Chocolate for Dinner? Savory Chocolate Recipes

Chocolate isn’t just for dessert! Enjoy these savory chocolate recipes for dinner.

When you think of chocolate, the word savory doesn’t usually come to mind. But savory chocolate recipes are quite popular and delicious.

While chocolate traditionally makes for a sweet afternoon snack or a touch of decadence after a meal, in some countries adding chocolate or cocoa to savory dishes is about as commonplace as a teaspoon of salt or a pinch of paprika. Those whose taste buds have benefitted from a dish of chicken with mole sauce know just how exciting things can be when the culinary heat is turned up in this way. With a little imagination, using chocolate or cocoa with its inherently deep, smoky flavor as an ingredient in savory dishes that may include chicken, pork, pasta, chili, as a rub on beef, and much more can transform the predictable to the piquant, with family and friends vying to know the dish on the dish!

Try these savory chocolate recipes for a twist on the traditional.

Chocolate Chili Con Carne


3 pounds beef chuck
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons chili powder, plus 2 tablespoons
Masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lard
4 red onions, peeled and minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeño peppers, sliced thin with seeds, stems removed
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 to 3 (12-ounce) bottles beer
1 (12-ounce) can diced tomato in juices
1-quart chicken stock
3 (12-ounce) cans black beans
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into large chunks


Cut the chuck into 3/4-inch pieces, or, to save time, have your butcher do this for you. Place chuck in a large bowl. Season liberally with pepper (about 20 turns of the grinder) and salt to taste— remember half of this will come off in the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder. Mix well and coat meat with the masa harina. The flour will thicken the sauce and give it a specific, Mexican taste.

Preheat a cast-iron Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the coated meat, spreading it evenly so it covers the bottom of the Dutch oven in one layer. Leave it alone, without turning it, so the meat will brown and caramelize. Meanwhile, add the lard. The meat has a lot of moisture in it so a good amount of steam will come from the pan before it is caramelized. As it browns, slowly turn each piece with tongs.

Once all sides are caramelized, remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet to cool, leaving juices in the Dutch oven to sauté vegetables. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat until they start to caramelize and soften. Add jalapeños and allow to cook for 2 more minutes until soft. Add tomato paste.

Some of the same spices used on the meat will be used in the sauce. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the oregano, and 2 heaping tablespoons of the chili powder. Add beer. Stir to incorporate everything. Add diced tomatoes and stir. Then add the reserved meat. Add chicken stock. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours until meat is wonderfully tender. Drain juice from the black beans, add beans to the chili pot, and bring up to simmer. Then add chunks of bittersweet chocolate. Stir until it melts. Serve immediately or refrigerate for two to three days.

Cocoa Coffee Rub Ingredients:

2 oz. unsweetened natural cocoa
2 oz. ground espresso
2 oz. porcini mushroom powder
3 lbs. beef tenderloin


Combine cocoa, ground espresso, and mushroom powder. Mix well.

Sear tenderloin evenly on all sides. Allow tenderloin to cool. Then evenly coat with cocoa rub on all sides. Place tenderloin in low, preheated oven to finish cooking.

Remove from oven when internal temperature reaches 120°F (medium rare) or desired doneness. Allow to rest. Serves six.

Fried Eggs with Coffee Chipotle Mole


1 cup drained stewed tomatoes (from a 14-oz can)
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
8 large eggs
salt to taste
sliced avocado


Purée tomatoes, coffee, onion, garlic, chipotle, and 1 tablespoon oil in a blender until smooth. Simmer purée in a 10-inch heavy skillet, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in chocolate and season with salt. Remove from heat.

While sauce simmers, fry eggs in 2 batches with remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until cooked as desired. Serve eggs topped with sauce and sliced avocado.

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Beth Herman

Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.


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Been eating chocolate gravy since I was a youngun. But we use corn starch instead of flour. Gives it a better taste without the flour taste.


I grew up on this delicious stuff. We called it in kids terms “Doodle-up Chocolate’. Where we got that word, don’t know.
It’s delicious served hot over a buttered biscuit on a cold winter evening for a snack.

philip askenback

instead of chocolate, I use 1/4 cup Kahlua…..


Here’s Chocolate Gravy; I’ve not made this recipe. Just seems that it would not be good.
Chocolate Gravy – -3 CUPS

– 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
– 1 cup sugar
– 1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
– 1⁄4 cup flour
– 2 cups milk
– 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Melt the butter in a 2-qt. -saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and flour in a bowl; add to the melted butter; whisk.
3. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until smooth.

4. Bring to a simmer; cook until thick, 2—3 minutes.
5. Whisk in vanilla.


Mb over french toast, waffles or hot cakes??


amy i have never made chocolate gravey but my mother-in -law did and like you she served it with homemade biscuits they were so awsome! would you be willing to share your recipe?


You don’t know what you are missing…..choc gravy on a warm biscuit in the morning is one my whole family loves, not just immediate family either. Try it sometime I think you will be pleasantly surprised.


Chili recipe sounds great. If you have not tried chocolate in your chili you are missing out. Just make sure to use bittersweet or unsweetened. Look up some mole chicken or turkey recipes. You’ll love it.


My company had a chili contest. I made my cowboy chili, which calls for the “secret” ingredient as “dark cocoa” powder. My chili went immediately, everyone was saying, “there’s just something different” and it “tastes so good, what did you put in it?” When I told them and gave the recipe out – they were all surprised. So, try it before you judge it, and you might find yourself smiling at a pleasant surprised for your taste buds.


can’t imagine chocolate in/on anything but something sweet……


I told my husband, who has been a chef for over 20 years, to add cocoa to his rib rub… He thought I was crazy til he tried it!! Never makes it without since!!!

Sandi Duncan

Hi Nancy, did he try it? Let us know.


I love chocolate too farmerellen, but……………much as I love to try new foodie things I’m not brave enough to give these recipes a go either.
I have tried chocolate in chili before and all I could tast was ………chocolate. Be very interesting to see how others get on. Good luck.


I love chocolate, but…….I’ll pass on these recipes, and the chocolate gravy someone mentioned on FB~

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