Become a Better Cook in 4 Days!

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili is a uniquely delicious chili that starts out sweet, then delivers a spicy kick! Addictively delicious!

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili


Glenn is a business partner of my husband Jack – and he recently told Jack that he makes a ‘killer’ chili! We’re always up for trying new recipes, and today we’re sharing Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili.

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili is unlike any chili we’ve eaten before! One bite into it – and it starts out quite sweet thanks to the addition of brown sugar, plus some bourbon and brown sugar-flavored canned baked beans. Then a very spicy kick takes over – and your taste buds won’t know what hit them! (In a good way of course!)

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

The texture of this chili is also perfect – and it’s loaded with a mix of hot Italian sausage, bison (which you can find in most supermarkets these days) and ground beef, plus beans, bell pepper and onions.


Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili is also super easy to make in the slow cooker, and I tell you – it is addictive and you’ll keep going back for more! Glenn also says that serving this chili with shredded cheddar cheese on top, and Saltine crackers on the side is a must – so we stayed true to his recipe.

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

You can, of course, adjust the spiciness and the sweetness levels by adding in less of the red pepper flakes and less brown sugar than is called for in the recipe. But either way, you’ve got to try this unique and delicious sweet & spicy chili!

Award Winning Chili!

Update: Since we posted this recipe, we’ve had a number of readers write to us to tell us that they used this recipe as an entry in their local chili cook-offs – and they won! Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili really is something special – and we keep telling Glenn that he needs to bottle and sell it!

Give it a try and let us know if you agree!

You may like these other Chili recipes:



clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

Glenn’s Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sweet onions such as Vidalia, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 pound Italian hot sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 pound ground bison (pre-packaged and available in most supermarkets)
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (Glenn recommended Contadina so we used that brand)
  • 1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 22-ounce can Bush’s Grillin’ Beans (Bourbon and Brown Sugar)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (or less for less heat)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less for less heat)
  • Juice from one lime
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • Saltine Crackers to serve with chili (Glenn says this is a must)


  1. In a large sauté pan, melt butter in two tablespoons of oil over medium heat.
  2. Add bell pepper, onions and garlic and sauté for 8-10 minutes to caramelize the vegetables.
  3. Pour this into a large slow cooker.
  4. Heat the pan to medium high and add the remaining oil.
  5. Add sausage meat, ground beef and ground bison meat and cook until meat has browned.
  6. Scrape all of this into the slow cooker with the vegetables.
  7. Then add all other ingredients to the slow cooker except the lime, cheddar and crackers.
  8. Stir, cover and set slow cooker to low and cook for five hours.
  9. Stir after five hours and add lime juice into the cooked chili.
  10. To serve, dish out into bowls, top with cheddar cheese and serve with the saltine crackers.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Glenn's Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

Glenn's Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

Featured in this Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chili post

  • Share
  • Pin
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Meet The Author: Martha

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe rating

    What type of comment do you have?

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Jay wrote:

    I agreed to cook in a job chili cook off and I forgot until the day before. I started scrambling and typed “award winning chili” and this recipe came up. Long story short, it holds true to its name because I won and had everyone asking for the recipe – so thank you!

    (I substituted ground beef for Turkey & I didn’t use bison)

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats Jay! We’ll be sure to let Glenn know he has another winner!

  • Heather wrote:

    Sorry folks, but this was the worst chili recipe. Living on a farm in Kansas we know chili and this is not chili. I had 6 ppl try this and we thru the whole pot in the trash.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Heather – it’s definitely a different chili for sure! Most of our readers are loving it, but we had a friend who would agree with your review. Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.

  • Wendy Smith wrote:

    I absolutely love this chili!! It’s so scrumptious and filling. I’ve cooked in my crock pot several times and have recently jumped on the InstaPot bandwagon. Any suggestions on how long in the pressure cooker or any modifications (if you’ve tried it in a pressure cooker or one of your other readers has tried it). Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Wendy – I’ll leave your question here in case someone else has tried making this in a pressure cooker. (We haven’t ourselves.) So glad you are enjoying the recipe!

  • Crystal wrote:

    I was really hopeful from the reviews, but it was way too sweet. I didn’t alter a thing, my boyfriend could hardly eat it 🙁 now we have a ton of leftovers in our fridge. I realize most liked it and I’m not a picky person. But just be advised it’s not what I was expecting in a chili. Very unique for sure.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Crystal – I agree, this is a unique chili! If you are up for it, give it a try now that it has been in the refrigerator for a day…we found that the flavors mellow quite a bit over time. Having said that, it will still have that sweet/spicy kick, but sometimes, recipes are better the next day. Sorry you were disappointed!

