The Best Vegan Chili

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This vegan chili is incredibly rich and velvety and packed with layers of complex flavor, just like a classic chili should be. An easy homemade chili powder and slow simmering take this bean chili over the top.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour 50 minutes
Total 2 hours
5 from 525 votes

No exaggeration, this is the best vegan or vegetarian chili you will ever try. Thanks to a few key techniques, this baby has layers of complex flavors and an incredible velvety texture. 

Most vegan chili recipes have you take so many shortcuts that you end up with a bowl of bean soup dressed up with some chili powder. But if you’re willing to follow the steps in this recipe, you’ll be rewarded with an authentic bean chili unlike any other.

In this post:
1. 5 Secrets for the best vegan chili
2. Step-by-step instructions
3. How to make homemade chili powder
4. Tips for making this chili
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Video Walkthrough

bowl of vegan chili with sour cream and cilantro

5 Secrets to Incredible Vegan Chili

1. Start with real chile peppers.

You might be tempted to use store-bought chili powder when making chili, but here’s why that’s a mistake (except in limited circumstances…more on that below!). Whole dried chile peppers, which are used to make homemade chili powder, add so much complexity in taste, the kind you can never achieve with store-bought chili powder.

Many dried chile peppers carry notes of fruit, berries, chocolate, coffee, and/or raisins, adding layers of rich flavors. And when you layer homemade chili powder with fresh jalapeños and canned chipotle peppers, you get layer upon layer of complementary warming flavors: smoky, fruity, grassy, all in one bowl of chili.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, listen to what professional chefs say:

A bowl of chili starts with chiles.”

Texas-born chef Ben Berryhill for Fine Cooking

The best thing you can do to up your chili game is to leave those jars of pre-ground chili powder on the shelf. Starting your chili with real, honest-to-goodness whole dried chilies will save you money, while adding layer upon layer of complex flavor that you never thought was possible.”

J. Kenji López-Alt for Serious Eats

I think a lot of people really aren’t aware of how much natural sugar exists in [dried chile] peppers…it’s almost like having dried fruit in your dishes. So definitely [using dried chile peppers] is a much better way to make this dish than with chili powder ’cause you won’t get that sweetness in a chili powder.” 

Rick Martinez for Bon Appetit

Plus, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to make chili powder, and it will stay fresh for 6 months. Which means you can make a killer chili whenever the mood strikes.

Note: Instructions for my homemade chili powder are in the second recipe card at the bottom of this post. While I think it’s worth making your own chili powder, I have tested this particular recipe with store-bought chili powder and it’s still great (because this recipe uses many other “secrets”/techniques to amp up the flavors).

If using pre-made chili powder, I recommend ancho chili powder (made from just ground ancho chile peppers). It’s more flavorful than the standard chili powder, which is a blend of seasonings.

homemade chili powder in a glass jar

2. Toast the spices

There are two reasons you should always toast your ground spices rather than just plopping them into liquid. 

First, many spices are bitter when uncooked (taste a pinch of ground cumin or oregano, and you’ll know what I mean). As a result, your final dish ends up with bitter notes. 

Two, when you toast spices first (in a bit of oil, usually after or along with the aromatics), you draw out their essential oils. This heightens the spice’s true flavor, so that you actually taste a hint of cumin or oregano in your final dish.

Takeaway: Always toast your ground spices (e.g., chili powder, cumin, oregano) before adding the liquid (e.g., vegetable broth) to draw out their flavor. The toasting will happen quickly, in about 30 seconds.

3. Boost the umami

Traditional chili has a ton of natural rich savory flavor from the meat. To add savory notes to vegetarian chili, it’s necessary to add in a little extra umami. In this chili, I do that in three ways.

First, cook tomato paste for a few minutes. This caramelizes it and unleashes the natural umami found in tomatoes, especially a concentrated form of tomato.

Second, add soy sauce, which lends a potent form of plant-based umami and saltiness that salt alone can’t bring.

Third, use whole peeled canned tomatoes and crush them by hand (they have more pure tomato flavor and no additives, compared to pre-diced or pre-crushed tomatoes).

