Chipotle Chocolate Chili Recipe

Chipotle Chocolate Chili Recipe

Posted on October 15, 2014

There’s a sort of secret ingredient that’s common in a lot of traditional Mexican cuisine that is frequently overlooked when people try to recreate dishes: chocolate. That’s right. If you’ve ever had a really rich Mexican sauce like mole, it almost certainly has a small amount of chocolate in it which gives the sauce some sweetness and counteracts the spicy elements in the dish.

I figured that same taste principle would work great in a chili recipe! This beef chili pairs just a hint of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder with spicy chipotle peppers in a rich sauce. It’s a killer recipe and works great for a warming dinner or a game day snack!

Start the chili by cubing up some chuck steak (or sirloin) and season the beef well with salt and pepper. Then brown the steak in a large Dutch oven with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat.

Once the beef is browned, add the onions, garlic, and spices. Then pour in the beer and water and use the liquid to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. There’s a lot of flavor in those bits!

Once the onions have softened a bit (1-2 minutes of cooking), add the tomatoes and beans to the pot and bring the chili to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the chili, and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the beef is tender.

Finish the chili by stirring in the bittersweet chocolate and season it well with salt and pepper.

I always like to serve a chili like this with a dollop of sour cream and lots of fresh scallions or chives. Those garnishes kind of lighten up the rich chili.

Chipotle Chocolate Chili Recipe Instructions

Chipotle Chocolate Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 Servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs chuck steak, cubed
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle dark beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream, garnish
  • Chopped scallions, garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Cube chuck steak into about 1/4-inch cubes. Cut off any large pieces of fat on the steak as well. Season the steak well with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large, sturdy pot like a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add steak cubes and brown well on all sides, 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add onions, garlic, chipotles, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, and brown sugar and cook for a minute or two until veggies soften.
  4. Add beer and water and use liquid to scrape up any bits stuck on the pan.
  5. Next add diced tomatoes and drained and rinsed beans. Reduce heat to medium and simmer chili for 20-25 minutes until beef is tender and chili is thick.
  6. To finish chili, add bittersweet chocolate. Stir the chocolate in as it melts so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Season the chili with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve chili with sour cream and chopped scallions on top!

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