  • Kelly Null wrote:

    This is by far, hands down, the absolute best chili recipe I have ever tried. WOW!! I tweaked it a bit, only used ground beef as that was all I had. I added a little cumin and some beef broth. I thought the full cup of sugar was going to be too sweet but followed the recipe according to the spices. I’m eating it now and the sweet with the kick of heat is fabulous. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Kelly – glad you liked it!

  • Rebecca wrote:

    I have made many types of chili but, THIS was the BEST chili I ever made!!! I made it for a chili cook off at a picnic and won first prize. I did use an extra spice in ther3 and Dion Mexican chili powder. ( it made it extra smoky and sweet heat. Love this and definitely will make it agai.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed it Rebecca…we will be sure to pass the news along to our friend Glenn!

  • Rebecca Becker wrote:

    This is now the only chili I will make! It is amazing!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you like it Rebecca!

  • Will wrote:

    I decided to enter my company chili cook off this week. I had never made chili before so I searched the web for a unique recipe. I am so pleased with how this turned out, not only did I win 1st place, but also won the People’s Choice Award. I wish I could take all the credit, but this recipe really does impress! Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Will! We will be sure to pass along the news to our friend Glenn! Congrats!

  • Kristine McGoldrick wrote:

    Have made this chili 3x – fantastic, but we reduced the brown sugar, and the red flakes – use 2 lbs of beef – no buffalo.

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe Kristine!

  • Heather wrote:

    I entered this in a Chili Cookoff and it won 1st place

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats Heather! We’ll be sure to let Glenn know!!

  • Kathleen Murley wrote:

    I just used this recipe for my work chili cook off and won Best Overall Flavor! I did make a few adjustments (substituted ground turkey for ground bison, used 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of 1 cup, and added 3 ground up red fresno peppers for a little extra heat), but everyone really loved the sweet and spicy flavor! Highly recommend!

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats Kathleen! Glad you all enjoyed the chili!

  • Paul A Poley wrote:

    I refuse to use any other chili recipe but this one. It is awesome. The texture is perfect. I adjusted the heat a little and the sweetness, but I love it. I have made this three times in the last 8 months and I am still amazed at how good it is. With just my brother and I we usually have enough left overs from soups and chili to freeze for later on, but not this recipe. Thank you so much.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Paul! We will be sure to tell our friend Glenn how much you and your brother like the chili! Thanks for taking the time to write to us today.

  • Heather Sands wrote:

    Curious…I have a crock pot with four settings: high for either 4 or 6, and low for 8 or 10 hours. Your recipe says to cook on low for 5 hours. How would you recommend I cook this?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Heather – We would still cook it for 5 hours on low. Sounds like we have the same slow cooker – we set it to cook on either of the low settings and then set a separate timer and turn the slow cooker off after 5 hours. I hope you enjoy the chili!

  • Laurie Taylor wrote:

    Absolutely delicious! I add a green bell pepper, an extra 8 oz can of tomato sauce and a large can of petite diced tomatoes. I cut the spices to 1/4 of what it calls for and it still has a little kick. I also use 2 lbs of ground beef as bison is hard to find, and mild sausage. I like hot food, but not TOO spicy.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Laurie – glad you found an adaptation that you enjoyed!

  • Zachary wrote:

    I found this recipe to be a bit thick, so I added one can of diced tomatoes with the juice, and about a half a can of yuengling Black and Tan beer to get the consistency I wanted. I also let the meat really brown in the pan and deglazed it afterwards with bourbon.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds great Zachary!

  • Anthony wrote:

    I won my neighborhoods chili cook off with this recipe! Although I did only use half the amounts of the spices in the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats Anthony!

  • Mike Cassidy wrote:

    Hi.. Just wondering if I should drain the kidney beans before adding them?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mike – Yes – rinsed and drained. (We noted that in the ingredients list!)

  • Kathy wrote:

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS RECIPE! I did make a few adjustments to suite my personal taste, but this is a fantastic chili recipe!! I can’t wait to share with my family… my dad is a huge chili lover, and he’s so excited to try this. The brown sugar was what peaked my interest, I think that’s a interesting (and delicious) addition to a chili. I subbed the beef and bison for pulled pork I slowcooked a few days earlier, and for a little extra heat, sauteed a few Serrano peppers. THANK YOU for this recipe, 11/10 for sure.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Kathy! We love the idea of swapping in the pulled pork – great idea!

