Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili Recipe

Award WINNING Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili recipe! The BEST chili recipe ever, I add my secret ingredient to create a sweet-tangy flavor to this slightly spicy recipe. The perfect cold weather dinner!

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili | The Suburban Soapbox

We’re big Chili fans here.  It’s hearty and easy and perfect for watching all the games every weekend during the winter months because there’s absolutely nothing else to do. 

This Homemade Chili Recipe is our absolute favorite and has been on repeat for decades.  It’s a little sweet, a little spicy and absolutely packed with ground beef!

BUT, this Chili recipe has no beans here, friends.  I am not a fan.  So…my recipe, my rules…no beans.  This helps when you have a roomful of men watching the big game.  The no beans rule. 

Beans do things to you….that’s all I’m saying.  I think when you have a bunch of people munching on cheese, hot dogs and beans all within a few hours….mix that with some beer….you see where this is heading.

Add beans at your own risk.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili | The Suburban Soapbox


This Sweet and Spicy Chili recipe is an adaptation of one my husband gave me….he received it from a co-worker….who got it from his wife’s brother?  Who got it from his cousin’s, grandmother’s, sister’s farmer?  Something like that.

So I don’t really know where it came from but once I got my hands on it I tweaked it….a lot.  And of course, once I was done perfecting my Sweet and Spicy Chili I declared it the best chili recipe on the entire planet! Because I can do things like that since I own this blog and all.

It’s amazing on anything!  Nachos, hot dogs, Fritos, bread bowls….TATER TOTS!!!  Try it…you’ll be hooked, I promise you that much.

And soooooo many readers have made this for chili cookoffs and WON so I can now claim that this is an Award WINNING Chili Recipe!! YAY!!!

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chili | The Suburban Soapbox


This easy CrockPot Chili recipe is super simple to throw together. The best part is it cooks all day long so if you make it in the morning, you’ll have a hot and heart dinner just waiting for you at the end of a long day.

To start, you’ll need to brown the ground beef for your chili recipe. You can definitely skip this step if you don’t have the time, it is safe to start your Slow Cooker Chili with raw ground beef but the flavor will not quite be the same. By browning your ground beef first, you’re developing a layer of flavor that makes this chili amazing.

Next, saute the onions, peppers and garlic. Add the ground beef and onion mixture to the slow cooker or crock pot. Stir in the jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, red pepper, sweet peppers (and juice), brown sugar and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

Cook the chili in the slow cooker for 4 hour on high or 6 hours on low. Voila….you’re done!

This Chili recipe is super spicy so you can tame the heat a bit by using just 1 tablespoon cayenne and 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper. We love our chili spicy and the sweetness of the sugar does take it down a notch.


Here are a few of our favorite chili toppers:

  • Crushed Fritos or Doritos
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
  • Sliced jalapenos or pickled jalapenos
  • Chopped pickled Okra
  • Black Olives

Really, there’s no limit to what you can top your chili with!

And now you have the best Slow Cooker Chili recipe ever that’s super easy to make and perfect for any event where you have a large group of men( and women) staring at the television screen for hours munching on things like fajita nachos and sausage stuffed mushrooms.  

This Chili Recipe makes a huge batch so you can freeze leftovers for up to 3 months in an airtight container. A great way to meal prep for weeks in advance.

We are also loving this easy White Chicken Chili recipe lately, it’s not made in the slow cooker but it’s on the table in just 30 minutes. And if you’re a Chili Cheese Dog fan, you have to try this easy Hot Dog Chili!  It’s amazing and also….no beans in this chili!

And leftovers are fantastic in this easy Chili Cheese Dip!

Want to see what else we’re cooking up? Follow us over on Instagram and Facebook!


Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

This easy Crockpot chili recipe feeds a crowd OR you can freeze it for easy weeknight dinners. Perfect for tailgating!
4.45 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 35 mins
Course Dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 255 kcal


  • 2 pounds ground beef I used 80-20
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers minced (remove the seeds and veins for less heat...leave them for more heat)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper Or more if you like a lot of heat!
  • 2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 ounce jar of chopped sweet peppers and juice
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 - 28 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes I use Muir Glen Organic
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef until no longer pink and transfer to the slow cooker using a slotted spoon. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat and add the onions to the pan.
  • Cook the onions over med-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the peppers to the onions and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and jalapeno peppers, cooking for one minute longer. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker with the beef.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, sweet peppers and juice to the beef mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add the brown sugar, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes stirring thoroughly to be sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook in the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  • Serve with your favorite chili toppings, we love greek yogurt, sour cream, shredded cheddar, green onions, and pickled jalapenos...just to name a few.



Chili can be stored in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.


