Chocolate Chili with Cornbread Waffles

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It’s finally cooled off a bit here in Texas. Though it may not last, I’ll take it! I can now pull out all the soups and recipes to warm me up inside, and one of my favorites is chili. Have you ever heard of Chocolate Chili? At first, I thought it sounded pretty strange, but when I heard it was a recipe that won chili cook-off’s, I had to give it a try! I thought it would pair nicely with cornbread waffles, an idea I’d seen in a magazine and thought sounded FUN!

Chocolate Chili with Cornbread Waffles

I made it for my family, and simply said there was a secret ingredient inside…nobody could guess what it was! It was a hit, and the kids thought it was pretty cool that they were having chocolate for dinner.

I got this recipe from a reader named Susan, who told me this story:


We were having a church chili cook off and trunk or treat at church and I knew everyone would be making the same old chili, so a friend of mine suggested we put something different in our chili that no one else would think of putting in theirs. I had just made chocolate chip cookies and saw the chocolate chips sitting on the counter, so that was it. Can I just tell you…I win the chili cook off every year we go to it.

I love her adventurous spirit in experimenting!  Here is the recipe that is easily doubled for a large group.

Chocolate Chili with Cornbread Waffles
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Adding chocolate to chili has a unique element of surprise sweetness. If you didn't know there was chocolate in it, you'd never guess!
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Kristen Duke
  • 1- 30 oz. cans kidney beans drain one can only
  • 2- 14.5 oz. cans ready-cut tomatoes do not drain liquid
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. hamburger browned and fat drained off you can use ground turkey too
  • 2- stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2- large sweet onion chopped
  • 2- red yellow or orange bell peppers (chopped)
  • Cumin 1 tsp.
  • Mexican Chili Powder 1 tsp.
  • Cayenne Pepper 1 tsp.
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped or minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup SEMI-SWEET chocolate chips do not use milk chocolate
  1. Brown hamburger with chopped onion and garlic, drain and set aside.
  2. Saute chopped vegetables in a little olive oil (1 TBSP) and a small pat of butter (1 TBSP.).
  3. Add kidney beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, meat mixture and vegetables to a large stock pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Add spices and chocolate chips and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Depending on how thick or thin you like your chili, you may want to add a little water to thin it out.
  6. The reason for using semi-sweet chocolate chips is two fold. The semi-sweet chocolate lends a kind of smokey flavor to the chili. The milk chocolate tends to curdle and doesn't taste as good as the other. I've tried both and semi-sweet makes a world of difference.

The cornbread waffles uses any standard cornbread recipe, cooked on a waffle iron. Kids thought it was so fun and different, I like a little unexpected fun around here. So go ahead….try some chocolate chips in your chili this fall!

Chili Cook-off Recipe

Join The Discussion



  1. Nicole says:

    We had chili for dinner last night! My husband has put chocolate in his chili for the last couple of years after we tried it at his sister’s house. It’s so good. He also adds just a touch of ground cinnamon. Sounds strange, but it’s such a good complement. Love th e idea of cornbread waffles!

  2. Peggy S says:

    I usually like just about everything you do, but I have to disagree with you on this one. I’ve made Chocolate Chili before and it was terrible! I wasted all of that time and the ingredients and we had to throw it out. Caution on this one.

  3. This sounds so interesting Kristin!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have never heard of putting chocolate in chili…can you taste it? Or does it just enhance the flavor? You have me intrigued 🙂

    • Susan R. says:

      It only enhances the flavor. I suppose if you put too much in there you can taste it, but the idea isn’t to add so much that you know there’s something odd, or off tasting about it. It just adds an ever so slight sweetness and kind of chipotle-type flavor to the chili. It cuts the heat a little and also fives the chili a nice rich color too. Try it, you’ll love it.

      • Susan R. says:

        Sorry, I meant to say “gives” not “fives”.

  5. Sounds really delicious and totally makes sense putting chocolate in chili. Cocoa and cinnamon are a very commonly used along with chili powder in savory Mexican recipes. The key is to just use a hint…not too much.

  6. Kelly says:

    Hmmm. Chocolate in chili is a totally new concept to me…and I’m not sure how I feel about it {hee-hee}. Thanks for sharing, friend. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try!

  7. Gorgeous chili! I have yet to try adding chocolate to my chili. I need to try this!

  8. How fun is this? I love that the cornbread was made into waffles…that’s awesome!

  9. karen says:

    This is simply a stunning recipe. I love this. Thanks for sharing.


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