Sweet Potato Chili

5 from 161 votes

This Sweet Potato Chili is basic in ingredients but sophisticated in flavor - it has a sweet smoky flavor & packed with a healthy dose of protein and fiber!

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This sweet potato chili recipe takes less than an hour to make and is packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients. Sweet potato chili is my favorite type of vegan chili, and it’s grain-free, dairy-free, and fuss-free, so I have a feeling you’ll love it too! It’s the perfect bowl of hearty goodness as the weather gets colder.

Chunky sweet potato chili in a tomato based broth with beans, topped with diced avocado with another bowl nearby.
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This vegetarian sweet potato chili is one of my favorites for fall, right up there with my Vegan Lentil Chili.

Chili is hearty and filling, which is exactly what I find myself craving when it starts getting chilly outside. It’s also freezer-friendly, so I can have it on hand for those nights when I don’t want to cook. And this chili recipe with sweet potatoes is a fun twist on the classic that doesn’t stray too far from the original.

The addition of tender sweet potatoes adds a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the earthy, spicy flavors in a traditional black bean chili. It’s almost like it’s meant to be—why haven’t we always put sweet potatoes in chili?!

This recipe is dairy-free, grain-free and sugar-free. But it’s full of flavor, full of protein and full of nutrient dense foods! I love using sweet potatoes instead of ground beef to make this vegan and yet so hearty!

Just add your favorite toppings and grab a spoon!

Why you’ll love this Easy Sweet Potato Chili

  • A chili for everyone: Gluten-free, sugar-free, and grain-free, vegetarian and vegan, and an excellent source of protein and fiber, this is a chili recipe that everyone can eat, no matter their dietary preferences or goals.
  • Superfood sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins—especially vitamins A and C. Any way I can work some extra sweet potatoes into my day, whether it’s Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips, Sweet Potato Pancakes or this satisfying chili, I’m all for it!
  • Packed with flavor: Chili is known for its big, bold flavors, and this vegetarian sweet potato chili recipe delivers. It has plenty of garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano, plus smoked paprika to bring some smoky flavor to the table.
  • An easy family dinner: The ingredient list is mostly pantry staples and the hands-on time is just 10 minutes. Once you put everything together, a slow simmer on the stovetop does the rest of the work for you!

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

The recipe has been slightly updated and is now made with black beans instead of kidney beans, but either bean will work!

Ingredients for vegetarian sweet potato chili

  • Veggies: You’ll need an onion, chopped sweet potatoes, green peppers, and garlic. Each of these vegetables adds a layer of flavor and its own unique texture to this sweet potato chili recipe.
  • Canned Goods: Black beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and green chilis all come from cans, which saves you time and money!
  • Broth: I use low-sodium vegetable broth; this gives you more control over the finished taste of the recipe. If you’re not vegetarian or vegan, chicken or beef broth can be used instead.
  • Spices: Chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper are all a must when it comes to chili! Be sure they’re all fragrant when you open the bottles. Although spices don’t spoil like other foods, they will lose their flavor and aroma over time.
cubed sweet potatoes, onions and peppers in a pot

How to make sweet potato chili

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir in the vegetables and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften. 
  2. Add the spices and salt to the pot. Stir until the vegetables are coated; the spices should be fragrant.
  3. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with their juices and green chilis with their juices. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
4 image collage making recipe in a pot: 1- veggies added to pan before combining, 2- after mixed with seasonings added, 3- broth and remaining ingredients added, 4- after cooking.

All those spices simmering with the vegetables give it a deep smokey flavor that feels so heart-warming and so comforting, whether you’re vegetarian or not.

Tips for Making the best sweet potato black bean chili

  1. Evenly chop the vegetables. Each vegetable should be evenly chopped to make sure that they all cook efficiently and equally. This helps to make sure that each bite is consistent and no vegetables are undercooked.
  2. Be mindful of when you add the spices. The quantity of the spices matters and when they’re introduced in cooking process matters even more. For the best flavor, add the spices immediately when the vegetables have slightly softened, stirring until they’re fragrant. If you wait until the end, you’re missing out on a lot of flavor.
  3. Don’t skip the toppings. The toppings for serving this sweet potato chili are just as important as the ingredients you used to make it. Add some acidity with a squeeze of lime juice. Add a hint of freshness with cilantro leaves. Or make it creamy (and still vegan) with slices of avocados. These toppings all help enhance the flavor of the chili.
  4. Use orange or red sweet potatoes. Japanese sweet potatoes and other white or purple fleshed sweet potatoes are delicious, but they have a higher starch content than orange and red varieties. In a chili recipe with sweet potatoes, the smoother, creamier texture of orange and red sweet potatoes is best.
  5. Make it thicker. If you like a thicker chili, you can use a wooden spoon to mash some of the potatoes and beans against the side of the pot. This releases their starches and will thicken the liquid as the chili cooks.
  • Use butternut squash. Butternut squash has a similar texture and flavor to sweet potatoes, with a lower carb count. You can swap in one butternut squash for the two sweet potatoes.
  • Add corn. For a little extra sweetness and color, add frozen corn when you add the beans and tomatoes to the pot.
  • Try another variety of beans. I originally made this recipe with kidney beans, and I still love to make this sweet potato chili with them—or I use a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans. If you’d like to use dried beans, you can do that too. You’ll just need to cook them separately.
Sweet potato chili in pot with a ladle dipped inside. Small bowl of diced avocado nearby.

