Easy Instant Pot Chili (Vegan, Oil-Free)

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Two bowls of vegan Instant Pot Chili next to ingredients used to make it

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! 

Tomato paste, spices, broth, beans, salt, and vegetables

Origins of Chili

While many think chili was created in Mexico, apparently that’s not where it originatedWho 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.

Spices, sweet potato, onion, garlic, and peppers in an Instant Pot

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).

Check out our recipes for Instant Pot black beans and kidney beans for perfectly tender beans (no soaking required)!

Pouring vegetable broth into an Instant Pot

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!

Stirring vegan Instant Pot chili

We hope you LOVE this chili! It’s:

Hearty
Comforting
Smoky
Spicy
Savory-sweet
& Delicious!

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.

Two bowls of Instant Pot black bean and kidney bean chili

More Vegan Chili Recipes

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!

Bowl of Instant Pot chili made with sweet potato and beans

Easy Instant Pot Chili (Vegan, Oil-Free)

Instant Pot chili that’s fast, easy to make, and versatile. Hearty, warming, incredibly comforting, and savory-sweet thanks to sweet potatoes and kidney and black beans.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Spoon in a bowl of Instant Pot chili
4.78 from 18 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 (1-cup servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

  • 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)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • 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).
  • Serve as is, or garnish with chili “cheese” fritos, fresh jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, and/or avocado (optional). Dairy-free sour cream or yogurt would also be delicious.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

*If not using Instant Pot, simply sauté ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven as the first 2 steps recommend, then add broth, tomatoes, beans, remaining spices, etc. and bring to a low boil. Once bubbling, reduce to low/simmer and cover to cook for ~30-45 minutes so the flavors can meld and the potatoes will soften. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Recipe adapted from our 1-Pot Red Lentil Chili.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 259 Carbohydrates: 48.2 g Protein: 13.3 g Fat: 1.8 g Saturated Fat: 0.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.51 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.38 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 515 mg Potassium: 981 mg Fiber: 12.5 g Sugar: 12.5 g Vitamin A: 5065 IU Vitamin C: 42.09 mg Calcium: 161.49 mg Iron: 5.04 mg

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  1. Krista says

    This recipe didn’t work our for me. Firstly, I received the BURN message as soon as it pressurised. This may be because I didn’t use much of the water from the bean cans because I like a thicker chilli. I had to stop, add 1/2 water and start all over. When time stopped, I had to sauté because it was watery. This was very messy both because of the bubbling chilli and also because of the steam. I had to grab out a pot lid to cover. The vegetable I put in (butternut squash) was totally puréed in the chilli and most beans also lost their shape. I ended up with sludgy, chilli flavoured soupy water. I made the best of it but for the amount of time spent I could have just made it on the stove, not a time saver.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Krista, sorry to hear that was your experience. This recipe requires using all of the liquid otherwise there will be a burn message. We also like a thick chili, so we found the least amount of liquid we could get away with, without causing a burn message. For a thicker chili at the end, you can remove the lid and turn to sauté, stirring frequently, to evaporate some of the liquid. If you decide to give it another try, we’d suggest following the proportions closely for best results.

  2. Avia says

    This was my instant pot’s 1st outing and it didn’t disappoint! The recipe was spot on (as always!), I thickened it up at the end using the sauté function again, great tip thanks! I think I’m going to need a 2nd freezer…

  3. Maria says

    This is one of my go-to meal prep recipes. Super easy and quick to make, and yields a ton of servings for the week!

  4. Heather says

    This was really tasty and very easy to make. The exact comment from my husband was, “When this was being made I didn’t have high expectations for it and thought that it would need meat, but it actually doesn’t and tastes really good.” haha! Even my picky kid liked it. It will be added to our menu rotation.

  5. Mitch says

    LOVED this recipe. So easy and kept well in the fridge and freezer. Forgot to get some vegan sour cream but had some Forager cashew yogurt on hand. Mixed that with some lime juice and cilantro and went so well with the chili. Thanks again for another awesome recipe!

  6. Susie says

    Could I add lentils for some fiber/protein? If so, how would I adjust the recipe? Thanks as always for your great vegan recipes, especially the instant pot ones! :-)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Susie, the kidney beans and black beans provide protein and fiber. But if you want to use red lentils, you can try reducing one of the beans and increasing the liquid. We like the beans in this one because they provide more texture, while red lentils will get mushy. Hope that helps!

  7. Andrea says

    Hi! I am new to the Minimalist Baker community (I received the cookbook for Christmas, yay!) and I have a question about the sizing of cans (in this case, diced tomatoes and various beans).

    I guess the traditional size of a can of beans in the USA is 15 ounces, which translates to 444 ml. In Canada, our can sizes are 540 ml. Does the 15 ounces include or exclude the liquid, which could mean than once the Canadian sized can is drained, it comes down to about 444 ml? Similarly, our diced tomato cans are 796 ml (26.9 ounces), while your cans are again 15 ounces. Any easy way to figure this out, am I missing something?

    I’m guessing I’m just gonna have to go for it and not use an entire can while cooking this recipe, especially the diced tomatoes (2 cans), but I was just wondering if any Canadian cook could give me some insight on tips and tricks when converting items from American to Canadian.

    Thank you all!

    Andrea

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hm, that’s a great question! We assume it includes the liquid, but aren’t certain. We don’t think it will make a big difference either way though- we’d say use the whole can for the beans (since it is close), but partial can for the tomatoes. Let us know how it goes!

  8. Jillian says

    This is delicious chili! Thank you for sharing! I do want to mention that I started making this in my 6 qt Instant Pot and realized the chili was way too big for it, so I had to transfer to a large pot on the stove in the middle of cooking. It still turned out great, just wanted to give a heads up that you may want to mention in the directions if you’re using a larger size Instant Pot.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jillian, sorry for the inconvenience! Did you make any modifications to the recipe size? We make this in a 6 quart Instant Pot without any issues.

  9. Lauren says

    So easy and so good! I added 2c broth and mine turned out on the liquidy side, so I used the sauté function as recommended and it thickened right up. Left out the jalapeño bc I was serving to my toddler but it was still delicious. Served with cornbread. Yum yum, 100% will make again.

  10. Kristen says

    This chili is so good! I used a white sweet potato which more crumbly and less sweet than an orange sweet potato but it still worked. It was a bit thin at the end but I thickened it up with a tablespoon of cornmeal, which also added some additional sweetness. Will definitely make this again.

  11. Anne says

    Really loved this! I cut back on the spices a little bit just for personal taste, and I made a few modifications based on what was in the pantry (1 can kidney beans 2 cans black beans, no tomato paste). I loved that it’s a template that I can use and vary if I need to. Sweet potatoes were a great touch, nice complement to the spicy chili. Will be making again!

  12. Rob Zamudio-Meyer says

    Made this last night and it was sooooo good! I added fake meat (Beyond Meat “ground beef”) to it as well. I do not have an instant pot, so we used the stove top but it still ended up perfect.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Naomi! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  13. Monica says

    I’ve wanted an instant pot chili recipe and this was great. I was a little apprehensive about not using oil but this tasted great. Thank You!

  14. Christine says

    Thanks for all of your great & good recipes!! I’ve made quite a few of your recipes & they never disappoint. I appreciate that you put many of the amounts in grams so I can weigh Ingredients. It prevents me from wondering if the onion I have is really a medium one, etc. I have been looking for a good instant pot chili recipe & I think yours is it. My question is what size instant pot did you use?
    Again, thanks for all of your good work!!

  15. Kathleen says

    Hi! I made this recipe yesterday after seeing it on Instagram. It is delicious and with most chilis I have found that it tastes better the next day. I didn’t have a sweet potato, so I used carrots in its place and no red pepper, so used other peppers I had on hand. I am sure the sweet potato adds another layer to the flavors so I will definitely try it again. I love your recipes. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing! Yes, sweet potato definitely elevates it in terms of texture and sweetness. Thanks for the review! Next time if you could leave a rating as well we’d really appreciate it!

  16. Stephanie Steyer says

    Oh my gosh… this was incredible!! I made a few adjustments since I didn’t want to go to the store. I used canned black eyed peas instead of kidney beans, and one can of black beans. I also didn’t have your homemade chili powder but I did have all the spices for it so I improvised and added them individually. Even a dash or two of cinnamon and a small handful of super dark chocolate chips. This was amazingly good! I am sending the recipe to my son and I will definitely be making this again!
    Thank you!!

