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The chili served in a blue bowl and garnished with melted cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream displayed on a blue table with a beige linen and a spoon.

Lentil Chili

This lentil chili is a different take on a Fall classic. I’m always looking for new ways to cook lentils, and this one is a hit at my house.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, lentils
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 418kcal
Author Elizabeth


  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely diced
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes optional
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes we used fire roasted tomatoes
  • 12 ounces Dried Lentils use brown or green lentils
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Red Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (6-8 ounce) can Corn drained
  • Salt to taste if needed at the end


  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until they’re translucent and start to soften, stir frequently.
  • Next, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if using); cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, lentils, chicken broth and the bay leaves to the pot. Stir well.
  • Raise the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer the lentils for 25 minutes or until almost tender. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the red and black beans and corn to the lentils, stir well to combine. Continue cooking, covered, on medium-low heat, for 15-20 minutes to let the flavors to come together and to get the lentils very tender. Stir the chili occasionally to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Find the bay leaves, remove and discard.
  • Taste the lentils and add salt if needed. Also, keep in mind the toppings you’re serving before adding extra salt. For example, if your toppings are salty like cheese or chips then factor that in when deciding. As a reference we didn’t add any extra salt to ours.
  • Serve the lentil chili with your choice of toppings!


The cooking time offered is just an estimate. Actual cooking time will depend on how soft you like the lentils and the freshness of the beans. The fresher the lentils the quicker they will cook.
If the lentil chili needs thickening: uncover the pot for a little while and let some of the liquid cook out. Keep at a simmer and stir occasionally. If it’s too thick: add a little bit of broth to loosen it up and heat through.
Optional topping ideas: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Corn Chips (like Fritos), Crumbled Tortilla Chips, Corn Bread, Diced Avocado, Chopped Cilantro or Parsley, Hot Sauce


Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1444mg | Potassium: 1412mg | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 624IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 8mg