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.
Izzy Hossack

Prep 25 mins
Cook 3 hrs 35 mins
Total 4 hrs
8 to 10 servings
325 kcal
4.75 / 4 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%)

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


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  1. 5 stars
    Just as an aside, that rub! (Wait a second as I blow some off my keyboard.) Long story short: I made a bit too much and had about 3 tbsp leftover. And used it on everything. A bit in my coffee in the morning because I don’t do the pumpkin spice thing at the local coffee place. Smells divine. Dipped my hot croissant in it this morning. Heaven. Great variation on cinnamon toast. A little in some hummus. Surprising. I didn’t get the tacos, but I found something really interesting.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this in my crock pot for the family. I let them choose whether they wanted it on baked sweet potato or plain potatoes. It’s a hit! Will make this again. Leftovers tomorrow as tacos.

    1. Terrific, Louise! Love that you served it on baked potatoes and are repurposing leftovers as tacos. Clever serving ideas to keep it from being boring! Out of curiosity, what size slow cooker do you have and how long did you let it cook?

      1. I have a 6 quart slow cooker. It was too big for this recipe, but that’s alright. I started it on high and then brought it down to low after about 90 minutes and then let it cook for about 4-5 hours. Then I put in the peppers and beans and let it cook another hour.

        I also cut back on the tomatoes and only used one can because (a) I only had one can left in the pantry and (b) I thought I wouldn’t need anymore because I wasn’t cooking the sweet potatoes in the broth. There was still a goodly amount of delicious broth to keep this moist.

        For the record, the tacos were apparently quite good with some good old Cheddar on them. I didn’t get to taste them because everything got eaten before I got home.

  3. I actually made this recipe last year, and while I loved the flavours, I found that the beef didn’t break down the way it should have. I did ask for the specific cut of meat from the butcher, so I don’t think the issue was that I had the wrong cut. Still, I think the meat required a lot more time in the oven than indicated in the recipe. I gave it an hour or so more and the meat still had to be sliced with a knife to serve it.

    1. Janice, what cut of beef did you use? We had that exact same problem when we made the recipe with brisket, which was an option in the original version of the recipe. But when we subsequently made this chili with chuck, we didn’t experience that problem at all, hence this modified version of the recipe on our site.

      1. I probably used brisket as per the recipe in the book! I’ll definitely give it a try with chuck as you suggested because I LOVED the flavor, I was just sad the meat didn’t turn out quite right (though to be honest, once sliced, it was quite tender). Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

        1. You’re very welcome, Janice. No problem. I’ve actually had the same thing happen to me with brisket in other recipes—I think I just didn’t allow it to cook for as long as it’d like. It’s why we test recipes and, if necessary, adapt them slightly for a better experience in the kitchen. Let us know how it goes!

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