Note: If you have vegan Worcestershire sauce on hand, it would be a great sub for the soy sauce.

4. Add some richness and body

Classic chili recipes are very rich, but many of the vegetarian chili recipes I tried online were more loose, like soup. To ensure my chili is very rich, I rely on a few ingredients.

First, red wine, which intensifies all the aromatics, spices, and chili peppers in a way that vegetable broth alone cannot. Also, it adds to the rich body of the chili (you’ll notice as the wine deglazes, the mixture becomes SO jammy). While beer is more traditional in chili, every time I’ve made chili with beer, it ends up too bitter for my taste.

Second, cocoa powder. It sounds funky, but lots of chili recipes actually add a small amount of dark chocolate or cocoa powder. Chocolate not only adds depth of flavor but also accentuates the fruitiness of the dried chili peppers.

Third, instead of using only pinto beans, I add in one can of navy beans. Since they’re so small, they partially disintegrate during simmering, which naturally thickens the chili.

Finally, masa harina, AKA Mexican corn flour. When stirred in at the end, it thickens the chili even more, gives it a velvety texture, and a nice subtle corn flavor. This chili recipe is already quite thick, so I’d say this ingredient is optional.

Takeaway: Chili should be rich both in taste and texture. Red wine, cocoa powder, and masa harina all contribute to that.

5. Slow simmering is key for texture and flavor

Many chili recipes (including a few of my old recipes!) tell you to simmer for just 30 minutes. You can get a good chili this way (if the other tips are followed), but chili is designed to be a slow-simmered dish.

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This is because the flavors of chili always improve with a long, slow simmer. Slow simmering also contributes to a thicker, more unctuous consistency, so that every bite has the same flavor and texture (check out that velvety texture in the photo below!).

Takeaway: Gently simmer this chili for 1 1/2 hours (or up to 2 hours) for maximal flavor and the most luxurious texture.

velvety, rich vegan chili in a dutch oven on linen tablecloth

Step-by-step instructions

Gather your ingredients!

flatlay of ingredients for vegan chili

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook until nicely golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, jalapeños, and tomato paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste darkens.

Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and Mexican oregano and stir vigorously for 30 seconds (for homemade chili powder, see the next section)

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up the browned bits.

Add the vegetable broth, and scrape up any additional browned bits. Add the pinto beans, navy beans, chipotle peppers in adobo, bay leaves, salt & pepper, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Crush the tomatoes and add in.

Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes, until thick and velvety.

Stir in the masa harina, if using, and simmer for 3 minutes, until further thickened.

Add the cilantro, lime juice, and vinegar. Taste, adding more maple syrup or lime juice as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

How to make homemade chili powder

I highly recommend making your own chili powder. It might seem daunting, but I promise it’s actually quite simple. If you’re unable to do this, substitute with store-bought ancho powder and check out the notes in the recipe card.

Where can I buy dried chili peppers?

You can find a variety of dried chile peppers at Mexican grocery stores, some standard grocery stores such as ALDI, as well as online. If buying online, I recommend the chili peppers from the brand Ole Rico. They are super fresh and have a much softer texture (an indicator of freshness) than other dried peppers I’ve tried. They also sell a three-pack of the exact variety of chili peppers I use in my chili powder! (affiliate link).

How to select dried chile peppers for chili powder

For complex yet balanced flavors, I use three different chile peppers. Check out the graphic below for the flavor profile, heat level, and substitutes for each chile pepper.

guajillo peppers, ancho peppers, and chile de arbols on wooden cutting board with labels and descriptions

Tip: You can tailor the spiciness with the amount of chile de arbols you add. Omit entirely for a mild chili powder (same heat level as a store-bought chili powder). Add 2 peppers for a moderate heat, or up to 5 peppers for a spicy, spicy(!) heat.

Tips for working with chile peppers

First, open up the peppers to remove the seeds and membranes (they’re bitter). I find it’s easiest to gently tear open the peppers with my hands, but some people use kitchen shears. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards (or wear food-safe gloves if you have sensitive skin).

