The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (2024)

Instant Pot Chili that is award winning and bringing homecook-off victories across the country.You don’t want to miss diving into a bowl of our best chili!

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If you wantfrom scratch, our traditional chili is your answer. It took us 10 years to discover an award winning recipeand this is finally it, plus it’s an instant pot recipe which means it’s all done in less than 1 hour (with instructions for cooking on the stove top or crock pot as well)!! It is full of bacon, ground beef, beans, classic chili spices and all the toppings you want!

Let’s talk about how to make this homemade chili step by step, and discuss what goes well with it, and how to freeze it to eat later. So much to talk about, so let’s get going!

The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (1)

We attended a chili cook-off and brought this awesome Cheesy Ground Beef Enchilada Chili. It was so good, but soooo many arteries were clogged that night. It’s pretty unhealthy, but I heard a rumor that if you don’t eat it alone the calories don’t count.

Pretty sure that’s true. I use the same philosophy when I’m eating our melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk pancakes!

If you want a healthy chili recipe, you should definitely try our award winning healthy turkey instant pot version, which uses ground turkey instead of beef. And imho, all chili, healthy or not so healthy, should be accompanied with a side of cornbread or our crazy easy 7-Up biscuits!

Chili Cook-Off Idea!

Oh! And listen to this, at the chili cook-off a couple of people brought muffin tins and then placed a sample scoop of each kind in the well so they could try them all and vote without going back or over eating. GENIUS. That’s seriously the smartest thing ever.

Next to figuring out this award winning instant pot chili recipe, right?! 😉

We hurried and made you all a video to help with the questions. Thank you for all of your love and support with making this the #1 chili out there!

The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (2)

Ingredients for Instant Pot Chili

  • Meat: Ground Beef and Bacon
  • Beans: Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, and Black Beans
  • Tomatoes: Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Paste
  • Vegetables: Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper,Garlic, and Jalapeño
  • Broth: Beef Broth and Worcestershire Sauce
  • Spices: Oregano, Ground Cumin, Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder
  • Toppings: Sour Cream, Cilantro, Cheddar Cheese, Corn, Limes, Chips, Green Onions, etc.

The measurements and all the details for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (3)

How to Make Chili in an Instant Pot

Making this recipe in an instant pot is really easy because there’s an actual setting for chili and beans (if you don’t have that setting, you can totally use “manual”). That pretty much takes all of the thinking out of this, and everything can be done in the instant pot, which means only one dish to clean!!

Let’s go through it step by step:

  1. Turn your instant pot to “saute” and cook the bacon until crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon and saute the bell peppers and onions until tender.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until browned and drain any excess grease.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir everything together
  5. Place the lid on the instant pot and set to “chili” mode (“manual” can be used too).
  6. Cook for 18-20 minutes and allow a natural release for 10-15 minutes. If you get the burn notice, please see the section below.
  7. Once it is cooked, serve it up and top with all your favorite toppings.

All these instructions can also be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Watch How this Chili Recipe is Made…

The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (4)

What to Eat with Homemade Chili

Really any sort of bread will get the job done beautifully, but if you are making this in an instant pot, then you probably want dinner done in a hurry, so these 1 Hour Rolls are your answer! I often like something light and fresh with my chili like this garden balsamic avocado salad. I’ve also heard that people eat cinnamon rolls with chili, and I fully endorse this! Try our World’s Best Cinnamon Rolls!

The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (5)

Burn Notice on Instant Pot

We’ve had a lot of questions, comments and concerns about the burn notice on the instant pot. We really think it just depends on your Instant Pot. Some are more sensitive than others. We have not ever had a burn notice on ours, but if you are getting them, here are a few tips and tricks

Cooking the Bacon Burn Notice

  • Is your bacon extra thin or lacking fat? Both of these can cause the bacon to stick to the bottom of the pot and cause a burn notice. Those browned bits stuck to the pot because of the lack of fat can make the pressure cooker think that you’ve walked away and left meat to burn.
  • To counter this, please use a good quality bacon and stir often to keep it from sticking. You can also add a little oil to the pot if not much fat is rendering off the bacon.

Clean Pot

  • Prior browned bits on the pot- If your pot had previous food stuck to the bottom of the pot it will continue to cook and confuse the pot to thinking that something is burning. Clean your pot well after every use. Bar Keeper’s Friend is my go-to cleaner for browned bits in pots and pans.

Burn Notice After the Chili Has Been Combined

  • If your chili has been combined and then you get the burn notice you probably didn’t thoroughly stir everything together or something is stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is why that bacon step is important. If you added those heavy ingredients and added the lid something will probably stick and burn. Stir well, make sure you measured properly.

If none of these tips work, you should contact instant pot as you may have a model that needs to be replaced.

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Can this Recipe be Doubled?

This recipe is too big to be doubled in both a 6 qt Instant Pot and an 8qt. It can be one and a halved in an 8qt Instant Pot. We also been told you can double it in an 8qt Instant Pot if you take out 1 or 2 cans of beans.

