Best Sweet Potato Chili

This best sweet potato chili recipe is all star and a family favorite! It’s a delicious healthy dinner recipe where you won’t miss the meat.

Sweet potato chili recipe

Have you ever come home to find a family of strangers living in your home? We did recently…though fortunately in our case, they were paid actors! A friend of ours was shooting this commercial for Hurst Beans and asked if we would consider renting out our kitchen. We did, and it was an absolute blast to see the production. We must say, it’s odd to see another family eating this sweet potato chili in our dining room! But it did inspire this cozy chili recipe: and we think it will become a family favorite in no time. (Even a family of paid actors!)

Related: Best Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

Sweet potato chili recipe

Why to make this sweet potato chili?

Before you dismiss this as yet another chili recipe, let us convince you on why this vegetarian sweet potato chili should be on your “must make” list:

  • It’s vegetarian, but you won’t miss the meat. If you’re looking for a chili that’s not loaded with meat, this is it.
  • It’s healthy, loaded with vegetables like sweet potatoes, a superfood high in nutrients.
  • It’s seriously tasty, with complexity from chili secrets like cocoa powder and balsamic vinegar.
Sweet Potato Recipes

Tips for making sweet potato chili

Now that it’s chili season, we whipped up a big batch of this sweet potato chili and ate off of it for days. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making it:

  • It makes a huge pot. This one is perfect for feeding a crowd (we’re of the opinion that chili should only be made in massive quantities). It makes enough for 8 servings.
  • It’s plant-based (vegan). If you keep the garnishes vegan like with Vegan Sour Cream, this is also a plant-based chili! But you can absolutely top with cheese and sour cream.
  • Use canned or dried beans. For the beans in this sweet potato chili recipe, you can use any type you’d like: make it a sweet potato black bean chili, or use pinto and chili beans. You also can cook up a pot of your own beans: we cooked our own dried beans using our Dutch oven method. You can also try our Instant Pot black beans method.

Chili toppings!

As any chili lover knows, garnishes are key. Alex and I liked the taste right out of the pot, but we loved it with hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions. Make sure not to skimp on the toppings! Here are our top 10 chili toppings:

  1. Sour cream or vegan sour cream
  2. Shredded cheese
  3. Sliced green onions or minced red onion
  4. Roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  5. Minced red onion
  6. Vegan nacho cheese
  7. Canned pickled jalapenos or Homemade Pickled Jalapeños
  8. Pickled onions
  9. Cilantro
  10. Lime wedges

Sides to serve with sweet potato chili

And of course, serve it with cornbread! We’d recommend our fan favorite Best Homemade Cornbread, Classic Cornbread Muffins or Easy Vegan Cornbread. It’s so tender and moist, and seriously easy to whip up. We heartily recommend it! Or, we have lots of other ideas on what to serve: check out our best sides to go with chili!

This sweet potato chili recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, dairy free, gluten-free, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

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Sweet potato chili recipe | 13 Best Healthy & Easy Soup Recipes | Best soup recipes | Easy soup recipes

Best Sweet Potato Chili

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (121 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x


This vegetarian sweet potato chili recipe is all star and a family favorite! It’s a delicious healthy dinner recipe where you won’t miss the meat.


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 15-ounce cans pinto, black, or pinto beans, or 4 1/2 cups cooked chili beans, cooked using this method
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup masa harina (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Garnishes: Hot sauce, sour cream (or vegan sour cream or cashew cream), sliced green onions, shredded cheese


  1. Dice the onion. Dice the green pepper. Dice the sweet potatoes into a small dice (cubes about 1/2-inch thick). Make sure to cut the sweet potatoes as directed so they cook quickly and to obtain the correct chili consistency. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot (at least 5 quarts), heat the olive oil. Sauté onion, peppers and sweet potatoes on medium-high heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Then turn down the heat to medium low.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes and their liquid, beans, corn, vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Stir, then cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. After the 25 minutes, mix the masa harina with ½ cup water and stir it together in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the chili to thicken, and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Season with additional kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Thinly slice the green onions. Divide the chili into individual bowls and garnish with hot sauce, sour cream, green onions, and sour cream. Store leftovers refrigerated or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Sweet Potato Chili, Chili Recipes, Vegetarian Dinner Ideas, Vegan Dinner Ideas, Best Chili, Healthy Dinner Ideas

Looking for other vegan and vegetarian soups?

This website is full of vegetarian soups and vegan soups! Outside of this Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili, here are a few other vegetarian soups we’d recommend:

Last updated September 2019

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Jacqueline Meldrum
    October 15, 2014 at 5:58 am

    That looks heavenly. I’ve been right in the mood of chilli this week. I must make some soon and try out your version.

  • Reply
    Tina muir
    October 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Ooooh this sounds soooo good! I was just eating sweet potato the other day, and I thought to myself about just how good it tastes, and how it goes with everything. LOVE the idea of using it in chili! This would be the perfect meal as the temperature drops!