Second, toast the peppers. It releases their natural oils and reinvigorates them, giving the chili powder (and final chili) more complex flavors. We tested this recipe with untoasted chile peppers and it was good, but lacked some of the warm depth of flavor and tasted overall lighter and less complex.

When toasting the peppers, watch them closely and cook very briefly, maybe 1 minute per side. If they blacken or scorch, they get bitter. Small peppers, like chile de arbol, don’t need much time–maybe 20-30 seconds per side.

Allow the chilies to cool before grinding them. You’ll need a spice grinder (affiliate link), a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, or a food processor. Grind the peppers with the toasted whole spices until pulverized. Add in your pre-ground spices, blend again, and that’s it!

bowl of vegetarian chili on green surface with cilantro and scallions

Tips for making this recipe

Balance the flavors:

A great chili should have “a rich, complex chile flavor that combines sweet, bitter, hot, fresh, and fruity elements in balance.”

J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats

The reason I add maple syrup to my chili is that it sweetness balances both the spiciness and bitterness inherent in chile peppers. I finish the chili with lime juice and vinegar because sour flavors also mellow bitter tastes; they also enhance the umami found in soy sauce and tomatoes.

It’s critical to taste the chili after it’s simmered to see what flavors it needs more or less of. If you use a store-bought ancho chili powder, for instance, your chili might be slightly less bitter. So you won’t need as much less lime juice or maple syrup to balance it out. 

Chili always tastes better the next day.

When chili rests overnight, the chili powder and spices have a chance to meld with the other flavors so you end up with a chili that has more harmonious flavors.

Adjust the heat to your tolerance.

As y’all probably know, I like my food very spicy. Here’s what I add to my chili, but this will be too spicy for most folks: 2 jalapeños (with membranes); 2 chipotle peppers in adobo + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce; and for the homemade chili powder, I add ~ 3 chile de arbol peppers.

If you don’t love spicy food as much as I do, here are different ways to scale back on the heat.

Jalapeños: use one pepper and remove the the membranes (I wouldn’t omit the jalapeños entirely).

Chipotle peppers in adobo: use just 1 chipotle pepper and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce.

Homemade chili powder: omit the spicy chile de arbol peppers (or use just 1 to 2 of them).

vegan chili on green surface with cilantro and pickled onions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add vegan ground meat to this chili?

Sure! I prefer a bean-based chili without any faux meat, but adding vegan ground meat is a great option if you want to add a more traditional meaty texture or taste. We tested this recipe with Impossible Meat’s plant-based ground burger.

Option 1: Cook the onions until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add in your vegan ground meat and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until it’s starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes, adding a splash of water as needed to deglaze. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Option 2: Brown the vegan ground meat in a separate pan, then add it to the chili when you add the beans.

I don’t drink wine – can I omit it?

The alcohol does cook off, but if you don’t drink any alcohol, you can try replacing the red wine with 1/2 cup (120 mL) of red grape juice (no added sugar variety).

Or just deglaze with more vegetable broth. I’d suggest the best vegetable broth you can find. Imagine Organic is my favorite for store-bought veggie broth (rich and flavorful). For more deeply savory notes, you can try these “vegan chicken” or “vegan beef” broth powders (they are quite salty, so use less than the jar calls for) (affiliate links).

Your chili will have less complexity and body without the red wine, but it will still be good if you omit it!

How should I serve this chili?

With your favorite toppings, obviously! The toppings you choose help bring more balance to the final dish. For instance, vegan sour cream (I like Kite Hill or Tofutti brands) and avocado are great for cooling down the heat. Extra lime wedges and pickled onions bring a nice tanginess (find my recipe in the recipe card below). Cilantro and scallions offer a fresh contrast. Tortilla chips, obviously, add a nice crunch!

If you like adding a vegan cheese to your chili but don’t love store-bought shredded vegan cheese, a spoon of this Vegan Queso stirred in would be really good!

