Signature Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili Recipe

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes (stovetop) or 4-6 hours (slow cooker)


  • 1 lb ground beef (or use ground turkey/chicken for a lighter option)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can baked beans (Vegetarian or your favorite variety)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar (adjust to your sweetness preference)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Toppings (Optional):

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped green onions
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream

Instructions (Stovetop):

  • Brown the meat: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Drain off any excess grease.
  • Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the spices: Stir in the chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  • Incorporate the liquids and beans: Pour in the tomato sauce, black beans, and baked beans. Stir well to combine.
  • Simmer: Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the flavors to meld perfectly.
  • Taste and adjust: Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. If you like more heat, add a bit more cayenne. For extra sweetness, add a bit more brown sugar.
  • Serve: Serve hot with your desired toppings.

Instructions (Slow Cooker):

  • Brown the meat: Follow the same browning step as above.
  • Combine: Add the browned meat along with all the other ingredients to your slow cooker.
  • Cook: Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.
  • Serve: Serve hot with your favorite toppings.


  • Customize it: Make this chili your own by adding a bit of chopped bell pepper with the onion and garlic, or mix up the bean varieties!
  • Spice level: Adjust the cayenne pepper based on your heat preference.
  • Make it ahead: This chili tastes even better the next day and is perfect for meal prep or freezing.

Enjoy your hearty and satisfying Signature Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili!


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