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This homemade sweet and spicy chili is full of flavor, is healthy, delicious, and easy to make using the instant pot. The sweetness comes from the brown sugar while the spiciness comes from the cayenne pepper, and they work together to create a flavorful and satisfying taste!

(Last Updated On: January 6, 2023)

This sweet and spicy chili recipe is made using an instant pot. We used to make this exact same recipe in the slow cooker, but using the instant pot takes just a fraction of the time and it is still just as flavorful and hearty.

Chili is the perfect dinner to warm up the tummy on a gloomy day, but chili isn’t just for the wintertime, we have chili all through the summer too. However, for those cold, rainy, and snowy winter months, this easy recipe for chili becomes the best part of your day! Just about everyone loves chili, and for those real chili lovers, this hot and spicy chili is for you. Our chicken dumplings soup and hamburger soup recipes are also perfect for those cold winter night meals.

🌶️ What’s in this Chili Recipe?

This chili recipe has ground beef in it along with four different kinds of beans, diced tomatoes, and lots of spices. This chili is hot because of the cayenne pepper added, but it’s only 1 teaspoon so you can add more cayenne pepper, or less. The level of hotness and spicy flavor depends on how much cayenne pepper is used in the recipe. The sweet flavor of this recipe is from the addition of brown sugar. Sometimes we’ll add a diced onion to this recipe and sometimes we don’t. I like the added flavor of the onion added, but it just depends on if we have an onion at the house when it’s time to make the chili.

Sweet and spicy chili in a bowl.
Bowl of sweet and spicy chili with toppings on the side.

🥣 Key Ingredients for this Sweet Chili Recipe

Instant pot sweet and spicy chili ingredients.
Ingredients for hot and spicy chili

👩‍🍳 How to Make Sweet and Spicy Chili (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)

Step 1. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté

An instant pot is used for this chili recipe, but you can make this same chili recipe in a big pot on the stove if you prefer.

Set the instant pot on sauté, it’s the bottom left sauté button on the instant pot. No timer set, just set to sauté on the “more” setting.

Instant pot set on sauté.
Set instant pot on sauté.

Step 2. Brown the Ground Beef

Put the ground beef in the instant pot and sauté on high until there is no pink showing in the ground beef.

Note: You would get the same results while frying the ground beef in a frying pan on the stove.

Ground beef sautéing in the instant pot.
Photo of ground beef sauteing in the instant pot.

Step 3. Drain Excess Fat (Liquid) from Ground Beef

After the ground beef has been browned and no pink is showing, drain any excess fat (liquid) from the ground beef.

Ground beef browned in the instant pot.
Photo of browned ground beef after sauteing.

Step 4. Add All of the Beans and Diced Tomatoes

Add the kidney beans, chili beans, black beans, and diced tomatoes together with the ground beef. Stir the ingredients together. If you want to, you can also add any of your favorite beans to the chili at this time.

The kidney beans, chili beans, black beans, and diced tomatoes are added to the ground beef.
In this photo, the beans and tomatoes are added.

Step 5. Add the Seasonings

Next, add all of the remaining ingredients. Add 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar together with the chili mixture. Stir the ingredients.

After that, add 1/2 cup of water, but do not stir the ingredients after adding the water. Leave the water sitting on top.

Chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, and water are added to the chili mixture.
In this photo, all of the seasonings are added, plus 1/2 cup of water.

Step 6. Pressurize the Instant Pot

Put the lid on the instant pot, then pressurize it by pressing the manual button and setting it for 11 minutes. Make sure the knob on top of the lid is set to “sealing.”

Instant pot set on manual for eleven minutes.
Set instant pot on manual for eleven minutes.

Step 7. Release the Pressure

After the 11 minutes are up, release the pressure on the instant pot by moving the knob on top of the lid to “venting.” After the pressure has been released, remove the lid and give the chili a good stir.

Step 8. Serve up a Bowl of Chili

The chili is now ready to eat. If you aren’t ready to serve dinner yet, put the lid back on the instant pot, but don’t pressurize it. Press the slow cook button and let it slow cook until you are ready to eat.

Chili Instant Pot Final Dish
Bowl of chili

🌟 Recipe Variations and Toppings

We like to add sharp cheddar cheese and corn chips to our chili, but you can add whatever toppings sound good to you. This chili is also good by itself without adding any toppings at all. It is a much healthier alternative to eat this chili without chips and cheese, but more fun for your taste buds when you make it your favorite way.

