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. Delicious chili and something different with the sweet potatoes and black beans. Delicious by itself, but when you add the toppings (I used the suggested scallions, vegan sour cream, avocado, and squeeze of lime) it takes it to the top! Restaurant quality 11/10. My second time making it.

  2. Thank you, Nora! We made your recipe for the chili cook off at church this weekend. We won first place for vegetarian chili. Thank you! Great recipe! I added a little brown sugar to highlight the sweet potatoes. The toppings made it even better. My daughter loved it.

  3. Loved this! Tweaked it a bit- added 1 can of black beans, 1 can of pinto, one can of kidney beans, and because I like it a little less thick- 3 cups of no-chik’n broth, and an extra small can of diced tomatoes.

    I added a dash of cinnamon (for the sweet potato!) and fresh cracked pepper too. Topped with cheese, sour cream, a few crushed Fritos and avocados. My kids devoured it!

  4. I was tired of my regular chili recipe so I came here to find something new. I chose the Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili. I used vegetable broth instead of water and added green peppers and mushrooms. I just tossed everything in the crockpot and it was SO delicious! I will definitely make this again.

  5. Simple, nutritious, and delicious! I enjoyed it with the toppings listing. It’s so good, it didn’t even need toppings.

  6. If you like big flavor, this is probably not the chili for you. My partner found it bland and did not like it at all. I enjoy subtle flavors sometimes, and the vibe of “healthy eating” and so I quite enjoyed it, especially with cubes of avocado mixed in and the cilantro. Yum!

    I subbed veggie broth for the water

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