Add Dr Pepper To Your Next Bowl Of Chili For A Splash Of Sweetness

Whenever the weather cools down, the time comes to cook up some chili recipes perfect for a cold night. Not only is chili incredibly delicious, but it's also versatile, with variations for every taste and dietary restriction. Whether you're team beans or no beans, there's one ingredient you should definitely be adding to your chili. Some people sprinkle in brown sugar for depth or flavor and to increase sweetness, but Dr Pepper is the secret ingredient that will make a perfectly sweet addition.

Also important is that your chili has a spicy element, as Dr Pepper's blend of 23 flavors helps balance out any heat. The process of making chili with Dr Pepper is pretty similar to any standard chili recipe — the soda simply comes in after the meat and veggies are cooked. It also helps deglaze the pan, meaning it will collect all the tasty bits that get stuck to the bottom. While you can add heat through dried spices like chili powder or chili flakes, canned chipotle in adobo adds spice and hints of smoke. Dr Pepper's sweetness mellows out the spicy and smoky flavors without totally overpowering the chili.

Why Dr Pepper works in savory dishes

Dr Pepper is great to drink on its own, but it's an ideal sleeper ingredient for any number of savory dishes. It, of course, adds a subtle sweetness to beef chili, but the soda is also a great natural meat tenderizer. Dr Pepper (or really any cola) has a high pH level, meaning it can help break down tough fibers in meat. If you're using a tougher cut of beef for chili, like chuck steak, Dr Pepper can help make it tender, as will cooking it low and slow.

If you've got a few extra cans of Dr Pepper lying around after you make chili, you can use it to whip up some side dishes, like baked beans. Dr Pepper baked beans are a well-known and beloved recipe thanks to their subtle sweetness and the cola's 23 flavors, which add some dimension and depth to the bean base. Even though Dr Pepper has 14 different flavors to choose from, stick with the classic when making chili, as the other flavors may not mesh well. Similarly, Diet Dr Pepper won't work due to its artificial sweetener.