This smoky slow cooker sweet potato chili makes a particularly great meal on a cool day, although it is delicious all year round. It has all of the usual chili staples like ground beef, kidney beans, and spices, but with the addition of brilliant orange sweet potatoes.
How to Make Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili
This is a great recipe because you can make it with either canned beans or dried beans. Depending on which one you choose, the start of making this recipe will be quite different. If you would like to use dried beans, you should start by soaking them in water overnight. This will allow them to cook faster the following day when you simmer them on the stove. It should take a total time of 45 minutes for the beans to soften. Next, you can drain them and allow them to sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
If you choose to make this chili with canned beans, you can skip the first steps. Instead, you can move onto roasting the corn so that it is golden. This builds some delicious flavour into your chili. To roast the corn, you can turn the browning function on in your slow cooker and stir the corn kernels gradually until they achieve some colour. Alternatively, use dry pot or pan on the stove instead.
After that, brown the ground beef in the same way - either with the browning setting of your slow cooker or on the stovetop.
The next part is the easiest because it involves stirring all of the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. This mixture includes diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth for the liquid elements. Meanwhile, the spices comprise of chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper for some heat. The chili powder should be the regular mild version. The veggies components are of course sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, beans, and corn.
If you are concerned that your chili might end up too thin at the start, don't worry. The sweet potatoes will help thicken any liquid. If you have extra sweet potatoes, turn them into these cute sliders.
You can cook your chili on either low or high heat depending on when you would like it ready by. Low heat will take a total time of 8 hours while high heat will only take 4 hours.
Is it Better to Use Canned or Dried Beans
This choice is really up to you as using both canned or dried beans have their benefits. Canned beans are wonderful for their convenience. You can simply open them up and add them to whatever recipe you want. They don't even need to be cooked and can be incorporated into salads. The one downside to any canned ingredients is that they can be expensive at $2 to $3 a can.
On the other hand, dried beans are a little more work. They require soaking in water for a day or overnight before cooking. Dried beans are cheaper than cans at only a $3 or $4 a bag. A bag can also serve you for multiple meals while a can or two will only serve you for one recipe. If you are trying to be more economical, a bag of dried beans may be the better choice whereas if you have a busy schedule, cans work just fine.
The best of both worlds, however, would be to cook a large batch of dried beans and put them in the freezer for later use. To do this, you could follow a similar method to what I list for cooking dried beans below in the recipe. Then, allow them to cool before dividing them between freezer containers and placing them in the freezer. The beans should keep in the freezer for up to six months. Just be sure to label the bags so you use the beans in an ideal amount of time.
Can I Make this Chili on the Stove?
The best part about homemade chili is that it is incredibly versatile to make. A crockpot is wonderful because it allows a long simmer for all the flavours to really meld together. Cooking it in a pot on the stove will allow it to cook faster, though.
To make this chili recipe on the stove, simply start by preparing the kidney beans, corn and ground beef as the recipe states. Next, you can combine everything in the pot and bring it to a simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender.
You should definitely aim to simmer the chili for a total time of at least 30 minutes, which helps remove the tinny flavour from the canned ingredients and bring out the oils in the chili powder and other spices, but it could go slightly longer. Just don't bring it to a boil as you don't want ingredients like sweet potatoes to break down into the sauce too much.
Oh, and if you remove the cooked chili from the stove, allow it to cool, and refrigerate it, it will taste even better the next day when you reheat it.
How Long Will this Sweet Potato Chili Keep?
This chili with sweet potatoes recipe doesn't make an overly large batch, but if you are in a household of less than this recipe's serving yield of six to eight people, you may have some leftovers on hand. In that case, you can keep your chili refrigerated for between three and four days. It will be delicious reheated on the stove or in the microwave for lunches or dinner during the week.
If you won't be able to consume it all in a few days, you could also freeze it. To freeze your chili leftovers, divide it between airtight containers that are safe for the freezer or sealable freezer bags. The chili should keep at its best for up to six months. Any longer and the textures of the ingredients may start to deteriorate and be unpleasant to eat.
Other Chili Recipes or Accompaniments You'll Love:
Sweet Potato Chili
- 28 ounce (796 ml can) diced tomatoes
- 23 ounce (680 ml) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 15 oz cans kidney beans drained; or 3 cups cooked kidney beans (start with 1.5 c dry beans, soak overnight)
- 1 cup corn frozen and thawed
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup chicken broth
- If using cooked beans, soak 1.5 cups kidney beans overnight. Then rinse and cook covered in water until softened (about 45 minutes).
- Roast the corn until most pieces have a dark/charred corner, either in your slow cooker on the browning function or on the stove top. A dry pan or pot works best. Set aside corn and brown the meat (in slow cooker or on stove stop).
- Combine all ingredients in the base of your slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours).
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Chili beans offer a healthy dose of fiber, protein, and nutrients, making them a nutritious choice as part of a balanced diet.
A touch of sugar can enhance the overall flavor of chili by balancing acidity and reducing bitterness.
Opt for chili with lean meat, plenty of vegetables, and beans for a balanced and nutritious option.
Slow cookers enhance chili by allowing flavors to meld slowly, resulting in a rich and delicious dish.
While rare, extended cooking in a slow cooker may lead to overcooked textures. Monitor the dish for optimal results.
Browning meat before slow cooking adds depth to the flavor, but skipping this step is possible for a quicker preparation.
It's advisable to limit chili in a slow cooker on low to 4-6 hours to prevent overcooking and maintain optimal taste and texture.