To stretch this chili further, serve it alongside warm corn tortillas (char the tortillas by placing them directly over a gas burner for ~20 seconds per side). Or, scoop over a bed of rice.

It’s also INCREDIBLE with my homemade cornbread, which adds the perfect slight sweetness to this chili.
vegan chili with cornbread

How do you store homemade chili powder? How long does it last?

In a glass jar in a dark place, like your pantry. When stored this way, it’ll stay good for 6 months!

How do you store and reheat this chili? Can you freeze it?

Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. You can reheat on the stove (my preference) or microwave.

And yes, chili freezes great for 3-4 months. I prefer to freeze it individual-sized portions (it defrosts much more quickly). These Souper Cubes in 1-cup or 2-cup portions are great for that (affiliate link)!

Can I make this oil-free?

There is really very little to no fat in this recipe besides the oil. I actually tried this recipe with half the amount of oil and it was less rich and harmonious in flavors. That’s because fat is an excellent carrier of flavor! The oil also enables the onions to get nicely golden brown and allows the full depth of flavor to be released from the spices.

I understand that some of my readers are oil-free, so if you must skip it, please stir some vegan sour cream or cashew cream in before serving!

bowl of vegetarian chili on green backgrop with pickled onions and sour cream

Watch! How to make vegan chili

How to make the best vegetarian chili of your life
How to make the best vegetarian chili of your life

That’s all you need to know about making this incredible vegan chili! If you love this recipe, please rate and review it below!

The Best Vegan Chili

5 from 525 votes
This vegan chili is incredibly rich and velvety and packed with layers of complex flavor, just like a classic chili should be. An easy homemade chili powder and slow simmering take this bean chili over the top.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southwestern, Tex-Mex
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 6


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (remove membranes for less heat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons homemade chili powder (recipe below), or store-bought ancho chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (or 2 teaspoons regular oregano or marjoram)**
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) dry red wine, such as Malbec, Syrah or Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups (480 mL) vegetable broth
  • 2 (15-ounce/425g) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce/425g) can of navy beans (or other small white beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch process cocoa powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari or soy sauce if you have vegan Worcestershire sauce, you can use that
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chop the peppers + measure out 1 tablespoon adobo sauce**
  • 1 (28-ounce/800g) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand (include juices)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt plus more as needed
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, plus more to finish as needed***
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons masa harina (Mexican corn flour) (optional)
  • 1 cup (12g) cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped

Toppings of choice

  • Vegan sour cream or diced avocado
  • Sliced scallions or chopped cilantro
  • Shredded vegan cheese or Vegan Queso
  • Quick Pickled Red Onions****


  • Read all the instructions and notes before getting started, especially about moderating the spiciness level.
  • Heat a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it’s shimmering, add the onions and season with a few pinches of salt. Stir frequently and cook the onions until nicely golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. If they start to burn around the edges, stir more frequently and/or add a splash of water.
  • Add the garlic, jalapeños, and tomato paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring very frequently, until tomato paste is darker in color. If it starts to dry out, add a splash of water and scrape up any browned bits.
  • Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano and stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the smell of alcohol has cooked off and it's jammy.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth, pinto beans, navy beans, cocoa powder, bay leaves, soy sauce, chopped chipotle peppers + adobo sauce, hand-crushed tomatoes + their juices, salt, black pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Stir well.
  • Bring the chili to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer (this is lowest heat on my small burner). Take care to not boil or too rapidly simmer the chili, as it will break down the beans too much.
    Cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until thick and velvety and the flavors have melded together, about 1 1/2 hours (or up to 2 hours). Discard the bay leaf.
  • Stir in the masa harina, if using. Simmer for 3 minutes, until the texture has further thickened.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, the vinegar, and cilantro. Taste and add more lime juice as needed for tanginess and add up to 1 more tablespoon maple syrup for sweetness to balance any bitterness. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Serve with toppings of choice, such as pickled onions, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, vegan sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, etc.


