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Mushroom Chili Recipe


Particularly on a freezing winter afternoon, there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of homemade chili. Rather than sticking with tried-and-true classics, though, how about something different this year?

Below, we’re going to take a look at an exciting yet easy mushroom chili recipe that is fully vegetarian-friendly! If you do prefer some meat in your chili, we’ll show you how to add it anyway.

In any case, the mushrooms really add something to the rest of the stew, and I don’t just mean the tons of healthy nutrients they put into this low-calorie package!

For spice lovers, you have plenty of options and opportunities to add some cheyenne powder or jalapeño to the mix – but more sensitive tongues will get by with the mild version of our recipe just the same.


Key Takeaways

  • Mushrooms are nutritious, low-calorie, and versatile, making them a great ingredient to add to chili.
  • You can finely chop the mushrooms and blend them in with other ingredients to make them almost imperceptible or cut them into larger quarters to preserve their flavor.
  • Experiment with toppings beyond what's suggested in the recipe, and don't let leftovers go to waste by reusing them in other dishes like chili cheese dip.


The Benefits of Adding Mushrooms to Chili

Mushrooms are not the most orthodox ingredient to put in your chili, but that’s a great shame to us. Not only are they incredibly nutritious, packed with healthy minerals, vitamins, and protein, but they also remain low-calorie and, most importantly, low-dollar!

Because of that, they’re incredibly versatile and an efficient way to add some extra volume to your stew.

Because of their neutral aroma and their ability to blend in well with other flavors, mushrooms will never taste overbearing or off-key, and if you want to, you can even make them “disappear” almost entirely – perfect if you’re cooking for somewhat of a picky eater.

Besides these, mushrooms are also world-famous for their many health benefits.

The whole topic would be too much to go into here, but suffice it to say that mushrooms are filled with a ton of unique ingredients and compounds that boost your immune system, give you energy, and overall improve your well-being in a thousand tiny ways!


How to Make the Perfect Mushroom Chili

Before we start, let’s go over some of the things that make this recipe so special, and what to watch out for. Chili is relatively simple to cook, but it can be quite moody so you’d better be prepared beforehand!

Arguably the most significant aspect of this recipe is the mushrooms. They change the texture of the chili quite a bit, though thankfully, they are capable of blending in with other tastes really well, so you might not even notice that they’re there, particularly if you’re planning to go a slightly spicier route.

If you want to make this chili with ground meat, then by finely chopping your mushrooms (or even better, using a food processor) before cooking, you can blend them in with the other ingredients in such a way that their flavor will be nearly imperceptible.

On the other hand, leaving out the meat and cutting the mushrooms into larger quarters will preserve some of that fine savory taste that some can’t go without.

During the cooking process, there are a few different schools of thought regarding how many individual containers or vessels you need for your ingredients. We went for a simple solution using just one large pot, or a Dutch oven if you have one.

However, you can also use multiple bowls and pots throughout the cooking process, first preparing the mushrooms and/or your meat, then adding your vegetables, and finally bringing everything into a third container for adding spices and seasonings.

Also, if you would like, you can transfer your chili to a slow cooker after the initial cooking phase is done to let it simmer for more than an hour. Perfect for having a hot bowl ready by the time you get home in the evening!

Feel free to experiment with toppings beyond what’s suggested in the ingredients list. You can serve your chili with jalapeño slices, tortilla chips, shredded parmesan, or side dishes like some homemade cornbread!

If the portions turn out a bit large (as happens all too easily with chili), you can re-use the leftovers to make a lovely chili cheese dip, for example.


  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, cut and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon basil, dried
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 ounces red beans
  • 5 ounces tomatoes, diced
  • Optional extras: cheyenne powder, green onion slices, 1 pound of ground beef or sausage, sour cream


  • Dutch oven or large soup pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional: slow cooker, food processor

Serving Size

2-3 servings 

Estimated Cost


Prep Time

15-20 minutes

Cooking Time

55-65 minutes

Total Time

1 hour, 10-25 minutes


~200 calories per serving


  1. Prepare your mushrooms, either by cutting them by hand or using a food processor.
  2. Cook the onion in a large soup pot or Dutch oven at medium heat. If desired, add the meat sausage and/or ground beef before the onion changes color. Once the onion and meat are done, drain.
  3. Next, stir in your mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, and seasonings. Increase the heat and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Let boil for a few minutes while stirring and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot and leave simmering for about an hour. 
  4. Uncover once ready and add optional toppings as desired.
  5. Done!



This mushroom chili recipe is a great way to switch things up in the kitchen and get some healthy nutrients into your diet. By adding mushrooms to the mix, you can increase the volume of your chili without adding too many calories.

The neutral taste of mushrooms also makes them versatile and able to blend in well with other flavors.

Whether you prefer a vegetarian or meat-based chili, this recipe can work for you. Plus, there's plenty of room to experiment with different toppings and serving options. With a few simple steps, you can create a hearty and delicious bowl of chili that's perfect for any winter evening.

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