20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (2024)

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4.91 from 20 votes

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By: Sarah Bond 33 Comments

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This is the all-time easiest vegetarian chili recipe…ever. Ready in under 20 minutes and made almost entirely of pantry staples, the ingredients for this vegetable-packed chili are easy to keep on hand for busy weeknights. And even though it requires just 8 ingredients, it doesn’t compromise on flavor one bit!

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (1)

Alright friends, buckle up for the best vegetarian chili of all time. And I don’t use this word lightly, but there are a few reasons why I truly believe this chili is *le best*:

  • It’s ready in 20 minutes
  • It uses almost all pantry staples
  • It has just 8 ingredients
  • It doesn’t require tons of chopping
  • It has a secret trick that makes it SO THICK and hearty

So if you’ve been dreaming of a rich and flavorful basic vegetarian chili recipe, I gotchu. Let’s cook!

Reader rating

★★★★★

“I made this today! It is, by far, THE best vegetarian chili recipe I have made. It will be the ONLY one I make. Forever and ever! Hubby said it is *this* close to our favorite restaurant one! Keep up the great content!” —Tammy

Add your review

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (2)

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients

You’ll need just 8 ingredients to make a basic stovetop vegetarian chili.

  • Oil: Provides the base for sautéing the onions, adding a subtle richness to the chili.
  • Yellow Onion: Infuses a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, forming the aromatic foundation of the chili.
  • Chili Seasoning: Elevates the dish with a blend of spices, including chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and more, ensuring a well-balanced, robust flavor (here’s our easy McCormick Chili Seasoning Copycat Recipe!)
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes: Brings a smoky, charred essence to the chili, adding depth and complexity to the overall taste.
  • Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans: Offer protein, fiber, and a delightful creaminess, enhancing both texture and nutritional value. We’re using one can of each, but you could use different amounts if you want (like 2 cans of pinto beans and 1 can of kidney beans, for example).
  • Corn: Introduces a touch of sweetness and a pop of color, contributing to the visual appeal of the dish.

Don’t Drain ‘Em!

So here’s where things get fun…DON’T DRAIN ANYTHING! Not the beans, not the corn, not the tomatoes. The liquid in the cans is what creates the soupy mixture of our chili, eliminating the need for vegetable broth or water.

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (3)
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How to make A Veggie Chili

We made some modifications to chili recipes you might be accustomed to in order to make this quick vegetarian chili the quickest…ever. It should be done in under 20 minutes!

  1. Create a flavor base by cooking the onions and adding the spices
  2. Assemble everything by simply pouring the total contents of each can into the pot (no draining!)
  3. Optionally blend about a cup of the chili, then add it back in, to make a thick and creamy consistency
  4. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!
20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (5)

Make It Spicy

I love a good spicy chili, but this basic veggie chili is middle of the road when it comes to spiciness – a little heat from the chili seasoning mix but not too spicy. To make this a truly spicy chili, I would add a sliced jalapeno at the same time that you add the cans of beans!

You can also make it spicier by making your own chili seasoning and adding a bit more cayenne pepper!

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Is chili a soup?

Chili is not typically classified as a soup, although it shares some similarities with soup in terms of being a liquid-based dish that’s served in a bowl. Chili is more commonly considered a stew because of its hearty, thick, and chunky attributes. In contrast, soups are generally thinner and more liquid-based, with a broth or stock as the primary base.

Hungry For More Chili?

We love chili around here! Next to this classic vegetarian chili, our favorites are this Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili and this Lentil Chili!

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How to thicken chili

There are many easy ways to thicken chili:

  • Blend: Ladle a small amount of the chili into a blender and blend, then pour is back into the pot. This creates a thicker chili by simply using the magic starches hidden in those beans, without having to add any ingredients.
  • Simmering: Let the chili simmer uncovered for an extended period. As the liquid evaporates, the chili will naturally thicken. This method can take some time, so be patient.
  • Cornstarch Slurry: Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water. Stir until it forms a smooth mixture. Add this slurry to your chili, stirring continuously. Allow it to cook for a few more minutes until it thickens.
  • Masa Harina: Mix a few tablespoons of masa harina (a type of corn flour) with water to form a slurry. Add it to the chili and let it cook for a few minutes. This method also adds a nice corn flavor to the chili.
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Got Leftovers?

Hot take: I think chili is even better the next day! If you find yourself with leftover chili, you can store it for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer (follow these directions for freezing chili!)

