This Instant Pot Chili Recipe is the best chili ever! It’s quick, hearty, and loaded with bacon, beef, beer (optional), veggies, beans, and spices.
Today’s chili isn’t just ANY chili. THIS chili is instant pot chili, which means, it’s quick, easy, and PACKED with flavor. If you don’t have an instant pot, have no fear, here are other recipes you might enjoy:
If you DO have an instant pot, I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing and whip this up for dinner tonight. It’s hearty, cozy, and LOADED with all your favorite chili yums. Trust me. You’re gonna love it.
My secret ingredient? Bacon! It provides a smoky flavor and chewy, yet crispy texture that can’t be beat.
- Bacon – thick cut bacon, is preferred for the perfect chewy, yet crispy texture. It also has less of a chance for causing a BURN notice on the instant pot, because of the additional fat.
- Ground Beef – use a lean ground beef, if available. There’s less grease to drain and the bacon adds plenty of fat to keep the beef flavorful and moist. Fattier beef can be more cost effective, however, so feel free to use that instead, and drain and discard any excess grease.
- Onion, Green Pepper, and Garlic – our veggie blend to add sweet, nutty flavors, soft textures, and nutrients. Yellow onions are the go-to onion for cooking. Their flavor is strong, but not overpowering and provide a little sweetness. Green peppers are less sweet than the other colored peppers and provide the slightest bitterness to balance out the sweet flavors from the onion and sugar. Garlic is a great base for virtually any recipe and adds a great nutty flavor. Use jarred pre-minced garlic for ease.
- Chili Powder, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, and Pepper – my go to chili seasoning blend. 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder are called for in this recipe depending on your spice tolerance. If you’re not a fan of spice, use 1 tablespoon chili powder and omit the red pepper flakes. Cumin adds a nutty, earthy flavor, smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness to compliment the bacon, and salt and pepper enhance the other flavors in the chili.
- Beer – adds malty flavors that can’t be replicated. Use a beer that you enjoy drinking — we love IPAs, but you can’t go wrong! If you’re looking to avoid alcohol, it can be replaced with more broth.
- Beef Broth – the base for our chili. You need just enough to make a sauce, but not too much to avoid it being brothy. Chicken broth may be substituted. Water may also be used in a pinch, but you’ll need to adjust seasonings to create a full-bodied flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce – adds an earthy, tangy, umami flavor to provide depth of flavor to the chili.
- Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste – tomato sauce provides additional liquid and a bright, acidic flavor. The tomato paste adds tons of savoriness and complexity.
- Brown Sugar – has a dark, molasses flavor that adds a much needed sweetness to balance out the acidity from the tomato sauce and rich flavors from the bacon and beef.
- Pinto and Red Kidney Beans – are classic beans for chili, but others such as black beans can be used as well. I love the different textures and flavors using two kinds of beans bring. Whichever beans you use, be sure to use already cooked, canned beans that have been drained and rinsed.
How to make
This one pot chili is quick, easy, and makes enough to feed an army!
- Cook bacon in a 6 quart Instant Pot, then remove, crumble, and set aside for later.
- Cook ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in the Instant Pot, then deglaze with the beer.
- Add in beef broth, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, green bell pepper, chili powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes, then flip the valve to “venting” for a quick release.
- Stir in beans and crumbled bacon, then serve with optional toppings!
How long does it take to cook chili in an instant pot?
Chili needs to be cooked on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. This does not include the time it takes to sauté the bacon, to cook the beef, or for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, which, combined, adds approximately 30 minutes to the cook time.
How do you thicken chili in an instant pot?
If made as directed, the chili should be plenty thick. If it’s too thin for your liking here are some ways to thicken:
- Hit SAUTE on the Instant Pot and let simmer until thickened.
- Make a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water), stir into the chili, then simmer until thickened.
- Stir in additional beans.
- Use thick cut bacon and lean beef. This combination provides the best flavor and texture. “Regular” cut bacon can be used, but watch out for burning. Fattier beef may also be used, but you’ll have more grease to drain.
- Season in layers. Season the beef while it’s cooking with salt and pepper for maximum flavor. You’ll add the other spices later which help creates depth of flavor.
- Season to taste. Add as much or as little chili powder and brown sugar as you’d like. More chili powder will be spicier and adding additional brown sugar will make the end result sweeter. I prefer 2 tablespoons of each. Omit the red pepper flakes to make this more kid friendly.
- Use 2 varieties of beans. Different beans provides different flavors and textures. Pinto and kidney beans are used in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite varieties!
- Don’t add the beans until after pressure cooking. Because the beans are already cooked, cooking them on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes will make them mushy. Stir the beans in after cook time; they’ll warm up just from the heat of the chili.
What to serve with instant pot chili
Toppings are what takes chili to the next level and don’t forget the side of cornbread!
- Cornbread, Cornbread Muffins, or Instant Pot Cornbread
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Crushed chips or crackers
How to store
Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge, if frozen, then warm in the microwave or on the stove until heated through.
Instant Pot Chili
Equipment for this recipe
- 4 strips uncooked bacon
- 2 pounds ground beef I like using very lean ground beef, so there’s no grease to drain
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1/2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste (I ended up using more than 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (12 oz) bottle beer I used a golden ale (use a GF variety if necessary), can omit and replace with more broth, but would leave in for flavor if possible
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 - 2 tablespoons chili powder I like 2
- 1 - 2 tablespoons brown sugar I like 2
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- Sour cream or greek yogurt
- Shredded cheese
- Crushed chips - tortilla or Fritos
- Hit the sauté button on your Instant Pot.
- Once it reads "HOT", add in bacon in an even layer.
- Cook on both sides until crispy, or cooked to your liking.
- Remove (leave grease in Instant Pot), crumble, and set aside for later.
- To the Instant Pot, add in ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the beef as you go, until the meat is no longer pink. This does take some time, as there's a lot of beef!
- Turn IP off. Then, drain grease, if any.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom, with the beer.
- Pour in beef broth, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, green bell pepper, chili powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes.
- Stir to combine.
- Cover and lock the lid (make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to sealing).
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Remember: the count down doesn't start until after the IP has come to pressure, which does take some time.
- Once the IP beeps to signify it's done, flip the valve to "venting" for a quick release.
- Stir in beans and crumbled bacon.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary.
- Serve with optional toppings!
- Take 5 seconds to rate this recipe below. We greatly appreciate it!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published Feb 25, 2019 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.