This chili recipe is spicy, so here are ways to moderate the heat.
Jalapeños: remove the the seeds and membranes and/or use 1 pepper instead of 2. Chipotle peppers in adobo: use 1 chipotle pepper + 1 tsp adobo sauce. Homemade chili powder: omit the spicy chile de arbol peppers (or use just 1).
*My homemade chili powder recipe is below. If using store-bought, I recommend an ancho chili powder (simply ground ancho peppers, in contrast to a standard chili powder which has other seasonings and is usually less flavorful). 
*Store-bought chili powder is not spicy, so you might want to make some adjustments: (1) you may not need as much maple syrup or lime juice to balance the flavors in step 8. (2) if you like your chili spicy(!), consider adding 3 jalapeño peppers. 
**Mexican oregano (citrus, bright, floral) is most traditionally used in chili and better suited to Mexican dishes than standard/Mediterranean oregano (bitter, mint, peppery). If you don’t have Mexican oregano, sub with 2 teaspoons marjoram or standard oregano. 
***Need to clarify that this is just 2 peppers from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, not 2 whole cans (one reader has done that before in another recipe!!). If you’re looking for milder heat, use 1 pepper only and 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce. 
****For quick pickled onions
  • Very thinly slice 1 medium red onion. Add to a large mason jar. 
  • Mix together freshly boiled water (3/4 cup or 180 mL) with 1/2 cup (120 mL) apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar. Add in 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar or maple syrup, stir until dissolved. 
  • Pour the hot liquid over the onions. Cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. 
  • You can serve now, but I prefer to refrigerate them for a more developed flavor

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1012mg | Potassium: 920mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2434IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 6mg

Homemade Chili Powder

4.9 from 332 votes
Making chili powder is easier than you think and this homemade chili powder made with three different dried chile peppers and lots of spices is packed with warming flavor. It makes for a much more complex, deeply flavored chili!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
15 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mexican, Southwestern, Tex-Mex
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 12 tablespoons


  • 4 ancho peppers*
  • 4 guajillo peppers*
  • 2 to 5 chiles de arbol**
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds optional
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (or 2 teaspoons regular oregano or marjoram)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder or granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Using your fingers, remove the stem from each chili pepper and gently tear the peppers apart. You can use kitchen shears, but using your hands is easier. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the peppers, or wear food safe gloves if your skin is sensitive.
  • Once the peppers are open, loosen all of the seeds and any membranes, or scrape them out. This is necessary to minimize bitterness.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy, dark pan over medium heat, but don't heat for too long. Add the larger chilies (anchos and guajillos) in a single layer without overlap. Toast just until fragrant, about 1 minute, maybe 1 1/2 minutes, then flip and toast for 30-60 seconds. Smaller peppers like chile de arbol need 30 to 45 seconds, so I toast those separately.***
    Take care not to scorch them or they will taste bitter. Remove and allow to cool completely. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  • Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the hot pan. Toast until very fragrant, about 45 to 60 seconds, shaking the pan or stirring frequently to prevent burning, until toasty and aromatic. Remove and allow to cool.
  • Once cool, add the chile peppers and toasted whole spices to a spice grinder or high powered blender. If using a small spice grinder, tear up the chilies with your hands into smaller pieces and do this in two batches. Blend until the peppers and spices are pulverized.
  • Add the ground spices (oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cinnamon). Blend until a fine powder has formed. Allow the powder to settle before removing the lid.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Makes 12 tablespoons, enough for 3 batches of this chili recipe.


*You can sub ancho peppers with guajillo, pasilla, mulato, or New Mexico red chile peppers. You can sub guajillos with ancho, pasilla, or mulato peppers. The flavors across these peppers aren’t all the same but will still yield a good chili powder. 
**Omit chiles de arbol entirely for a mild chili powder. Use 2 chiles de arbol for moderate heat. I typically use 4 or 5. 
***If toasting peppers in two batches, lower the heat a bit after the first round because the pan will already be hot.

Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3523IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

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771 comments on The Best Vegan Chili

  1. Theresa

    5 stars
    Really good.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so happy you think so, Theresa!

