Full of flavor and so simple to make, this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is a wonderfully satisfying vegetarian meal! Best served with avocado chunks, cilantro and cornbread.

bowl of chili with sweet potatoes, avocado and cilantro on top, grey towel and background

Want to impress a crowd with an incredible vegan dish? This chili is the perfect choice! Make a batch of The Best Vegan Cornbread to go with it and you’re set.

How to make it

This chili is so easy to make!

  1. Saute a chopped onion in a pot with a little olive oil. Add garlic and a large chopped/peeled sweet potato and cook 1 more minute.
  2. Add spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt) and stir.
  3. Pour in a can of diced tomatoes, two cans of black beans and two cups of water.
  4. Stir, bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes. That’s it!

collage of how to make chili

Special Tips & Instructions

  • How to make it in an Instant Pot: Saute the onion, then the garlic and sweet potato in the Instant Pot, then add the spices. Add the diced tomatoes, black beans and water. Stir, seal and cook for 8 minutes at high pressure.
  • How to make in a Slow Cooker: Add all ingredients to slow cooker/crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or 7-8 hours on low.
  • Veggie Swaps: Swap butternut squash for the sweet potato for a change (YUM!). You can also add about 2 cups of chopped spinach or kale near the end of cooking for some green goodness.

What to serve with chili

I love this sweet potato black bean chili with chopped avocado, cilantro and green onions. And a side of vegan cornbread, of course! Other options: vegan sour cream, sprinkle of non-dairy cheese shreds, tortilla chips, guacamole, diced red onion, or a scoop of brown rice.

close of up a bowl of sweet potato black bean chili

If you want a more traditional, “meaty” chili, make sure to check out my award winning Ultimate Vegan Chili!

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

square image of chili, grey background
4.97 stars (80 ratings)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Full of flavor and so simple to make, this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is a wonderfully satisfying vegetarian meal! Best served with avocado chunks, cilantro and cornbread.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes, with their juices OR fire roasted tomatoes
  • (2) 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Optional toppings


  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Saute the diced onion for 3-4 minutes, until translucent, then add in the garlic and sweet potato and cook about 2 more minutes.
  • Next add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Stir into the vegetable mixture.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes along with their juices, drained and rinsed black beans and the 2 cups of water. Stir to combine. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.
  • Use the back of a spoon to mash some of the sweet potatoes for a thicker texture, if desired.
  • Serve with avocado chunks, cilantro, chopped green onions, vegan cornbread or vegan sour cream.



  1. For oil free, simply use water to saute instead of oil.
  2. May substitute peeled/chopped butternut squash for the sweet potato, if desired. You could also add 2 cups of baby spinach or chopped kale.
  3. To make in an Instant Pot: Use the saute feature and cook the onion, then the garlic and sweet potato, then the spices just like in the regular instructions. Turn off the Instant Pot for a moment and add the diced tomatoes, black beans and water. Stir, then seal and set the timer to 8 minutes at high pressure. Release pressure manually, and serve with desired toppings.
  4. To make in a Crock Pot: Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. 
  5. The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled to serve a large crowd. 
  6. The chili freezes well and will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 945mg | Potassium: 763mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 8535IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*The recipe was originally posted February 2017 and has been updated with better photos/writing and recipe March 2020.

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  1. This chili was a little bland for my taste. I did make it in the crockpot so that may have compromised some of the flavor. I added a tablespoon of vinegar at the end to add some acidity.

  2. I made half the recipe tonight in the instant pot. The flavor is superb. I had to drain the water and it came out too mushy. I assume I did something wrong as I am not a whiz at the instant pot. I wonder if eight minutes was too long for half a recipe or I didn’t release the pressure quickly enough. I will definitely try it again in a pot on the stove because it really is delicious.

  3. Used beef broth instead of water, also added corn and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Delicious recipe with such depth of flavor, could eat this daily. And super healthy, too! Thanks!

    1. You are welcome, Kasey! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review! I’m thrilled you loved the chili!

  4. wonderful! I added a handful of baby spinach at the end and served with siracha, vegan mozzarella, and avocado over rice. I only have a 3qt pot so had to halve the recipe, except I used a whole sweet potato. delicious, filling, and the extra veg made it feel like a complete meal I will be excited to eat for lunch this week.

