Easy Instant Pot Chili Recipe

Bowl of chili topped with sour cream

Easy Instant Pot Chili Recipe

This easy Instant Pot chili has so much going for it. It comes together in about 15 minutes of active time and under an hour of total time. It will warm your bones on a cold winter night. It’s an excellent recipe for babies and toddlers. And, you can make it on the stove-top if you don’t have an Instant Pot or other multi-cooker!

It’s also a recipe that’s close to my heart. Some variation of it  has been a part of my life literally for decades. I was always happy when my mom served it, topped with shredded or sliced cheddar and crackers. Later, it was one of the mainstays for my own little family, and my personal chef clients loved it. It’s really kind of perfect—not too spicy, hardly any chopping, freezer-friendly, and, well, plain-old tasty.

For as long as I’ve been making the chili, though, I’ve also been playing with the recipe. The original makes a much larger batch and calls for almost a cup and a half of ketchup! Now, I’ve got nothing against ketchup; it’s an incredible balance of savory and sweet, but that’s a lot of it. There is a version of this chili in Real Baby Food where I’ve dialed the ketchup waaay back, but I wanted to revamp the recipe to ditch the ketchup completely. In this version, I’ve added some tomato paste for savoriness and a drizzle of maple syrup for sweetness. Personally, I think it’s just as delicious, and I hope you do too!

Making this chili in the Instant Pot cuts 20-30 minutes from the total recipe time, but it works well on the stove-top too; I’ve included directions with the recipe below.

Swap Meat: The recipe calls for ground beef, but you could use ground turkey instead. Be sure NOT to choose all breast meat. It’s too lean and will be hard and tasteless. (No thanks!)

Top It: Plain Greek yogurt, sour cream, chopped avocado, chopped scallions, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, or, of course, shredded cheddar are all excellent ideas.

Save It: Like most soups and stews, this one tastes even better after hanging out in the fridge overnight, so consider making a batch on Sunday to eat Monday or Tuesday. It will keep in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for at least three months.

Baby at the Table: This recipe is perfect for all ages. If you’re making it for a baby under age 1, omit the salt, and add salt to toddler/big kid/grown-up portions at the table. To serve to self-feeding babies who have developed their pincer grasp (usually around 9 months), strain out most of the liquid and place some beans, meat, and tomato on baby’s plate. Gently smush the beans with your fingers so they aren’t choking hazards and break the meat into small pieces. You can also blend the chili for spoon-feeding.

Easy Instant Pot Chili

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
– 1 yellow onion, chopped
– 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (optional)
– 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
– 1 14 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Set the Instant Pot or other multi-cooker to Sauté. When hot, add the olive oil, ground beef, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt, if using. Cook the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. (At this point, if there is a lot of fat in the pot, drain the beef in a colander and return to the pot. If you’re using extra-lean ground beef, you probably won’t need to do this.) Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and coriander and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is incorporated and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Press Cancel.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, pinto beans, maple syrup, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using. Lock the lid and set to cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.

3. When cooking is complete, press Cancel. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully release the remaining pressure. Garnish!

TO COOK ON THE STOVE-TOP: Complete Step 1 in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove-top. Add the tomatoes, pinto beans, syrup, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Makes 4 grown-up sized servings

For more Instant Pot recipes for the whole family, check out my latest cookbook The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook!

Jenna Helwig