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30-Minute Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

5 from 4 votes

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A hearty sweet potato and black bean chili that’s packed with flavorful spices and veggies! This 30-minute vegetarian dish is an easy, nourishing one-dish meal. The recipe is perfect to make ahead and is freezer-friendly.

Black bean chili in a bowl with a spoon, with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro on top.

We always say “yes!” to a bowl of this thick, not-too-spicy sweet potato chili. It cooks in about half an hour, and it’s full of black beans and spices that will warm you up inside and out.

There’s something about sweet potatoes and winter squash that pairs so beautifully with spices. Another favorite that combines those flavors is this creamy turkey pumpkin chili with white beans.

Unlike chili made in a slow cooker, this quick version can be ready about 25 minutes after chopping and prepping your onions and sweet potatoes.

This is a meal to make when you’re craving something healthy and delicious, but don’t have much time to fuss around. Plus, the recipe includes pantry staples that you probably on hand right now.

Bowls of black beans, spices, chopped onions, and fresh sweet potatoes on a surface.
Basic pantry ingredients go into a quick sweet potato chili with canned black beans.

About the ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes: The natural sweetness of a sweet potato goes perfectly with bold seasonings (which is amplified even more when sweet potatoes are roasted with spices). For this chili, the sweet potatoes simmer until perfectly tender. You’ll need about 3 cups chopped (peeled or unpeeled as you prefer), which is about two medium one large sweet potato.
  • Black beans: Convenient as all get out, canned black beans are an excellent source of protein. Swap out half the black beans for pinto beans.
  • Spices: Ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and chili powder create the complex flavor and aroma you expect in the best chili recipe. I also throw in just one canned chipotle chili packed in adobo sauce for its intense smokiness and heat. Don’t worry if you don’t have every one of these spices on hand — use what you have. Bottled hot sauce adds a layer of gentle heat.
  • Tomato paste: Rather than use canned diced tomatoes (which can be watery), I opt for a bit of tomato paste. This concentrated essence of tomato is all you need to add savory umami and beautiful color to the chili..
  • Flavor base: The base of the chili starts with red or yellow onion, garlic and vegetable broth (or water).
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream: Just a 1/4 cup stirred into the cooked chili adds creamy thickness and tangy flavor to the chili. Omit this ingredient for a vegan sweet potato chili, or use a plant-based yogurt.
  • Garnishes: Some people believe a bowl of chili is only as good as its garnishes — honestly, the stuff you put on top is half of the dish! I suggest sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, soft cheese such as feta, goat or cotija and a squeeze of fresh lime. Feel free to finish the chili with your fave fixings.

Chili spices

If you have time, try making your own homemade spice blend. It’s such an easy way to add depth and flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

For this recipe, you can make the chili spice blend with ground spices you probably already have in your pantry. Double or triple the amount of spices called for in the recipe so you’ll have a chili blend batch ready to go next time! Just combine them in a jar and shake to mix.

Four small bowls of ground coriander, chili power, cumin and chipotle paste.
Chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, coriander and chipotle in adobo.
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce

I sometimes add granulated garlic or onion powder to my blend. If you have them, try adding a teaspoon of each to really amplify the flavors.

Cooking steps

Tip: To ensure that the sweet potatoes cook quickly, cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Larger pieces of sweet potato could take longer than 15 minutes to soften.

  • Stir the black beans through the chili until they’re warm. Add the yogurt and sour cream, if using.
  • Serve the warm chili in bowls garnished the way you like!
Sweet potato chili in a bowl with a spoon, with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro on top.
Tortilla chips, sliced avocado and fresh cilantro are perfect garnishes.

Serving suggestions:

  • If you enjoy a thicker texture, transfer about a cup of the chili to a blender or puree with an handheld blender right in the pot.
  • Omit the cheese and yogurt to make vegan chili.
  • Serve the chili with warm tortillas or cornbread on the side. For a heartier meal, add Coconut Rice, couscous or brown rice to each bowl.

Storage tips

  • This chili is a fantastic make-ahead meal — double the recipe and freeze portions in individual serving containers.
  • The chili keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
  • To freeze, cool the chili completely and pack into airtight containers. The chili will keep 1 month frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in a microwave on the defrost setting.

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Black bean chili in a bowl with a spoon, with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro on top.

30-Minute Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Karen Tedesco
A hearty sweet potato and black bean chili that's packed with flavorful spices and veggies! This 30-minute vegetarian dish is an easy, nourishing one-dish meal. The recipe is perfect to make ahead and is freezer-friendly.
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) each: ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) tomato paste
  • 1 piece chipotle chili, from a can packed in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ pound (530 g) sweet potatoes (approximately one large or two medium), peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces (3 cups)
  • 2 cups (100 ml) vegetable stock or water
  • 2 15-ounce (800 g) cans black beans, drained
  • ½ cup (100 g) sour cream, plain Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt

Garnish suggestions

  • ½ cup (125 g) crumbled soft cheese, such as feta, goat or cotija
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 1-2 sliced avocados
  • Tortilla chips
  • Fresh cilantro

Instructions 

  • Place a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Stir the garlic, spices, tomato paste, chipotle, hot sauce and salt. Cook about 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and pour over enough stock or water over to just to cover them (about 2 cups). Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Cook 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy.
  • Add the black beans and sour cream to the pot and stir well. Cook another 5 minutes to blend the flavors. If you like a thicker chili, remove about a cup of the chili and puree in a blender (or use an immersion blender). Taste for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce to taste.
  • Serve the chili bowls topped with cheese and other desired garnishes on top.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • The chili keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
  • To freeze, cool the chili completely and pack into airtight containers. The chili will keep 1 month frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 803mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 9203IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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11 Comments

  1. What size can of chipotle peppers do you use?

    1. Hi Denise – Such a great question! This recipe calls for just one single chipotle chili (not the whole can). They are very spicy, so you can use more or less as you like. Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce usually come in about 7-ounce cans.

  2. Cindi Swingen says:

    I had this at a staff potluck last week and it was fabulous. I’m making it for my family on Christmas Eve. Scott pointed me in the right direction for the recipe. Thank you for your great web site!

  3. Christine says:

    I absolutely love the combination of sweet potatoes and black beans. I definitely want to make this soon. A question, though, what kind of goat cheese? I was reading about goat cheeses and I guess there is a great variety with a big difference between flavors, textures, etc. What kind did you use?

  4. So many wonderful ingredients! Nothing like a hot cup of chili on a cold rainy day. Your recipe is so creative. I’ll be trying it on my family this week.

    1. Alexa, thanks for visiting. I have a thing for chili and so glad cold weather is here to enjoy it!

  5. This recipe sounds really delicious. I’m drooling just by looking at this photo.

  6. Ohhhh I wish there was more of this, mom!!!!!!!!1
    Great picture too:) Except when I was looking at it an ad popped up right on top.
    love you 🙂

  7. So who’s it going to be this year? We decided to do an all vegetarian meal, but I might break down and make something with shrimp (shrimp/sweet potato hash…).