Bowl of chocolate chipotle chili topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and avocado
Entrees, Soups

Chocolate Chipotle Chili con Carne Recipe

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Last updated on November 23rd, 2021 at 04:49 pm

I love chipotle peppers. (Note my chipotle hot honey, chipotle crema, blackened seasoning, and bbq sauce recipes…) I also love alliteration. And so here is my chocolate chipotle chili con carne.

All of the C’s.

It is the time of year for a nice hearty, warm meal and chili fits the bill. The chipotle peppers and adobo sauce add a whole lot of smoky flavor with an added kick of heat to the pot. Warning, there is some spice to this recipe.

A bowl of chocolate chipotle chili served with a side of fresh cornbread

Just make sure to consistently stir the pot so that nothing burns to the bottom of your pan. Even though it is stuck at the bottom of the pan, it can ruin the rest of the chili with that burnt flavor.

Also, please do not let the long list of ingredients scare you away from this recipe. A lot of the recipe is simply dumping things into the pot (gently, so there’s no splashing) and stirring them together.

So get to dumping and bring this chili to a table near you.

Chocolate and Chipotle in a Chili?

Blended chipotle peppers in adobo, seasonings, spices, and some beef broth

So I guess chipotle peppers aren’t too strange to add into a chili since peppers are a common ingredient. Though a lot of times plain chile powder, jalapenos, or cayenne are the ones included in recipes. As I stated above, my main pepper of choice here is the chipotle pepper for its smoky flavor. Along with some ancho powder and poblano.

But chocolate is on the more interesting side of ingredients in a chili.

Honestly, not much cocoa powder is actually added to the chili. It is used more like a seasoning. And I think it adds a subtle depth of flavor and helps round out some of the heat from the peppers.

Also, it isn’t like we’re adding a milk chocolate bar to the chili. It is just a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder. So it will not make the entire pot of chili taste like a weird chocolate soup with meat and beans.

Together the chocolate and chipotle add smoky, roasted, and bitter flavors to the chili. But they aren’t overwhelming. And they complement the meat, beans, and tomatoes.

The goal is a single cohesive dish where all of the flavors work together.

What to Put in Your Chili

I debated with myself before making this recipe on whether I would use dried or canned beans and fresh or canned tomatoes. In the end, the quality, consistency, and ease of the canned goods won out.

In the recipe, I call for one large can of crushed tomatoes. I would also suggest potentially subbing out for canned fire-roasted tomatoes. It will lend even more smoky flavors to the chili. Fire-roasted tomatoes will complement the smoky chipotle peppers.

I think it is important to use a good quality cocoa powder. Higher-quality cocoa will have a lot more depth of flavor. For this chili, I ended up using a Valhrona cocoa powder.

Finished pot of chipotle chili with two bowls ready to serve with all the fixings

Besides what to put inside your chili, you may want to put some thought into what you put on top of your chili.

Try topping your hot bowl of chili with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, pickled jalapeno or red onion, sour cream, avocado, and/or chives. It is great to have your toppings set out so that everyone can add their own toppings.

Add more sour cream and stir it in to help temper the spiciness of the chipotle peppers.

Serve this chili with some cornbread or tortillas on the side to make it a full meal.

Chocolate Chipotle Chili con Carne

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


Cooking time


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Peppers, spices, beans, and meat combine in this chocolate chipotle chili con carne for a deeply smoky, roasted, and spicy stew


  • 1 large poblano pepper

  • 2 large shallots

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds beef chuck roast

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 can (7.5 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho powder

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces) kidney beans

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces) black beans

  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • For serving: cheddar cheese, cotija cheese, cilantro, jalapeno, sour cream, avocado, cornbread, tortillas, and/or chives


  • Seed and chop the poblano, chop the shallot, and mince the garlic
  • Add the oil, the chopped poblano and onion, and the minced garlic to a large Dutch oven (if using a Dutch oven) or a large frying pan (if using a slow cooker)
  • Sauté them over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the shallot becomes translucent
  • While the poblano, shallot, and garlic are cooking, cut the chuck roast into 1/2-inch cubes and cut away any extra fat
  • When the shallots are cooked, add the chuck roast into the pot/pan and crumble in the ground beef
  • Brown the meat on medium heat, stirring until all sides are browned
  • While the meat is browning, combine the vinegar, broth, chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, paprika, cumin, cloves, chipotle powder, and ancho powder in a blender and mix together until smooth
  • Dutch Oven Instructions
  • Pour the blended mixture into the Dutch oven and stir to combine
  • Add in the tomato paste, bay leaves, salt, pepper, honey, crushed tomato, kidney beans, black beans, Worcestershire sauce, and cocoa powder to the pot and stir thoroughly
  • Cook with the lid on at medium-low heat for at least 90 minutes, stirring frequently enough to make sure nothing burns to the bottom of the Dutch oven
  • Once the cubed chuck roast is fork-tender, remove the pot from the heat and serve the chili with your choice of toppings
  • Slow Cooker Instructions
  • Add the mixture of browned meats, blended peppers/spices, tomato paste, bay leaves, salt, pepper, honey, crushed tomato, kidney beans, black beans, Worcestershire sauce, and cocoa powder to the slow cooker
  • Stir everything together until it is thoroughly combined
  • Set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours, or high for 2 hours
  • Once the cubed chuck roast is fork-tender, turn the slow cooker off and serve the chili with your choice of toppings


  • If the chili ever gets too thick, then add beef broth a half-cup at a time and stir it together until it reaches the desired consistency

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