  • Olivia wrote:

    My husband and I make this recipe at least 3 times a year. It is amazing. We always use Carol Shelby’s chili spice mix in it and it is perfect. Amazing amount of sweet and spicy.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoy the recipe Olivia! (We’ll be sure to let our friend Glenn know!) 🙂

  • April wrote:

    we are not too spicey people but like a little should I get medium spicy sausage?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi April – Yes – you could even use a sweet Italian sausage instead of the hot. Also, you’ll probably want to cut back on the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes – you can always add more to taste! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Dan wrote:

    A bit underwhelming. Followed the recipe to a T, but with half the brown sugar. The chili consistency is like a sticky Sloppy Joe, probably makes a great sandwich. I plan to add a can of beef broth tomorrow, should have seen this given the ingredients. Solid sweet taste though if you are into sweet chili.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Dan.

  • Monique C. wrote:

    Hi! I am making this today. I just got home from the store with everything. My question: does the lime juice make a huge difference? I totally forgot to grab one. Doh! 🙁 Help!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Monique – Sorry for the delay in responding…you’ve probably already made the chili by now? Not totally necessary – it just adds a little bit of brightness to the flavors. Hope you enjoyed the chili!

  • Debbie Baile wrote:

    This was wicked good! I used 2 pounds ground venison and 1 pound hot sausage. Cut the cayenne pepper by 1/2. It really is sweet & spicy – loved it with our home made cornbread! Thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like a great adaptation Debbie! Glad you liked the recipe!

      • Duran Geragosian wrote:

        I ve been looking for a sweet and spicy chili recipe for awhile now….stumbled upon this recipe and am putting it to the test….i couldnt find bison either so i added more beef….cant wait to try it!! Should be ready by 530 pm today

        • Martha wrote:

          Hope you love the recipe Duran!

  • chris evans wrote:

    I have entered this recipe into a cook off and won 2nd place. (i believe it was due to my lack of creativeness in presentation) this chili was the best there.
    I’m going to do it again this year and i will ask for some help on my presentation this time.

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats Chris! (I’ll be sure to let Glenn know his chili continues to win awards!)

  • peter wrote:

    looking forward to trying chili tonight

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Peter!

  • David Cobos wrote:

    This recipe won me 3rd place in our City’s chili cook off 2016! Thank you I did make a few changes but for the most part it was loved!

    • Martha wrote:

      Congrats David! 🙂 We’ll be sure to let our friend Glenn know that you and everyone judging the chili cook off enjoyed his recipe!

      • David Cobos wrote:

        Update: This chili won 1st place in 2017, going for the repeat in two weeks.

        • Martha wrote:

          Congrats David! Fingers crossed for another win in 2018! 🙂

        • Fernanda wrote:

          What was the changes you made to win?????

  • Annie wrote:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! We love chili 🙂
    My only concern is the Bison. I have never seen it for sale in our area, I would
    hate to make it and make any changes to it, especially the first time.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Annie – I had never cooked with Bison before either and was surprised to easily find it at my local supermarket. But – if you aren’t sure about it – feel free to swap in the same amount of ground beef instead.

  • Molly wrote:

    I love this chili recipe and you should totally enter this chili contest! I think you have a good chance at winning!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Molly – or maybe our friend Glenn should enter it since it’s his recipe! 😉

      • Glenn wrote:

        I keep saying I will but never do. Maybe I will this year ! 🙂 I’ll let you know!

  • John wrote:

    Look great I’ll have to try it

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks John! Hope you like the chili!

  • Kimi Schowe wrote:

    Found this recipe on Pinterest. It’s in the crock pot! Smells delicious! Excited to have it today for Sunday football! 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Kimi!

      • Kimi Schowe wrote:

        The chili was a hit! Absolutely delicious! I baked cornbread muffins with diced jalapeños to go with the chili. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

        • Martha wrote:

          Yay – so glad you enjoyed it Kimi!

  • Lee triplett wrote:

    Was a little hesitant in this recipe because of the sugar. But it works, only change i made was instead of the cayenne pepper i added hot red chili powder. From new mexico, so i always have lots on hand. Add a dollop of sour ceam, mmm heaven, and yes you have to serve with saltines.
    This was even better the next day according to my Husband when he ate the leftovers, how rude!
    This is a keeper (the recipe, not sure about the husband, if he keeps eating the leftovers!!)

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe Lee – and I agree – it does taste better the next day! I hope your husband saves some leftovers for you the next time you make it! 😉

  • A Family Feast ® is a registered trademark of A Family Feast, Inc. All content, including recipes, text, visual elements, and photographs are copyright © A Family Feast, Inc. 2012-2020, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.