining ingredients. Add the rest of the ingredients, and gently stir until they are well incorporated into the dish. Then, cover the pot, and let the sweet chili simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and let it simmer again until the bell peppers are soft, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Serve. Ladle the finished sweet chili into bowls, add your favorite toppings, and dig in!
- Be sure to brown the spices and maple syrup into the meat. This is how best to distribute the flavoring throughout the entire dish. The maple syrup also cooks down into the meat to develop a subtly sweet flavoring.
- This sweet chili is best cooked partly covered with a lid so the spices have time to soak into the meat and vegetables and partly uncovered so any excess liquid has room to evaporate so the chili can thicken up.
- If you prefer your chili a little soupier, add another splash of broth to help loosen it up. Chili is supposed to be full of flavor so don’t be afraid to add more to the pot.
Can I make this in a crockpot?
This chili can also be slowly simmered in a crockpot. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 - 7 hours or on high for 2 - 3 hours until the beef is brown all the way through. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt and enjoy.
Allow the chili to cool before transferring it to a large airtight container.
Refrigerate - Store leftover sweet chili in the fridge for up to a week. When ready to serve, heat it back up on the stove or in individual bowls in the microwave. If needed, add a splash of broth or water to help thin it out.
Freeze - Store the chili in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let it thaw completely. Then, warm it up on the stove or in the microwave, and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, to do so, I recommend using 2 large sweet potatoes in place of the beef. They will add more flavor and bulk to the chili.
Yes, either will work.
On its own, sweet chili has a bit of a kick thanks to the chili powder, but I definitely wouldn’t call it spicy. Savory with a hint of sweetness, it’s super kid-friendly. Of course, if preferred, you could enhance the spice level with extra chili powder or even a dash of hot sauce!
Check out these recipes for more cozy options:
PS : If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star review and comment below! Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay up to date on all tasty recipes here at The Fit Peach!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove - chopped
- 1 white onion - chopped
- 1 lb ground beef - I prefer lean
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup - or agave syrup or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 green bell pepper - chopped
- 15.25 oz corn - drained
- 15 oz can black beans - drained
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- ⅔ cup vegetable broth - any type of broth will work
- greek yogurt - or sour cream, optional
- Cheese - shredded, optional
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil, chopped garlic, and chopped white onion over medium. Stir constantly until the onions turn translucent and become soft.
- Next add the ground beef, cocoa powder, maple syrup, chili powder, oregano, and sea salt. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to brown the meat until it’s just barely pink.
- Add the chopped green bell pepper, corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Gently mix into the beef mixture to distribute. Pour in the can of tomato sauce and the broth and mix into the chili. Cover the pot and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes and then remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for another 20 - 30 minutes until the bell peppers are soft. Stir occasionally as the chili cooks. Reduce the heat to low to keep the pot warm until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, use a ladle to portino the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream and cheese, if desired, and enjoy!