My life has changed drastically since buying a pressure cooker. I’m constantly amazed by how quickly it cooks ingredients with traditionally long cooking times. This recipe for Instant Pot Chili is made with dry kidney beans, but only takes 15 minutes of actual cooking time! It’s packed with warm and velvety flavors from a mixture of awesome spices, including cocoa powder (trust me, it works). Since the bulk is made from dry beans, it’s super inexpensive to make and much healthier than a majority meat chili.
I plan on making this weekly to get me through the winter. It’s like eating a big bowl of cozy- it’s so hearty and satisfying and warms you to the core. Mmm, mmm.
I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, and I’ll admit: it took me a while before I felt confident using it. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with it, as with any new cooking technique or kitchen gadget. But after only a few uses, I can officially say that I’M OBSESSED. It’s amazing for cooking tough cuts of meat to perfect juicy tenderness (think: pulled pork or pot roast). But I have to say, I like using it to cook pulses the best.
Have you heard of the term “pulses” before? Pulses are the superfood group made up of beans, chickpeas, dry peas and lentils.
They are high in fiber and low in fat. They have tons of protein and nutrients. And my favorite part: they are CHEAP. Having a half cup of cooked pulses three times a week can be super beneficial for your health- you can sign up for the half-cup habit challenge here!
This Instant Pot chili recipe is a delicious, easy, and cheap way to get a hearty serving of pulses. I used dried kidney beans for this recipe, and they came out perfectly cooked. They held their shape and didn’t turn mushy, but weren’t too firm either. Here’s how I did it:
- I soaked the beans before cooking them. There are recipes out there that instruct you to cook the dry beans immediately without soaking, but I always find that it’s hard to gauge cooking time and that the beans are a bit more difficult to digest without soaking them. It takes almost no hands-on time, just a little bit of planning. Sort through the beans to make sure there aren’t any rocks or debris, then cover with double the amount of water in a container or bowl, and leave to soak in your fridge overnight. Then, when you are ready to use them, drain and rinse well.
- I finished salting/seasoning the chili after it was fully cooked. Adding too much salt to the cooking liquid of beans can affect their texture. There is a little bit of salt added to the veggies and ground beef in the beginning, but the rest is added after the chili is completely done.
There’s so much to love about this recipe.
First of all, it’s CHEAP. Dry beans are one of the least expensive, most nutritious foods you can buy, and because they make up the bulk of this chili, you’ll be able to spend more on high quality, lean ground beef, which makes the entire recipe healthy. I definitely recommend using lean beef for this recipe because you sauté it directly in the pot without draining the fat- the chili might be a bit too greasy otherwise.
Furthermore, this recipe makes a TON. One batch will feed 8-10 people- it’s extremely hearty and filling. And since it’s freezable, you can save some for an easy meal (or two) later.
So. You have three tasks in front of you:
- Get yourself an Instant Pot!
- MAKE THIS CHILI IMMEDIATELY.
- Learn more about healthy pulses and how to make a habit of having a half-cup three times a week! Your waistline (and your wallet) will thank you.
Here’s the printable recipe for this Instant Pot Chili made with dry beans and ground beef. Finally, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t fret- I included instructions for a slow cooker as well :-)
Instant Pot Chili with Ground Beef and Dry Kidney Beans
- 1 lb. dry kidney beans soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bell peppers any color, seeded and diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tablespoons chili powder (1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1.5 lbs. lean ground beef
- 3.5 cups water (see notes)
- 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, chopped green or red onion, fresh herbs, etc. for serving (optional)
- Set Instant Pot to "sauté," and cook the peppers, onions, and garlic in the olive oil (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon kosher salt for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the chili powder (4 tablespoons), cumin (1 tablespoon), coriander (1 tablespoon), oregano (1 tablespoon), and cocoa powder (1 tablespoon). Stir and continue sautéing for about 30 seconds to a minute- just enough time for the spices to become slightly toasted.
- Add the ground beef and continue cooking until browned.
- Add the water, tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans. Stir. Turn "sauté" setting off, cover the Instant Pot and set the pressure to manual/high for 15 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15-20 minutes. If it hasn't released fully at this point, you can unseal the valve manually. Open once the float valve has depressed.
- Season with more kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
- If the chili seems too thin, turn Instant Pot to "sauté" setting and allow to simmer uncovered until it reaches desired consistency. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher to mash some of the chili/beans, which will help thicken it.
- The chili is ready! Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped green or red onions, hot sauce, or any other fixings you desire :-)
- For a richer flavor: Instead of water, chicken or beef broth can be used, alone or in combination with dark beer.
- Slow cooker instructions: Sauté the peppers, onions, and garlic in a skillet as directed. Add the spices and beef as directed. Transfer to slow cooker and add the water, tomatoes, and drained/rinsed beans. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spice it up! I purposefully made this chili mild tasting since I was feeding it to my one-year-old daughter and wanted it to be family friendly. If you like tons of spice, feel free to add more chili powder, some cayenne pepper, or even a fresh jalapeño pepper in with the other peppers.
- I made this recipe in my 6 qt. Instant pot. It should work the same in an 8 qt., but you may need to cut the ingredients in half for a 3 qt. mini.