Simple, straightforward flavors are great. After all, who doesn’t love the concentrated sweetness of grilled fruit, the salty crunch of pretzels, or the bitter bite of black coffee? But there’s something exciting about combining seemingly contradictory tastes, like spicy with sour, salty with sweet, or (my personal favorite) sweet with heat.
As anyone who’s tried hot honey knows, sweet heat is absurdly addictive. There’s something about the combination of tongue-tingling spice with a sweet twist that can transform a dish from good to great. My favorite sweet and spicy bites tend to be snacks like trail mixes and salsas, but a recent dinner date with maple-roasted acorn squash with red pepper flakes reminded me that the flavor combination shines in more substantial dishes, too. If you’re looking for new ways to combine sweet and heat, here are 11 meals that’ll satisfy your cravings.