Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

I hated chili as a kid, I mean we’re talking so much dislike that I would gladly go without dinner if I could. Whenever chili was on the menu, I would eat about 1/4 cup chili with a big bowlful of toppings, (Yeah for toppings)! It wasn’t the chili so much as the kidney beans, and I’ll admit I still don’t like them despite my best efforts. Lately though, one of my friends has been making chili with sweet potatoes, and that got me thinking I should give it another go, this time without any beans whatsoever!

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

So… here we are, and I’ve just had this chili 4 DAYS IN A ROW and I’m loving it – definite success on the chili front! I’m head over heels for the way the spicy meat pairs with the sweet potato. Nary a mealy / chalky kidney bean in sight. I’ve added a couple new toppings as an adult; avocado and lime wedges are just the thing to take chili to the next level!

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

One key to this recipe is to cut the onions into a small dice, otherwise they’ll stay crunchy.

1. Cut both the ends off the onion, cut it in half, and then peel it.

2. With each onion half, make a cut from the top down towards the core lengthwise.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

3. Lay each onion half face down and make cuts across the top, not cutting through the core because that’s what holds it all together.

4. Thinly slice and watch the small dice fall miraculously away from you knife. (Maybe I get a little too excited about the little things!)

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365

For the sweet potatoes, cut off both ends and trim any bad spots. My sweet potatoes were only a couple of inches in diameter, so I cut them in quarters and then, cut the quarters crosswise into 1 -1/2 inch chunks.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili | GI 365A couple of final notes:

1. Everyone’s crockpot seems to work at different speeds. Mine took 10 hours to cook my sweet potatoes all the way through. I would recommend trying this or any crockpot recipe the first time on a day when you’re home. That way, you’ll be around when it’s ready and you can add your own notes about cooking time to the recipe.

2. The whole tomatoes, combined with the tomato paste really adds to the chili experience. I added the tomato paste in an effort to make a fuller sauce, not quite so watery. It worked wonders for the texture,  adds a natural sweetness that cuts the acidity, and adds depth to the sauce.

3. The recipe calls for ancho chile powder which is really tasty, (try it as a rub on grilled chicken or fish). If you can’t find it, don’t worry, you can use regular chili powder with great results!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound ground turkey, (I like dark meat)
  • 1 onion, about 12 ounces, diced very small
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ancho chili powder, (or 1 additional Tablespoon chili powder)
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons sea salt
  • 2½ pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 1 - 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • Toppings:
  • lime wedges, cilantro, sliced avocado or guacamole, sour cream, grated cheddar
  1. Place the ground turkey, onions, garlic, spices, and sea salt in a 4-quart crockpot. Use a wooden spoon to break up the turkey and mix everything together.
  2. Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes and trim off any unsightly bits. Then, cut them into quarters lengthwise. Cut the quarters crosswise into chunks about 1½ inches in size.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes over the top of the turkey mixture.
  4. Place the whole tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender and blend until combined but still chunky. Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes and turn the crockpot to low.
  5. Cook for 8-10 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Taste the chili and add salt to your taste.
  6. Serve with any and all toppings you desire.

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36 Comments on “Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili”

  1. Kate

    This looks delicious! Have been on such a sweet potato kick this winter! Can’t wait to try!

    xx Kate

    The Hag

  2. Mike @TheIronYou

    Fantastic recipe Kari, the sweet potato + chili combo is one of my fave, and besides I dig anything made in a Crock-Pot – throw everything in and fugget about it, my kind of style! 😉

    1. Kari

      My favorite crockpot recipes are the ones that cook for 8-10 hours and I get to come home to a wonderful (already done) meal!

    1. Kari

      In the interest of keeping things simple, I didn’t brown the meat – just threw everything in and turned it to low! I’ve tried browning vs. not browning and I’m not sure it makes a significant difference in flavor, (especially considering it makes more dishes).

  3. Nicole

    I just wanna say, at first I thought, this is too easy. Too simple to really be good. I knew by the middle of this morning there was no way I was going to be in the mood to cook dinner, so I threw together this recipe in about 20 minutes. Let me tell you how happy I am that I decided to try it, simple and all. It is wonderful and the only topping we put on it was cheese! Thank you for an super easy, simple recipe that made plenty and everyone loved! It is wonderful and definitely will be made many times in my house!

    1. Kari

      I’m so glad you liked it! I’ve been working on super simple crockpot recipes for just those kind of days when you really don’t want to cook – so, I’m happy that the recipe delivered!

    1. Kari

      I would start by sautéing the onions until tender, then add the turkey (you can brown it if you’re comfortable working with high heat). Once the turkey’s in, you can add the spices, stir, and then add everything else and simmer with a lid on (or slightly cracked) until the sweet potatoes are tender (probably about 1 hour). Be sure to watch it the first time because it’s hard to know if it would stick or not, (if the heat’s low you shouldn’t have a problem). Let me know how it goes, hope you enjoy! :)

  4. Kati Holland

    Loved the recipe! I substituted one can of tomatoes with fresh roma tomatoes out of my garden that I have been wanting to put to use, and also added a can of kidney beans! Fantastic flavor with those spices, and hearty, too. Thanks so much!

    1. Kari

      I love your idea of substituting fresh tomatoes in for the canned, I’ll have to try that right away before tomato season ends!

  5. Heather

    I’m going to try this today, but am using what we call sweet potatoes, they’re white. I’m from Canada. The sweet potatoes you show in your recipe are what we call yams. Hopefully, the flavour will be OK. Have you tried with other potatoes?

