My favorite easy vegan chili

Vegan chili that’s just as good as meat chili. This one uses 3 types of fresh peppers and beans and corn to give it enough body to make it feel hearty. Lightly toasting the spices before a long simmer helps emphasize even more flavor. And like all chili it’s better the next day so you won’t be sad about leftovers.

photo of completed recipe: Vegan chili that’s just as good as meat chili. This one uses 3 types of fresh peppers and beans and corn to give it enough body to make it feel hearty…
  • You'll be eating in: 4 hours (see notes)

  • Active time: 20 minutes

  • Yield: 6-8 servings


For the chili:

  • 2

    tablespoons oil

  • 1

    onion, diced

  • 2

    poblano peppers, diced

  • 1

    red bell pepper, diced

  • 3

    cloves garlic, minced

  • 1

    teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1

    tablespoon flour

  • 2

    tablespoons chili powder

  • 2

    tablespoons cumin

  • 2

    tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1.5

    teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2-3

    chipotle peppers from a can, diced

  • 1

    (14.5 ounce) can diced or crushed tomatoes

  • about 4 cups water

  • 2

    (14.5 ounce) cans of beans, such as black, pinto, or kidney, drained and rinsed

  • 2

    cups corn (frozen or canned is fine)

To serve:

  • scallions

  • sour cream (omit if vegan)


  1. Build the chile base

    Sauté the onion and peppers in oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, careful not to burn. Add flour and spices, stir to combine and cook for another minute to toast the spices. Add in tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and enough water to cover the pepper mixture.

  2. Simmer

    Let simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 3-4 hours (see notes 👇🏻), stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary.

  3. Add the beans and corn

    30 minutes before you're ready to serve, add in rinsed beans and about 2 cups of corn kernels. Add more water to cover if necessary. Adjust spices and season with additional salt and/or hot sauce to taste.

  4. Serve

    Serve with sour cream (omit if vegan) and fresh scallions.

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The long simmer isn't strictly necessary, but it helps the flavors come together (think about how pretty much all chili is better the next day). If you're going to simmer for less time, be conservative with how much water you add since it won't have time to cook off.


Poblanos: poblanos are a little spicy, so you can replace poblano peppers with additional bell peppers, but you would need to add more chili powder or jalapeño/hot sauce/cayenne if you want the additional heat.

Chipotles: these add heat and a smokey flavor, so you can replace them with more smoked paprika and/or diced jalapeño peppers.


Chili is usually better leftover, so this is a great dish to make ahead. It keeps well in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for several months.

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