How to Brown Meat for our Chili in an Instant Pot

1. Alright, start with your bacon. Always. See our “How to Cook Bacon” post for all the details on bacon!
Whenever bacon is going in a dish we crisp it first, drain the fat and leave the browned bits in the pan. All it does is add extra flavor to whatever comes next.
Start by pressing the “saute” button and once you can feel the heat, add the chopped bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and drain the fat.
2. Next, grab your ground beef. Any kind is fine for chili since other flavors are in there, but there’s more flavor in an 80/20 versus 90/10, though you will need to drain out the fat before continuing on.
Make sure you stir occasionally in order to crumble the meat instead of having big chunks. Chili shouldn’t be big and chunky. Leave that to the hippopotamuses. (Totally had to spell check that one. Who knew hippos could be so difficult.)

How to Make our Best Chili Recipe in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

To makeslow cookerchili(I linked up to the brand and model we prefer) or of course make chili in a crock pot if that’s what you have, you’ll need to cook the bacon and ground beef in a pan, then add the peppers and onions to sauté them all nice and tender.
Then dump it all in a slow cooker and we prefer 5-6 hours on low or 3 hours on high, though I have probably only used the high function twice.
Low and slow really allows the spices to bloom, or in other words to open up and really do their thing.

Toppings for Homemade Chili

The toppings you choose for your chili is totally up to you! You can add more crunch, creaminess, heat, freshness, acidity…really anything that makes you happy! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla Chips or Fritos

Storage Tips

Leftover chili should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 5 days.

If you want it to last a little longer, classic chili is really easy to freeze. Cool your chili completely and store in ziplocs with all the air pressed out, or we prefer to use our Food Saver. You can store individual servings to eat for lunch or larger portions to feed the whole family later. They will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat the chili, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm it up in a pot on the stove top.

When it comes to classic chili, I want it to be full of flavor, bold and comforting! Friends, this recipe is the result of me making dozens of recipes in order to find the greatest of all time. So I tell you hands down this is the VERY BEST CHILI!

P.S. Have you seen our Instant Pot cheat sheet? Head there are all our tips for cooking all the basics in your Instant Pot!

Here are some more CHILI RECIPES that you’ll love:

  • Instant Pot Turkey Chili
  • Best Stove Top Chili
  • Ground Beef Enchilada Chili
  • Brisket Chili
  • Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
  • Pumpkin Apple Cider Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Surprise Chili
  • White Bean Turkey Chili
  • Dr Pepper and Chocolate Chili
  • All our Chili, Soup, and Stew Recipes here!

Looking for more Instant Pot recipes?

Instant Pot Award Winning Chili Recipe

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4.22 from 1436 votes

Servings: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 40 minutes mins

Total Time: 50 minutes mins

Description

Instant Pot Chili that is award winning and bringing home chili cook-off victories across the country. You don't want to miss our best chili recipe ever!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 6 Strips Bacon, good quality, chopped
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans, 15 ounces, drained
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans, 15 ounces, drained
  • 1 Can Black Beans, 15 ounces, drained
  • 1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, 15 ounces, with juice
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste, 6 ounce
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and minced *optional
  • 2 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced

For Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Cheese, shredded
  • Lime, fresh, optional

Instructions

  • Turn your instant pot to sauté and add the bacon.

    6 Strips Bacon

  • Cook until crisp, stirring often to cook evenly.

  • Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

  • Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender.

    1 Red Onion, 1 Red Bell Pepper

  • Add the meat and cook until browned.

    1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef

  • Drain off any excess grease, we just tilt the pot and use a large spoon.

  • Add all of the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon and stir to combine.

    1 Can Kidney Beans, 1 Can Pinto Beans, 1 Can Black Beans, 1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can Tomato Paste, 1 Jalapeño, 2 Cups Beef Stock, 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano, 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin, 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt, 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper, 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika, 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, 1 Tablespoon Garlic

  • Turn the instant pot to chili (if you don't have a "chili" setting, use the "manual" setting) and cook for 18-20 minutes*. Allow pressure to release for 10-15 minutes or quick release with the vent.

  • Serve with limes, sour cream, cheese, and a little bacon!

    Sour Cream, Cilantro, Cheese, Lime

Equipment

Notes

For the stove: Cook everything in the pot just like you do for the instant pot and then allow to simmer on low heat for 3 hours.

For the slow cooker: Cook the bacon and set aside on a plate. Cook the onion and peppers and set aside on another plate. Drain any excess grease and add the meat, cooking until browned. Add everything into the pot, leaving out a little bacon for garnish and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Most batches will be done after 18 minutes, however we’ve had a few times when the flavor just wasn’t there yet, so feel free to pressure cook a little longer for more flavor or if your beans are not as tender as you’d like. To freeze, cool the chili completely. Place in a large ziploc bag or FoodSaver, removing all air and freeze by laying flat for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 23gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1170mgPotassium: 843mgFiber: 6gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1759IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 5mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner

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If you are still looking for another excellent chili recipe, this Old Fashioned Chili Recipe, this All Beef American chili recipe, and this 5 Ingredient Crockpot Chili Recipe have been some of our favorites!

