Find out everything you need to know to make the best pressure cooker chili!
Make the best Instant Pot chili using these tips, tricks, and tried-and-true recipes!
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Chili is one of those classic foods that everyone should know how to make! Not only is it an easy way to feed a crowd, but practically everyone likes chili, so it’s an easy win!
Traditionally, chili is simmered on the stove or in a slow cooker, and both of those methods work just fine.
But if you have an Instant Pot, you’ve likely learned the powers of this wonderful appliance. In fact, I think one of the best things to cook in the Instant Pot is chili!
Cooking chili in your Instant Pot allows the flavors to meld together under pressure, in less time than traditional cooking methods. So your chili will come together faster!
First of all, let’s talk about some of the common questions asked when it comes to making chili in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
What is the Bean/Chili Setting on the Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot has several buttons that are pre-programmed to a default cook time and pressure level. The Bean/Chili setting is one of those.
These preset buttons can be helpful guides, but they do have some limitations. For instance, they don’t know how much food/liquid is in your Instant Pot, how cold or frozen the contents are, if you used dried beans or canned beans, etc.
Additionally, these pressure cooker settings can also only be adjusted within a specified range of cook time, giving you less flexibility.
How Long is the Chili Setting on an Instant Pot?
The Bean/Chili button is set to cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. You can adjust this up to 40 minutes or down to 25 minutes.
Personally, I do not use the Bean/Chili button for cooking chili.
It isn’t necessary to cook most chili recipes for that long in the pressure cooker, especially if the meat is thawed, so I choose to use the Manual/Pressure Cook setting and select a shorter cook time.
Can You Use Frozen Beef to Make Chili in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can! You can add the frozen block of beef to the insert pot with the remaining ingredients. Use a 25 minute cook time at high pressure to ensure the beef cooks through.
Afterward, the cooked beef will still be in a block shape, so you’ll need to use a spatula or wooden spoon to break it apart into smaller chunks, then stir to combine.
You could also simply use the Instant Pot to thaw the ground beef, then brown it in the insert pot prior to adding the remaining chili ingredients.
Can You Make Instant Pot Chili with Noodles (aka Chili Mac)?
You’ll want to make sure your dry noodles are covered with liquid. A general rule of thumb for cook time is to look at the recommended boiling time on the box, divide that in half and subtract one minute. The result is your high pressure cook time.
Can You Use Dry Beans to Make Chili in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can! Dry beans are super inexpensive, so they make a great frugal addition to chili.
The cook time will be a little bit longer in this instance, but using the pressure cooker still provides a much shorter cook time than other methods.
Can You Make Instant Pot Chili with Canned Beans?
You sure can–in fact, that’s what I prefer to do! While dry beans are less expensive than canned beans, I still find that canned beans are inexpensive and make the process a little bit faster.
Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference and budget, but both canned and dry beans are viable options when making chili in the pressure cooker.
Can You Make Vegetarian Chili in the Instant Pot?
If you prefer a meatless version, you can certainly make an Instant Pot vegetarian chili.
You may want to add soy crumbles or lentils to your chili, or try this vegetarian sweet potato chili.
How Do You Cook Frozen Chili in the Instant Pot?
I am a big fan of Instant Pot freezer meals, and frozen chili makes a great option!
Because many chili recipes make a large batch, you’re likely to have some leftovers. Freezing those is a great way to have an easy meal later on!
Reheating leftovers in the Instant Pot is easy, and heating frozen chili is no exception.
To reheat from frozen, add the chili to the insert pot of the pressure cooker. Add in 1/2 cup of water, then select your cook time.
I generally add at least an extra 5 minutes to the normal cook time if I’m cooking chili from frozen. So if the original cook time was 10 minutes, start with 15 minutes when reheating from frozen. Do keep in mind that it will take longer for the contents to come to pressure, since everything will be so cold.
If the contents are not completely warmed through after the allotted cook time has passed, add another minute or two of cook time as needed until the chili is cooked through and hot.
How to Make Chili in the Pressure Cooker
If you’ve been wondering how to make your favorite chili recipes in the pressure cooker, never fear! It’s actually super easy.
However, the method for preparing the chili varies a bit depending on what type you’re making, whether your meat is frozen, etc.
If you’re making beef chili, you’ll generally use the Saute setting to brown the beef first, then add remaining ingredients and cook under pressure.
If you’re making chicken chili, it’s easy to just cook the chicken and the other ingredients at the same time.
There are so many delicious varieties of chili to choose from, so I’m sharing many of my favorite recipes below.
You can click on each recipe to get the specific instructions for that particular variety.
These chili recipes are also a helpful starting point if you have your own favorite recipe already and want to adapt it to be made in the pressure cooker!
If you're looking for a classic, homestyle chili recipe, this is it! I think it's the best Instant Pot beef chili.
My favorite white chicken chili recipe requires only 4 simple ingredients, so it comes together quickly on a busy evening! If you're looking for one of the best Instant Pot chicken chili recipes, I think you'll be super happy with this one.
Pumpkin isn't just for sweet treats--add it to your chili for a nutritional boost!
If meatless is more your style, you'll love this vegetarian chili chock full of sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.
BBQ chicken chili is a smokey variety that I love! Perfect when you want a chicken chili that is a little different from the norm.
This Cincinnati style chili is a cinch to make in the Instant Pot--serve it over spaghetti and topped with cheese (and onions and beans, if desired) for a traditional favorite!
If you want to make chili with noodles in the Instant Pot, this chili mac is just the ticket.
This chicken chili verde uses salsa verde and cooks quickly in the Instant Pot.
If you don't want to use canned beans in your chili, try this recipe that uses dry beans.
Lentils are a frugal source of protein and a great way to bulk up a chili!