Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

sweet potato black bean chili in 2 bowls with fry bread on the side

Sometimes, chili is just a vehicle for the toppings. The cheese, the avocado, the sour cream… all the things! Let’s get one thing straight: This chili is not that. It’s a flavor bomb of tender sweet potatoes, black beans, and (optional) beef suspended in a deep, tangy, chipotle, tomato, beer sauce-like-broth. Oh, and it’s yum x10 because of my current best friend: roasted garlic. We’ve been over the undeniable splendor of roasted garlic. If you’re not on the train yet, please hop on. It’s so good and there’s such satisfaction in just squeezing the rich, golden, caramelized paste into whatever you’re making.

The beef in this chili is optional, thanks to the hearty veggies, rich sauce/broth, and a chili spice blend that won’t quit. This one hails from the spice shop my mom and I own in Duck. Prior to this magic coming into my life, my go-to chili spice blend was 1 tablespoon of New Mexican chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and that truly would be fine to use here. For me, our spice shop’s blend is The Best and I can’t get enough of it.

Now, I realize I said this chili is not just about the toppings, but it is a little bit about the bread on the side. This is Fry Bread, also known as Soft Pillow of Tender Flaky Carbs, recipe coming later this week to the blog:

fry bread on parchment paper

Unexpected side effects of chili

LOL, not those side effects. It’s Short Story Share Time: Chili and fry bread puts me in The Way Back Machine to 2010ish when Joey and I lived in the tiniest little house up the beach. “Up the beach”, to those who don’t live on the OBX, refers to this special strip of land where you literally drive on the beach to get to your house and there are no commercial businesses, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. (Google Carova Beach, NC or North Swan Beach, NC to see what I’m talking about.) I could do a whole post about that place and maybe I will one day. But, as it relates to this recipe, we ate a lot of chili and fry bread up there. It was a full-on phase; I think we had it twice a month for a good long time. And we had really close friends, another couple, that we hung out with all the time up there. The boys would chit chat and watch football and we girls would laugh and sip wine and cook with Anchorman playing in the background. Through a series of events, that girlfriend and I are no longer in touch and this is something that’s really been weighing on me lately. So… as I chopped peppers and onions for this recipe and thought about those days, I sent her a message on Facebook. And we talked (typed) for the first time in 7 years. Isn’t it funny how all those old feelings of friendship and genuine laughter can come rushing back when you reconnect with someone? OK, sappy story over for now. Yay for us, and yay for chili and fry bread💕

sweet potato black bean chili with greek yogurt, chopped onions, avocado, cilantro, and feta on top in 2 bowls with fry bread on the side

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

sweet potato black bean chili in 2 bowls with fry bread on the side

A flavor bomb of tender sweet potatoes, black beans, and (optional) beef suspended in a deeply flavored, tangy, chipotle, tomato, beer sauce-like-broth.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb of 93% lean ground beef or turkey, or you can leave this out if you prefer
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 T chopped chipotle in adobo
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 T Matanza’s Chili Spice Blend, or see notes
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 a can of beer
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 1 head of roasted garlic (slice the top off a head of garlic, drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap it up in foil and pop it in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes), or see notes if you don’t have/want roasted garlic
  • a squeeze of lime juice


  • diced red onion
  • sour cream
  • diced avocado
  • feta or cotija cheese
  • cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper until soft, then add the beef and cook until browned.
  2. Add in the chili spice blend, chipotles in adobo, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the sweet potatoes, diced tomatoes, black beans, beer, and chicken stock. Bring this to a boil, pop a lid on and simmer for 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the chili, followed by a squeeze of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with whatever toppings you like!


Roasted garlic stores for at least a week in the fridge so it’s easy to make ahead of time and have on hand. If you don’t, just add 3 cloves of minced garlic in step 2.

If you don’t want or can’t get the Matanza’s Chili Spice Blend, substitute your favorite chili spices or 1 tablespoon of New Mexican chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

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