Reader rating

★★★★★

“All I can say is this is the best chili (veg or otherwise) I have had in probably 20 years, and for it to be so easy! Well done.” —Nektarios

Add your review

Serving Suggestions

Chili is a fun recipe because it can be the dish, or it can be on of the the side dishes, or it can be a topping! Here’s how I like serving up this hearty vegetarian chili (grab our full list of what to serve with chili here – that cornbread is my go-to).

  • By itself with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (weird food combination or just me?)
  • On baked potatoes (or air fryer potatoes!)
  • On hot dogs (have you tried my viral carrot hot dogs?)
  • On nachos (vegan nachos for the win!)

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (9)

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe

4.91 from 20 votes

Prep: 5 minutes minutes

Cook: 15 minutes minutes

Total: 20 minutes minutes

Author: Sarah Bond

Calories: 379kcal

Servings: 4 servings

Print Rate

Vegetarian food blogger Sarah Bond shows you how to make the ultimate vegetarian chili recipe. Ready in under 20 minutes, just 8 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp oil 30 mL
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 1.25 oz packet chili seasoning click for easy homemade recipe
  • 2 14.5-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes do not drain
  • 1 15 or 16-oz can black beans do not drain
  • 1 15 or 16-oz can kidney beans do not drain
  • 1 15 or 16-oz can pinto beans do not drain
  • 1 15 or 16-oz can corn do not drain

Instructions

  • Flavor Base: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and a bit translucent, about 4 minutes. Add chili seasoning and cook for another 1 minute.

    20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (10)

  • Assemble: Add all cans (do not drain anything – add it all). Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes*.

    20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (11)

  • Blend (optional): For a rich texture, ladle 1 cup of the chili into a countertop blender. Do not fully close the lid (it can be very dangerous to blend hot liquids, steam must be able to escape). Blend until smooth, then add it back to the main pot of chili and stir well.

    20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (12)

  • Serve hot topped with your favorites, like shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, and crushed corn chips!

    20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (13)

Tips & Tricks

*If you have more time, it will continue to get better as it cooks, but it’s pretty darn good after 15 minutes!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 379kcal (19%) Carbohydrates: 60g (20%) Protein: 17.6g (35%) Fat: 8.7g (13%) Saturated Fat: 1.2g (8%) Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 877mg (38%) Potassium: 984mg (28%) Fiber: 16.7g (70%) Sugar: 7.2g (8%) Calcium: 83mg (8%) Iron: 5mg (28%)

Did You Make This?

Leave a comment below and tag @liveeatlearn on social media! I love seeing what you’ve made!

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Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

  1. Vince says

    We’re under tropical storm warning today and tomorrow. This chili sounds perfect.

    Thanks!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (18)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      I hope you and your family stay safe! This chili freezes well if you want to freeze a batch in case the power goes out.

  2. Tammy says

    I made this today! It is, by far, THE best vegetarian chili recipe I have made. It will be the ONLY one I make. Forever and ever! Hubby said it is *this* close to our favorite restaurant one☺️! Keep up the great content!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (19)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      This makes me so happy to read, Tammy! So glad you both enjoyed it!! 😀

  3. Dennis watson says

    This is so hearty. I used to make Emeril’s vegetarian chili, but this is my go to recipe now. I’ve used xantham gum to thicken before.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (20)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      Oh that’s a great idea, I’ll have to try it out! 😀

  4. Gw says

    This is awesome. Your Taco Soup recipe, which is sort of like a chili, has been my easy go to dinner for quite a while, so we had to try this. Everyone loved it. No leftovers. Will make a double batch next time.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (21)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      YAY! So happy to hear it, enjoy!! 😀

  5. Nektarios says

    I just made this with only two mods. I didn’t have onion powder and I used balsamic to soften the onions, rather than oil. All I can say is this is the best chili (veg or otherwise) I have had in probably 20 years, and for it to be so easy! Well done.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (22)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      Oh that’s such a great idea with the onions! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know how it went – happy to hear you loved it! 😀

  6. Mike says

    Quick and tasty when it’s my turn to cook. I put a bit hot sauce in to spice it up a little more.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (23)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      So happy to hear it, Mike! Hot sauce sounds like such a good addition! 😀

  7. Lori says

    This is a GREAT recipe! Quick and easy and very filling. I added a dollup of plain Greek yogurt and that just added some extra umph!
    I plan on making this a lot as the weather cools!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (24)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      I’m so happy to hear it! Happy chili season! 😀

  8. Tracy says

    I always learn something new for traditional dishes. Thanks, LiveEatLearn!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (25)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      Yay so happy to hear it! 😀

  9. Jennifer Harris says

    This chili is hands down the BEST ! Easy and delicious – perfect for weekend get togethers and some football !20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (26)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      YAY! So happy to hear it! 😀

  10. Marianne says

    Another winner! Super simple and tasty! Even my suspect, carnivore husband gives it 5 stars!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (27)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      That’s so great!! Thanks for dropping in to let us know how it went! 😀

  11. Caryl says

    I definitely will make this chili. However, I always drain & rinse my beans a few times to remove the salt that’s put in when they can the beans. So, if I drain the beans; what can I use for more liquid?

