Homemade Instant Pot Chili, made using ground beef and dried unsoaked beans, is the perfect comfort food for a fall or wintry evening. It’s also a great dish to feed a crowd, or for game day. The addition of Masa Harina (cornmeal) in this chili recipe thickens the chili and gives it a corn flavor. Add your choice of toppings to take this homemade Instant Pot chili recipe over the top!
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Did you know that October is National Chili Month? It’s not yet October, but the leaves are changing color, the weather’s turning cooler and I’m starting to make soups, stews, and other comfort foods. I love the advent of fall and I thought it would be appropriate to post an Instant Pot Chili recipe to observe this occasion!
Chili is derived from Chili con Carne (translated as ‘chili with meat’ in Spanish), which originated in Texas. During the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, the San Antonio Chili Stand helped popularize Texas chili to other parts of the United States. What’s Cooking America has a fascinating article about the origins of chili, in case you’d like to find out more!
Chili purists might say that chili should not include beans and/or tomatoes. Well, my recipe for Instant Pot Chili has both beans and tomatoes. Because I happen to like both in my chili.
You might be tempted to use canned beans because they’re convenient: no pre-soaking, no long cook times, just open the can and pour. But the Instant Pot allows you to use dried beans without the inconveniences.
The hands-on time for this Instant Pot Chili with dried beans recipe is about 10 minutes. For the rest of the time, the Instant Pot is doing the cooking while you get other important things done!
TIPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
The dried beans should be pre-soaked, but I’m going to show you a shortcut. I
sometimes (always!) forget to soak my beans, so here’s a tip for you that works like a charm with any recipe that uses pre-soaked dried beans. Do a quick Instant Pot pre-soak while you’re cutting up the vegetables and preparing your ingredients.
Masa Harina (Corn Flour)
This recipe calls for masa harina (pronounced ‘maasa areena’) which is a finely ground Mexican corn flour used to make tortillas. Added to the chili after pressure cooking, the masa harina will thicken the Instant Pot chili and give it a slight corn flavor.
Masa Harina can be found in the Latin/Mexican section of your grocery store or at a Latin grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can either substitute corn meal or take a few corn tortillas and powder them in a mini food processor.
If you’ve never cooked homemade chili before, it’s important to note that the chili powder called for in this Instant Pot Chili recipe is Mexican chili powder commonly available in American grocery stores which is a mixture of different spices including cumin and garlic.
Please don’t use cayenne pepper or ground chili pepper that you get from Asian, Indian, Mexican, and ethnic markets – you won’t be able to eat this chili; it’ll be too spicy! So be sure to check the ingredient list. I like to use McCormick chili powder.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, please read the Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Quick Start Guide, Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Quick Start Guide, or Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus Beginner’s Quick Start Guide first and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
Instant Pot Chili with Dried Beans – Ingredients
- Bell peppers
- Pinto beans
- Chili powder
- Beef broth
- Masa harina
- Cocoa powder
- Ground beef
How to Make Chili using Dried Beans in the Instant Pot (Step by Step Instructions)
- Soak Beans
- Turn on Saute Mode
- Saute beef
- Saute vegetables
- Add spices, broth
- Pressure cook
- Do a natural release of pressure
- Stir in masa harina
- Serve with your choice of toppings
- Soak dried beans for 4 to 8 hours or use my preferred method: Instant Pot Quick Soak Beans.
Turn on ‘Saute’ Mode
- Instant Pot DUO: Select the Saute function.
- Instant Pot ULTRA: Select the Saute function and press Start.
- Once Instant Pot is hot, add vegetable oil to the inner pot.
- Add ground beef to the inner pot.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces and saute until meat is browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add onions to beef and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in bell peppers.
- Stir in garlic.
Add Spices, Broth
- Add chili powder, oregano, cumin powder, cocoa powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Stir well and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add beef broth, tomatoes and pre-soaked dried beans (whether using quick Instant Pot pre-soak or countertop pre-soak).
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 20 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure steam release handle is in ‘Sealing’ position
- Press Manual (or Pressure Cook) and ‘+’ or ‘-‘ until the display reads ‘20′ (20 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 20 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 20 minutes (00:20).
- Press Start.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to On.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to Keep Warm mode and display L0:00 or 00 00 and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes.
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
[Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
* After 15 minutes, if you wish to, you can release the remaining pressure by moving the pressure release to the venting position.
Stir in Masa Harina and Add Toppings
- Select Saute mode.
- Stir in masa harina.
- Cook until chili is thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Press Cancel.
- Allow the Instant Pot chili to rest for 5 more minutes before serving; it will thicken some more.
- Ladle chili into serving bowls and serve with your choice of toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, shallots or green onions, sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, diced avocado, or Fritos chips (not the healthiest, but my favorite!)
Homemade Instant Pot Chili (with dried beans)
- 1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 2 cups onion – chopped
- 1 cup bell pepper – chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic – minced
- 3 Tbsp Mexican chili powder
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt – or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper – or to taste
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes – or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup masa harina – e.g. Bob’s Red Mill brand
- Your choice of toppings: sour cream – shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, shallots or green onions, sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, diced avocado, or Fritos chips
To pre-soak pinto beans in the traditional way in a bowl:
- Rinse pinto beans and drain.
- Place beans in a medium bowl and add enough water to be 1 inch above the level of the beans.
- Let bowl sit on countertop for 4 to 8 hours.
- Drain and set aside.
- Rinse pinto beans and drain.
- Add pinto beans to inner pot of Instant Pot and pour in enough water to be 1 inch above the level of the beans.
- Close Instant Pot Lid, and make sure steam release handle is in the ‘Sealing’ position.
- Cook on ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ mode for 5 minutes.
- Do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR), about 12 minutes.
- Press ‘Cancel’ and open the Instant Pot; drain the beans and set aside.
Instant Pot Chili Instructions:
- Select Saute mode.
- Once the Instant Pot is hot, add oil to inner pot.
- Add ground beef to inner pot.
- Stir with a wooden spatula to break up the meat into smaller pieces and saute until meat is browned, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in onions and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in bell peppers and garlic.
- Add chili powder, dried oregano, cumin powder, cocoa powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in beef broth, tomatoes and pre-soaked pinto beans (use either countertop or Instant Pot quick pre-soak method from above).
- Close Instant Pot lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes.
- Do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR), about 15 to 18 minutes. **
- Press ‘Cancel’ and open the Instant Pot.
- Select Saute mode
- Stir in masa harina.
- Cook until chili has thickened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
- Press ‘Cancel’.
- Allow the Instant Pot Chili to rest for 5 more minutes before serving, it will thicken some more.
- Ladle chili into serving bowls and serve with your choice of toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, shallots or green onions, sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, diced avocado, or Fritos chips (my favorite!)
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. chopped onions, minced garlic, cut vegetables, etc.
- * The chili powder called for in this dish is Mexican chili powder which is a mixture of spices including cayenne and garlic. Don’t use ground chili pepper!
- ** After 15 minutes, if you wish to, you can release the remaining pressure by moving the pressure release handle to venting position.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips. You don’t want to miss any!
I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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