  2. Jessica G

    5 stars
    This is literally the absolute best chili I have ever had. I just added some beyond meat to it to add that meaty factor. I definitely recommend making your own chili powder as the recipe suggests. It’s really easy to make and you can absolutley taste the difference from pre-made chili powder.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Jessica!

  3. Deb K

    5 stars
    OH. MY. GOD. Seriously. Damn, girl! I had to make a couple changes due to not having smoked paprika (used regular and added a little liquid smoke), and I used regular storebought chili powder. I used 3 jalapenos (seeded two), and I added some tvp. I cooked my own beans from scratch, decreased salt a little bit. It was sooooooooooo good. I’m sure it will be even better tomorrow.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing that with us, Deb! We’re over the moon to hear you had such a good experience with the recipe!

  4. Valerie

    5 stars
    I’ve got my 4th pot of this chili simmering. It’s by far the best chili recipe ever! Thanks so much.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you’re such a fan of the recipe, Valerie. Thanks for your kind words!

  5. Lisa

    Without a doubt this is excellent. I am not a fan of heat, so only used so the only hot spice item I used was the chili powder, and only 1.5 tablespoons at that. It still had lots of flavour for us. I added some lime at the end. I sent this recipe to my brothers. It would make a great chili cook-off between us.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lisa, we’re so happy you enjoyed the chili and we’re looking forward to you trying even more recipes! :) Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe.

  6. Dorothy

    Hi—I am making this for a chili cook off which will be served in crock pot. I am wondering how far ahead of serving can I add the masa harina, lime juice, vinegar and cilantro? Thank you so much!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Dorothy, you can add the masa harina as directed in the post. Wait to add the lime juice, vinegar and cilantro right before serving for the best possible result. Sorry for the late response!

      1. Dorothy

        No worries—and I won the chef’s prize at the chili cook off, beating out the chili’s that contained meat! FABULOUS recipe.

  7. Christy

    5 stars
    This is so incredible! I made this morning , used only one jalapeño and 1 chipotle . I only had regular chili powder , otherwise as written and holy moly! I’ve been forwarding to everyone ! Another home run !

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Christy, your kind words mean the world to us! Thank you for being a part of the RPL community.

  8. Brett

    5 stars
    I’ve made this three times now. It’s phenomenal. I used to be a meat eater and loved my chili. Thought I’d never have the same experience again. I was wrong. This is the best ever (including a few chili-cook-off weekends). The flavors is rich, complex, and oh-so savory. The heat is chef’s kiss perfect (for me; I do like it hot but not too hot). It takes a long while (I’m a slow dicer and measurer) but it sure is worth the investment of time!

    1. Brett

      Also, I recommend browning 1 pound of ground Impossible meat and adding it to this recipe (which is already in the optional section . . . but I do want to put in a plug for this as being extra good).

    2. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you’ve been loving the recipe, Brett. Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. Jennifer

    I can’t wait to make this! Is there any way it can be done with an instant pot? My partner can only have pressure cooked beans for some reason ( Doctors orders) and also no pinto beans, so can I use kidney or red beans instead?
    Thank you,
    I love your show, you are an amazing cook and funny too!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jennifer, we can’t wait for you to try it either! And in regard to cooking this chili in the IP, we haven’t tried this particular recipe ourselves, but have made other chili recipes in the IP so we think it can be done. We recommend 8-10 minutes pressure cook at high pressure, with a 10 minute natural pressure release. Hope that helped!

  10. Judy Pratt

    5 stars
    “Best chili you’ve ever made” said my husband of 34 years. This chili is so rich and flavorful. I love it.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Ahhh, so lovely to hear it Judy! Thank you so much for making the recipe for your family :)

  11. Stephanie

    Will be making this soon (and I always use dried chilis instead of premixed chili powder!), but am wondering if you have an idea of how much this makes in quarts (or cups). Thank you! It looks so good and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for reaching out. We didn’t measure the total amount in quarts/cups but it makes approximately 6 servings.

