Shredded Beef Chili With Sweet Potatoes

This shredded beef chili with sweet potatoes, can be made in the oven or slow cooker. Loaded with tender braised beef, sweet potatoes, beans, peppers, and tomatoes, it’s the answer to all your chili dreams.

A bowl of shredded beef chili with sweet potatoes on a plate containing a spoon, two lime wedges, and cilantro leaves.

When it comes to serving a lot of people, this shredded beef chili recipe with sweet potatoes is a MIRACLE dish. You throw all the ingredients in a cast-iron pot and leave them to cook down into a tender, flavorful, and filling stew. The secret ingredient here is time. It’s a game changer—letting the beef take on a melting texture and leaving the ingredients to meld into a luscious sauce you won’t be able to stop eating. Serve it over rice or quinoa or wrap it up with some guacamole and sour cream in a soft tortilla.–Izzy Hossack

Shredded Beef Chili With Sweet Potatoes

A bowl of shredded beef chili with sweet potatoes on a plate containing a spoon, two lime wedges, and cilantro leaves.
This shredded beef chili with sweet potatoes, can be made in the oven or slow cooker. Loaded with tender braised beef, sweet potatoes, beans, peppers, and tomatoes, it’s the answer to all your chili dreams.

Prep 25 mins
Cook 3 hrs 35 mins
Total 4 hrs
8 to 10 servings
325 kcal
4.86 / 7 votes
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  • Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne to taste
  • 1 3/4 pounds chuck roast or blade steak
  • 2 onions peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced or grated
  • Three (14- to 15-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 8 1/2 ounces water
  • 2 cups beer preferably an ale or stout
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 small sweet potatoes peeled
  • One (14- to 15-ounce) can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 bell peppers seeded and sliced into strips
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Soft tortillas, tortilla chips, rice, or quinoa


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (160°C).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, oregano, thyme, and cayenne. Rub all over the beef, reserving at least 1 tablespoon spice mixture to add to the chili later.
  • In a large ovenproof pan with a lid, like a Dutch oven, sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the tomatoes, water, beer, and vinegar. Add the beef to the pan, cover with the lid, place in the oven, and cook for 2 hours.
  • Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into roughly 1-inch (2 1/2-centimeter) chunks. Uncover the pan and add the sweet potatoes, beans, peppers, and remaining spice mixture. Cover with the lid again and return to the oven until the beef is falling apart tender. Check for doneness after 1 to 1 1/2 hours and, if it doesn't shred easily with a fork, simply cover and keep braising, low and slow, until it does. If you're using a particularly tough cut, it could take as long as 3 1/2 hours. But there's no rush.
  • Transfer the chunk of beef to a cutting board and shred the meat using a couple forks. If a less soupy consistency is desired, purée about 1 cup of the vegetables and liquid in a blender or with an immersion blender and then stir it back into the chili. Stir the shredded beef into the chili and serve with sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and rice, quinoa, or tortilla chips.
Print RecipeBuy the Top with Cinnamon cookbook

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Slow Cooker Variation

To make this chili in the slow cooker, follow the instructions through step 3 and then transfer everything to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low until tender, 6 to 10 hours. Proceed as directed with shredding the beef.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 325kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 35g (12%)Protein: 26g (52%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 70mg (23%)Sodium: 778mg (34%)Potassium: 1095mg (31%)Fiber: 8g (33%)Sugar: 12g (13%)Vitamin A: 8276IU (166%)Vitamin C: 57mg (69%)Calcium: 122mg (12%)Iron: 6mg (33%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

OMG! That really sums up our reaction to this STUNNING chili. I really love the method of rubbing the beef with the spice mixture and simply dropping it in the Dutch oven. I used a 2-pound chuck roast that nearly fell apart at the end of the designated cooking time. I used 3 really large sweet potatoes—nearly 3 pounds total. I chose to not peel the potatoes, which worked fine. The combination of the beef and the sweet potatoes is WONDERFUL.

We added a bit of shredded sharp Cheddar along with the sour cream, cilantro, and lime. I can’t wait to make it again.

Who doesn’t love a good chili? I gotta say, this shredded beef chili with sweet potatoes is a nice change from the ground beef variety. Lots of flavor, not too spicy, eat-it-from-the-pot tasty. Since it’s still grilling season here, finding a braising cut proved to be a challenge. My butcher saved the day and came up with a couple blade eye steaks that he said would be perfect.

The recipe came together in a snap. It was difficult to wait the full 3 hours, as after a couple of hours, the aroma was making us hungry. I did have to make one adjustment: we have someone with a severe allergy to fresh peppers in the house, so I eliminated the bell pepper. I added 1 additional small onion for the volume.

I allowed the pot to braise for a total of 3 1/2 hours. After adding the sweet potatoes to the meat and cooking for 1 hour, I found the meat was not as easily shreddable as I would have liked, so I gave it another 30 minutes in the oven. That’s the beauty of braising—you can always allow for a little extra time.

We loved it. We got 10 generous servings from the pot. A couple of tasters went back for seconds. I would certainly make this again in cooler weather. My only complaint about this recipe is that I wasn’t sure how the author wanted the onions sliced. I chose to cut them in half.

