Instant Pot Chili: Quick & Hearty Comfort in Minutes

Chili is the epitome of comfort food, and it’s a dish that brings people together in celebration of rich, hearty flavors. Traditionally, chili requires hours of slow simmering on the stovetop, but what if we told you that you can enjoy a steaming bowl of chili in a fraction of the time, without compromising on taste? Thanks to the Instant Pot, you can have a delicious pot of chili ready in under an hour. So, let’s dive into this one-pot wonder and explore how to make Instant Pot Chili that will leave your taste buds singing.

What is Instant Pot Chili?

Instant Pot Chili is a flavorful and hearty chili recipe prepared using an Instant Pot, which is a popular brand of electric pressure cooker. This cooking method allows you to create a delicious pot of chili in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional stovetop or slow cooker methods.

The basic ingredients for Instant Pot Chili typically include ground meat (such as beef or turkey), beans (commonly kidney and black beans), tomatoes (diced or tomato paste), onions, garlic, and a blend of spices and seasonings like chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. The dish can be customized to suit your taste preferences, from mild to extra spicy.

The process involves sautéing the meat and aromatics, adding the beans, tomatoes, broth, and seasonings, and then pressure cooking the mixture. The result is a savory and comforting chili that’s perfect for warming up on a cold day, serving at gatherings, or enjoying a weeknight meal.

Instant Pot Chili Recipe

Recipe by Ethan Harris


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey for a leaner option)

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste for spice)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Olive oil for sautéing


  • Sauté the Onions and Garlic:
    Set your Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ mode and add a splash of olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Brown the Meat:
    Add the ground beef (or turkey) to the pot and cook until it’s browned and crumbled. Make sure to break up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Seasoning Time:
    Add the chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper to the pot. Mix well with the meat and sauté for a minute or two to toast the spices, releasing their flavors.
  • Beans and Tomatoes:
    Add the kidney beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the Instant Pot. Stir everything together until well combined.
  • Broth and Seasoning:
    Pour in the beef or vegetable broth, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pressure Cook:
    Close the Instant Pot lid, ensuring the vent is sealed. Set the Instant Pot to ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ mode and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Natural Release:
    Once the timer goes off, allow for a natural pressure release for about 10 minutes. Carefully release any remaining pressure manually and open the lid.
  • Serve and Enjoy:
    Ladle your Instant Pot Chili into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, or fresh cilantro.

Expert Tips for Making Perfect Instant Pot Chili

Sear the Meat: Before pressure cooking, sear your meat in the Instant Pot. This adds depth of flavor by browning the meat and developing rich fondness on the bottom of the pot.

Balance the Spices: Adjust the level of heat to your taste. If you prefer a milder chili, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper. For a spicier kick, you can always add more later.

Use Quality Broth: The choice of broth can greatly impact the flavor of your chili. Use a high-quality beef or vegetable broth to infuse your chili with richness.

Beans and Timing: If you’re using canned beans, add them after pressure cooking. Simmer the chili with the beans in “Sauté” mode until they’re heated through. This helps prevent overcooked, mushy beans.

Allow Natural Release: While a quick release is convenient, allowing a few minutes of natural release before opening the Instant Pot can enhance the texture of the meat and beans.

Garnish Creatively: Garnishes can take your chili to the next level. Consider toppings like diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, or even a dollop of Greek yogurt for a tangy contrast.

Make It Vegetarian: To create a vegetarian chili, use plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, or a mix of beans such as black, kidney, and pinto. The Instant Pot handles these alternatives just as well.

Freeze for Later: Chili is an excellent make-ahead meal. Freeze individual portions in airtight containers for quick, satisfying dinners on busy days.

Best Toppings for Instant Pot Chili

Shredded Cheese: A classic choice, shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack cheese adds creaminess and richness to your chili. Sprinkle it on top and let it melt into the hot chili.

Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream adds a cool and tangy contrast to the spiciness of chili. It’s a perfect complement to the heat and enhances the overall flavor.

Chopped Green Onions: Fresh green onions provide a burst of freshness and a mild onion flavor. They also add a pop of color to your chili.

Fresh Cilantro: Chopped fresh cilantro brings a burst of herbaceous and citrusy flavors to your chili. It pairs especially well with chili that has a Mexican twist.

Diced Avocado: Creamy avocado chunks are a delicious, buttery addition. They provide a refreshing balance to the heat and add healthy fats to your meal.

Sliced Jalapeños: For those who love extra heat, sliced jalapeños offer a spicy kick. Add them sparingly or generously, depending on your spice tolerance.

Lime Wedges: Squeezing fresh lime juice over your chili can brighten up the flavors and add a zesty, citrusy note.

Crushed Tortilla Chips: For a delightful crunch, sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over your chili. They’re especially great with a Tex-Mex or Mexican-inspired chili.

Crumbled Bacon: If you’re a fan of smoky flavors, crumbled bacon bits make a savory and indulgent topping for chili.

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