Dehydrated Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I’m still on a high from my backpacking trip on the Lost Coast Trail this past week. You can read about that adventure here. One of the things that I didn’t include in my original post is what I ate, but it is definitely not something to be overlooked. Finding delicious ways to stay fueled on the trail can be tricky, but with a simple dehydrator, you can make some awesome recipes, like the one below.

You might recall my first attempt at using a dehydrator to make Dehydrated Trail Sloppy Joes. Those turned out amazing and I couldn’t wait to create some new recipes. This last week on the Lost Coast, my meals consisted of Spicy Breakfast Burrito Bowls, Dehydrated Watermelon Chips, Penne with Turkey Meat Sauce, and Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes. All of them turned out better than I could have expected, and I’m excited to share the recipes with you.

This first recipe—Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes—is flavor-packed, rehydrates easily, and provides lots of great carbs and vitamins to keep you fueled on long hikes. The recipe serves four, but I only ended up dehydrating half of it and eating the other half for dinner the night I made it. Whether you eat it fresh off the stove top, or rehydrated on the trail, I guarantee this recipe will be one of your favorites.

Dehydrated Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz lager beer, like PBR
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions to make the chili:

  1. Add ground beef to a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble meat and brown until no longer pink. Once the beef is cooked through, drain the fat and transfer meat to a small bowl.
  2. In the same pot, add the diced onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.
  3. Add the beef back to the pot and all the seasonings. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beer to the beef mixture. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. While the chili is simmering, scrub the sweet potatoes and small dice with the skin still on.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Toss to cover all the potatoes.
  7. Transfer the potatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until golden brown. I usually stir the potatoes half way through to make sure the bottoms aren’t burning.
  8. Once the potatoes are done and the chili has been simmering for 45 minutes, add the potatoes to the chili mixture and stir to combine. Check and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Directions to dehydrate:

  1. Line four dehydrator trays with plastic inserts or parchment paper.
  2. Allow the chili to cool completely before transferring it to trays, one serving per tray.
  3. Set the dehydrator to 155ºF for five hours. After five hours, flip and peel off the plastic trays or parchment, so the chili is directly on top of the dehydrator trays.
  4. Continue to dehydrate for another 6-7 hours until crumbly and brittle.
  5. Transfer each portion to a vacuum seal bag, big enough to add water to on the trail, and seal with an oxygen absorbent packet.
  6. Store in the fridge until you’re ready for your trip to keep ultimate freshness.

Directions to rehydrate:

  1. Cut off the top of the vacuum seal bag and add just enough water to cover the chili mixture.
  2. Stir and set inside a mylar bag or coozie and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Eat right out of the bag and enjoy!



Chili going into the dehydrator.


The final product on the trail, Dehydrated Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

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