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      I would replace it with 3 to 4 cups of vegetable broth! 😀

    • David says

      Crockpots (slow cookers) are great for making chilli (avoid ones that are “nonstick” or that have silicone seals, they are not safe). The best slow cookers are 100% terracotta pots & lid (they don’t need rubber or silicone “lid seals”, just a well made stone pot & lid works), harder to find these days 🙁

      I lost my slow cooker when I moved to another country 🙁

      Agreed 100%, it is better to use tomato juice or fresh water than stale old canned flavor water. Metallic plastic water with “additives” is not for me plehh!… (Sorry Sarah, you will thank us in the long run for this 😉 )

      Cooked Chilli also tastes better the next day 😉

  12. Laurie says

    I made this in the crockpot, using your chili seasoning recipe. Also drained and rinsed the beans to lower the salt content somewhat and replaced the bean liquid with water. Yummy! Thanks for the great recipe!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (28)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      So happy to hear it, Laurie! Thanks for letting us know how it went in the slow cooker! Enjoy! 😀

  13. Lisa says

    We made the chili today and had it for dinner. Delicious! What a tasty and easy recipe. We made the recipe as written except used fire roasted tomatoes with garlic.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (29)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      I’m so happy to hear you liked the chili, Lisa! 😀

  14. Harry M Whalley says

    Bonjour, I adapted your recipe in order to use a leftover meal : leek, mushroom & carrot risotto by adding the beans (red kidney) & sweet corn, & of corse your spice mixture! I also added a splash of martini as advised by Nigella in this sort of recipe.
    It was absolutely lovely, wiil definitely make it again
    Harry in Brittany, France.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (30)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      Oh my gosh I’ll have to try that trick – Nigella knows all! 😀

  15. Lisa Bennett says

    Super easy and fast to make! Wonderful chili for a cold winter evening.20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (31)

    Reply

    • Sarah Bond says

      So happy to hear you liked it, Lisa! 😀

  16. Chrissy says

    So easy and so tasty. I also appreciated the “homemade chili seasoning” recipe and the explanation of what each ingredient contributes. I’ve only ever used chili powder and cumin. I did not have cocoa, but I will get some for next time. I also used garbanzo beans in place of the kidney beans which may have contributed to its being a little too soupy, hence the 4-star rating. Next time I will follow the recipe to the letter and rate again! Thank you!20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (32)

    Reply

  17. David says

    I strongly advise against using can water.
    1. Cans often have metal, toxic plastic linings, and “additives” that all get into the liquid. Not tasty, not healthy.
    2. Some beans have toxins that need to be soaked or rinsed and cooked out (kidney beans are one of those). I always rinse canned kidney beans until they stop producing foam, then I cook them.
    3. Use fresh peeled tomato, or sift tomato for liquid, use water if it’s too dry for you.

    If I want smoke flavor, I add smoked chilli. Less hassle that charring tomato. I knife peel fresh tomato after soaking them in very hot water for a few minutes.

    I use pressed olive or unsalted butter for oil.

    Always use a clean Pressed Virgin Oil that is proven authentic (don’t trust the “non gmo” butterfly logo, they don’t always tell the truth).
    Too many oils are fake or are processed with highly toxic solvents these days.
    eg. No shortage of fake “olive oil” in America, that is often heavily processed (with hexane) canola oil with fake colors and fake flavors to make it appear like real olive. Snake oil 101.
    If it is a legit import from Italy, it should be good. If it’s “under license” then it’s probably contaminated or diluted.

    Thanks for the metric measure on the oil, would be helpful to have accurate metric measures for all the ingredients you listed thanks 🙂

    98% of the world uses only metric, we have no idea what inches or ounces are. They stopped using that system 50+ years ago where I currently reside. Even NASA was founded by a German who used metric. Metric has more advantages.
    The old Imperial system has too many variants eg. 1 US Gallon = 3.75 Litre where as 1 UK Gallon = 4.5 Litre ! Other nations also had their own individual versions of a “gallon”. Ton, cups, mile, pints etc. all have the same problem.
    Whereas, 1 Litre and 1 Kg is the same no matter where you are in the world.
    Metric is much more versatile and more user friendly.
    Food for thought 🙂20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (33)

    Reply

20-Minute Vegetarian Chili Recipe (2024)

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