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Instant Pot Chili in a bowl with lime wedge.

Instant Pot Chili

My original recipe for my famous chili adapted for the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. This is a thick, delicious chili.

Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword pressure cooker chili recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Pressure Building and Release 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 278 kcal
Author Sandy Clifton


  • 2 lbs Lean Ground Beef (or 93% Lean Ground Turkey. Use a little olive oil to brown the turkey)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Diced Celery,
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano (or regular oregano)
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher Salt (or 1 tsp table salt) or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons Chili Powder, mild
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder, optional (adds the heat and extra flavor. Use more for a spicier chili) or use cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth or Water (or LS beef broth. I like the flavor of chicken).
  • (1) 7 oz can Diced Green Chilis (with juice) optional
  • 1 cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers, (chopped) optional
  • (2) 15.25 oz cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • (1) 15 oz can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • (1) 15.5 oz can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
  • (2) 14.5 oz cans Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
  • (2) 6 oz cans Tomato Paste


  1. Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. When the display reads “Hot” add the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost done (if you use 93% lean or higher, you won't need to drain the fat. You'll need a little to cook the onions).

    If you use ground turkey, you will need a little oil.

  2. Add the bay leaf, onion, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to turn translucent.

  3. Add salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and chipotle chili powder. Stir well.

  4. Add the broth/water. Stir well.

  5. Cancel/turn off the Sauté setting.

From this point on, layer the remaining ingredients and Do Not Stir (to avoid the BURN Error)

  1. Add the green chiles and roasted red pepper, if using. Do not stir.

  2. Add all of the rinsed & drained beans. Do not stir.

  3. Add the diced tomatoes. Do not stir.

  4. Add the tomato paste. Do not stir.

  5. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and lock it into place. Set the steam release knob to Sealing (if your model is not self-sealing).

  6. Press the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button and then the +/- button or dial to choose 5 minutes. High Pressure.

  7. Stay by the pot until it comes to pressure. I wanted to make this as close to my original recipe as possible, which is a thick chili. If the time starts to count down and the pot has NOT come to pressure (the pin in the lid is still down), open the pot, add in ½ cup of water, and reset the lid and cook time. You shouldn’t have to as I make it this way and it always comes to pressure, but just in case. It will take several minutes to come to pressure, but after it does, the time will appear on the display and start counting down.***

  8. When the cook cycle is finished, let the pot sit and naturally release pressure for 15 minutes.

  9. Manually release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to the Venting position. Do this in short bursts at first, releasing the steam gradually, until you can be sure that none of the sauce will spew out with the steam. Then open the vent all the way.

  10. Carefully stir the chili and then taste it. Adjust salt and/or seasonings as desired. Serve with your favorite chili fixings and maybe some cornbread!

Recipe Notes

  • I hear from people who have trouble getting a thicker pot of food, such as chili, to pressure. They get the dreaded BURN message, and it never comes to pressure. ***Once the pin pops up it is at pressure, and the time will start to count down after a minute or so. At that point I always feel like I'm home free and nothing will burn! I always hang around my pot while cooking a thicker dish, just in case. 
  • The layering technique, and not stirring, helps keep the tomatoes from touching the bottom of the pot and burning. Tomatoes have a lot of natural sugar in them, so they burn easily.
  • Also, by not stirring, the mixture doesn't get too thick. You need thin liquid to create the steam that builds the pressure.