Secret Ingredient Chili

You can never have too many chili recipes, right? And this one has a secret ingredient—something you wouldn’t typically think of adding to chili! This Secret Ingrecient Chili makes a great meal for lunch or dinner—serve it with crusty bread, cornbread, or even garlic bread, and a salad, too, for a well-rounded meal!

This chili cooks up in one pot, so the cleanup is easy! You can dish it up right from the pot, or for a fancier presentation, place the chili in a covered dish like the Grace & Gratitude Deep Dish Baker from This baker is really handy because it not only comes with a lid, it also has its own trivet! How great is that?

So…what’s the secret ingredient? It’s unsweetened cocoa powder! The cocoa powder gives the chili a rich flavor. You don’t need a lot—just 1 Tablespoon will do it! And if you like toppings on your chili, like sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chopped green onion, have the toppings in small bowls on your table so everyone can top their chili the way they like it!

Secret Ingredient Chili

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: toppings for chili—sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped green onion

In a large saucepan, cook the ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink; drain the fat.

Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, unsweetened cocoa powder, minced garlic, and salt and pepper, if desired.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Top the chili with any or all of the following: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped green onion.

NOTE: For a spicier chili, use a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies instead of regular diced tomatoes.

Recipe from NancyC |

This chili is not very spicy, so if you want a spicier flavor, use a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies instead of regular diced tomatoes—this is noted in the recipe above!

Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Have you ever used unsweetened cocoa powder in any chili you’ve made?

Sharing at Meal Plan Sunday, Weekend Potluck, Weekend Potluck, Farmhouse Friday, Fiesta Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Grace at Home, Homestead Blog Hop, LouLou Girls, Happiness is Homemade.


12 thoughts on “Secret Ingredient Chili

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #478

  2. Beth Mulgrew

    Secret ingredients always intrigue me and this did not disappoint. I’m not a fan of chili normally, but this recipe hit the spot!

    Liked by 1 person


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