    1. Kari

      Some places call the orange ones yams here but others call them sweet potatoes – very confusing at times! I’ve found the white sweet potatoes to be drier in texture at times, but that shouldn’t matter in this chili. I haven’t tried this recipe yet with any other potato yet, so let me know how it goes! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving this weekend, my husband’s from Canada and I’m from the States, so we get to celebrate twice! :)

      1. Heather

        It turned out well, not quite hot enough, but just added a little hot sauce to taste. I will try yams next time to see if there is any difference. Happy Thanksgiving :)

        1. Kari

          So glad it the white sweet potatoes worked, and you’re right it’s not really hot at all so I’m glad you were able to spice it up a bit! :)

  6. Issa

    This is in the crockpot right now! Very excited. I have just under 2 lbs of sweet potato and wonder if I should run out to get another.

    I’m also wonder if I should add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa. Thoughts?

    1. Kari

      I wouldn’t bother running to the store, I don’t think the 1/2 pound will matter too much, you’ll just have a bit less chili! I think the cocoa would be a matter of taste, I personally don’t care for it in chili but I like the flavor in mole so who knows? If you like a bit of cocoa in your chili, I would take out about a 1/4 cup of finished chili and try a pinch of cocoa mixed in to see how it tastes, then you’ll know for the next batch! Let me know how it goes! :)

  7. Kristen

    So glad I found this! Looks so yummy! How do you think leftovers would do being heated up in the microwave? My hubby doesn’t eat sweet potatoes but I LOVE them! I would make this to use for lunches at work for a few days…

    1. Kari

      I’ve never reheated it in the microwave, but it does reheat well on the stovetop! I hope you enjoy it, it’s one of my favorite easy meals! :)

  8. Nadia

    A co-worker used this recipe for luncheon celebration at work .Everybody loved it ,
    she said this is her first time cooking in crockpot . I asked for the recipe because my family loves sweet potatoes however, I am vegetarian so I won’t be using any meat do you have any suggestion as which veggie would a work best for this . BTW : I will be adding different types of beans as I do with veggie chili
    Cant wait to try it out over Thanksgiving weekend . We stay away from malls and crowd :)

    1. Kari

      I think you could just substitute cooked beans for the ground turkey, and you shouldn’t need to add any other vegetables. If you wanted to add extra vegetables, root vegetables would be a nice pairing with the sweet potatoes. I hope a vegetarian version works out for you, and be sure to let me know how it goes! :)

  9. Jessica

    Made this for dinner last night (second crock pot recipe I’ve ever done since I’m new to the amazing crock pot world) and it was amazing! Tho, for me it cooked in 5 hours (so I had to keep it on warm for a couple hours while the spouse was at work). Definitely will be making this again… and again…. and again haha :)

    1. Kari

      I using the warming button whenever things cook faster than I was expecting! Both my husband and I love this recipe for how simple and comforting it is – so glad you enjoyed it too! :)

    1. Kari

      Yes, I left the skin on the sweet potatoes. I think you could peel them if you wanted to, they might break down a bit more though! Hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  10. Jeanne


    Have you doubled this recipe at all? I have a very big crock pot! Want to make sure it will taste the same


    1. Kari

      I haven’t tried a bigger batch, but don’t see any problem with doubling the recipe, it should turn out the same. Let me know how it goes, and if you have anymore questions! :)

  11. Lisa

    This recipe is super easy and tastes fantastic. I didn’t have as many sweet potatoes on hand but it was still delicious. I actually cooked it for 10 hours overnight and refrigerated it until dinner, then heated in the microwave. I’ve made turkey chili for many years but really like the addition of the sweet potatoes.

  12. Jamie

    This was really good. I put it in the slow cooker on low at around 8:30pm and took it off the heat at 7:30 the next morning to put, covered, in the fridge by 8am. When I got home from work I put it back in the cooker to start warming as I made a side of cornbread (my favorite chili addition) and puttered around after work. Everything was great. It was so easy to do this way and took up almost no time from my day! I admit I used a 28oz can of diced tomatoes because I was a little worried about huge pieces of tomato. However, the texture was great, not runny at all. The only other change was that trader joe’s was out of onions so I put in some frozen cubes of caramelized onions. Some of the potato pieces turned into nothing and others held up – definitely need to leave the skin on, which I love cause it’s so much less work!! Will definitely add to my cold-weather rotation, and suggest for those friends who just don’t like chili with beans.

    1. Kari

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I love the idea of caramelized onions in this! I have yet to make this with a side of cornbread, but that sounds so delicious and comforting on a cold rainy day!

  13. chris

    I too despise kidney beans and love sweet potatoes! Trying this one tomorrow but I had some ground lamb and pork I needed to cook up so substituting that for the ground turkey. Hopefully my 5 year old will eat all of her dinner for a change.

  14. Sam

    My coworker makes this recipe and has it for lunch all the time. Tonight is my first time trying it!

    Do you need to mix everything up in the crockpot? Or should I just leave it layered? Also – can I cook it on the high setting to get a faster result?


    1. Kari

      I would mix everything in the crockpot, it helps to breakup the ground turkey, that way so there isn’t any bigger chunks of meat. I don’t see any reason you couldn’t cook it on high, it’s usually about half the cooking time as low heat. I haven’t actually cooked this recipe on high yet, but since it’s a very thick chili, I would check often and stir it towards the end of the cooking time to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the crockpot. Let me know how it goes and if you have anymore questions!

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