This delicious, hearty Sweet Potato Chili is loaded with black beans, vegetables, and all the classic spices. It also freezes well and makes a great meal prep option.
Table of Contents
- Chipotle chili powder. Adds smokiness and spice. If you don’t have it, try one or two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or some ancho chile powder (smokiness without the heat).
- Fire-roasted canned diced tomatoes with green chilies. Ro*tel canned tomatoes work too. Or, use plain diced tomatoes and a can of diced green chiles.
- To start, heat some olive oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, chipotle chili powder, and a little salt and pepper together until the vegetables get soft and tender.
- Then stir in the garlic, sweet potatoes, beans, tomato purée, diced tomatoes (along with the juice) and some water. Stir to combine. Then bring the chili to a simmer, cover the pot, and let the sweet potatoes cook and the beans soften, at least 30 minutes.
- Next, remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes to let the chili thicken up. Before serving, adjust the seasoning with extra salt and pepper, hot sauce, etc.
Recipe tips and variations
- Yield: About 3-½ quarters (14 cups).
- Dried beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking).
- Toppings: Cheese, sour cream, avocado, scallions, chopped white onions, jalapeños, Fritos, cilantro, fresh lime juice, the sky’s the limit!
- Make ahead: Of course you can. Chili tastes even better the next day. It freezes great for meal prep, too. Just portion, let cool, label and date, then stash it in the freezer for dinner emergencies.
- Leftovers: Enjoy the leftover chili over scrambled eggs, over a bowl of rice with guacamole and salsa, or wrapped in a tortilla to make a burrito. Yum!
- Slow cooker: In a slow cooker, combine everything. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Instant Pot: Use the sauté function to sauté the oil, vegetables, and spices. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Close and seal the lid and cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, let the pot depressurize naturally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped (see note 1)
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (see note 2)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans drained and rinsed (see note 3)
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée
- 2 (10 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles undrained (see note 4)
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- avocado and scallions and minced cilantro, for serving
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, carrot, celery, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sweet potatoes, black beans, tomato puree, diced tomatoes and their juice, water, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and starting to break down, about 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes longer. Simmer longer for a thicker sauce. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve avocado, cilantro, and scallions if desired.
- Bell peppers: Or add or substitute corn or zucchini.
- Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
- Black beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of black beans.
- Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes are a good option too.
- Yield: About 3-½ quarts (14 cups).
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
- Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Instant Pot: Use the sauté function to sauté the oil, vegetables, and spices. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on manual or high pressure for 20 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slow cooker: In a slow cooker, combine everything. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- More toppings: Try shredded cheese, sour cream, minced onion, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.