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 532 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 532 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 339 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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4.95 from 532 votes (231 ratings without comment)

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786 comments on The Best Vegan Chili

  1. Rhonda

    5 stars
    I’m not one to leave comments too often but I just had to for this recipe.

    It’s hands down the best bean chili/vegan chili recipe out there. I’ve tried a bunch of the top recipes and nothing comes close to this one. Everything else resembles a thin, flavorless bean soup in comparison.

    The key here is taking the time to toast and blend the whole dried chilis. It makes for such a wonderful velvety texture and a deep deep flavor. I’ve made this as-is, with mushrooms, and with beyond meat/impossible meat and it’s phenomenal every which way. Sure it takes a little longer but it’s so so worth it.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for the awesome review, Rhonda! It makes us happy to know this is your favorite vegan chili recipe. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review :)

  2. AC

    4 stars
    Very, very good dish, but not quite chili.

    What we’ve got here is a great spicy bean stew that is worthy of making for its own sake. However any definition of chili needs a “meat” component, whether that’s vegan or something else (let’s face it, “chili” is short for “chili con carne”).

    Moreover, it needs time, or to put it more simply it’s significantly better with the additional ingredient of “time to stew.’

    To that end, I added about 10-12 good-sized cremini mushrooms just as the onions are about done–chopped or diced or quartered works (sliced, not so much), but I’ve found it’s important to let them cook down to the brown. They add great texture and umami flavour, and help transform the dish from a wonderful bean stew to superior chili.
    The second ingredient I added was time. Simply put, chili’s better the next day. Every book worth its shelf space and chili cook will tell you that. Don’t miss out on improving the quality and flavour of the chili by adding a little patience in the form of 12-24 hours of waiting to eat it. It’s not a little better, it’s a lot better.
    And one more consideration: a spot of nutritional yeast. A tablespoon works well. It adds a little nuttiness, tang, and cheesiness to the dish and an all-important element of vitamin B12, which makes this a complete meal for vegans.
    Consider these options. I found that they added to an already great stew to make a superlative 5 star chili.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi AC, thanks for the lengthy review and your feedback!

      In regard to letting this chili rest, the blog post we do mention “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.” We hope you didn’t miss that part!

      And as for adding vegan meat, Nisha mentions this point in the FAQ section where it says “Can I add vegan ground meat to this chili?” She says “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.” There are instructions as to how to use vegan ground meat in that section as well.

      We’re happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe despite any of the above mentioned issues. And we appreciate your feedback!

  3. Dave

    5 stars
    I’ve made a lot of chili recipes in my lifetime and this one is hands down the best. Hits all the right notes, it requires a fair amount of work but it’s oh so worth it. Tons of depth of flavor, incredibly satisfying to make and eat. I don’t need another chili recipe anymore.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your review made our day, Dave! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and for trying out the recipe.

  4. Janine Barclay

    1 star
    This chili is WAY too spicy for us. I didn’t use the jalapeno peppers at all, I cut all the other spices in half and then after tasting it I added another can of tomatoes and more cans of beans. This is a giant pot of chili now that won’t get eaten. When I used to eat chicken wings this chili is about the level of hot wings you order in a restaurant. I just wish I knew this before starting.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Janine, we are sorry to hear it! We added step 1 in the recipe card so people could tailor the spiciness of their chili. You used just one chipotle pepper in adobo? We aren’t sure why just 1 chipotle pepper plus 1 chile de arbol pepper came out way too spicy for 6 servings, sorry to hear it. We hope you get the chance to try some more of the recipes and enjoy them, but we appreciate your honest review.

  5. Maisa

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Nisha! This recipe is a winner for potlucks, picnics, barbecues, burritos… all my non-vegan friends ask me to bring “that amazing chilli” to potlucks, with some extra to take home and enjoy during the week!
    I finally feel confident that the food I bring is just as good as the non-vegan options!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That warms our hearts to hear, Maisa! Thank you for sharing :) 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. Thanks!

  6. Gus Kort

    THanks for the great recipe, made it multiple times and really enjoyed it. Howevr 4 tablespoons of chilipowder can be really overwhelming depening on what type of store bought chilipowder you use. (I used indian, it’s wayyyy to spicy)

    Thanks again,

  7. Mary U.

    5 stars
    Love it. I feel very proud of my chili powder concoction, and it tastes really good. I think the Masa Harina is a must for the texture.

  8. Mitch Hopkinson

    5 stars
    I made this amazing chilli last night, well my version of it. But essentially very similar. Without doubt the depth of flavour was incredible. I also made my own chilli powder from available ingredients (not able to get everything I needed in the UK). Thanks for this it’s yummy x

  9. Vicki

    5 stars
    This is, by far, the best chili that I’ve ever made or eaten. I lived in Texas for 30 years, and I’ve made a lot of chili. This chili is intense, dark, and complex. I think it would win, hands down, in a chili cook-off against all other chilis. In the Homemade Chili Powder recipe, instead of the whole chiles, I used 3 T. each of ancho, guajillo, and pasilla chile powders that I toasted and 1 t. hot New Mexico chile powder, toasted. I did not add the masa harina to the chili since it was thick enough after 1 1/2 hours of simmering, nor did I add the cilantro. I topped off my bowl with a dollop of cashew yogurt, and that was a nice finishing touch. Absolutely delicious!