Serving: 1gCalories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 14gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 79mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1750IUVitamin C: 43.6mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chili
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili | The Suburban Soapbox


52 comments on “Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili Recipe”

  1. I love slow cooker recipes. Great ingredients, especially the jalapeno…always love spicy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love a good chili recipe and slow cookers are the best. I like your sweetness in this. I will be adapting this and adding beans.

  3. I just used this recipe for a friendly chili cook off and it turned it out GREAT!

    Instead of chili powder I puréed 4 Ancho chilies and I made the tomato sauce from scratch. I also backed off the cayenne a little.

    I thought it was a little hot halfway through the cooking so I added more the of jarred sweet peppers.

    The sweet and hot worked wonderfully together. This may be the best chili I’ve had, and I also won that cookoff.

  4. A little too hot. Back off the cayenne and only use one jalapeño

  5. I`m making this tonight. I`m backing off the cayenne ALOT!! Are you sure that`s not a typo?
    I`m going to start with about 1/2 t, and go from there.

  6. What kind of jarred sweet peppers did you use?

  7. The best chili recipe. I would only use 1 tablespoon of cayenne instead of 3. I like spicy, but 3 is too much. Other than that amazing!

  8. Y’all must be used to eating extremely hot food cause that was a lot of hot and I mean a lot so the first time I only left out 1 tablespoon of cayenne… this time I only put 1/2 tablespoon altogether let’s Just say that my husband doesn’t get this whole pot! I really do love this recipe though because I am not and never will be a fan of beans either! Thank you for sharing!

    • You’re very welcome! And, yes, we do love our food pretty spicy so a half tablespoon cayenne would be perfect for someone who’s more sensitive to heat. 🙂

  9. We love spicy food so can’t wait to make this.

    Could you please give me an idea where you start from to salt to taste? Or what do you put in it fit your taste.

  10. Can I use ground turkey, would love to try this? Thanx!! ☺

  11. HI. We love your chili! I’m making it for a chili cook off tomorrow but I have to work all day tomorrow, should I just prep everything this evening and let it cook all day tomorrow or cook it tonight and just heat it up at the party?
    Thanks for any advice

    • Either way works (sorry I’m just seeing this now, I was on a business trip.) I do tend to like it the next day reheated because it gives the flavors a chance to get happy! 🙂

  12. Love this recipe. I think it’s the perfect base as far as beef, onion, pepper, garlic and tomato sauces. Everyone can tweak the spices to their own liking. I cut the cayenne and red pepper flakes in half, added a little extra brown sugar and you still get plenty of lingering heat. I may have to cut more heat next time to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. 

  13. I have everything but the jarred peppers, will it still work?

  14. Can you substitute brown sugar for regular sugar 

  15. I’m confused on the sweet peppers also what should I be looking for and is it 1-6oz or 16oz

  16. I tried this recipe and was a bit concerned on the spices using Tablespoons. Well when all done I see the recipe should probably have read teaspoons as it was WAY TO SPICY!
    My breath was taken away for a good 10 minutes. I will try adding salsa and more sauce to double and maybe tame this down a little. 

    • I’m sorry you found the recipe too spice. It definitely is on the spicier side (as referenced in the name of the chili….Spicy Chili) so it’s been a trend for readers to pull back a bit on the spice level.

  17. I made this chili for my works chili cook off and it won! Great recipe, thank you!

  18. Just made this and I had cut the spice but is still too spicy how do I curb the spice . it is already made and will be eating it next day.

    • Hi! So, this Chili IS VERY spicy as written BUT since already made it there are a few things you can do to tame the spice. Just be sure to taste it while adding the ingredients to be sure you don’t end up with overly tart or sweet flavors. Acid and sweeteners are a great way to tone done spice so add a bit of lime juice (or lemon) to your chili. Sometimes I add it anyway for a pop of freshness and fresh lime works best. Also, add a bit more brown sugar to your chili but start with a tablespoon and taste it before adding more. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  19. This is the best chili recipe that I’ve made. I did cut the spice a little; I did about 2/3 of the spice you used. Thanks for this! I cannot wait for lunch leftovers tomorrow. 

  20. Hello! I’m making this for my work chili cook off this week and I’m excited to see it had already won for others! I am a vegetarian and want to sub the beef for morning star veggie crumbles. Do you think that would work?

  21. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have made it 4 years in a row for the chili cook of at my work and have won all 4 years! Everyone loves this!

  22. Another work related win for the cook off XD though i added more of the ceyanne and another hot pepper n i also used the sweet cherry peppers with the seeds removed. It turned out amazing n i also like tomatoes so i took baby romas n cut them in to quarters n left 4 whole ones to soak up the flavor…though i guess i should add that i uses light kidney beans as well. All in all i loved it, so did everyone else.

  23. Has anyone converted this for a pressure cooker? I really want this tonight but don’t have time to pull it together before work in the slow cooker. 

    Thanks in advance. 

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