Homemade Lentil Chili is a hearty, budget-friendly meal that is ready in under an hour!
Lentils, canned tomatoes and beans, fresh bell pepper and a handful of spices are simmered on the stovetop to create this delicious chili dish.
Simple Pantry Ingredients
This homemade lentil chili recipe is foolproof. It uses simple, inexpensive ingredients that are most likely in the pantry already, and can be on the table in less than an hour to feed that hungry crowd!
Just toss ingredients in a pot on the stove, and simmer until flavors blend together!
This lentil chili recipe uses ingredients that are probably already in the pantry!
LENTILS Brown lentils are added to this chili, but yellow, red or green will work perfectly too. You can also add canned lentils!
If using canned lentils, double the quantity of lentils and reduce the broth in this recipe. You will also want reduce the simmering time just until the vegetables are soft.
VEGGIES Onion and fresh bell peppers are chili must-haves. Stretch this dish even further by adding corn, celery, sweet potatoes, carrots or whatever you have on hand!
CANNED GOODS Diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and tomato sauce all add to the flavor of this chili. Try using canned tomatoes that are already seasoned for an extra kick!
SPICES Keep the chili mild if preferred, or take it to the next level by adding even more homemade chili powder or red chili flakes!
VARIATIONS Add meat to this Lentil Chili for a super hearty version! Use ground beef, ground chicken or Italian sausage!
How to Make Lentil Chili
It’s as easy as 1-2-3 to make this delicious one-pot wonder!
- Saute the onion then add garlic and spices.
- Add lentils and tomatoes with juices and broth. Simmer until mixture is thickened.
- Serve immediately with desired toppings.
For lentil chili with beef, just cook ground beef with the onion and garlic.
For turkey lentil chili, add cooked, shredded turkey to the chili when the lentils are added. Great for using up leftover turkey!
Tips for Perfect Lentil Chili
- To thicken chili, simmer uncovered until excess liquid is cooked off. Alternatively, blend or mash approximately half a cup of lentils and add back into the chili.
- For slow cooker lentil chili, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (perfect for overnight or a workday) or 4 to 5 hours on high.
- For an Instant Pot, cook 30 minutes on high and then slow release for 13 minutes (or follow user guide directions).
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- To reheat, put back in pot on medium heat until heated through. Or, put in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals until heated through!
- Freeze for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
More Meatless Mains
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup – hearty & delicious
- Lentil Sloppy Joes – a classic comfort food
- Black Bean Tacos – quick weeknight meal
- Easy Lentil Soup – only 5 ingredients!
- Lentil Shepherds Pie – vegetarian
- Homemade Lentil Soup – make-ahead meal
Did you enjoy this stovetop Lentil Chili? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 cup bell pepper chopped red or green
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/4 cups brown lentils
- 19 ounce kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth or vegetable or chicken broth
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
- Cook onion and bell peppers until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook 1 minute more.
- Add lentils, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and broth.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer cook covered 25 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until chili reaches desired thickness.
- 1 lb lean ground beef can be cooked and added to the chili along with the onion.
- To thicken chili, simmer uncovered until excess liquid is cooked off.
- To use canned Lentils, double the lentils listed in the recipe and do not add the broth. Also reduce the cook time to simmer for 15 minute uncovered as the lentils are already cooked.
- For Slow Cooker Lentil Chili, combine all ingredients and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
- For Instant Pot Lentil Chili, combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot and cook on high for 30 minutes. Slow release the pressure for 13 minutes (or follow user guide directions).