The Best Instant Pot Chili

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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!

Instant Pot chili served in a white bowl with cheese and sour cream on top

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.

Bowl filled with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper

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.

Beef selection

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.

ground beef and bell peppers sautéing in an Instant Pot

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.

Beef stock liquid being poured into an Instant Pot filled with beans and ground beef

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.

close up photo of a spoon mixing chili in a pot

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

The best Instant Pot chili recipe with ground beef, fresh jalapenos, bell peppers, and bold spices for a southwestern kick of flavor.
Pin Print Review
4.49 from 25 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Equipment

Notes

  • 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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Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 440 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 60mg20%
Sodium 634mg26%
Potassium 1148mg33%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Fiber 9g36%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 1335IU27%
Vitamin C 29.9mg36%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 5.8mg32%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Reader Interactions

21 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Diane says

    Jessica, I am super excited about this recipe! I received an Instant Pot for Christmas and every meal I’ve made in it has been delicious! Thank you for
    sending out this Instant Pot recipe! I will make it for sure!!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Tom- I found this to be a good level. However, I have tested using 1 cup of kidney beans instead of 1/2 cup, and that provides an even thicker chili.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jimmy- The instant pot shouldn’t be filled more than about 2/3 Full. In an 8 quart that’s about 5 quarts, so I think you will be okay doubling the recipe. Just make sure not to go above the max fill line. Back off on some of the beef broth if needed and add it back after pressure cooking.

  2. Shannon Crockett says

    Is there a way to modify the recipe for the stovetop or slow cooker? I had it at a friend’s house and loved it but don’t have an Instapot.

  3. Connie says

    This recipe looks fantastic. When I cook dried beans in the pressure cooker her in Colorado, it take 50 to 60 minutes. Will that amount of time over cook the ground meat? Thanks for a fabulous blog with so many amazing recipes

  4. Havilah says

    This was seriously so good! My family loves a good chili but I never have-until now! It has such a good flavor on its own. Adding cheddar, sour cream and green onions really makes it. My youngest isn’t able to tolerate much spice yet so I cut the jalepeno in half but as it turned out it wasn’t spicy at all, just flavorful. Next time I’ll use the full amount and see how she handles it with some sour cream mixed in. Anyway, thanks so much for this recipe! Yours are some of our favorites, esp your shepherd’s pie 🙌

  5. RJ Vitiello says

    Hi Jessica, we are looking forward to trying this recipe. We’re glad we stumbled across it. We have a couple of questions first: You mention that we can use beer instead of coffee. How much beer should we use?

    Second, you mention that kidney beans take longer to cook. Does the 33 minute pressure time cook the kidney beans sufficiently? Does that 33 minute time overcook the black beans and pinto beans? Our experience has been that 20 minutes of pressure time is perfect for black beans.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would use a 1/2 cup of beer instead of coffee, use a pale ale or IPA. I’ve found that the 33 cooks all of the beans sufficiently. If you’re only using the smaller black of pinto beans you can reduce the time.

  6. Bonnie says

    This is not a review. I am interested in trying this recipe, but do not have a pressure cooker or instant pot. How does one convert this recipe? Thank you.

  7. Greg says

    is there way to cook this in a slow cooker or even the stove it sounds great & I really want to make it but I don’t have an instant pot? Hope to hear back from you!

  8. Karen Duffield says

    I am excited to try the recipe but would love a conversion for stovetop cooking as well as another reader as I do not have an instant pot and would just use the canned beans as my current recipe calls for unless you recommend preparing dried beans. Any help would be greatly appreciated in converting the recipe. Thanks very much

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Karen! You can definitely make the chili on the stovetop instead of the instant pot. I would follow the directions for sauteing the vegetables and beef, they stir in the canned beans. Adjust the liquid to your liking for thickness. Let me know how it goes!

      • Karen Duffield says

        Thanks so much for your response and help! I am loving all of the recipes that I have tried and enjoying your cookbook as well! so appreciate the thorough directions on all of your recipes. It has increased my confidence in cooking tremendously! thanks again for sincerely Karen will be trying tonight!!

  9. Orma says

    I’ve read that dry beans that are more than a year old can take longer to cook. Will that affect the cook time here?

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