Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (2024)

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34 minutes minutes


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By: The Chunky Chefpublished: 02/24/2020

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Rich hearty Instant Pot chili, simmered with beef or turkey, beans, tomatoes, beans, spices, poblano pepper, and a secret ingredient! Since it’s made in the Instant Pot, it tastes like it slow simmered for hours – yet it’s ready in less than 40 minutes!

Recipes like my Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa and Instant Pot Sausage Tortellini Soup are great for when you want an ultra-comforting family meal that’s ready incredibly fast. This is one of my Pressure Cooker recipes you’ll definitely want in your recipe box!

Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (1)


When you think of a classic winter meal, what do you think of? For me, I think of chili.

A hot, steamy bowl of chili topped with cool sour cream, fresh cilantro, flavorful green onions, and of course, some gooey cheese.

It’s the kind of meal that you can eat while curled up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, watching a movie or some Netflix. The perfect dinner in on a cold night!


  1. Add oil to Instant Pot and brown beef or turkey on “saute” mode, crumbling as the meat cooks. Drain excess grease if needed.
  2. Add onion and peppers and cook about 4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir.
  4. Cancel “saute” mode, pressure cook for 15 minutes, then perform a quick pressure release.
  5. Garnish if desired and serve.

Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (2)


For me, chili is allllll about the toppings. A couple of my favorites are sour cream, shredded cheese, minced cilantro, chopped green onions, diced avocado and either tortilla chips or corn chips.

But any of your favorites would be great!


  • FAT CONTENT – If using ground beef, I like to use a beef with a lower fat content (90/10), to cut down on the grease. If using ground turkey, I like to use (93/7). You can use beef with a higher fat content, you just may have to drain the grease after you brown the meat.
  • POBLANO – I love using poblanos for the mild smoky heat they have, but occasionally you’ll come across one that is hotter, so I like to use disposable gloves when cutting the peppers. If you’ve ever had hot pepper oil on your skin, you’ll know why!
  • CHOCOLATE – this recipe uses unsweetened baking chocolate to add some amazing depth of flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t taste like chocolate at all. If you can’t find unsweetened baking chocolate, you can substitute with 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.
    • If you’re looking to use up the baking chocolate you have, check out my Cincinnati-Style Chili… it’ll knock your socks off

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  • BACON – for some extra added flavor try adding some cooked and crumbled bacon.
  • HOTTER– this chili is somewhere between a mild and medium heat level (in my opinion), but if you’d like to make it spicier, increase the amount of cayenne pepper, add some hot sauce, or add a jalapeno/serrano pepper.
  • MILDER – to make this more mild, omit the cayenne pepper.
  • PROTEIN – this chili recipe is amazing with both ground beef and turkey, but would also be delicious with ground chicken. You could also increase the amount of beans for added protein.
  • TEXTURE – if you like your chili really thick, you can add slurry of cornstarch and water to the chili and cook a few minutes on “saute”.

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As with most chili recipes, the leftovers are even better the next day, so you can absolutely make this chili ahead of time.

Make sure to cool it completely, then store in airtight containers.


Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 5 days.

Leftovers can also be cooled completely and frozen for up to 3 months.

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Enjoy alongside a slice of this skillet cornbread!


  • Instant Pot– I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!
  • Slow Cooker– I’ve had this slow cooker for years and it still works perfectly.
  • Dutch Oven– LeCreuset is my favorite brand, but they’re really pricey, so this Lodge version is a great alternative!
  • ChopStir – I love this little tool – it breaks up the meat SO quickly!
  • Chili Base – this stuff adds an amazingly deep flavor to the chili!

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Recipe originally published in February 2015 and has been updated in Feb. 2020 with additional information and photos.

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!

Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (8)

Instant Pot Chili

4.92 from 24 votes

Author: The Chunky Chef

Calories: 593

Servings: 6 - 8 servings

(hover over # to adjust)

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Rich and hearty chili made with either ground beef or turkey.


