Sweet Potato Chili

published Oct 23, 2023
Sweet Potato Chili Recipe

Featuring tender sweet potato, ground beef, smoky-spicy chipotles in adobo, and a rich broth, this one-pot chili comes together in under an hour.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 8 cups

Prep20 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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Overhead view of chili in a white bowl, topped with onions, sour cream and cheddar cheese and tortilla chips on the surface to the right of the bowl.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Nothing warms you up quite like a steaming bowl of chili. Although many delicious chili recipes require hours of braising, a weeknight-friendly version is totally possible. This quick and easy sweet potato chili requires very little prep and under an hour of cook time, but you’d never guess it because it’s every bit as satisfying as its slow-simmered counterparts. 

Featuring tender sweet potato, smoky-spicy chipotles in adobo, and a rich broth that’s bolstered with the sweet maltiness of beer, even the most blustery of nights don’t stand a chance against this extra-hearty stew. Better yet, the whole thing comes together in a single pot. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

How Spicy Is Sweet Potato Chili?

With one chopped chipotle pepper and two tablespoons of adobo sauce, we’d say this chili clocks in at a medium heat level.

If you prefer a milder stew, start with one tablespoon of the sauce, taste, and add more if needed. If you’re a spice-lover, stir in chopped chiles, a couple teaspoons at a time, until you reach your desired heat level. 

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Chili

We love it served with shredded cheddar, raw chopped onion, fresh cilantro leaves, and a big dollop of sour cream. Tortilla chips make a great side for dipping, as does a big slice of cornbread.

What’s the Best Way to Freeze and Defrost Chili?

Let the chili cool to room temperature before transferring it to airtight containers. Be sure to leave about an inch of clearance between the chili and the lid of your container, as it will expand while freezing. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in a pot or microwave.

Sweet Potato Chili Recipe

Featuring tender sweet potato, ground beef, smoky-spicy chipotles in adobo, and a rich broth, this one-pot chili comes together in under an hour.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Makes about 8 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the chili:

  • 1 pound

    sweet potatoes

  • 1

    medium white onion

  • 4 cloves


  • 1

    canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    kidney beans

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    ground beef (80% fat / 20% lean)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    to 1 tablespoon sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons

    smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried oregano

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle

    light lager beer

Serving options:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese

  • Sour cream

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

  • Reserved chopped white onion

  • Corn chips or tortilla chips


  1. Peel and dice 1 pound sweet potato to 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups). Dice 1 medium white onion (about 1 1/2 cups); reserve 1/3 cup for serving. Mince 4 garlic cloves. Finely chop 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 pound ground beef in an even layer and let cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, breaking the meat up into smaller pieces. Season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the beef to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining onion and season with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the sweet potato, chipotle pepper, 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (depending on spicy heat level desired), 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir well to coat the potato in the spices.

  5. Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes. Pour 1 (12-ounce) light lager beer into the can, then pour into the pot. Scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring just up to a boil. Add the beans and ground beef and any accumulated juices on the plate. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

  6. Cover and simmer, reducing the heat as needed, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare any toppings as needed.

  7. Taste the chili and season with more adobo sauce or chopped chipotle peppers as needed. Serve topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, white onion, and corn chips as desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The chili can be made ahead up to 2 days ahead. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat over medium heat.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.