What to serve with Sweet Potato Chili

  • Cornbread: A classic pairing with chili! I love to serve this vegetarian sweet potato chili with a side of my vegan cornbread.
  • Dinner rolls: Both my homemade dinner rolls and garlic and herb skillet dinner rolls do an excellent job soaking up the flavorful tomato sauce left at the bottom of a bowl of chili.
  • Crispy tortilla strips: Cut a few tortillas—homemade flour tortillas if you’re feeling ambitious!—into strips. Coat a baking sheet with oil or cooking spray, place the tortilla strips on the sheet in an even layer, and spray the tops with additional oil. Bake in a 400ºF oven for about 10 minutes, or until they’re crispy and lightly browned.

How to store Leftover sweet potato Chili

Sweet potato chili is one of those magical recipes that tastes even better after a day or two in the refrigerator, as the spices mix and mingle.

How long with sweet potato chili last in the fridge?

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, and it will last about 3-4 days. You can either reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can I freeze Sweet Potato Chili?

This chili also freezes really well, so I often make a double batch. Transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. 

To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then heat in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. (You may need to add a bit of broth or water to loosen up the chili as it can thicken while frozen.)

Frequently asked questions

Can you make this chili ahead of time?

This chili doesn’t take long to prep, but if you like, you can chop everything up to 2 days in advance. Sweet potatoes can stay chopped at room temperature or in the fridge without getting spoiled.


Do I need to peel the sweet potatoes?

I recommend peeling the sweet potatoes before adding them to the chili. Although the skin on sweet potatoes is edible, it’s thicker and a bit harder to chew than the skin on your average Russet or Yukon gold, which makes it unpleasant in this sweet potato chili.

What beans are best in this recipe?

You can use any beans you like, although I really love black beans here because they have a slightly smoky flavor all on their own. Kidney beans, pinto beans, and even chickpeas can all be used as well.

Bowl of sweet potato chili topped with diced avocado and a spoon dipped in. Another bowl of chili nearby.

This easy sweet potato chili is full of Tex-Mex flavors and packed with nutrients, but what will really make you fall in love with this recipe is its quick prep time and simplicity. Make some for dinner tonight—and freeze some for later!

For more soup recipes, check out:

If you make this healthy-ish feel good Sweet Potato Chili recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This Sweet Potato Chili recipe was originally published on November 29, 2018. The post was slightly modified to use black beans instead of a medley of beans and has been updated with new photos!

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Sweet Potato Chili

This Sweet Potato Chili is basic in ingredients but sophisticated in flavor – it has a sweet smoky flavor & packed with a healthy dose of protein and fiber!
5 from 161 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 472
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 15 oz canned black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes with its juices
  • 1 4.5 oz can chopped green chilis with its juices
  • Diced avocados for serving
  • Fresh cilantro for serving

Instructions

  • In a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, sweet potatoes, bell pepper and garlic. Stir to combine, and cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and stir to coat the vegetables.
  • Pour the vegetable broth, black beans, diced tomatoes with their juices and chopped green chilis with their juices. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30-35 more minutes, stirring a couple times until the vegetables continue to soften and the mixture thickens.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with diced avocados and fresh cilantro, if desired.

Notes

Recipe makes about 8 cups
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead Tips: You can chop everything up to 2 days in advance. Sweet potatoes can stay chopped at room temperature or in the fridge without getting spoiled. 
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can switch up the beans though and some of the spices if you prefer. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 472kcal, Carbohydrates: 90g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 1994mg, Potassium: 1497mg, Fiber: 26g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 26772IU, Vitamin C: 51mg, Calcium: 245mg, Iron: 9mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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Comments

  1. Debra says:

    This is our new favorite chili recipe! Husband and kid approved!! Thank you. 🙂

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay, that makes me so happy to hear!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Dottie says:

    Can this be make in a slow cooker?

    1. Yumna says:

      Sure! It would work best in one that has a saute function or the InstantPot so you can follow the recipe as written, then set it to slow cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

  3. Janet says:

    So good!
    It was a hit here with my entire family.
    Tweaked the seasoning a bit, but it’s a keeper

    1. Yumna says:

      Glad you enjoyed it~

  4. Sandy says:

    Making for Super Bowl

    1. Yumna says:

      Hope you enjoy it and the big game!

  5. Thomas says:

    Wow! What a great recipe! It even got two thumbs up from my nephew who is a chef! This is the fourth recipe of yours that I have tried and all have been amazing. Can’t wait to try them all!

  6. Rani says:

    Wonderful! Thank you!

    1. Yumna says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Maddy Finucane says:

    The flavor from all the spices was much stronger than I like. I don’t taste anything else. If I make it again, I’ll cut the chili, paprika, and cumin in half.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      So sorry to hear that it wasn’t what you expected. Cutting down the spices to fit your preference sounds like a great option.

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