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black bean chili in bowl with sour cream, chopped green onions and corn chips.
5 from 1 vote

The BEST Black Bean Chili!

Black bean chili is the perfect comfort food! This vegetarian chili is easy, naturally gluten-free and dairy-free! Tips for the best chili toppings!

Course Chili
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 152 kcal
Author Christine Galvani


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cacao powder (may substitute cocoa powder or espresso powder)
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 can diced roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons honey (for vegan and sugar-free, see recipe notes)
  • 2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of chipotle chili powder or chili powder
  • pinch of cinnamon


  1. Gather and measure all the ingredients. Chop the onion, mince garlic, drain the black beans.

  2. Heat olive oil in a soup pot/dutch oven/stockpot. Add the chopped onions and cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent and softened.

  3. Add the garlic and spices (including salt) and cook for one minute.

  4. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and honey. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

  5. Add the black beans and cook for about 5-7 minutes until beans are heated through.

  6. Serve immediately with toppings and garnishes of your choice. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes delicious leftovers.

Recipe Notes

Best Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili:

  • Add chopped sweet potato with the tomatoes and let simmer 30 minutes.  Cut the sweet potato into small cubes so it cooks through.


  • Can I use black beans instead of kidney beans in chili?  Yes, black beans are delicious in chili.
  • Do you drain black beans for chili?  Yes, I drain the black beans for this recipe, but you don't have to.
  • How can I thicken my chili?  To thicken, you can let the chili cook longer to absorb moisture.
  • What type of onion goes in chili?  If the recipe you're using does not name a specific onion, use a yellow onion as I have in this recipe.
  • How do you sweeten chili?  This recipe uses honey, but you could substitute coconut sugar.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup shredded carrots for the honey to make sugar-free.  Add the carrots at the same time as the tomatoes and let simmer 30 minutes.
  • How do you tone down too spicy chili?  The easiest way is to add more ingredients to lessen the intensity of spices.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Make ahead: The recipe can be made ahead and then heated through to serve.

Chili Toppings:

  • Sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa
  • Dairy-free sour cream
  • Chopped green onion
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced hot peppers (jalapenos)
  • Chopped cilantro

Tip and Techniques:

  • Make a double batch for a large crowd or for leftovers.
  • Freezable
  • Black bean chili is an easy weeknight meal.
  • Chocolate and chili are a great combination thus the addition of cacao powder.  
  • For the vegan version, omit the honey and substitute coconut sugar or shredded carrots.


Nutrition Facts
The BEST Black Bean Chili!
Amount Per Serving
Calories 152 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 236mg10%
Potassium 261mg7%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 354IU7%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.