Instant Pot chili recipe with rich ground beef, tender beans, fresh peppers, and bold spices for a southwestern kick of flavor. Pressure cooking dried beans make them tender in a fraction of the time. Add your favorite toppings for a hearty meal made in just 1 hour!
When you’re craving a good chili, break out your pressure cooker! Traditional methods require time to soak the beans overnight, followed by hours of cooking on the stovetop. To significantly cut down on prep and simmer time, use a multi-cooker device like the Instant Pot. Using this all-in-one vessel, you can use multiple techniques to develop more flavor compared to a slow cooker.
The Instant Pot allows you to enhance the taste of each ingredient by browning the beef, sauteing the vegetables, and blooming the spices. Then the mixture of beans pressure cooks until tender and creamy. Make each bowl customizable with your favorite toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, or slices of spicy peppers.
How to cook chili in the instant pot
The Instant Pot gives you the ability to saute and pressure cook the chili ingredients all in one vessel. Using the saute function, the onions and garlic cook first in the hot olive oil. Next, add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. The spices then combine with the meat.
Tomato paste adds a little sweetness and concentrated flavor. The dice bell pepper, jalapenos, dried beans, and liquid ingredients go in last. The chili cooks using the manual function on high pressure until the beans are tender. Make sure to use a natural-release of the pressure cooker, quick-release would cause the small bits of food and liquid to splatter out of the release valve.
For an extremely flavorful chili use 80% lean ground beef. It typically comes from the chuck (shoulder region of the cow) that gets very tender when the muscle tissue is broken down. The higher amount of fat also adds more richness to the texture.
A 90% lean ground sirloin will also work, but the chili will be slightly drier due to the lack of fat. Adjust the consistency with more beef broth as needed. For a poultry substitute, either ground turkey or chicken would work nicely in this recipe.
Using a mixture of spices
The secret to my chili recipe is using the right combination of smoky, savory, and spicy seasonings. I use a blend of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper. I like using dried spices because of its concentrated flavor and intense aroma. That means, a little goes a long way, but we don’t want to be shy with our chili.
Blooming the spices in olive oil and beef drippings draws out more fat-soluble flavors that have been locked in during the drying process. I also use fresh chopped jalapenos to add more heat. For depth, I use brewed coffee to add a slight bitterness and roasted flavor that compliments the savory ingredients. A small amount of cocoa powder will also add in that light astringent note. If you’re not a coffee fan, beer works too, otherwise, you can use beef stock or broth.
I use a trio of beans
To add a variety of colors and textures to this chili I use different types of beans. I prefer to use equal amounts of red kidney beans, black beans, and beige speckled pinto beans. Dried beans can take hours to cook, in order to adequately soften the skins and create a creamy center. However, using the high-pressure cooking setting on the Instant Pot offers up a quick solution in just under an hour.
High pressure elevates the cooking temperature
This makes for rapid tenderization of the beans. No pre-soaking is necessary, just around 33-minutes and you’ll have soft legumes that hold their shape. When testing the recipe, I notice the larger kidney beans require a few additional minutes of cook time.
Therefore the cooking time is calculated based on the minimal time needed to fully cook the larger size bean, otherwise, they will taste slightly underdone compared to the other varieties. You can always add the lid back on and pressure cook a few minutes longer if needed.
What about canned beans?
You can substitute canned beans for dried beans, although I recommend draining and adding them in after pressure cooking the ground beef. This will allow the beans to simmer on the saute setting until warmed through. Canned beans will disintegrate and get mushy if pressure-cooked for too long. It’s best to limit their time in the vessel.
Affordable and nutritious
Instant Pot chili is not only a comforting meal, but it also provides balanced nutrition that doesn’t cost a lot to make. Dried beans are cheap and have a long shelf life. They’re a great pantry staple when you need to add a source of protein and fiber to any meal. This chili uses lean ground beef, but ground chicken, turkey, or even crumbled firm tofu can be swapped to change up the flavor.
More chili recipes
Ways to thicken the chili
Both beans and tomato paste can help to thicken the chili. As the beans cook they release some of their natural starches into the simmering liquid. I also find that as the chili sits before serving, the beans absorb more moisture from the liquid in the pot. Adjust the consistency as needed adding more beef broth or heating up the chili when ready to serve.
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Instant Pot Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef, 80% lean
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, optional
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed
- ½ cup dried kidney beans, rinsed
- ½ cup dried black beans, rinsed
- ½ cup dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups unsalted beef broth, or beef stock
- ½ cup coffee
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow the device to heat up then it should indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
- Add olive oil, then once hot add the onions and garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, make sure to break the meat into smaller chunks, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and minced jalapenos, cook for 1 minute. Add rinsed kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and coffee, stir to combine.
- Press "Keep/ Warm/Cancel" on the Instant Pot. Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position. Place the lid on, turn and lock.
- Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 33 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to heat up and build pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Once cook time is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes.
- Use an oven mitt or towel to slowly and carefully twist the steam release handle on the lid to "Venting" position. The initial release will spray some moisture around the pot so be careful. Remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released.
- Stir the chili and taste. Season with more salt, pepper, chili powder, or chipotle chili powder as desired. If desired, add more beef broth for a thinner chili consistency. Serve with toppings.
- Serving Size: 1 cup (9 ounces)
- Topping Suggestions: Sliced chili peppers, sour cream, cheese, sliced green onions, cilantro, or avocado.
- Using Canned Beans: Add in a total of 4 1/2 cups of cooked beans after you pressure cook the meat for 15 minutes instead of 33 minutes. Select "Saute" and cook until the beans are warmed through.
- Coffee Substitution: Decaffeinated coffee can be substituted. Instant coffee can also be used, follow the rehydration instructions from the manufacturer.
- Protein Substitution: Ground turkey, ground chicken, or crumbled firm tofu can be substituted for ground beef.
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