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 2 medium yellow onions diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 poblano peppers seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp better than bouillon chili base (optional but highly recommended)
  • 30 oz canned dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups beef broth reduced sodium
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz unsweetened 100% cacao Baker's Chocolate


  • Turn your Instant Pot to "Saute", then add vegetable oil to the pot. Add the meat and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a spatula as it cooks.

  • Add the onion, bell pepper, and poblano peppers and cook for 4 more minutes, or until softened. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon as the onions and peppers cook and give off liquid.

  • Add garlic and cook, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drain grease if needed, and return meat mixture to the pot.

  • Add all remaining ingredients and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure no browned bits remain.

  • Cancel the saute function, and secure Instant Pot lid, making sure the valve is set to "sealing". Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and use the +/- buttons to set the timer for 15 minutes.

  • Once the timer beeps, let out the pressure by carefully moving the valve to “venting" to perform a quick release. When the pin drops, remove lid and set aside.

  • If you prefer a thicker chili, mix 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into the chili and press the "saute" button again. Cook, stirring often, for several minutes, or until thickened to your liking.

  • Serve hot, with desired toppings.

Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!

Chef Tips


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add beef or turkey and cook, crumbling as it browns, for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain grease if needed.
  3. Add onion, bell pepper, and poblano peppers and saute 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

  4. Transfer meat and pepper mixture to slow cooker.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients, and stir well.
  6. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3 hours.


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 15 oz canned dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup beef broth reduced sodium
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 oz unsweetened 100% cacao Baker's Chocolate


  1. Add vegetable oil to bottom of large heavy bottomed pot. Heat over MED HIGH heat and add turkey. Cook about 6 minutes, crumbling the meat as it cooks.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and tomatoes, and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  3. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so.
  4. Stir in all remaining ingredients and bring mixture up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to MED LOW and simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes, until thickened to your liking.

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (9)

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Meet The Chunky Chef

Hey there! I'm Amanda. Wife, mother, photography nerd, and bacon lover! I believe that delicious meals should be easy to make. Now that you’re here, stay a bit, browse a few recipes, and let’s get cookin’!

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  1. Carol says

    This was amazing! I sub’d beer for half of the broth. Added bacon when browning the beef. So rich. Thank you for this! Now in the Instant Pot rotation menu!


  2. Amanda Hill says

    Is there something else I can use I cant find the better than bouillon chili base


    • The Chunky Chef says

      You can use some beef bouillon cube (just crumble some of it in), or omit it.


  3. John says

    I am excited to have bought a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 yesterday. I can’t wait to try it. In looking at your recipes, I can’t see any mention as to the size of Instant Pot used. Will I have to adjust the recipes to fit in my 6-quart model or will these fit? I’m worried because of the fill limits.
    TY, —John
    P.S. I am so impressed with your photos so wondered if you, like me, are into photography. Kudos!


    • The Chunky Chef says

      My Instant Pot recipe are all tested and created in a 6 quart, so no changes necessary 🙂 And thank you! Yes, I’m very much a photography nerd lol.


  4. Alan says

    What changes would you recommend if using dried beans? I prefer using dried, however I’m never quite sure how to make up for the lost seasonings which are already in prepared beans. Love your recipes, glad I found your site, thanks!


    • The Chunky Chef says

      I’m sorry Alan, I’ve only made and tested this recipe as written… so I can’t say how things would need to be changed if you wanted to use dried beans. I would definitely soak them overnight, and I’m sure they would need much longer than 15 minutes of pressure cooking time. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but it sounds like you get to do some fun kitchen experimenting 🙂


  5. Kimberlie G says

    I love your recipe. My version includes Spicy V8 rather than the beef broth. I had to substitute that because I don’t eat red meat. Very tasty! Thank you.


  6. Susan Neimy says

    Excellent chili recipe. It’s a regular recipe rotation during the winter months for my family! Yum!!!!


  7. Rhona says

    Tried the original chili & it did not disappoint.
    Super tasty.


  8. Chris says

    Best chili I ever ate


  9. Lawrence says

    This looks amazing!

