This amazing Instant Pot Chili recipe is guaranteed to satisfy any comfort food cravings! The optional twist for Southwest Chili includes sweet potatoes and corn for a delicious sweet & spicy flavor kick.
This is by far my most favorite chili recipe and it’s the only kind I ever make at home. (Aside from the time when I had morning sickness related bean hate and I made chickpea and lentil chili instead).
Maybe that’s because it is the first homemade chili I ever made. You see, I never really had or made chili until my 20s.
Growing up in Germany I had heard of a dish called chili con carne but neither my mom or anyone I knew ever made it. Then we moved to Canada and I believe I had my first ever bowl of chili at a Tim Horton’s – of all places.
Then I got introduced to the slow cooker (also not something we had ever heard of in Germany). And I came across this amazing Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili recipe.
I have never really looked for another chili recipe ever since. It was actually one of the first savory recipes I every posted on here.
To me it became the BEST chili recipe! But could it also be the best Instant Pot chili?
Now that I have my beloved Instant Pot, I was looking for a way to modify it into a pressure cooker chili recipe.
How To Make Chili In A Pressure Cooker
In my opinion, the awesome benefits of making chili in a pressure cooker are three-fold:
- The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker. Thanks to the sauté function I can brown the ground beef first. Browning to me means more delicious flavor.
- Cooking chili in the Instant Pot under pressure gives it this amazing ‘simmered all day on the stove top‘ flavor and texture – but in a fraction of the time.
- No need for canned or precooked beans. I have stopped buying canned legumes altogether, ever since I got my Instant Pot. But for making chili, I don’t even have to make sure to have some beans precooked. (Read more below.)
What Beans to Use in Instant Pot Chili
I’ve recently read that apparently there are some Texan chili recipes without(!?) beans. This has me kind of baffled. And because that’s the only way I know chili, this is an Instant Pot chili with beans.
Now, when it comes to the type of beans this electric pressure cooker chili works well with different kind of beans. I especially recommend kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
You can even use a mix, actually I prefer using at least two kinds of beans. And if you are going for the Southwestern twist (see below) definitely use black beans for at least a part.
In the pictures you see a mix of pinto and black beans. For some odd reason, there are no dry kidney beans to be found in our small Mexican town. I can only find canned kidney beans in the US imports section of the chain grocery store.
Instant Pot chili recipes vary a lot on this, by I recommend soaking the beans. There seems to be conflicting scientific information whether soaking is beneficial or not, but my unscientific opinion suggests that soaking beans makes them easier to digest.
By all means, for making pressure cooker chili dry beans can be used. The Instant Pot definitely can handle rehydrating and softening beans without soaking, but this recipe has been tested with soaked beans.
I assume for making this instant pot chili dry beans would require more liquid to be added and probably a little more time, too.
Optional Southwest Chili Twist
This Southwest twist on pressure cooker chili con carne is definitely the way I recommend to make this recipe. But I understand that sweet potatoes in chili may not be everyone’s thing, so this last step is optional.
What defines the Southwestern flavor here for me are the sweet potato, corn, and black beans.
I have come to love sweet potatoes in chili for 3 reasons:
- The interplay of sweet and spicy flavors is anything but boring.
- Sweet potatoes give the ground beef chili substance, so that I can get away with using 1 pound of beef where others would use 2. So it’s also economical!
- I love THICK chilis. To me chili should be nothing like soup. And sweet potatoes do an amazing job of thickening this Instant Pot beef chili.
How to cook instant pot sweet potatoes
Because sweet potatoes have a much lower pressure cooking time than soaked beans, you need to add them in a second step when making this Instant Pot chili con carne. Otherwise they would completely disintegrate.
(Although I keep meaning to try this Instant Pot chili with canned beans to see if that would simplify the recipe to a one-step process. I’ll update you here once I try that.)
Once the ground beef, beans, and tomato chili has finished cooking in the first step, quick release the pressure. Add sweet potatoes and corn and pressure cook for another 5 minutes.
Whether you do a quick release or natural pressure release at the end doesn’t seem to make any difference for this Instant Pot beef chili recipe. So make it dependent on how quick you need dinner on the table.
Top this bowl of ultimate comfort to your hearts desire. I love avocado and cilantro. Grated cheese, sour cream and a piece of corn bread are also amazing!
WATCH: HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT CHILI
- 1-1/2 cups dry pinto, black, or kidney beans, soaked overnight
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons chili seasoning
- ½ tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (not paste)
- 2-1/2 cups diced sweet potatoes (about 2 small ones)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- ½ cup chicken broth
- salt & pepper
- Pick over and rinse the beans. Add to a bowl and cover with plenty of water. Let soak overnight or at least 12 hours. When ready to cook, drain the water and rinse the beans again.
- Select Sauté on your Instant Pot. Once the display shows HOT add the oil and ground beef. Brown the beef while stirring often to break up chunks.
- Add chili seasoning, cumin, and paprika to the beef. Then stir in onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Finally add diced and crushed tomatoes, soaked beans, and give it a good stir.
- Close the lid and turn valve to sealing. Cook on Manual for 30 minutes.
- Once the timer is up, quick release the pressure. Open the lid, add diced sweet potatoes, corn, and broth.
- Close the lid, turn valve to sealing, and cook for 5 more minutes on Manual.
- Let the pressure release naturally (NPR) or quick release (QR).
- Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or even chili. Serve with toppings of choice.
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