This Black Bean Chili recipe is easy to make and full of big flavor! It’s cozy and hearty, the ideal vegetarian dinner idea.

Black Bean Chili

Can you have too many chili recipes? We think not. Introducing our new favorite easy spin…this Black Bean Chili recipe! It’s beyond simple to make, and the flavor is outstanding. (We hope you’ll agree.) It’s got a hint of smokiness to highlight the tangy tomatoes and savory black beans. Top it with your favorite toppings, and it’s so hearty and savory, you’ll forget it’s healthy, too.

Ingredients in this black bean chili recipe

This vegetarian black bean chili recipe was inspired by open fire cooking. In fact, we first made it around our firepit during a kitchen reno! We adapted our healthy chili recipe to be even simpler so it was easy enough to cook on a fire. This is the stovetop version of it, and it’s got lots of great ingredients to bring massive flavor with little effort:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil and butter
  • Quinoa
  • Black beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Mustard, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce
  • Chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt

The flavor secrets here? The butter adds the richness you need in a vegetarian chili. The mustard, ketchup and Worcestershire add tangy and savory notes. The kicker at the end? Adding a bit of smoked paprika, which helps to emulate that smokiness of the campfire chili we were inspired by.

Black Bean Chili

Chili toppings: dress it up!

This vegetarian black bean chili is simple and elegant. In fact, you only really need to dice an onion and garlic, and let your stove do the rest of the work for you! Once it’s done, dress it up with the toppings of your choice. Here are our top choices, and then a few more creative ideas:

  • Sour cream and cheese: Just a little goes a long way! We think these are required. For vegan, use Cashew Cream or Vegan Queso.
  • Green onion: Thinly sliced green onion is the best fresh accessory.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves are a great addition.
  • Hot sauce: Naturally! A favorite is a Mexican hot sauce like Cholula.
  • Roasted salted pepitas: This unique option adds a salty crunch.
  • Pickled jalapenos or onions: Pickled jalapeños add a kick! If you think ahead, pickled onions are a favorite of ours: they add bright color and tangy flavor.

Leftover storage

This black bean chili recipe stores well and is great for leftovers! Here are a few notes on leftover storage:

  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. It can become very thick, so you may need to add a splash of water when reheating.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months. This recipe works well frozen in a freezer-safe container.
Chili Cheese Fries

Make it a meal: ways to serve black bean chili

There are so many ways to serve this black bean chili recipe — straight up in a bowl, or with more creative options! Here are a few ways to accessorize it:

Variation: cook it on an open fire

Sure, you probably won’t do this every day! But this black bean chili recipe is an ideal campfire chili, too. We first made this one over an open fire when our kitchen was undergoing a renovation, and it worked wonderfully! The fire infuses an incredible smokiness to the flavor. Here are a few notes:

  • Use a hardwood for the fire, like oak or cherry. These woods have the best flavor for cooking food.
  • Follow the recipe but omit the smoked paprika. You don’t need it since the fire infuses smoky flavor.
  • Advanced prep for camping: If you’re taking it camping, prep the minced onion and garlic and place in a sealed container. Place the ingredients from water through kosher salt in another large sealed container (keep out the dry quinoa and add when cooking).

Let us know if you try it in the comments below! It’s a fun variation, though we typically make this one on the stovetop.

Black Bean Chili Recipe

More chili recipes

This black bean chili is our new favorite, but we’ve got lots of other chili recipes for the season! Here are a few to try:

This black bean chili recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, replace the butter as noted in the recipe below.

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Black Bean Chili

Easy Black Bean Chili


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Black Bean Chili recipe is easy to make and full of big flavor! It’s cozy and hearty, the ideal vegetarian dinner idea.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained (not rinsed)
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (replace with 2 tablespoons olive oil or refined coconut oil for vegan)
  • 1 15-ounce can corn (or 1 ½ cups frozen corn)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons each chili powder and dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon each garlic powder and cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add all other ingredients except for the smoked paprika. Simmer for 25 minutes, then stir in the smoked paprika. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.
  4. Campfire chili instructions: Follow the instructions above, but remove the smoked paprika (the fire will add smoky flavor). If you’re taking it camping, prep the minced onion and garlic and place in a sealed container. Place the ingredients from water through kosher salt in another large sealed container (keep out the dry quinoa and add when cooking). Keep everything cool until making the chili.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Black bean chili, black bean chili recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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3 Comments

  1. hi, I love your Instant pot vegetarian chili, and would like to try this version and taste profile as well. Would it be adaptable to an instant pot? Could I use this recipe but pop in an instant pot for same time as other recipe or would I lose the flavor profile?

    thanks

  2. Just wanted you to know that as a Diabetic with type 2 diabeties.. Black beans were reccommended to putin chile, even if you use meat.. I have been using black beans in my chile for a few years now.. Cant wait till I get to try this vegan recipe.