    Which instructions should I follow if I were to use a Dutch Oven?

    Thank you so much for sharing


    • The Chunky Chef says

      I would follow the stovetop directions, as a method, but use the instant pot ingredients 🙂


  10. Jamie Lizada says

    Yay! The stove top recipe is back! One of my favorites in the food rotation.


Older Comments

Instant Pot Chili Recipe (versatile base recipe!) - The Chunky Chef (2024)


How does the chili setting on instant pot work? ›

What Is the Instant Pot Chili/Bean Setting? The bean/chili setting on the Instant Pot cooks at high pressure and can be set to "more," which is 30 minutes, or "less," which will cook for 25 minutes. You may choose the bean/chili setting and do a quick release after 15 minutes.

Is chili better on stove or instant pot? ›

Our testers really liked the stovetop method because of its consistency. Being on the stove allowed for it to really thicken and for the spices and flavors to meld together well.

How do you thicken chili in an instant pot? ›

How to Thicken Instant Pot Chili
  1. Thicken with Cornstarch (2 minutes): Make a slurry by combining equal parts water and cornstarch. When the cook cycle is done, and the pressure has been released, turn the IP on to saute and bring to a boil. ...
  2. Thicken by Simmering (20 minutes): If time allows, I prefer this method.
Feb 26, 2024

How do you make chili taste richer? ›

Elevate your chili recipe by adding an extra layer of flavor. Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight.

Why is my Instant Pot burning my chili? ›

An improperly sealed lid can cause the Instant Pot to just cook and cook your contents as it attempts to reach pressure. This will lead to scorching and then a burn notice. Make sure that you're using enough liquid.

Why is my Instant Pot not pressurizing chili? ›

SOLUTION: Open the Instant Pot and make sure there's enough liquid. If too much liquid has evaporated, the Instant Pot won't pressurize, so add more liquid if necessary. Close the Instant Pot and resume pressure cooking. If you have trouble closing the lid, move the steam release handle to the VENTING position.

What are the best beans to use for homemade chili? ›

The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

Which is better Instant Pot or pressure cooker? ›

If you're a tech-savvy home chef looking for versatility and convenience, the Instant Pot might be your ideal match. However, if you value time-tested reliability, durability, and a focus on the art of pressure cooking, a classic pressure cooker could be your perfect culinary companion.

Do professional chefs use Instant Pot? ›

They are most commonly used in industrial settings to quickly prepare meat or stocks. However, in most scenarios, Elite Chefs avoid using pressure cookers because they provide less control over the final dish. Chefs often prefer slow cooking techniques that accentuate and pull out the flavors of the food.

What spice gives chili its flavor? ›

Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves.

Should chili be thick or soupy? ›

Traditionally, we expect a robust, spicy base, meat and/or beans, perhaps some bonus veggies, and a thick, rich consistency. Unlike soups, which are brothy, or even bisques, which are creamy yet thinner, chili is meant to be more stew-like; it's a definite stick-to-your-ribs creation.

What is the secret to really good chili? ›

Cook it long enough

Chili recipes need time for flavors to meld and come together, and collagen-rich meat (like chuck roast or ground beef) needs 90 minutes to two hours to fully break down and become tender. If you don't have time for a long simmer, try using a slow cooker or making it the day before.

What liquid is best for chili? ›

Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

How long to warm up chili in Instant Pot? ›

Reheating Beef Chili on Slow Cook Setting

Alternatively, you can set the Instant Pot to SLOW COOK on HIGH and let it warm up for about 45-60 minutes to get warm.

What temp is the meat setting on Instant Pot? ›

Meat/Stew. Love when your meat falls right off the bone? This feature will absolutely make that possible. You can cook meat on “Normal” for 35 minutes (230 degrees), “More” for 45 minutes, or “Less” for 20 minutes.

What are the simmer settings on Instant Pot? ›

Press the Sauté button to brown meats, sauté vegetables, and simmer ingredients in the pressure cooking pot. Adjust Sauté to less for simmer, normal to sauté and more for browning.

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