      1. Stephanie A Weis

        5 stars
        Made a little over 2 Q. :) I need 8 quarts for a contest. I doubled it and made it today adding another small can of tomatoes and crumbles so It came close enough to the amount I need.

  12. Gabrielle

    5 stars
    Not only is this chili incredible to me, but it’s so good that my lifelong Texan, omnivore mom requests it for special occasions. We usually have it as Frito pie topped with pickled red onions, avocado, extra cilantro, and, if we’re lucky, shredded vegan Smoked Cheddar from Rebel Cheese (HIGHLY recommend checking it out).
    I gave up meat at a very young age so I figured my metric for good chili may be quite far from my omni Texan friends, but a handful of them have told me it’s the best chili they’ve ever had and they don’t miss the meat at all. Definitely worth checking out!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Amazing to hear, Gabrielle! Thank you so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing it with others! Sounds like it was a great response :)

  13. Jen

    5 stars
    JUST MADE THIS!!✨ No subs, as is minus the corn flour bc mine was just right! Wholly agree on the red wine vs beer- what a difference. Gives the chili a lovely cohesion and body PLUS the peppers trifecta is absolutely the backbone of a good chili. YUM!! Thanks so much for another banger!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the awesome review, Jen!

  14. Chris Oliver

    5 stars
    Hi, great recipe. I love your videos on YouTube. Been watching for over 2yrs now. Awesome channel. With your homemade chilli powder, would you use this for Indian cooking too or just specially for Mexican? Many thx, Chris

    1. Chris

      Hi, I have another question. In the UK it’s hard to source many of these ingredients. There’s an online Mexican grocer where I can buy the 3x different dried chillies for the chilli powder. As for the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I cannot get this in a jar, only a can which once opened, what would I do with the rest? I can buy chipotle paste all over, though I’ve not used it before. Would this do for an alternative and if so, how much would you suggest as a substitute? Thx again…

      1. Jacob

        Hey Chris – also in the UK and have made this recently. Honestly the chipotle peppers in the can have so much rich, smokey flavour. So if you’re able to include them, do.

        You could just put the rest in a non-metallic container in the fridge and use it for something else, like making a dip. There’s also a Sofritas recipe on this site you can use the rest for.

        1. Chris

          Cool, thx Jacob. Will check out the Sofritas…

      2. Leah

        5 stars
        Hi Chris I always freeze the rest of the can of Chipotle peppers in sauce in a plastic zip bag and smooth them flat so once they are frozen you c
        an break off to use in another recipe.

        1. Chris

          Hey Leah, thx for the advice. I’ve ordered my chillies now from mexgrocer so will have to see if I can get a can somewhere else. Good to know I can freeze them like you suggest (flat to snap, good idea) but I’d still like to know what Nisha thinks about using chipotle paste. Looking at the ingredients, they both have a tomato sauce base with extra spices added so I’m curious as to the similarities. Cheers, Chris

      3. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Chris, you can freeze the additional chipotle peppers in an ice cube tray for later use- the can is what you’re looking for for this recipe!

      4. Stephanie A Weis

        5 stars
        Hi Chris,
        I blend up the remainder of the chipotles in adobo (after removing the seeds) and freeze them in tablespoon portions. Once frozen, I double bag them or put them in a very air tight glass container, and they last a really long time.

    2. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Chris, we’re delighted you do! :) And this chili powder wouldn’t work for Indian recipes unfortunately because they contain Mexican peppers.

  15. Jacob

    5 stars
    If you’ve been tired of mediocre chilis, and you want to really take it to the next step, this is for you. It’s fabulous. This really impressed an omnivore foodie friend. I was delighted.

    I found making this an entire journey in itself. I had to seek out the chilis for the homemade chili powder at local specialist spice shops. I learned more about the different kinds of chili pepper and their flavours and heats. Through Nisha’s video, I learned more about how tomatoes can add an umami flavour to dishes.

    There are so many things here where it requires a real cooking skill to get it right. Making sure the onions don’t burn but get nicely golden at the beginning. Ensuring you toast the chilli peppers long enough, but not so long that they burn.

