Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Potluck Chili

Chili is a sensitive subject, I get it. Some people just don't want to mess with traditional chili! But if you're willing to step outside the proverbial chili box, this sweet and savory slow cooker chili is delicious! It's easy to make and take to potluck gatherings right in the slow cooker. You may be thinking, wait a minute, did you say "sweet" chili? Yes, I did! It has a hint of cinnamon and chocolate and trust me, it's so yummy! But it also has that spicy kick you'd expect in chili.

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

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Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Potluck Chili

I think this is a great chili recipe to have some fun at holiday gatherings with a chili cook-off where guests vote between traditional or sweet & savory chili. You'll find the printable recipe card further down in the post should you want to give this chili a try.

Sweet and Savory Homemade Chili

Should you want to take me up on the challenge idea, I made a fun Holiday Chili Cook-Off Voting Sheet that you're welcome to use. Click on the image below for your free unwatermarked download.

To me chili should be served in bowls with large dinner spoons. I always have my festive burlap cutlery pouches on the buffet table for guests to quickly grab. I fill them with festive napkins and assorted cutlery for all the food served at the buffet.

This recipe serves six hardy bowls of chili so if your gathering is large, you may want to double the recipe.

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

What cheese could be served with this recipe?

Just before serving, sprinkle some crumbled feta, ricotta, or goat cheese. Alternatively, grate some mozzarella or extra-old white or orange cheddar cheese, like I did.

My Spicy Cheese Ball recipe compliments the chili nicely served on the side with crackers.

What bread is good served with this chili? 

Nothing better than having something to dip into a hot bowl of chili. Serve it with sourdough, baguette, French bread, ciabatta, or focaccia. Cornbread, crackers, or tortilla chips would be good as well.

Can I make this chili ahead of time?

Absolutely! Follow the recipe instructions and put it in the slower cooker crock and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Then cook according to recipe times.

Sweet and savory chili ingredients

These are the ingredients I used to make the chili.

Sweet and Savory Chili Ingredients

I used semi-sweet cacao that I brought back from Mexico and ground into a powder while still in a semi-frozen state. Semi-sweet dark chocolate or cocoa powder is fine too.

Sweet and Savory Chili With Cacao

Look how dark and rich the ground beef mixture looks with the chocolate and spices. The smell in the house while cooking this was divine.

Sweet and Savory Chili Browned Beef

Before we get to the recipe instructions, I'd be so thankful if you pinned this chili recipe or shared it with a friend. With gratitude! -Marie

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Potluck Chili

Recipe for Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

Here's the recipe with a printable recipe card.

Yield: 6

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

This chili recipe is easy to make in a slow cooker and perfect for potluck gatherings. It has the savory kick you expect from chili with a hint of cinnamon and chocolate!
prep time: 30 M cook time: 8 H total time: 8 H & 30 M


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2  cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1  cup finely chopped onion
  • 2  tbsp chili powder
  • 1  tbsp grated cacao 
  • 2   tsp dried oregano
  • 1  tsp dried mint
  • 1  tsp cinnamon 
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (19oz) rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1 can (14 oz) rinsed and drained kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Grated extra old white cheddar cheese


How to cook Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Chili

  1. Cook ground beef, garlic, and onions on medium heat in a saucepan stirring to break up beef, until browned. Drain off excess fat.
  2. Stir chili powder, cacao, oregano, mint, cinnamon, and salt into the saucepan.
  3. Cook, stirring in spices for about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, and honey and bring to a boil.
  5. Transfer to a preheated slow cooker.
  6. Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  7. Serve with cheese.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

If you make this recipe, especially if you do the chili cook-off challenge, I'd love to hear what you and your guests thought about this sweet and savory chili. Come back and leave a message in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

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12 Days Holiday Ideas Blog Hop

Day 1 - Gift Guides
Day 2 - Survival Guides
Day 3 - Holiday Kid Activities
Day 4 - Party Games
Day 5 - Holiday Advent Calendar
Day 6 - DIY Wreath
Day 7 - DIY Ornament
Day 8 - Holiday Printables
Day 9 - Christmas Potluck Recipes (you are here)
Day 10 - Holiday Desserts & Treats
Day 11 - Christmas Breakfast Recipes
Day 12 - Christmas Tree Tour

There are several more potluck recipe ideas below from our talented co-hosts on this leg of the 12 Days Of Holiday Ideas Tour. Don't forget to enter the Giveaway at the bottom of this post too. Good Luck!

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12 Days of Holiday Ideas Event Sponsors 2019

The Giveaway began on Nov. 8th, 2019, and ends Dec. 6th, 2019. Winners will be notified by December 13, 2019. Sponsors will ship each prize to the winner. There will be a total of six winners, one for each prize. Drawing is by random selection using the Rafflecopter widget. 
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  1. Your chilli looks mouthwatering, Marie! I love the holiday twist you put on the recipe!

    1. Oh Cyna, it really is mouthwatering. Mr. Frugalista had two helpings when I served it the other day and we had the rest of it last night. 😋

  2. This sounds wonderful! I love using my slow cooker. Pinning!

    1. Thank you Heather! Me too, I find I use it the most around this time of year.

  3. This sounds delicious, Marie! I'm always looking for good chili recipes so I'll definitely be giving this one a try!

  4. The Chili looks so good. I love Chili especially at this time of year. Coping down this recipe. I love crock pot cooking too. Set and and forget it! Have a great weekend.

    1. If you decide to make this chili, Kris, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Happy Thanksgiving weekend and have fun decorating the cottage! xo

  5. I have got to try this recipe. It looks so delicious.

    1. If you decide to make it, Debra, I'd love to hear what you thought about the recipe!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. That sounds absolutely amazing! I don't really like chili usually so I've been experimenting with different recipes trying to find one I like... you had me at chocolate and cinnamon. Pinned.

    1. Well this definitely doesn't taste like traditional chili so I hope you like this version. Thanks for the pin and if you decide to make it, I'd love to hear what you thought about it!


I always enjoy hearing from you so please don't be shy! I read and reply to every single comment.