    1. Cherisa Jean Rempe

      Genius finishing touch. You get the savory umami flavor from the cashews and the sour cream flavor from the yogurt. What a great idea!

  10. Ellen Strickland

    5 stars
    This is soooo good. I usually do it in the instant pot, and it turns our great every time. The only thing I do differently is substitute 3 cans of black beans and 1 can of red kidney beans for the beans Nisha uses. I use the saute function until tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients are added and use high pressure for 6 minutes and full natural release.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Happy to hear that method works for you, Ellen. Thanks for the review!

  11. Leo

    5 stars
    The homemade chili powder is a real revelation! Thank you so much for this great recipe <3

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re over the moon to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Leo. Thanks for your kind words!

  12. Nektarios

    5 stars
    This was amazing. I made some changes based on what I had, namely the beans used and I added extra peppers. The flavour was rich and hearty, but brightened by the lime juice and red wine vinegar. The maple syrup added the tiniest hint of sweetness. Will definitely make again.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely review, Nektarios! :) We’re so happy you enjoyed the chili.

  13. priya kabra

    5 stars
    Simply the best channel for vegan recipes

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      What a compliment, Priya! Thank you :)

  14. Britney

    Hi I am just wondering what the nutritional facts are. Thank you 🥰

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Britney, you can find the nutrition facts at the bottom of the recipe card! Enjoy :)

      1. Arlene

        But how much is one serving? I know it makes 6 servings and 1 serving is 352 kcals but can’t seem to find the serving size.

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Hi there Arlene, we have yet to measure the volume of this recipe. Sorry!

  15. Beck

    5 stars
    I made this chilli last night, it was amazing and definitely stood up to its title.
    I have made a number of your recipes now and everyone has been so good.
    Thankyou so much for sharing your recipes

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re delighted to hear it, Beck! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review :)

  16. Scott

    This recipe is amazing!. I did make just one modification I drew from my history of making vegan chilis. I added bulgur wheat cooked off in V-8 tomato juice. This will fool almost everyone into thinking that the chili has ground beef in it. I encourage you to give it a try. You will totally dupe your favorite omnivore.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Scott! So interesting! Glad you love the recipe. 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. Thanks!

  17. Natalie

    5 stars
    I enjoyed making this recipe so much! I have dreams about discovering new foods and I just want to say thank you so much for introducing me to homemade chili powder and this wonderful vegan chili! I had so much fun reading this recipe as well! I love how you give the reason, the why, for everything. That’s how I learn the best. I appreciate your time and you for Taking the time to make this recipe for us to enjoy! Thank you thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Natalie, Thank you so much for such a fantastic review! We’re so glad you’ve found value in the detailed blog posts :)

  18. Vicky Collingwood

    5 stars
    This is my new favorite chili!!! This packs so much flavor – like eating a big warm hug! Can’t recommend it highly enough. It even won over my very carnivorous husband!!
    Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      What a compliment, Vicky! Lovely to hear you two are big fans of this recipe, thanks for sharing!

  19. Stephanie A Weis

    I made a few changes… I’ve made this twice recently and I made more work for myself the second time but oh is it good! I doubled it and will add it to a single recipe (that I had frozen) for a chili contest fundraiser (that I won in 2020, beating 16 meat chilis, with a recipe using 4 different dried chili peppers that was made up by a friend). So for doubling I used the two 28 oz cans of whole, peeled tomatoes but I also added a small can. I put them through a quick blend in my Vitamix bc I don’t like chunky cooked tomatoes. I added a morita pepper to the chili powder mix (in addition to the rest of the peppers called for). I completely blended the base – before adding beans and bay leaves. I used an immersion blender, but it was too grainy, so I made a big mess and blended it completely, in two batches, in my Vitamix. Back in the pot, I added the beans, bay leaves and a package of browned crumbles and continued with the simmering and stirring for two hours. Just added the masa harina, followed by the lime juice and vinegar. I am one of those people who can’t stomach cilantro so I didn’t add it. I thought this was a safe move considering it will be feeding a crowd that includes high school students and cilantro can be controversial. I’ll let y’all know if I win again, haha! Oh, I was one can of Pinto beans short, so I used one can of black beans instead.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you so much for sharing, Stephanie! We appreciate the feedback and support and are so glad to learn you’re such a fan of the recipe!

  20. Shannon

    5 stars
    This is delicious. I can’t handle hardly any heat so completely omitted the jalapeños and chipotle. Store bought ancho chili powder. Also didn’t have red wine on hand so used vegan beef flavor broth and it worked great (just cut back on salt since it carried a LOT)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re so happy those modifications turned out well for you, Shannon. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and for trying out the recipe!

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