    I left this recipe for a Sunday when I could start cooking early (5pm) and I’m so glad I did. It took me 4-5 hours in total; it would not suit a weeknight. Patience here really is key.

    – I used pasilla chillis instead of guajillo, which were out of stock.
    – I used a can of black beans in place of one of the two cans of pinto beans
    – I used a regular 98% cocoa powder instead of dutch process
    – I used some kind of green chilis that looked very jalapeno-like but not exactly a jalapeno

    Otherwise I followed everything exactly. I used 3 chiles de arbol, but pasilla chilis are milder than guajillo. I found it medium hot even then.

    I strongly recommend getting very familiar with the recipe as Nisha says. There are at least four stages here where you could easily burn things and make the whole recipe bitter, so pay attention and get everything measured out and ready BEFOREHAND and know exactly what you’re doing. I needed to deglaze the onions with little splashes of water several times. The step immediately before the wine is also another critical one.

    Thanks Nisha and team for your incredible dedication to your craft and your food. Your careful testing and effort makes all the difference. I’ve got a new star in my repertoire, thanks to you.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, such a lovely comment! Thank you for taking the time to write all of that out, Jacob! I’m sure it will be quite helpful for people making this chili in the future. We’re delighted you enjoyed it :)

  16. Ginna Sloane

    I made your Outrageously Good Chili for lunch guests, complete with Pickled Onions and Cornbread. A huge hit!!! I love your recipes for the serious umami and balance of flavors/textures.
    Also the photos of each recipe’s mise en place is very helpful.
    Where can I get some of those various sized plexi or glass bowls you use for mise en place?

    1. Nisha

      Hi Ginna, that’s so lovely to hear! What a great lunch to share with guests. Thank you for sharing! You should be able to get them at most kitchen stores, or here on Amazon:

  17. Sapna Patel

    5 stars
    Hi Nisha,

    Just want to say all of your recipes are so delicious and thank you so much for creating this for all of us to enjoy. I became Vegan a couple of years ago and really struggled to find food or make food that tasted well and your blog has completely transformed that. I wanted to see if you have advice on batching and freezing this recipe and others. I am a busy working professional and would like to freeze individual servings so I can enjoy whenever I want.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Sapna, you can definitely make a double or triple batch of this and freeze! It’s easiest to freeze in individual portions, but if you plan on eating a lot throughout the week then you can split the recipe up into bigger tupperware containers in the freezer. We’d just suggest defrosting overnight or potentially longer if it’s a larger quantity of chili.

  18. Greg Brandon

    5 stars
    I just made this as it is written. First time I’ve made my own chili powder. You say it gets better tomorrow. I’m blown away right now. This is the best chili I’ve ever had. Now I’m gonna run out to the store for a red onion. Lol Thank You. It’s really delicious.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lovely to hear you are such a fan of the chili, Greg! Thanks for sharing :)

  19. Sarah

    5 stars
    I made this chili exactly like how the recipe calls for and I even made the homemade chili powder as well… and WOW. This might be one of the best chilis I’ve ever had. Definitely let it sit overnight, because it tastes phenomenal the next day!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Sarah!

  20. Susan Lerdo

    5 stars
    I’ve made a number of your recipes, Nisha, and have always been thrilled with the results. As much as I’d love to make my own chili powder, I’m totally at a loss as to where to get the chilies in this recipe; I live in Germany and wouldn’t know where to begin. I’ve got homemade chipotle peppers in adobo sauce so that’s a plus!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Susan, You can find a variety of dried chile peppers at some standard grocery stores such as ALDI, as well as online. If buying online, I recommend the chili peppers from the brand Ole Rico. They are super fresh and have a much softer texture (an indicator of freshness) than other dried peppers I’ve tried. They also sell a three-pack of the exact variety of chili peppers I use in my chili powder! (affiliate link).

    2. Lala

      Walmart every single one of those Chili peppers in the Mexican section even the fresh cinnamon sticks and the oregano.

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