  • Reply
    jenna @ just j.faye
    October 15, 2014 at 7:40 am

    All I want for dinner these days is to curl up with a big comforting bowl of soup. This recipe would be perfect. Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Ooh, I often have the TV tuned to the food network when I’m in my hotel room so I will look out for your kitchen! How exciting (and surreal!). I love me a good veggie chili and this looks like it’s packed with so much flavour. Will definitely be making this asap!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am big fan of white bean chilli with green peppers but any will do as long as it has tangy cheese on it.
    SO comforting and perfect for hearty supper!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    October 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Oooh, so cool they used your home/kitchen for the commercial. I loved watching it. And black bean and sweet potato chili is my favorite. I was thinking of making it this weekend in fact. I love that you add masa harina to yours. Great idea!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    October 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

    How fun to host the commercial. It’s great that you can work with a local business owner, and if the result is this delicious chili, so much the better!

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Kale and Cookie Dough
    October 16, 2014 at 9:34 am

    This looks so good! I have never used sweet potato in Chili before, I guess it is time for me to start!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    With my strong Latina blood I can easily have beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then do it all again the nest day.
    This recipe looks LOVELY. And the pictures are stunning.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    October 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I love veggie chili! This one looks particularly delicious :)

  • Reply
    October 27, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! I am already looking forward to leftovers. Quick question: is 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes correct in your recipe? That was one small potato on my scale and it looked lonely so I used 1 1/2 lbs instead. My dutch oven was full almost to the brim with everything in there, but I loved the ample sweet potato presence.

    • Reply
      October 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Thank you so much for this catch! Yes, it was 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potato. I’ve updated the recipe accordingly! Thank you so much and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2014 at 11:21 am

    It’s finally starting to feel like Fall around here (Northern Nevada) and this was great for a chilly evening. Took a while to put together, especially chopping the sweet potatoes in a small dice, but really tasty. I cut everything in half (except I forgot to do that for the broth, but I kind of liked that there was a little bit of soupy-ness to this.) Topped with sliced scallions, shredded cheddar, sour cream, and a garlic hot sauce that gave it a nice kick. I also used canned pinto beans because I didn’t have time to cook dry beans. There was plenty of soup to serve 5 people (large portions too!)

  • Reply
    November 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I’m going to make this for a potluck next Saturday night. I know chili is often better the next day. Would you recommend I make this the day before and reheat it for the potluck? Thanks for the recipe! I love sweet potatoes.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Making this tonight! (sans sweet potato because it’s not as well loved by everyone in this house as it is by me). Great recipe and beautiful photos, as always. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Hope you enjoy! Though, you should just stick in the sweet potatoes and tell him to deal with it ;)

  • Reply
    Eat Nutritiously
    February 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Tried this out today and it was delicious! Love how nicely the cocoa powder blends with it.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Oh my my mouth won’t quit watering! Awesome recipe!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I just made this because I had been eyeing it for a couple weeks and needed a quick lunch without having to go to the store. I didn’t have bell pepper or masa and it was still very good. I did a bit of chipotle chili powder mixed with the regular and I halved the recipe. This is the first – I anticipate of many – recipe of yours I have tried and I’m impressed! Can’t wait to do your 28-day vegan meal plan.

    • Reply
      January 6, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      What a kind comment — thank you so much Camille! We’re so glad you enjoyed the chili. And we’re excited you’re interested in the vegan meal plan — let us know if you try out the meal plan and what you think!!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    This is very good, thanks! I added a rib of celery and two small carrots, just to sneak in more veggies. I ran out of regular chili powder and finished up with chipotle chili powder, which might have made it a tiny bit spicier, but i love the slight smokiness that added. Just used water, no broth. Also added a can of chopped green chilies. I made a special trip to store for the masa stuff. It does make a lot – we will freeze some of it!
    Photo on my instagram with your hashtag.
    LOL – i just read that CAMILLE did the same thing!

    • Reply
      March 23, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      Love that you added green chilis — the perfect chili add in. Thanks for making it and glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Is there a substitute for masa harina? Can i use cornmeal or flour?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      May 2, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      You can use fine ground cornmeal as a substitute! Or you can leave it out — it will just a be a little less thick: but still delicious!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve made this recipe twice in the last few weeks and both times it turned out delicious! I made a few minor adjustments based on preference and what I had on hand, I added a pound of ground turkey and cooked it with the onion, bell pepper and sweet potato. Then at the end I added a slurry of corn starch and water in place of the masa harina. Overall very yummy, filling meal! Oh and I paired it with your best homemade cornbread recipe, also a winner! Thanks again!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 7, 2020 at 10:17 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed :)

  • Reply
    March 22, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    would this work in the crock pot?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 22, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      We haven’t tried, sorry!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2021 at 9:44 am

    Does this freeze well. We loved it but this was way more than we could eat

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      April 8, 2021 at 11:15 am

      It does freeze well! The sweet potatoes get a little softer when frozen but it’s still tasty. You can freeze for up to 3 months. Let us know how it holds up!

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