Mike's cinnamon chili

Mike’s Chuck Steak Cinnamon Chili

I’d never heard of adding cinnamon to chili before… until I came across a random recipe in a supermarket checkout magazine.

I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly make chili taste any better to add a spice I tend to think of as a sweetener…

But reluctantly, I decided to give that recipe a try.

And boy am I glad I did! This dish has made me not only rethink the way I make chili; it’s also given me a whole new appreciation for cinnamon and for how combining spices in unexpected ways can sometimes deliver astonishing results.

While this is not nearly as “spicy” as other chili recipes, it’s just as flavorful – if not more! It’s definitely worth taking a chance on.

How to make it

You will need the following equipment:

  • 3-quart saucepan
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Wooden spoon
  • Can opener
  • Strainer
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

And the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb chuck steak
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 15 oz can tri bean blend
  • 1 15 oz can creamed corn
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

That’s a lot of spices!

This recipe uses a lot of spices and seasonings in addition to cinnamon, but every one of them is important to developing a rich, bold flavor.

Rather than add all the dry spices one at a time, I recommend you measure them all out into a small bowl or measuring cup, so that when it’s time to add them in you can just dump everything in at once. It’ll save a ton of time, and you won’t have to worry about feeling rushed to measure everything out while the chili is cooking!

Start with the steak and the onion

Dice the onion, and cut the chuck steak into small bite-size pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the chuck. Brown for about 3-5 minutes, then add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, spices, brown sugar, and cornmeal, and cook for 1 minute.

Now add everything else: beans, corn, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar.

Stir everything together and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes. The longer it simmers the more flavor it’ll develop, so if you can let it cook for an hour or more it’ll taste better – but if you’re in a rush 30 minutes is more than long enough.

You can serve this with shredded cheese or sour cream, and it also pairs really well with Cheddar Cheese Cornbread.

Because of the cinnamon, it will taste different from other chili recipes – but different is not always a bad thing!

Why I prefer this recipe

I like spicy foods, and I like foods with a lot of flavors.

Unfortunately, as I get older my stomach does not always like spicy foods. I have a much lower tolerance for heat than I used to, so I can’t spice things up with extra chili powder, cayenne, or hot sauce.

But… adding cinnamon doesn’t make this chili spicy; it only makes it more flavorful.

Meaning… I can eat as much of this as I want – and I don’t have to worry about heartburn or indigestion.

Plus, it just tastes really, really good.

So go ahead and try it tonight!

And come back tomorrow, and let me know how you like it.

Mike's cinnamon chili

Mike’s Chuck Steak Cinnamon Chili

Chili with chuck steak, beans, and corn, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Soup, Stew, and Chili
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 3-quart saucepan
  • can opener
  • Strainer
  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons


  • 1/2 lb chuck steak cubed
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 15 oz can tri bean blend
  • 1 15 oz can creamed corn
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar


  • In a 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chuck and brown for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices, brown sugar, and cornmeal; cook an additional 1 minute.
  • Add beans, corn, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, covered, at least 30 minutes. (The longer it cooks the more flavor it will develop.)
  • Serve with shredded cheese or sour cream, if desired.

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