Variations:

  • Use shredded chicken breast instead of ground beef.
  • Chop up a bell pepper and/or an onion and add to the chili when it’s cooking.
  • Make some hot dogs and pour some of this perfect chili over the top to make a chili dog.
  • Try adding some ground sausage in with the ground beef.
  • Cook up some white rice and serve the chili over the top.
  • Serve over the top of some macaroni noodles.
  • Use some maple syrup instead of brown sugar to make the sweet chili sauce.

Favorite Toppings and Sides:

  • Garnish green onions on top.
  • Hot peppers such as Mezzetta golden Greek pepperoncini medium heat peppers.
  • A dollop of sour cream.
  • Avocado.
  • Crushed tortilla chips or saltine crackers.
  • Olives.
  • Greek Yogurt.
  • Side of cornbread.
Chili in bowl with chips and cheese.
Bowl of chili with corn chips and cheese on the side

❓ FAQs

Can This Sweet and Spicy Chili be Made in the Slow Cooker?

Yes! This chili can easily be made in a slow cooker or crock pot. The recipe is exactly the same except for two things. First, the ground beef will need to be browned on the stovetop. And then second, it will need to be set to slow cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. A slow cooker is a great option if you want to make the chili in the morning before work and then come home to an already-done meal!

Can This Chili be Made on the Stove Top?

Yes! This chili can also be easily made on the stovetop. Instead of browning the ground beef in the instant pot, it will need to be browned on the stove. Next, transfer the ground beef and all of the other ingredients to a large pot and simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

Chili Instant Pot Final Dish with cheddar cheese on top.
Bowl of chili with cheese melting on top

💭 Final Thoughts for Sweet and Spicy Chili

This homemade chili recipe is full of flavor with just the right amount of seasonings to make it hot and spicy, but not overwhelming. It is a great meal for the whole family and an absolute favorite for ours. Not to mention, it also has a variety of different kinds of beans added, which provides lots of protein and fiber to your diet. It is the perfect chili for game day or chili cook-offs because it is so full of flavor yet so easy to make. Most of the time when we want to make this recipe, we don’t even need to make a trip to the grocery store because we already have all of the ingredients ready to go! I usually keep the pantry stocked with cans of beans and tomatoes.

This recipe makes enough to feed a family of six for two nights. We just leave the leftover chili in the instant pot cooking pot and cover it with some plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The next day, just set the instant pot to slow cook on high for a few hours before you are ready to eat.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Pin.

🥰 More Ground Beef Recipes You Will Love

  • Korean Style Ground Beef – Made with lean ground beef and minced garlic with sliced green onions and sesame seeds added, then smothered in a sauce of brown sugar, minced ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Ground Beef Tacos – A simple, quick, delicious, and easy to make beef tacos using La Victoria Salsa, ketchup, and cayenne pepper.
  • Ground Beef Enchiladas – These easy ground beef enchiladas are filled with lean ground beef, fire-roasted green chiles, a Mexican cheese blend, and topped with enchilada sauce and more cheese.

📄 Recipe Card

Sweet and Spicy Chili Instant Pot Final Dish

Sweet and Spicy Chili (Instant Pot)

Flo
This homemade sweet and spicy chili is full of flavor, is healthy, delicious, and easy to make using the instant pot. The sweetness comes from the brown sugar while the spiciness comes from the cayenne pepper, and they work together to create a flavorful and satisfying taste!
4.84 from 6 votes
Cost $20
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
Total Time 31 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings 12

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Put the ground beef in the instant pot. Sauté on high until no pink is showing in the ground beef.
  • Add the kidney beans, chili beans, black beans, and diced tomatoes to the ground beef. Mix together.
  • Add the chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and light brown sugar. Mix together.
  • Add the water. Do not stir.
  • Put the lid on the instant pot, pressurize it by pressing the manual button and setting it for 11 minutes.
  • After 11 minutes, release the pressure on the instant pot and then remove the lid.
  • Stir one last time and then serve.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use your preference for ground beef.
  • You can add or substitute any of your favorite choices of beans.
  • Sprinkle some sharp cheddar cheese over the top of your bowl of chili for extra flavor.
  • If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this same chili recipe in a big pot on the stove or in a slow cooker.
  • Top with your favorite toppings.
Keyword chili, ground beef, hamburger, healthy, homemade, soup, spicy
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