When you’re craving chili and need it on the table fast, this is the recipe for you! Say hello to our Instant Pot Chili (!) made with simple, wholesome ingredients and BIG flavor.
Smoky spices marry perfectly with kidney and black beans and sweet potatoes. It’s hearty, warming, and incredibly comforting. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Chili
While many think chili was created in Mexico, apparently that’s not where it originated! Who knew?
However, one ingredient central to chili — chilies — are native to Mesoamerica (a region that includes parts of Mexico and Central America). And they are an important ingredient in Mexican cuisine. So we get the confusion!
The exact origin of the dish chili isn’t clear, but most historians trace its roots to San Antonio, Texas. You can take a deeper dive into the history of chili here.
Instant Pot Chili
Our Instant Pot chili is adapted from our fan-favorite 1-Pot Red Lentil Chili. This newer version has similar delicious seasonings but skips the red lentils because they can get a tad overcooked in the Instant Pot. Plus, making it in the Instant Pot saves 15 minutes, so we’d say that’s a win!
This fast and easy version is made with canned beans for ease. If you want to use dried beans, we’d suggest cooking them in advance and freezing in 1 ½ cup portions to use in place of a can of beans (leftover glass jars are perfect for this).
To make the chili, sauté onions, garlic, and peppers in the Instant Pot to keep this a 1-pot recipe. Next, add the sweet potato for fiber and natural sweetness then the classic chili spices (chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika), diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and black and kidney beans.
Then we added just enough vegetable broth (or water) to prevent a burn message without making it too thin. And coconut sugar or maple syrup to balance the heat. The recipe is quite forgiving and customizable!
We hope you LOVE this chili! It’s:
It’s the perfect entrée for sweater weather, meal prep, and beyond! For an extra satisfying meal, garnish with chili cheese fritos, fresh jalapeño, cilantro, avocado, and dairy-free sour cream or yogurt. Cornbread on the side is never a bad idea.
More Vegan Chili Recipes
- 1-Pot Butternut Squash Quinoa Chili
- 1-Pot Red Lentil Chili
- 5-Ingredient Black Bean Chili
- Vegan Beer Chili
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Instant Pot Chili (Vegan, Oil-Free)
- 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed (or sub half this amount in avocado or coconut oil)
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (~ 2 cups or 120 g)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 cloves yield ~2 Tbsp or 12 g)
- 1 small jalapeño or serrano pepper, diced with seeds (remove seeds or omit pepper for less heat)
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced (~1.5 cups or 164 g)
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste // omit or reduce salt if your chili powder already contains it)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (or sub another bell pepper or vegetable of choice, such as zucchini // ~2 ½ cups)
- 3 Tbsp chili powder blend (NOT chili flakes or cayenne pepper // reduce for less heat)
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted or plain tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans (mostly drained)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans (mostly drained)
- 1 ½ – 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup // helps balance flavors)
- Turn on the sauté function on your Instant Pot* (to the default "Normal" — not high or low). Once hot, add water, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and red bell pepper. Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until onion is translucent and fragrant. Add a little bit more water as needed to prevent sticking.*See notes for stovetop instructions.
- Turn off the sauté function by pressing "Cancel." Then add diced sweet potato, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika, and stir.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans (slightly drained), black beans (slightly drained), vegetable broth (or water), coconut sugar, and another healthy pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Put on the Instant Pot lid and turn to seal. Pressure cook on HIGH for 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the steam release naturally, or carefully press the quick release if in a hurry. NOTE: To keep this chili thick, we add less liquid so it is possible you may get a burn message. It is unlikely, but if it happens, leave it be for 1-2 minutes to see if the burn message fixes itself. Otherwise, take note of the remaining time, press cancel, quick release pressure, add 1/2 cup more broth or water, and return to pressure cook for the remaining time. Repeat if needed.
- Carefully open the lid and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more chili powder for depth of flavor, cumin for smokiness, smoked paprika for smoky sweetness, salt to taste, or a bit of coconut sugar to balance the heat and draw out the other flavors. Stir and add more to taste as needed
- If your chili is too thin, turn on the sauté function and cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally, to allow it to thicken (up to 5-10 minutes).
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Recipe adapted from our 1-Pot Red Lentil Chili.