First, this shredded beef chili was yummy. Second, it’s not really a chili. It’s more of a stew—a good one. I loved the flavors—sweet, somewhat spicy, tangy. The meat turned into something wonderful after being braised that long. The beer (I used a dark Paulaner Salvator—a double bock beer) added a real nice flavor and depth to the dish.

I followed the recipe to a T, and it really worked well. No surprises. Total time was about 3 hours and 15 minutes, mostly unattended. We had the chili with some more Paulaner Salvator and soft tortillas that I’d heated over our gas burners.

Originally published January 30, 2021


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. I don’t have an oven so I intend to do this in a big pot on the stove. Any ideas on adjustments to the recipe to make this work?

    1. Linus, you should be able to cook this on the stove over very low heat. Cover it and check on it occasionally. You want the liquid in the pot to be barely simmering to allow the beef to slowly braise.

      1. I got your reply 15 minutes before I started cooking! Thank you so much! It worked great. I used chuck roast, and simmered it very slowly like you said, in a decent thick pot. The meat was cooking for 4.5 hours and was perfect.

  2. This recipe looks like a great meal for the Sabbath – for me to prepare before going to bed, cook throughout the night until after the church services. I will definitely put this on the “to watch list” equivalent when it comes to recipes.

    If it is for the slow-cooker, I guess that everything goes into the slow cooker after sauteeing the garlic up until the beer and vinegar. From there, Bob’s your uncle.

    Or am I being daft?

    My projection for this recipe, it sounds fairly cinch to make with the high levels of return. Similar to a roast. Bring on those soft taco shells! It will be a feast.

    1. It certainly will, Mikey! Yes, after you saute the onions and garlic, throw the whole shebang into the slow cooker and your work is done.

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for a great recipe! I used it as inspiration, making a couple of changes here and there. I used a 3.75 lb slab of chuck, omitted the salt, used only 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 12 ounces of milk stout and about 4 oz of water; kept everything else in the recipe as stated. I used the immersion blender and blended about 75% of the liquid/onions/beans/sweet potatoes/peppers to thicken things up. It took about 4.5 hours for the chuck to be fork-tender. The amount of beef I used meant it was more like chili-flavored shredded beef versus a beef chili, but everyone loved it. Some ate it with forks, and others had it with tortilla chips. We all liked the combination of the spices – there weren’t any spices that stood out or overpowered the others. Looking forward to it on nachos and in tacos as leftovers. Yum!

  4. Well, the verdict is in and I have to say that though the meat and sweet potatoes were tender, and the sauce had a nice depth of flavor, to call this chili is a stretch. It was so very soupy, and I didn’t add any of the water, only two cans of chopped tomatoes and one can of drained black beans. I pureed well over a cup of the vegetables and added it back to the dutch oven hoping it would thicken to chili consistency. No dice. Also, in my opinion the clove and cinnamon dominate the flavor profile and was not what I was hoping for. Will add another drained can of beans to the copious leftovers and perhaps thicken with a corn masa slurry to thicken so I can serve the leftovers in corn tortillas. Would I make it again? Likely not.

    1. lexi, many thanks for reporting back. I’m really sorry that this wasn’t more to your liking. I think that chili is a lot like biscuits and buttermilk pancakes and vanilla ice cream and even macaroni and cheese in that it’s a very iconic thing about which people have very strong feelings. the trick is that there are countless variations of each. I totally get that this chili isn’t for you and I love your idea of stirring in a masa slurry. We have a few more chili recipes that are in testing now and doing really spectacularly well. We’ll have them on the site in a few weeks. Perhaps these will be more to your liking? At any rate, I so appreciate your input. Fingers crossed the next recipe you try from the site is more aligned with what you’re seeking…

      1. 4 stars
        Update: After several days in the fridge the spices I didn’t care for were more muted and I liked it much more. I added another can of organic black beans and that helped to thicken the chili when I reheated it. Would make it again, but without the cinnamon and clove. Instead, I would use some ancho chili powder and more cumin and maybe some Mexican oregano. Sure, that changes the flavor profile of the recipe, but the best part of this recipe is the technique.

        I love Leite’s Culinaria and have been a subscriber since the beginning when I lived in Australia. In fact, David even sent me a terrific Leite’s Culinaria cap which I treasured until it wore out many years ago.

        1. Many thanks for the update! Am quite relieved that it was not a loss. And I agree, tweaking a recipe to salvage what parts speak to us—whether technique or ingredients or what have you—is at the essence of cooking. Glad to have a kindred soul here. We so appreciate your loyalty!

  5. Does the chuck roast have to be boneless? Cut up or in one big piece? If it’s bone-in should I remove the bone or just cook it longer? Making this today so need an answer asap. Thanks!

    1. lexi, it can be either boneless or bone-in chuck roast. Some home cooks prefer boneless because there’s one less thing to fuss with. Other home cooks prefer bone-in because they claim it imparts more flavor to the meat. Whichever you prefer is fine. As the recipe instructs, there’s no need to cut up the meat prior to cooking. Just leave the roast in one big chunk. If you buy bone-in, do not attempt to remove the bone prior to cooking the roast. Simply keep an eye on the time and, yes, if necessary cook it a little longer. And then when you shred the cooked chuck roast, simply discard the bone along with any gristle and chunks of fat. Let us know how it goes!

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