  17. Desiree says

    My husband and I made this recipe tonight and it tasted amazing! So hearty and extremely filling. I almost felt full after 4 bites. We didn’t add the jalapeños since I’m pregnant and have heartburn, but it was still so yummy! We also added 2 cups of vegetable stock (since we sometimes have issues with our instant pot burning if stuff is too thick) and I felt like adding those 2 cups was perfect for us! It was more watery, but not too much.

  18. Samantha says

    Vibrantly colourful and totally delicious! I have just made this and its totally yummy. I left out the black beans and chilli as I wanted a milder chilli and there were no black beans in my super market. I made it in my saucepan and it came out great. I will making this one again. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Carl Thiel says

    I enjoy your recipes. One direction I see often when using canned beans (or vegetables) that isn’t explained is why the need to drain the canned beans? Why can’t I substitute the liquid in the can for some of the vegetable broth or water?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The liquid in a can of beans can taste like canned beans, not always a pleasant flavor. So you drain and sometimes rinse that off so the canned flavor doesn’t permeate the dish.

  20. Lori says

    This looks yummy! How spicy is it? Medium salsa is almost too hot for me, so maybe that can be a reference point? (I know, I am a wimp. 😂) And if it’s spicy, how would you adjust it to make it less so? Thanks so much! So excited to see you doing IP recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lori! The spice will depend on your chili powder, so perhaps use less of that. And definitely omit the jalapeño!

  21. Shweta says

    I use instant pot atleast once or twice a week, and so excited to see more IP posts from you. I love your recipes! I am just wondering if 20 mins of pressure cook time is to too much for sweet potatoes! How firm are they when they come out? For me regular potatoes get done in 2-3 mins and they are not mush when they come out.

  22. Dayna says

    Hi Dayna,
    Jamie Oliver in the UK makes a version of this but instead he roasts the sweet potato in the oven with cinammon and cumin and olive oil (I have done this with your Shwarma Spice mix) and then adds to the chili for last 20 minutes of cooking. The roasted sweet potatoes cooked gently with the beans and tomatoes thickens the chili and adds the greatest texture to the chili, not to mention the spices. But overall a great recipe and this is my ‘go to’ chilli with all the extras :). Also nice with chickpeas :).
    Love your recipes <3

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s funny you say that because I actually enjoy serving this with a roasted sweet potato because I enjoy the caramelization / roasty flavors baking provides! However, to keep it one pot, instant pot friendly we just add it all to the pot. But for that flavor, I’d suggest serving with a whole roasted sweet potato OR sweet potato wedges!

    • Joy says

      Hello, thank you for the recipe.

      I soaked some beans one night ahead and cooked them in the morning after rinsing.
      I used rapadura sugar but I wish I had not used sugar, i did not like the sweetness.
      I slow cooked it.
      Accompanied it with avocado with a dash of guacamole and lemon rind spices; and a mixture of labneh and heavy cream.

      Otherwise made as is and it’s very good.

  23. Mindy says

    Hi. This looks great! I’d like to make it and I’m not sure what you mean by “DIVIDED” for the chili powder blend, cumin, and smoked paprika. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’ve amended that and it’s now simplified so you add all spices at once! Let us know how it goes!

      • Ann says

        The instructions don’t say how much of the spices to add at first, so the divided part isn’t clear to me. I’m fine to wing it, but I don’t think it’s clear.

        Thanks for this recipe. Making it tonight.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, you can just sauté in a large pot or dutch oven as the first few instructions recommend, then add broth, tomatoes, beans, etc. and bring to a low boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cover for ~30-45 minutes so the flavors can meld and the potatoes will soften. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. We’ll add this method in the notes for future reference!

      • Victoria says

        Sooo good! I made it tonight for dinner and it has the best flavor of any chili I have made. It did however come out a little more watery than I would have liked, but I added 2 cups of broth so in the future I will add less. It also ended up being ok because I added rice to it anyway, which absorbed some of the broth. Will definitely be making this again!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Thanks for sharing, Victoria! When it turns out too thick, I like to turn on the sauté function at the end of cooking for 5-10 minutes to evaporate some of the excess liquid and also deepen the flavors. Thanks for the review!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          For the crock pot you’d still sauté everything as written, but then instead of pressure cooking on high, you’ll place the lid on and cook on low for 4-6 hours! Then keep warm until serving. Let us know if you try!