With just a hint of sweetness to counter the heat, this spicy homemade chili recipe is bursting with flavor. It’s thick and hearty, too, packed with beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, beef and ground sausage.
I’ve been making this sweet and spicy homemade chili recipe for close to 20 years, and it’s one of our favorite year-round comfort foods. But it’s especially good on a cold winter day or when you’re watching football.
I adapted this dish from an award winning chili recipe I clipped from the newspaper and taped into my tattered church cookbook. I’ve never actually made the original on which my homemade chili recipe is based. I tweaked it from the beginning, amping up the flavor and heat with more spices, garlic and spicy Italian sausage and balancing out the veggie-to-meat ratio.
It is so good! And it might even be better on the second day, after the flavors have had more chance to meld. When we make this chili, we usually have enough for dinner two nights and lunch another day. And sometimes there’s just enough chili leftover to use as a topping for nachos, baked potatoes or macaroni noodles.
The combination of sausage and beef is one of the secrets of this recipe. While a lot of homemade chili recipes just call for ground beef, mine uses Italian sausage. I usually use hot Italian sausage, but I have used mild and sweet when the spicy wasn’t available at my grocery store.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Get in my belly! Sweet & spicy homemade chili made w/ sausage, peppers & ground beef! #Yum #recipe” quote=”Get in my belly! Sweet & spicy homemade chili made w/ sausage, peppers & ground beef! “]
The chili also has a just touch of sugar, to offset the heat. You can taste the spicy-sweet combo in every bite.
I blend chili powder, garlic, other spices and a bit of sugar into the sausage and ground beef before browning.
Once the meat has browned, I add add light red kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, peppers, chopped onion and the remaining spices to the mix. (I usually use diced tomatoes, but stewed or sliced work just as well. I’ve even used a can of diced and a can of crushed tomatoes when that’s all I had in the pantry.
I usually let the chili simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer to let the flavor develop.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Slow cooker or stovetop! This sweet & spicy #chili is a flavor bomb no matter how you cook it! ” quote=”Slow cooker or stovetop! This sweet & spicy chili is a flavor bomb no matter how you cook it! “]
If you want to make this recipe in the slow cooker, you can certainly do so. Just transfer the browned meat to your Crock-Pot, add the remaining ingredients and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sliced green onions and fresh jalapeño, if you prefer a spicier chili. Add a dollop of sour cream, if you like.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage hot, mild or sweet, your choice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 2 14-ounce cans light red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 yellow pepper chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 bunch fresh green onions sliced
Combine the ground beef and Italian sausage into a bowl. Add minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a dash of freshly ground pepper and salt.
Using your clean hands or a wooden spoon, mix the spices into the meat until fully incorporated. Brown the spiced hamburger and sausage over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot.
Once meat is browned, add the drained kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, peppers, yellow onion and remaining spices.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer to let the flavor develop.
Just before serving, add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, and stir.
Garnish with green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapeno peppers, if preferred. Serve with tortilla chips.
Click on the image below to pin my homemade chili recipe to save it for later. It’s great for a Super Bowl party, snow days and whenever you need a little hearty comfort food.
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out these other favorites: