A Cozy One-Pan Wonder: Cheesy Sweet Potato “Skillet Chili”, Only Minimal Skill Required

Skillet Chili

I think most of us really just prefer to pull out that single pot or pan when it comes to preparing dinner, don’t we? And for some reason, those “melting-pot” style meals always just seem to taste the best, and make the biggest impression on those we’re feeding. Really, who doesn’t love a hot, comforting meal that’s packed with rich flavor and lots of delicious texture, especially when it’s a snap to prepare and to get on the table? All we want is something delectable to stick our forks in or plunge our spoons into at the end of the day, something healthy and wonderfully belly-warming to indulge our senses in. And if just a little of our skill and a little of our time is all that it requires, then that just adds to how good the entire experience of that meal ends up being, with clean plates (or bowls) to prove it.

Skillet Chili

Skillet Chili

Skillet Chili

I love to prepare a simple yet hearty meal during the week that is familiar yet has a little twist to it. Cheesy Sweet Potato “Skillet Chili” is a rich, cheesy and delicious one-pan meal with the addition of vibrant and healthy sweet potatoes, plus lean ground beef, tomatoes, protein and fiber-packed red beans and savory aromatic veggies all sauteed together until golden and caramelized — the perfect fall dinner pick, and delicious when paired with some warm, cozy corn bread to crumble over top, or even some crispy corn chips on the side for dunking and crunching. Kids love the familiar flavors, and parents love the idea of “gourmet simple” — my personal favorite when it comes to weeknight meal prep. The warm spices waft through the kitchen, and the soft sound of a bubbling pan beckons and gets the folks in their seats before you even have a chance to ring that ol’ dinner bell, and who doesn’t love that?

Skillet Chili

Skillet Chili

Skillet Chili

Cheesy Sweet Potato “Skillet Chili” is a perfect fall (or anytime) twist on a classic favorite. Hearty, meaty, rich and flavorful, you’ll have this scrumptious one-pan wonder on your table in a flash, with all of your loved ones lifting their bowls and spoons in unison for a hearty helping. And with a generous sprinkling of some gooey, sharp cheddar cheese to top things off, you may even be getting requests for seconds; but perhaps those should be left for the cook who’s been “slaving away” (wink wink) in the kitchen preparing this wonderful meal. Heck, do they really need to know just how easy it was?

Taste what’s good and pass it on.


Lola and Skillet Chili

Cheesy Sweet Potato “Skillet Chili” with Lean Ground Beef, Red Bell Peppers, Tomatoes and Red Beans, with Sharp Cheddar and Green Onions
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(Serves about 4)


• Olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
• Salt
• Black pepper
1 teaspoon dry oregano
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 red onion, diced
2 small red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1tablespoon tomato paste
1 extra-large sweet potato (or 2 small), peeled and diced into medium-small cubes
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained of juice
1 cup beef (or chicken) stock, warm
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
4 green onions, chopped, divided use
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use
• Sour cream, as optional garnish


-Place a large, non-stick heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of the oil; once hot, crumble in the ground beef, breaking it up slightly with a spoon, and brown it for about 2-3 minutes; next, add in a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, the oregano, cumin, chili powder and paprika, and stir to combine.

-Next, add in the diced onion and red bell peppers, and saute those together with the ground beef for about 3-4 minutes; add in the garlic and stir to incorporate, and once that becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste and stir, and cook the mixture for a minute or two.

-Next, add in the diced sweet potato and the diced tomatoes, plus the chicken stock, and stir to combine; then, add in the kidney beans and gently fold those in; cover the pan and gently simmer the chili on low for about 20-22 minutes, or until the sweet potato cubes are tender, stirring occasionally; turn off the heat.

-To finish the chili, fold in the chopped cilantro, about half of the chopped green onions, and about half of the cheddar cheese; serve the chili in bowls topped with a sprinkle of the remaining cheddar cheese, and sour cream, if desired.

(This is delicious with a side of cornbread or corn chips, as well.)

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious October 14, 2013, 8:59 am

    What a hearty bowl of chili! And with a side of cornbread, how can I resist?!

  • Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader October 15, 2013, 4:21 pm

    Oh this looks really yummy! I especially like the fact that you used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Will have to make this, just in the crock pot instead of on the stove…

    • The Cozy Apron October 15, 2013, 5:13 pm

      Thanks, Ricki – and whatever method of prep is easiest for you is the perfect way to go . Enjoy!

  • Lynda October 17, 2013, 11:40 am

    Lola, our best supporting actress is back and looking dapper in her sweater! Love the photo! I also love the sweet potatoes in this savory chili.

  • Doris October 21, 2013, 6:10 pm

    Just finished making this tonight and oh my goodness!!!…this chili is amazing. It could very well be the best thing I’ve made so far (I’m still learning and navigating my way through the kitchen!)I added a bit of Jack Daniels barbecue sauce to it at the end and that definitely added to the flavor phenomenally. And can we talk about perfect timing? So great to dive into a bowl of this the first day the chill starts to kick in! Thank you so much for posting this wonderful recipe.

    • The Cozy Apron October 21, 2013, 10:03 pm

      Doris, thank you very much for coming by to share some comments on your experience with the recipe – I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this, and I’m sure that it had a nice little kick with the bbq sauce, too. It makes me feel good that you had this on the first day that things started to get cold – perfect timing, indeed!

  • Sarah October 22, 2013, 8:22 am

    Somebody mentioned making this in the crock pot… do you (or anyone else) have any recommendations or tweaks that need to be made to make this a successful slow cooked recipe? Thanks!

