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

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