This instant pot turkey chili is a nutritious and comforting meal made all in one cooking vessel! The multi-function appliance browns the turkey for more flavor and pressure cooks the vegetables, beans, and quinoa in just 10 minutes. Each bowl is loaded with healthy lean proteins and savory seasoning with a hint of spice!
Raise your hand up high if you’re a proud owner of an Instant Pot, I sure am! The first thing that came to mind when I opened up my brand new multi-cooker is to make a big pot of comforting chili. I wanted to test how efficient the pressure cooker function worked, so I added different proteins, legumes, and vegetables to see if the taste and texture of the soup would meet expectations.
Once I loaded up my 6-quart unit with the necessary ingredients, it was time to lock the lid and get the steam building in the pot. Being able to cook this Instant Pot turkey chili all in one tool, and not making a mess in the kitchen is a huge plus. This chili recipe strikes the right balance of savory, sweet with a hint of spicy flavors that pairs nicely with the ground turkey, beans, and quinoa.
Grab a bowl and spoon because this meal will disappear fast!
I usually make chili in my Crock-Pot. However, one of the biggest draws for me to give the Instant Pot a try is that I can brown the ground turkey and vegetables in olive oil using the Saute function and then change the setting to Pressure Cook to complete the process.
This is HUGE because browning the meat adds new flavors from the Maillard Reaction so that the soup is richer and meatier in flavor. It also caramelizes the onions, so they add a natural sweetness to the recipe. Typically I would have cooked the turkey, onions and, peppers in a hot frying pan and transferred it to the slow cooker or pot. One less thing to clean makes this mom very happy!
Once you saute the meat and vegetables, then the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, bell peppers, beans, quinoa, and chicken stock are added and stirred together. Once the lid is locked in place, I use the “Bean/Chili” function on the Instant Pot. This setting cooks the chili at high pressure for 10 minutes.
It’s nice to see that after just a brief cooking time, the sweet potatoes become tender and the quinoa is fully cooked! When using the electric pressure cooker function, remember that it takes time for the pressure to build.
Anywhere between 10 to 40 minutes depending on the ingredients. So factor that into the total cooking time. Overall, cooking the chili for less than an hour compared to 4 hours plus in a slow cooker is an excellent time-saver.
As the savory seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika infuse in this tomato-based chili recipe, over time the flavors distribute harmoniously together. It’s even the better the next day! I just add a little more chicken stock or water to make it less thick.
My family likes to customize their turkey chili bowl with toppings. Sour cream, grated cheese, diced avocado, radishes, sliced green chilies, pepitas, hot sauce, and cilantro are always set out.
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How to quickly enhance the flavors in the chili
It’s best to cook or “bloom” the spices in some oil before pressure cooking. Dried ground spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder are great flavoring agents and release aromatic compounds during cooking. Cooking the spices in fat first releases fat-soluble flavor molecules into the oil, resulting in more complex flavors. This process is achieved by cooking the meat, garlic, onions, and jalapeno in the cooking oil.
Instant Pot Turkey Chili
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 pound (454 g) ground turkey
- 1 cup (138 g) yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) minced garlic
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) chili powder
- 1 tablespoon (4 g) cumin
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) tomato paste, plus more for seasoning
- 15 ounces (425 g) diced tomatoes, canned with juice
- 1 cup (118 g) red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- 15 ounces (425 g) red kidney beans, canned, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces (425 g) pinto beans, canned, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups (360 g) sweet potato, ¼-inch dice
- 1 cup (156 g) corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
- ½ cup (97 g) quinoa, rinsed
- 3 cups (720 ml) unsalted chicken stock, divided
- Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot. Press "Adjust" and select "More" setting. Once the display says "Hot", add the olive oil and allow to heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. Saute until meat is browned and no longer pink, 5 minutes.
- Add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Saute until onions are tender, 3 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, pepper and salt to the pot. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
- Add tomato paste, diced tomato, bell pepper, kidney beans, pinto beans, sweet potato, corn, quinoa and 2 cups chicken stock. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on Instant Pot and close. Makes sure the steam-release handle is positioned to "sealing".
- Select the "Bean/Chili" setting. Use the "-" button to adjust the time to 10 minutes.
- It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to heat and pressurize. You may see traces of steam exit from the float valve as it is pressurizing. Once the display indicates "On" and begins the countdown at "10", and beeps when the cycle is complete.
- Cover your hand with an oven mitt or towel to carefully quick release the pressure from the pot, sliding the steam release handle to the "Venting" position, releasing all of the steam until the float valve drops down.
- Carefully open the lid, and stir to pot. Add about 1 cup more chicken stock if needed to loosen the chili.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper or spices as desired.
- Optional Toppings: Sour cream, cheese, avocado, green onions, cilantro, jalapenos, radishes, pepitas, or limes.
- For a spicier chili add more jalapenos or increase the amount of chili powder to taste.
- Serving Size: 1 cup