Make Easy Instant Pot Chili in 45 minutes! This chili recipe is made with colorful bell peppers, onion, garlic, corn, and tomatoes. Ground beef and beans give it a hearty and protein-packed nutrition profile. While it's made with a low-heat chili powder so kids can enjoy it too, it's packed with intense flavor from 4 flavor-elevating ingredients. This Instant Pot Chili Recipe is a great meal for a crisp fall evening. Serve chili with toasted cheesy tortilla chips, cheese, and green onions for an even more fantastic meal!
Are you ready for one of the best chili recipes? With this Easy Instant Pot Chili recipe you not only get a perfectly seasoned and flavorful chili in 45 minutes, but a kid-friendly chili that's low on heat and high on taste.
This Easy Instant Pot Chili recipe is something that people who live and die for their annual chili cook-offs need to watch out for! It is seriously good and seriously easy. It is scrumptiously flavorful and includes secrets to making it so from some of the best chili chefs out there.
This chili recipe takes only 45 minutes and requires minimal prep and active cooking time on your part. The Instant Pot does most of the work, giving you a perfect chili recipe for your family on a chilly fall evening.
This Easy Instant Pot Chili is kid-friendly because I left out the cayenne pepper, making it an optional add on to individual bowls. But if you don't have kids or don't want to leave out the heat from the entire recipe, add in that cayenne pepper!
I still use lots of chili powder in this recipe, so there is some spice. But I would not say it's spicy. It's more of a zesty taste on your tongue after every bite, which is really fantastic!
My Secret To The Best Chili
Classic chili combines beef, beans, tomatoes, onions, and tomato juices. It is traditionally spiced with chili powder and cayenne pepper, among a few other spices. There are thousands, if not millions, of chili recipes that break these norms (like turkey chili, vegetarian chili). There are white chilis and red chilis!
The best chili recipes leave your mouth watering for more. So what are the secrets of creating a mouth-watering, flavor-packed chili recipe?
These ingredients are: cocoa powder, red wine, red wine vinegar, and tomato paste.
In addition to the above "secret" ingredients, my chili uses:
- Ground beef
- Onions and garlic
- Beef broth: or water + beef bouillon.
- Bell peppers: orange, yellow or red are the sweetest and best in my opinion
- Diced tomatoes: make sure to also use the juices from the can.
- Corn: sweet corn is ideal.
- Red kidney and pinto beans: use canned for ease, and drain them.
- Chili powder: for a low heat variety, use McCormick's.
- Cayenne pepper: an optional ingredients for those who want spicy chili.
- Other seasonings: cumin and onion powder.
The "secrets" again are:
- Red wine: Merlot is my favorite, but you can use any.
- Red wine vinegar: just a splash of this is necessary, but you can also use apple cider vinegar or regular red wine.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: you can also use a few tablespoons of brewed espresso or strong coffee or cinnamon.
- Tomato paste
For serving, jalapeños, sour cream, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese are always winners. The kids love cheesy toasted tortilla chips for dipping. They think it's fun to use the tortilla chips as spoons!
Chili Making Tips
These are the 6 tips I have for making a hearty and mouth-watering chili. Check out these other options for some more helpful guidance.
To make Instant Pot chili that's packed with amazing flavor:
- Ditch the garlic powder and use real garlic. Substitute any chili recipe that calls for garlic powder with finely minced garlic cloves. 2-4 cloves of garlic should be enough, depending on how much of a garlic lover you are. Add minced garlic a few minutes before the onions, beef, and peppers are done cooking.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine. If you've got bits of beef and onion stuck on the bottom of your pot, don't let them go to waste! These bits are incredibly tasty and will add kick to your chili. Use an alcohol to scrape them off, which will add even more flavor to the recipe. My favorite deglazing alcohol is Merlot, but you can use beer or any other red wine. Keep in mind that the Instant Pot is great for not having food stick to the bottom, so you may not have brown bits to deglaze. But you should still keep the deglazing step in your recipe to enhance it's flavor.
- Add a "secret ingredient". To elevate the meaty flavor of chili, add cinnamon, espresso, dark chocolate, or cocoa powder. Pick one of these and add 2-4 tablespoon with the spices.
- Add tomato paste. Tomato paste is concentrated so it enhances tomato-based dishes, especially when you don't have time to let the pot simmer for a lengthy duration. To elevate the richness of the tomato base in your instant pot chili, add 3-5 tablespoons of tomato paste along with the spices.
- Add a splash of an acidic ingredient at the end. Even after spicing your chili just right and adding all of the special ingredients above, your chili still might taste like it's missing something at the end. If so, a splash of something acidic should do the trick. Add red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or some more red wine.
- Cook the chili a few hours or the day before. Letting the chili sit for a while before eating allows the flavor of the spices, veggies, beans and meat to "marry". The longer it rests, the longer those flavors get to enhance each other, and your tastebuds!
Here is how to make this Instant Pot chili in the easiest and quickest way.
STEP 1: Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Dice the onion and bell pepper. Add oil, onion, pepper, and beef to the pot and sauté for about 8 minutes. You want to sauté everything until the beef browns. When there are about 2 minutes left, add the minced garlic. Time Saver: while the beef is browning, prep the beans, tomatoes, corn, and spices.
STEP 2: Once the beef browns, add the red wine to the pot. Deglaze the bottom so no food is stuck and let the red wine reduce for about 5 minutes, keeping the pressure cook set on saute.
STEP 3: Add the beef broth and deglaze again to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Then add tomatoes and their juices, corn, drained beans, tomato paste, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, and pepper. If using cayenne pepper, add it now.
STEP 4: Close and seal the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Complete a controlled quick release when finished pressure cooking. Open lid, stir well and add a splash of red wine vinegar (about 1-2 tablespoons). Stir, and if possible let chili sit for a few hours before serving.
When ready to serve, toast tortilla chips and cheese for dipping into the chili. Serve chili with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, chopped green onions, jalapeños, and sour cream.
Serving and Storing
Chili is one of those meals that always tastes better the longer it sits. It is especially delicious the day after it's made. Instant pot chili is no different. If you can make your chili in the instant pot and then let it sit for a couple hours before enjoying it, please do! You will find the flavors get to settle in and "marry", making your dinner even more delicious!
Translate that to storing instant pot chili: store it in the fridge for many days, up to 1 week, and you'll have absolutely fantastic tasting chili. Chili is also very freezer-friendly. It can be kept in freezer bags or containers for around 6 months.
Yes! Frozen beef can be used to make your chili. It will just take longer for the beef to brown during step 1 but pressure cooking time will remain the same.
I highly recommend against using red cooking wine. Stick to real red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, among others.
Of course! This is my favorite way to enjoy chili.
Easy Instant Pot Chili
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup red wine Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes plus the juices
- 1 15 oz can corn drained
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans drained
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans drained
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Set the Instant Pot to saute. Add the olive oil, onions, peppers, and beef. Saute until beef browns, about 8 minutes. Add garlic during the last 2 minutes.
- Add red wine to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any brown bits. Saute for 5 minutes to allow liquid to reduce.
- Add beef broth and deglaze again to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Pour in diced tomatoes and their juices, corn, drained beans, tomato paste, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, and black pepper. If using cayenne pepper, add it now.
- Close and seal the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Complete a controlled quick release when finished pressure cooking. Open lid, stir well and add a splash of red wine vinegar (about 1-2 tablespoons).
- If possible, let chili sit for 20 minutes to 2 hours before serving. Serve with sour cream, cheese, green onions, and jalapenos. If desired, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to individual bowls to increase spiciness.