Bowl of chili with black beans, corn and tomatoes.

October 10, 2022

Black Bean Chili

Chipotle peppers give this vegetarian black bean chili some serious smoky heat. It has corn and red bell peppers and each spoonful is spicy, hearty and filling.

With chipotle peppers, corn, red bell peppers and a blend of dried seasonings, this black bean chili recipe is spicy and has so much personality. It’s easy for a weeknight dinner and special enough for a game-day spread. This chili can be vegan and gluten-free, depending on how you top it and what you serve with it.

Three bowls of chili with toppings.

My intense craving for soup begins the moment I feel a slight chill in the air. And to be more specific, it always involves chili. That fragrant mix of beans, veggies and spices is warm and cozy with a spicy kick.

This easy vegetarian chili is very filling. There’s no need for ground beef, ground turkey or chicken. In fact, you can keep this as a vegan chili if you skip the shredded cheese and sour cream toppings or use plant-based versions.

Why You Need This Chili

The recipe is simple. If you haven’t made chili before, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t let chili cook-offs and long cook times intimidate you. Actually, you can make a pretty fantastic one in less than 45 minutes.

It makes the most of pantry ingredients. The recipe uses canned beans, tomatoes and corn.  I encourage you to keep a supply of these canned goods in your pantry because they are incredibly convenient to throw together a pot of chili, Minestrone Soup, Rosemary White Bean Tomato Soup and so much more.

This chili has tons of flavor.  The combination of aromatics including dried spices and chipotles en adobo give the chunky broth a nice smoky taste. It has everything you want from a veggie chili.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including black beans, tomatoes, corn, onions, red peppers, spices, oil, and chipotles en adobo.

This is what you need:

  • Black beans: You don’t have to rinse off the beans like you do with other recipes. You can dump the beans and the goop from the can right into the pot. Kidney beans or pinto beans are good substitutes or include a mix of beans like I do in this Three Bean Chili.
  • Corn: Sweet corn plays a supporting role to the star in this chili, the black beans of course! I love the color and texture those little kernels add to each bite.
  • Red peppers give the chili something a bit crispy. With any soup, you risk everything being soft from simmering, so that’s why I like bell peppers in my chili.
  • Red onions really kick things off. The recipe starts with sautéing chopped onions, and this becomes base that you keep adding spices to and layering in more ingredients.
  • Tomatoes: You can see the charred flecks in a can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes. They are perfect for any chili.
  • Spices: The mix includes ground cumin, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Chipotles en adobo: To give the chili that wonderful smoky, spicy flavor, I chop a chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles en adobo. I also add a couple tablespoons of the adobo sauce.
  • Garlic: Along with the spice blend, I include 2 minced cloves.
  • Water: When I stir in the tomatoes, corn and beans, I also pour in 2 cups of water to thin out the chili into a more broth-like consistency. It does thicken and reduce slightly as it cooks. You can use low-sodium vegetable broth if you want.
  • Olive oil: The onions sauté in olive oil as they soften.

Chili Toppings

You can arrange the toppings individual bowls with spoons and let each person top their chili however they want. Some of my favorites include:

  • Shredded cheese (cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend)
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro
  • Finely chopped red onions
  • Avocados (sliced or diced)
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt

How To Make Black Bean Chili

1. Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.

2. Sauté the onions until they begin to soften and turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

Oil heating in a pot. Onions sauteing in oil.

3. Add the garlic and spices. The onions will become very aromatic after a minute.

4. Sauté the red peppers for 2-3 minutes. They should still be crisp. Make sure not to overcook them.

Spices and garlic stirred into onions sauteing in the pot, Red peppers stirred into sauteed onions.

5. Add the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, black beans, corn, tomatoes and water.

6. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until it thickens. This will take 20-30 minutes.

Divide the chili into bowls and serve with your desired toppings.

Chili simmering on the stove.

What To Serve With Chili

For something super simple on the side, flour or corn tortillas, cornbread and tortilla chips are great options.

You can go all in on beans with Sheet Pan Nachos or Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas.

And if you want a salad, try this Quinoa Black Bean Salad or this Mango Avocado Salad.

Leftovers

You can keep the chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days. Reheating can be done on the stove or in the microwave. Freeze it if you want to store it longer, up to 1 month.

Bowl of balck bean chili with a piece of torn cornbread.

FAQs

Do you drain black beans for chili?

No, you do not need to drain and rinse canned black beans before you add them to the pot to simmer in a chili recipe. You can use the beans and the liquid in the can.

What is the best bean for chili?

Besides black beans, you can also use kidney beans or pinto beans. Take advantage of the convenience of canned beans. You do not need to cook dried beans to make a great chili.

More Chili Recipes

Three Bean Chili
Chile Verde with White Beans
Vegan Poblano White Bean Chili
One Pot Quinoa Chili

More Spicy Soup Recipes

Spicy Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup
Chickpea Harissa Vegetable Soup
Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder
Slow Cooker Lentil Tortilla Soup
Chipotle Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
Tomato Carrot Lentil Soup

Let me know if you made this chili recipe. Please leave a comment and rating below. Thanks!

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Bowl of black bean chili with tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro and cheese.

Black Bean Chili

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 28-38 minutes
  • Total Time: 33-43 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Saute & Simmer
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Chipotle peppers give this vegetarian black bean chili some serious smoky heat. With corn and red bell peppers, each spoonful is spicy, hearty and filling.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper, roughly chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo
  • 215 ounce cans black beans
  • 115 ounce can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
  • 128 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • For serving: sliced jalapenos, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, chopped red onions, avocados

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften and turn translucent.
  3. Stir in the garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
  4. Add the red peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, black beans, corn, tomatoes and water.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the chili thickens, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Divide the chili into bowls. Top with desired toppings including jalapenos, tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, red onions and avocados.

Notes

If you want the chili to be less spicy, only add 1 tablespoon adobo sauce.

You can substitute with kidney beans or pinto beans. You can also use a mix including black beans.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days. Warm over low to medium heat on the stove or in the microwave.

To keep the chili longer, freeze it up to 1 month. Thaw it before warming it on the stove or in the microwave.

Keywords: black bean chili, vegetarian chili

Originally published October 31, 2019. Updated: October 10, 2022.

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