Brown Sugar Chili

When I was a little girl my dad would make up big batches of his famous brown sugar chili and everyone loved it! I’ve made it many times over the years and people always ask me for the recipe because the chili is a perfect balance of sweet and heat. I decided to make this famous chili but I wanted to try to make it my own by adding one simple ingredient. The original recipe was made with ground beef and bacon but I wanted to amp it up a little by adding some beef stew meat to make it extra hearty! Other than adding the beef stew meat the rest is the original recipe and I think it turned out great and I even got approval from the original master himself, my dad! I hope you enjoy this family recipe as much as we do.

Author: Christa Johnston

Christa Johnston is a busy wife and mother of two young boys and a self-proclaimed foodie. Her love of cooking stems from growing up in a large family where food was always in abundance and a focal point of every gathering. As a teenager, Christa was a frequent shopper of the Shoreview Fresh and Natural Foods location even as a young dancer grabbing a quick snack between classes. Now, with her two boys in tow she shops weekly for a quick sandwich, deli salad or natural organic ingredients to provide healthy eating choices for her delicious recipes! Christa will transform your Sunday Funday!



Place the bacon in a dutch oven over medium high heat and cook until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a spoon leaving the rendered drippings in the pan, set the bacon aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Season the beef stew meat with salt and pepper and place into the dutch oven and brown all sides remove from pan and set aside. Drain the juices from the pan and add the ground beef seasoned with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink remove from pan and drain the juices set aside.

Next add the onion and celery into the pan and season with salt and pepper and cook 5-8 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Pour in the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, cans of beans, can of corn, chili powder and brown sugar and mix well. Then add the hamburger and beef stew meat into the pan and stir.

Bring to a boil cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Add bacon pieces in just before serving. Serve with sour cream, chopped chives and cheddar cheese if desired.

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Recipe Type

Course Type

  • Entree

Skill Level

  • Moderate