    • The Cozy Apron October 22, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Hi Sarah, great question! The only thing I can think to suggest is to keep it on a lower setting as to not over-cook and break up the sweet potatoes too much (they cook pretty quickly, believe it or not). If it simmers gently on not too high a setting, it should be fine.

  • Toni October 22, 2013, 9:16 am

    I made this last night, and it was delicious. It was by far the best homemade chili I have ever had. The cornbread sprinkled on top was the perfect pairing.


    • The Cozy Apron October 22, 2013, 3:59 pm

      Perfect, Toni! Glad you enjoyed the recommendation of the cornbread, too. Thanks so much for taking a moment to come back and share the experience!

  • Alisa December 7, 2013, 9:41 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It is delicious. It is near the top of my favorite chili recipes, and I love chili! My husband made it the other night for dinner and it was great, so tonight is my turn to make it again. I kept asking him exactly what he did, hoping it will taste just as good.


    • The Cozy Apron December 7, 2013, 5:56 pm

      Hi Alisa! I love that this recipe is being enjoyed by your hubby and you, two chili “connoisseurs”, apparently! How fun that you’re making it this time – and I’m sure yours will be just a tasty as your hubby’s! :-)

  • Mary Clare September 16, 2014, 6:40 pm

    Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I added some crushed tomatoes and corn to stretch the recipe a bit. SO good!

  • Cynthia Malm October 1, 2014, 10:13 am

    I made this for dinner last night and it was a huge hit with the whole family. I didn’t have the tomato paste and it didn’t hurt a thing by skipping it. The only thing I added was a big spoon of curry powder. The curry with the sweet of the sweet potato just brought the whole thing together. It’s going into the weekly rotation for a while. Thanks!

    • The Cozy Apron October 1, 2014, 3:40 pm

      Perfect, Cynthia—way to make the recipe your own! Hope you all continue to enjoy!

  • Kim October 8, 2014, 2:26 pm

    I made this today – followed the recipe exactly except less onion. Love it! Going back for seconds. Thanks!

    • The Cozy Apron October 8, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Love that you’re going back for seconds, Kim—you deserve it! :-) Thanks so much for your comments, and I’m glad you enjoyed!

  • Kellsey October 21, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Looks delicious! I love making chili in the fall, especially during football season (Go Birds!). Definitely saving this one for next Sunday :)

    Also, adorable dog!! What breed is he/she?!

    • The Cozy Apron October 21, 2014, 3:48 pm

      Hi Kellsey, that’s perfect! And as for Lola, our dog, we have no idea what she is!! We adopted her, and think she might be some kind of mini Australian Sheepdog, or at least a mix. She says, “hi”, and “thank you”, by the way… :-)

  • Beth October 23, 2014, 12:06 pm

    I came across this recipe on Buzzfeed and decided I had to have it immediately. I made a few changes – I doubled the entire recipe except the beef (I used 1.5lbs for the whole thing), 1 can garbanzo and 1 can black beans in place of kidney beans, and I used more of the spices than the original measurments. I also just topped mine with the cilantro and cheese, b/c I didn’t read that it should be folded in.

    WOW. This was so tasty!! I love that it was a different take on regular chili. It was also healthier than my normal chili with the addition of sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and more tomatoes than I typically use. The portion sizes were more than filling. I’ll definitely be making this again and have passed the recipe to friends. Thank you!

    • The Cozy Apron October 23, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Hi Beth, your adjustments are great! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this recipe, and thank you for passing it along to share with others. Thanks so much for your comments!

  • Susanne Lairson December 8, 2014, 5:01 pm

    I made this twice now and the first time was for a party and I was hoping for left overs, nope not a drop. I got rave reviews. I did tweak it a bit I used ground turkey and probably a bit more chili powder and cumin. I also threw in some black beans and added a bit of brown sugar for a sweet spicy smokey flavor. I wish I would have tried it before our chili cook off at work because it is fabulous and probably would have won!

  • Debbie November 8, 2015, 6:48 pm

    Look forward to making this recipe. I will, however, substitute ground turkey for the beef.

    • The Cozy Apron November 8, 2015, 6:59 pm

      Debbie, wonderful substitution for this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  • Mrs M April 1, 2016, 12:21 pm

    I never leave comments on web pages but I just had to! I’m not a huge chili fan and have only cooked sweet potato with cinnamon and brown sugar. I’ve just been advised to go gluten free for health reasons but with a hungry husband and three kids I really don’t know where to start for meals! I came across this recipe as I searched for something to do with sweet potatoes, but I’m not even sure why I made it as I didn’t really expect anyone to like it. I was so wrong! It was LOVED and DEVOURED by all. I will be making this A LOT now! Best chili I’ve ever tasted! Thank you for this! Has completely encouraged me with gluten free filling family meals.

    • The Cozy Apron April 2, 2016, 10:31 am

      Mrs. M, your comments so touched my hubby & I! Loved reading what you wrote! So thrilled you and your family enjoyed the recipe so much, and that it gives you a little hope that you’ll be able to find some good-tasting, gluten-free ideas. I’m honored by your comments—it’s why we do what we do here at The Cozy Apron! Hope you come back and peruse more recipes! :-)

  • Kerri May 19, 2016, 3:56 pm

    Made this tonight and the sweet potatoes are not softening, even though I’ve simmered it for at least 45 minutes or so, even turning it up to medium. It doesn’t seem as though anyone else is having this problem….

    • The Cozy Apron May 19, 2016, 5:53 pm

      Hi Kerri, I was wondering if the potatoes you’re using are the pale golden/orange, or the deeper orange? Sometimes the more pale ones are quite hard, and take a really long time. The bright orange ones are typically quite sweet and quick-cooking, and should not be taking 45 + minutes. Hopefully you got them to soften up, and could finally enjoy the chili!

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