Sweet And Spicy Chili

Here’s a sweet slow cooker recipe…

Or is it a spicy slow cooker recipe? That’s the beauty of sweet and spicy chili – you get a delicious helping of both. Sweet and spicy is a magical culinary pairing, and this chili delivers it through a healthy helping of chili peppers and brown sugar. It runs up and down the pepper scale, from red bells and smoky sweet piquillo peppers to fresh jalapeño and cayenne pepper powder. Piquillo chilies add only a light simmer of heat, but they provide a tasty smoky sweetness to assist that brown sugar in the recipe. We recommend using dark chili powder if you have it, too, as it adds a rich, slightly sweet undertone as well. If there’s none in your pantry, pick some up from our store. 

Sweet And Spicy Chili

Sweet And Spicy Chili

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes


  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 2 jalapeño peppers minced*
  • 2 bell peppers 1 red/1 green, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce 28 ounces
  • 1 can crushed fire roasted tomatoes 28 ounces
  • 1/2 jar piquillo peppers 6 ounces total, chopped **
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup chili powder dark chili powder preferred
  • 1/4 cup cayenne pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper


  • Brown the ground chuck over medium heat, then spoon the beef into the slow cooker, keeping the majority of fat in the pan to cook the onions.
  • Cook the onions in the beef pan, until they become close to soft and translucent.
  • Add the bell peppers to the onions and stir until all vegetables have softened.
  • Add the jalapeño peppers and minced garlic, stirring frequently for one minute. Then transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker with the beef.
  • Add the tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, piquillo peppers, brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and crushed red pepper to the slow cooker. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Cover the slow cooker, then cook the chili on low for 5 hours.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.


*For a milder heat, remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeño peppers. Leave the seeds and membrane in when chopping for a spicier chili.
**Piquillo peppers add a light smoky sweet flavor to the chili. If no piquillo peppers available, look for a jar of red sweet peppers at your local grocer (they won't have the smoky undertone). You can also substitute additional roasted red bell pepper (1/2 a red bell will work).
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments