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This delicious Instant Pot Chili recipe is made with dried beans and your choice of ground meat (or vegan soy crumbles). It offers up a hearty, depth of flavor you’ll appreciate. Serve it up with Our Favorite Homemade Cornbread. Video.
Here’s a hearty, flavorful Instant Pot Chili recipe that can be made using dry beans from your pantry. It’s cozy comfort food for chilly days and is perfect for feeding a crowd, like on game day. It’s a quick and hearty chili with bold, rich flavor!
Why You’ll Love This!
- Simple ingredients. This recipe calls for pantry staples that you likely already have at home. You’ll use dry beans, crushed tomatoes, spices, broth, and even cocoa powder!
- Highly Adaptable. Make it with ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or keep it vegan by adding textured soy protein or “soy crumbles”. This recipe calls for dry pinto beans but dry black beans, or dry red beans will all work! You can easily make this recipe plant-based with textured soy protein or “soy crumbles.”
- Quick & easy to make! While the overall cook time is 45 minutes, much of this is hands-off. Let your instant pot do the work!
- Flavorful & comforting. Chili is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. This recipe sneaks in surprising ingredients like dark beer, Worcestershire, and dark cocoa powder for rich, mouthwatering flavor.
- Dry pinto beans: Provide a hearty and creamy texture to the chili, while also adding a slightly nutty and earthy flavor. You can sub red beans, black beans, or kidney beans.
- Olive oil: Adds richness and depth to the chili, enhancing the overall flavor.
- Onion: Adds a sweet and savory flavor to the chili, providing a nice base for the other ingredients.
- Protein: Ground organic beef, chicken, turkey, textured vegan protein, “soy crumbles,” or soy chorizo! The choice of protein adds its own unique flavor and texture to the chili. Beef adds richness, while chicken and turkey offer a lighter taste. Vegan options like TVP or soy crumbles provide a meaty texture with a plant-based twist.
- Garlic: Adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the chili, infusing it with depth and complexity.
- Spices: Kosher salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, dried Mexican oregano, smoked paprika. The spices add subtle heat, mild spice, smoky flavor, warm and earthiness, and a touch of herbal flavor.
- Diced or crushed tomatoes: Provide a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the chili, as well as contributing to the overall sauciness of the dish. Fire-roasted tomatoes are nice here and add a smoky element.
- Fresh jalapeño: Optional, but adds heat and a subtle fruity flavor to the chili. The amount can be adjusted depending on desired spiciness.
- Tomato paste: Intensifies the tomato flavor and adds richness to the chili.
- Beef, chicken or veggie broth: Provides a savory base for the chili, adding moisture and enhancing the overall flavor.
- Dark beer: Adds depth and richness to the chili, imparting a complex flavor profile. If preferred, it can be substituted with additional broth.
- Worcestershire sauce: Optional, or can be substituted with soy sauce. Worcestershire sauce adds a tangy and savory flavor to the chili, while soy sauce provides umami undertones in a vegan-friendly option.
- Dark cocoa powder: Adds a subtle bitterness and richness to the chili. Optional, but really enhances the depth of flavor.
- Optional additions: Other vegetables like corn, diced red bell pepper, or poblanos can be added for additional flavor and texture. Fire-roasted corn adds a smoky element.
- Optional garnishes: Grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, scallions, hot sauce, and pickled red onions can be used for garnishing, adding extra flavors and textures to the chili.
Instant Pot Chili Instructions (video below)
- Faux “presoak” the beans. Place dry, unsoaked beans in the Instant pot (or your electric pressure cooker), and add water, one inch above the level of the beans. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. (See notes!) Manually release. Drain and set aside. You can skip this step and presoak your beans overnight.
- Prep your ingredients. While the beans are pressure cooking prep your onions and garlic, open any cans and gather all the spices.
- Saute. Turn Instant Pot to Saute function and heat the oil. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add garlic and the ground meat or soy crumbles. Saute 3-4 more minutes, while continuously stirring and breaking up the meat. I find a metal spatula comes in handy for this. Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and saute one minute, cooking the spices a bit. Add the diced tomatoes and juices, tomato paste, broth, beer, Worcestershire, cocoa powder, smoked paprika or chipotle, optional jalapeño. Give a good stir, then add the pressure-cooked beans (drained) or pre-soaked beans.
- Pressure cook. Set Instant Pot to high pressure for 22 minutes. Naturally release the seal for 15 minutes.
- To make a thicker chili: If you like a thicker chili, stir in a little masa harina or masa corn flour, sprinkling it in a tablespoon at a time. This also adds delicious “corn” flavor. You can also stir in frozen corn and set to “saute” function until heated through.
- Taste and adjust. Taste, adjust spice level and salt. If you want more “kick” add it!
- Serve with fresh garnishes and cornbread!
- Sour cream or Mexican Crema
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Diced Avocado
- Sliced Jalapeno
- Green Onions
- Tortilla Chips
- Hot sauce
- Save time soaking the beans. Giving the beans a quick 7-minute pressure cook, replaces the soaking time here and during this first phase, it is the perfect amount of time to prep the rest of the ingredients, allowing the recipe to go quite quickly!
- Use beef stock or broth. Using beef stock or broth adds a lot of depth here. If going vegan, veggie bullion is the best!
- Thicken the chili. To thicken the chili sometimes I’ll add a couple of tablespoons of Masa Harina which also adds delicious flavor!
- Garnishes add a lot of flavor and texture! Top the flavorful chili with avocado or sour cream, fresh cilantro, scallions, jalapeño and hot sauce if you like extra heat!
- Yes you can use a slow cooker! Cook on high for at least 6 hours, or low for 8 hours. (Make sure beans are soaked!)
Using dried beans makes the flavor of chili immensely better! In our instructions, we use the instant pot to do a faux “presoak” for the dry beans. Older and larger beans will take longer to soak. If you choose not to use the instant pot for soaking the beans, soak them for 8-12 hours, or until doubled in size and drain.
Not only are dried beans more affordable than canned, but their texture and flavor is so much better. Soaking dried beans can make them easier to digest as well. Canned beans also tend to have a higher sodium content.
Each ingredient listed has a purpose to the overall flavor of the chili. But some of the key ingredients that make a truly exceptional chili are dark beer, Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce) and dark cocoa powder. Each of these ingredients enhances all of the flavors in the chili and they add richness and depth. These unique additions are optional, but can really take a great chili to absolutely amazing!
Simply replace the protein with textured vegetable protein, soy crumbles, or vegan chorizo and use a vegetable broth to make this an instant pot vegetarian chili!
The default “chili setting” on an instant pot is set at 30 minutes at high pressure – the reccommended time- which does make a nice batch of chili. You can increase the time, or lower the time, depending on the bean type and whether the beans have been pre-soaked.
Make sure the underside of the pot and the heating element are clean and free from any debris. Always ensure the steam valve is closed to prevent too much liquid from evaporating. After sauteing, always deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits. Make sure there is at least one cup of liquid.
While it is not imperative to soak beans before cooking them in an instant pot- pre-soaking the beans results in beans that are cooked more evenly and make them easier to digest. Large beans like Pinto beans or red beans tend to cook a little unevenly if unsoaked. Smaller beans like black beans, need not be presoaked, but larger beans or older beans, will benefit from pre-soaking. Here, we offer a faux “presoak” with the Instant pot.
Hope you enjoy this extra bold and flavorful Instant Pot Chili– such a great way to keep using up those pantry ingredients!
More Favorite Chili Recipes
How to make Instant Pot Chili | 30-sec video
This hearty Instant Pot Chili recipe is made with dried beans and your choice of ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken) or try vegan soy crumbles! Vegan-adaptable! Serve it up with Our Favorite Homemade Cornbread. Video.
- 2 cups dry pinto beans (or sub red beans or black beans) SEE NOTES.
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pound ground organic beef, chicken, turkey or vegan TVP (1 3/4 cups dry and rehydrated) Textured Vegan Protein or “Soy crumbles”) or soy chorizo!
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped (or 1 tablespoon granulated garlic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
- 1 14–ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes with juices ( fire-roasted are nice here)
- 1–3 tablespoons fresh jalapeño, finely chopped (optional, adds a kick of heat)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups beef, chicken or veggie broth
- 1 cup dark beer (or sub more broth)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional) or soy sauce
- 1 –2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder, (optional, adds delicious depth)
- 1–2 teaspoons smoked paprika (optional, adds smoky flavor) or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Optional additions: For a smoky flavor, add canned chipotle ( or some of the adobo sauce) or a little smoked paprika. Other veggies: frozen corn (fire-roasted is nice) or diced red bell pepper, or poblanos. For a thicker chili, add 1-2 tablespoons masa harina corn flour to thicken.
- Optional Garnishes: grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, scallions, hot sauce, pickled red onions.
- Place dry unsoaked beans in the Instant pot, and add water, one inch above the level of the beans. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. (See notes). Manually release. Drain and set aside.
- While the beans are pressure cooking prep your onions and garlic, open any cans and gather all the spices.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute function and heat the oil. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add garlic and the ground meat or soy crumbles. Saute 3-4 more minutes, while continuously stirring and breaking up the meat. I find a metal spatula comes in handy for this. Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and saute one minute, cooking the spices a bit. Add the diced tomatoes and juices, tomato paste, broth, beer, Worcestershire, cocoa powder, smoked paprika or chipotle, optional jalapeño. Give a good stir, then add the pressure cooked beans (drained) or pre-soaked beans.
- Set Instant Pot to high pressure for 22 minutes. Naturally release for 15 minutes.
- If you like a thicker chili, stir in a little masa harina or masa corn flour, sprinkling it in a tablespoon at a time. Simmer 5 minutes to cook it. This also adds a delicious “corn” flavor. You can also stir in frozen corn and set to “saute” function until heated through.
- Taste, adjust spice level and salt. If you want more “kick” add it!
- Serve in bowls and garnish with any or all of the following: sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, scallions, corn chips.
Pre-Soaking: If your beans are very old (like older than a year) increase the Pre-Pressure Cooking Time to at least 15 minutes. Older beans and bigger beans take longer to cook. Or soak in cold water for 8-12 hours until doubled in size, then drain.
You can skip pressure cooking the beans in the beginning if you soak them in cold water for 8-12 hours. (Pre-soaking or pre-pressure cooking the beans cuts the cooking time in half.)
*FYI, if you do not pre-soak or pre-cook the pinto beans, they would take roughly 45-50 minutes of pressure cooking time, with some uneven cooking. That being said, yes, you can absolutely do it this way, just allow for the full, natural, long release. They will need 3 1/2-4 cups of liquid, so I’d add an extra 1/4 – 1/2 cup ( 3 cups broth, 1 cup beer)
I used a 6 Quart Instant Pot. -this recipe doubled, will not fit in a 6 quart.
SLOW COOKER: Yes you can use a slow cooker! Cook on high for at least 6 hours, or low for 8 hours. ( Make sure beans are soaked!)
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 294
- Sugar: 4.7 g
- Sodium: 841.7 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 38.9 g
- Fiber: 9.3 g
- Protein: 23.7 g
- Cholesterol: 35.6 mg
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