This is a simple but delicious chili recipe I learned to make as a kid that we recently adapted it into an Instant Pot Chili recipe. It’s loaded with flavor, super easy to make, and will quickly become one of your favorite Instant Pot recipes. Read on for the details and you’ll be eating this Instant Pot chili in no time!
If you’ve read this blog recently, you know we’ve been fixing lots of things in our Instant Pot. It’s perfect for easy recipes like Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs and Instant Pot Brown Rice. But we use it for more in depth things as well, like this lentil and swiss chard soup and even this Instant Pot cheesecake. And today we’re using it for another family favorite, chili.
As a kid, I spent my summers with my Dad and chili was one of our go-to meals. As a single dad who was in school, he clearly needed to have frugal meals that were easy to fix and could feed 3 kids (and himself) with enough extras for another 1-2 meals. Chili quickly became a favorite. It was delicious on its own and our favorite leftover meal became super nachos with the chili (AKA chili topped tortilla chips with all the delicious toppings).
This Instant Pot chili continues the chili tradition that began during those summers spent with my Dad. We love chili…I’m sure for many of the same reasons my father loved it. We love that it’s a low-budget meal that can feed the whole family for multiple meals. We love the rich flavor and also appreciate the ease of hearty one-pot meals. When we recently purchased an Instant Pot, I knew Instant Pot chili would be one of our first recipes.
We have a number of chili recipes on our blog already including butternut squash turkey chili, red lentil chili , and butternut beef chili. We love them all, although since contracting the alpha gal allergy I can no longer eat the beef chili without getting a massive stomach ache. I loved this chili with ground beef, but luckily it’s easy to sub in ground turkey and it still tastes amazing. Plus, there are plenty of great vegetarian chili recipes out there. I love chili with butternut squash, but chopping all the butternut squash is an added time element so keep that in mind. The bottom line is there are always plenty of options when it comes to chili. And nachos for the leftovers!
Chili is often defined as a thick sauce of meat and chilis, but what actually defines a chili is open to debate. And if you’re cooking then you get final say! Some common traditional chili ingredients are meat, beans, tomatoes, onions and peppers, but what makes chili great is the fact that you can easily experiment and come up with your own variety including all your favorite. And, of course, you’ve gotta add your own blend of spices to make your chili rockin’!
A lot of people will often make chili in the crockpot, but we wanted to try out Instant Pot chili. An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker with lots of extra functionality. It is a pressure cooker that operates at a much higher temperature than a slow cooker so meals are ready quicker, but it still gives you the advantage of not having to watch and constantly stir a pot. I love to set up this Instant Pot chili and then head outside with my kids for a walk. We come back and dinner is ready!
Instant Pot Chili Tips
I’ve seen differing opinions on which to cook first–onions/veggies or meat. I usually start with a hot pan and start cooking the ground meat, draining off the liquid after a few minutes. This ensures that the meat is browned instead of boiled. Then add the vegetables and a little oil and let them saute for several minutes and cook (I am not a fan of throwing raw onion, garlic, or peppers into liquid and letting them cook that way). I have read suggestions to remove the meat, then cook the onion/garlic/peppers, and then return the meat to the pan. I think that might be a better method, but I don’t find it necessary. Once the onions and peppers are cooked, throw in your spices and stir the meat/onion mixture and let it cook for a minute or two. Some may stick to the bottom of the pot, but then when you add the broth you should be able to deglaze the bottom.
All together, this took a little over an hour to make using the Instant Pot. The cooking/sauteing part takes about 15 minutes and then about a half an hour for the chili cycle, followed by about a half an hour to release pressure. The Instant Pot then stays on warm until you open the lid and press the cancel button. I usually make this on nights when we have early practice or classes and have a few minutes to throw it in the pot before leaving and then it is ready when we get home. I think it would also be useful if you use dried beans in your chili. I personally have not cooked chili with dry beans and will need to test that out and get back to you!
We love to serve our Instant Pot chili with cornbread. Make sure you have your favorite toppings handy as well! We tend to add avocado, cilantro, and grated sharp cheddar, but sour cream and green onions are a tasty addition as well. And don’t forget to make super nachos with the leftovers! Or top a baked potato or sweet potato with it.