This vegan sweet potato chili is hearty and satisfying and warms you up on chilly days! Get tips on how to make it on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
I love a good one-pot stew any day of the week, and this vegan sweet potato chili is one of my favorites.
The results are a combination of sweet, savory, spicy and smoky. Even meat-eaters and vegetarians will love it! It’s gluten-free and chock-full of wholesome ingredients.
Why you’ll love this Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
- Hearty and satisfying: It’s the perfect cold-weather dish. Combining sweet potatoes, beans, and spices makes for a comforting and cozy meal.
- Versatility: Enjoy on its own or pair with rice, quinoa, or bread for a more filling meal. Customize it by adding other favorite vegetables or adjusting the spice level.
- Easy to make: It can be prepared in a slow cooker or stovetop and will keep well for several days in the fridge or freezer.
Key Ingredient Notes
- Kidney beans: Use either canned or dried. If using dried, soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. Black beans, pinto beans, lentils and chickpeas can be used instead.
- Sweet potatoes: Add natural sweetness to the chili. Butternut squash or pumpkin are great substitutes.
- Tomato paste or two small tomatoes: adds acidity and richness to the chili. These can be replaced with one can of chopped tomatoes, but the water/stock must be adjusted to 3 cups.
- Ancho chili powder: adds a smoky and mild heat flavor. Different types of chili will result in extra heat levels.
- Chipotle chili powder (optional): adds a smoky and spicy flavor to the chili.
- Taro chips (optional): A crunchy garnish to add texture to the chili. Plantain or tortilla chips will also work well.
How To Make Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
- Cook the onion, carrot, and garlic in a pot with oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the tomato and tomato paste, bell pepper, spices, oregano, sweet potato, kidney beans, and water or stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are cooked.
- Remove the pot from the stove and serve warm, topped with cilantro, avocado, and chips.
Slow Cooker or Crockpot Method
- Oil the inside of the slow cooker and place sweet potatoes into the bottom of the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients, including the pre-soaked kidney beans. Turn the setting to high and cook for 20 minutes.
- Adjust the slow cooker setting to low and stir the chili. Cook for a further 3 hours.
Instant Pot Method
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Add the oil, chopped onion, carrot, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the sweet potatoes and spices and toast them for 30 minutes.
- Add the pre-soaked kidney beans and the other ingredients. Cover the Instant Pot and select Bean/Chili mode for 30 minutes.
- When ready, release the pressure for 10-15 minutes and remove the lid. Top with cilantro and avocado.
Storage and Reheating
Allow the chili to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container or a zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible.
Label the container with the date and contents, and place it in the refrigerator. Chili can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating if frozen. Transfer to a saucepan and reheat on the stovetop over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Alternatively, reheat the chili in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish. Stir every 30 seconds until heated through. If the chili is too thick, add a splash of water or vegetable broth while reheating.
Paprika vs Chili Powder
There is a difference in flavor between chili powder and paprika. Pure chili powder is made of one or more pepper varieties that have been dried and ground.
These peppers can range from mild to various heat levels and flavor notes. For example, ancho chili has a smoky and subtly sweet flavor, slightly similar to raisins, while chipotle is made from smoked jalapeños, which is spicier.
Paprika, however, is usually made of sweeter varieties of red capsicum, or as we call them, sweet or bell peppers. A chili spice blend consists of a mix of pure chili powder with herbs and other spices.
What toppings can I add to vegan chili?
- tortilla chips
- vegan cheese
- vegan sour cream
- sliced jalapeños
- diced bell pepper
- chopped cilantro
- chopped green or red onions
Other Serving Ideas
More Stew Recipes
- Vegan Lentil Stew
- Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas
- Vegan Jambalaya
- Vegan Red Beans and Rice
- Vegan Butter Chicken
Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.
- 2 cans (425 g) kidney beans, 15oz each, See Notes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsps tomato paste, or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
- 5 cups (1 l) vegetable stock, or water
- 2 tbsps ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, (spicy but optional)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves, or green onions
- avocado, peeled & sliced
- taro chips, or corn chips
Stovetop method using canned beans
- Drain and rinse canned beans. Set a pot on the stove to medium heat. Add oil, chopped onion, carrot and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent for 2-3 minutes.2 cans (425 g) kidney beans ,1 large onion ,1 large carrot ,1 tbsp oil ,5 cloves garlic
- Add diced tomato or tomato paste, bell pepper, spices, oregano, cubed sweet potato, kidney beans, water or stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on low heat until the sweet potatoes are cooked.2 medium sweet potatoes ,1 large red bell pepper ,2 tbsps tomato paste ,5 cups (1 l) vegetable stock ,2 tbsps ancho chile powder ,1 teaspoon cumin ,1 teaspoon paprika ,2 teaspoons oregano ,Salt and pepper to taste ,½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- Remove from heat and serve warm topped with cilantro and avocado.chopped fresh cilantro leaves ,avocado ,taro chips
Crockpot or slow cooker method using dried beans
- Oil the inside of the slow cooker and place diced sweet potatoes in the bottom.
- Add all the remaining ingredients including pre-soaked kidney beans and turn the setting to high. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Adjust the slow cooker setting to low and give the chili a stir. Cook for an additional 3 hours. The slow cooker can be left on warm setting until you’re ready to serve.
Instant Pot method using dried beans
- Set Instant Pot to sauté and allow it to heat up. Add oil, chopped onion, carrot and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent for 2-3 minutes. Then add sweet potatoes and spices and toast them for about 30 seconds.
- Add pre-soaked kidney beans and remaining ingredients. Cover the Instant Pot and select Bean/Chili then set the time for 30 minutes.
- Once time is up, allow the pressure to release for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid then top with chopped cilantro and avocado. Serve warm.
Full Recipe Video
- If you’re using dried beans, soak 1 cup/185g for at least 8 hours or overnight, then drain and rinse.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- You can replace the tomato paste or fresh tomatoes with 1 can of chopped tomatoes but use 3 cups water or stock.
- Try serving this chili with millet, a tasty alternative to rice.
This post was originally published in November 2019 but was updated in May 2023.