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The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret to really good chili? ›

Only Add Flavorful Liquids

Instead of adding water to your chili, add some more flavor with chicken or beef broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or even beet or wine. Each one of these options brings out different notes and levels of sweetness that will enhance your culinary creation.

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

Spices: While cumin, chile powder, and cayenne pepper tend to be common additions to many chili recipes, there's a broad world of flavor out there to experiment with. Try a little fenugreek, turmeric, garam masala, or sumac to layer in more complex flavors.

How do you make chili taste richer? ›

Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight. Warming spice blends, like Garam Masala, Ras el Hanout or Baharat are another simple and delicious way to add layered flavors to this simple one-pot meal.

What is the best pot to cook chili in? ›

Enameled cast-iron is maybe best, because if you find yourself making chili with tomatoes in a plain cast-iron pot, the fruit's acidity may react poorly with the metal, leaving the chili with an off taste. A heavy stainless pot will do, as will an aluminum one if you're careful not to let the bottom of the chili burn.

What not to put in chili? ›

Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed." If that sounds a bit uptight, the ICS's Homestyle Chili competition defines chili as: "any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients.

Why do you put vinegar in chili? ›

With only about 1 tablespoon per pot added toward the end of the cooking process, the vinegar will make the flavors more vibrant without overwhelming the dish with its biting tang. Through just a splash, everything becomes a little brighter, and the chili's flavors are more balanced.

What is the best meat for chili? ›

When making chili, former Southern Living Test Kitchen Director, Robby Melvin, recommends using a mix of ground chuck and ground sirloin. "It's the best of both worlds," he says. "You get a balanced lean-to-fat ratio from the chuck and the hearty, beefy leanness from the sirloin."

What makes chili taste sweet? ›

The real key to great chili however is brown sugar! In fact, brown sugar is what gives the chili a subtle sweetness you never even knew you were missing. With both subtly sweet tones and punches of heat, this Sweet and Spicy Chili, lives up to it's name, it truly is sweet and sassy!

Does chili taste better the longer you simmer it? ›

A low and slow cook time—at least an hour total—is key for drawing out the most flavor in a pot of chili. Yes, a quick chili is most welcome on weeknights, but it won't have quite the same results. A slow cooker works wonders, but if you're short on time, try a pressure cooker.

Does chili need tomato paste? ›

Tomato paste is a great way to add bonus tomato flavor, and thickness, to a chili recipe. To get the best flavor it needs to be browned. Add a couple tablespoons (or a whole can if you want a thicker soup base) directly to the pan after cooking the meat and onions.

What are the best beans for chili? ›

The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

Do you cook onions or meat first for chili? ›

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, and red pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring with wooden spoon to break up the meat, until the beef is browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Is chili better on stove or instant pot? ›

Our testers really liked the stovetop method because of its consistency. Being on the stove allowed for it to really thicken and for the spices and flavors to meld together well.

How does the chili setting on instant pot work? ›

What Is the Instant Pot Chili/Bean Setting? The bean/chili setting on the Instant Pot cooks at high pressure and can be set to "more," which is 30 minutes, or "less," which will cook for 25 minutes. You may choose the bean/chili setting and do a quick release after 15 minutes.

Is Chilli better in crockpot or stove? ›

Chili is perhaps the ideal slow-cooker dish because its flavor improves with a long, slow simmer. This makes a big batch, perfect for a cold-weather get-together, but if you're making it for a smaller group, the leftovers freeze well.

What makes the best chili meat? ›

The best chili meat is a combination of meats, often a mix of ground chuck, ground sirloin, brisket, diced tri-tip, and/or some bacon or sausage. Do your best to mix smaller pieces with larger pieces to stack textures and make it your own! Happy cooking!

How does Martha Stewart make chili? ›

Add chili powder, cocoa, and tomato paste; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes, broth, and cooked beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until thickened slightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve with sour cream and chives.

How do you make chili taste more meaty? ›

Ground Beef: Provides the hearty meaty base for the chili. Opt for 85% lean; the fat enriches the meat, enhancing the dish's overall flavor and texture. And don't stress about the fat—post-cooking, it's easy to skim off any excess. Baking Soda: Helps tenderize the beef by locking in moisture, making it more succulent.

Is chili better the longer it cooks? ›

A low and slow cook time—at least an hour total—is key for drawing out the most flavor in a pot of chili. Yes, a quick chili is most welcome on weeknights, but it won't have quite the same results. A slow cooker works wonders, but if you're short on time, try a pressure cooker.

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