  5. My favorite vegan chili recipe so far! Perfect balance of flavors. Love the smoked paprika element- Gives it a lot of depth. Followed recipe as is, just doubled the garlic. Will be making this again. It’s a perfect match for your cornbread recipe, which is always my go to. 100%. Thank you, Nora!

  6. I subbed vegetable broth and added kale and bell peppers. So good! I love all your recipes Nora, please keep doing what you are doing 💚

  7. This chili is so good and versatile. It’s perfect as written but I like to replace one of the cans of beans with zucchini for some extra veggies and also add TVP or tofu ground “beef” for extra protein. I also leave out the onion due to stomach issues and it’s still soooo good.

  8. I come back to this recipe again and again. It is perfect as it is. My occasional variation is to add TVP. Also I like to work from dried black beans and when I do I use the cooking water from the beans instead of regular water.

  9. Thank you for this recipe, it was so good. I added a little cinnamon because I’m from Cincinnati and that’s how we do chili, other than that, stuck to the original recipe and we really enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Melissa. You are welcome! Yum to your “Cincinnati’ style chili! I appreciate you lovely comments and great review!

  10. So good! And so simple! I’ve made this as is with all the toppings and with ground chicken in it for my husband. We aren’t vegetarian and is still so good! Thank you for sharing.

  11. This chili is the bomb! I’ve been testing variations, like combining squash and sweet potato, and adding ground turkey. My workplace has a chili cook-off coming up, and I plan on entering this for first place! I can almost guarantee it will be a unique entry. 🙂

  12. It is delicious as written. I’ve made it several times with no changes at all. It is a great pantry meal for me because I have most of these ingredients on hand all of the time. Last year I took it to a potluck and a month later at a game night my friends asked me to bring the amazing chili again 🙂 I am currently meal prepping for work lunches and am excited to have this for lunch all next week. It reheats beautifully.

    1. Hi Angel. I am so glad that you are enjoying my chili, and that your friends are loving it as well! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! Enjoy your chili this week!

  13. I made this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili for 1st time. To give it more of a “meat” like filling & look to it. I added sliced baby Bella & white mushrooms & 1/2 cup of Bulgur grain with an additional 1 cup of water. Also, added carrots since we needed to use them up. Only had 1 can of black beans. So used can of kidney beans. Did all the spices except salt since watching sodium levels.  Added cracked pepper & garlic powder. Used Fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Everything turned out amazing. I found this recipe to be a great base to be able to add & adjust to preferences. My hubby & roommate are meat eaters. So when making something like chili with no meat turns them off.  But they truly enjoyed it. And went back for 2nds.  Also made the Vegan corn bread. They loved it. Next time we are putting green chilies into the corn bread. 

    1. Hi Kerry. I’m so glad you’ve tried the chili! This is indeed a flexible recipe, and your additions sound delicious! I appreciate you taking your time to share your wonderful review and feedback! I’m glad the chili was a hit! Also, the green chilies in the cornbread sounds amazing!

  14. Absolutely fabulous! I’ve made this chili a lot & it’s delicious every time. I love how quick and easy to throw together too. Thank you!

  15. So delicious! We added ground turkey to ours and seasoned the meat with salt, garlic powder, minced onion and paprika. One of the best chilis we ever had. 

  16. I’m the odd one out and added a pound of ground elk that we harvested.  Also added one chopped mild/medium pepper and served with macaroni, cheese, sour cream, onions and acoc.

  17. This is my favorite lunch meal! For about $5 I can have lunch for a week! I made this in my instant pot and used 3 cups of home cooked black beans and 2 cups of my homemade chicken broth. The flavor was amazing. A bit of sweet and sassy. My daughter doesn’t like sweet potatoes, and she even loves it! It makes a lot and I love the fact that I can make it on my lunch break.

    1. It really is a perfect option for lunch! I’m so happy you and your daughter love the chili and thanks so much for leaving such a great review!

  18. Hello Nora, I would really like to make this soup but don’t have a cockpot or instant pot. How would I make this on the stove? Thank you!

    1. Hi Taylor, the instructions in the recipe card will show you how to make the chili in a pot on the stove. Happy cooking!

  19. This is so good. I just started noom and was looking for lo-cal filling lunches and this fits the bill. Lots of flavor and textures. Love it. Will definitely make again.

    1. Hi Jen. Thanks for sharing your great feedback! I’m glad you love the chili, and will be making it often! Happy cooking!

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