Looking for an easy meal that the whole family will love that’s loaded with protein, fiber and lots of flavor? Check out this Instant Pot Three Bean Chili. It’s great for an easy weeknight meal that’s effortless to whip up for the family.
Why Make This Three Bean Chili
It’s great for busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, but want a healthy meal on the table the whole family will love. It takes minimal prep time, so you can get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes rather than 6 hours in the slow cooker.
This recipe is also loaded with protein, fiber and nutritious whole foods like garlic, onions, beans, and spices. It’s filling and makes for great leftovers too.
About the Ingredients
- Ground beef – 85% lean ground beef works best but you can go leaner or even substitute ground turkey or chicken.
- Bone broth, chicken stock, or vegetable stock – You can either make homemade bone broth or opt for store-bought for this 3-bean chili. Just make sure it is a low-sodium broth, so you can control the salt content.
- Onion and garlic – This gives the chili a big boost of flavor.
- Kidney, pinto and black beans –These beans are full of protein and fiber and make the chili hearty.
- Crushed tomatoes – San Marzano tomatoes are a great option but any canned crushed tomatoes will work
- Tomato paste – Use tomato paste to thicken up the chili.
- Tamari or soy sauce – This is optional but it’s my secret ingredient for umami flavor.
- Spices – Cumin, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper give this dish the perfect chili flavor.
How to Make Three Bean Chili in the Instant Pot
1. Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot, and place the ground beef in the Instant Pot, and cook it until it’s completely done, and golden brown.
2. Add the chopped onion to the Instant Pot, and saute until it’s caramelized – or golden brown. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the bottom of the inner pot for about 1 minute. Turn off the Saute setting.
3. Drain the beans, and rinse in a colander under cold water. Add the red kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans and add to the inner pot.
Make sure to rinse the beans before adding them to the chili. They will still retain the flavor. When you add the stewed tomatoes, add the juice from the can. Do not drain the tomatoes. The juice adds flavor to the chili.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, until it beeps and locks. Make sure the pressure valve is set to ‘SEALING’, and press the MANUAL button, and set the time to 18 minutes. Let the Instant pot build and release the pressure (about 10 minutes).
5. When the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will beep and go to the ‘OFF’ setting. Make sure all the pressure has been released by turning the pressure valve to VENTING, and make sure the FLOAT valve is down. Open the lid to the Instant Pot, and stir the chili.
Taste a small amount chili. If it’s not seasoned enough for you, add a little more of all the spices, such as chili powder, cumin, sea salt. Stir well, and let the chili sit for 5 minutes, and taste again. Some chili powders are stronger than others, and you might need more of the brand you have. Keep adding a little seasoning until you get the flavors you want.
6. Serve with your favorite toppings: sour cream, cheese, onions, green onions, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Serve up this tasty chili with a toppings such as chopped cilantro, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
Chili can be a filling meal in itself, but if you’re feeling like going the extra mile, here are a few suggestions for sides that go well with it.
- Cauliflower rice
- Gluten-Free cornbread
- Baked potatoes
- Chips and guacamole
- Green salad
What if the chili is too thick?
Add a bit more chicken stock to the chili to make it thinner. Add in 1/4 cup increments.
Can I use a different meat or make this vegetarian?
Yes, you can use ground turkey or even ground chicken. These meats tend to be drier so you may need to add more chicken stock. Wait until it’s done and then test to see if you need more stock.
You can also omit the meat to make this recipe vegetarian. Just caramelize the onions and follow the instructions for the rest of the recipe. Omit the chicken stock as well, and if you need more liquid at the end add 1/4 cup of vegetable stock.
What if burn the chili?
If you’re following the recipe correctly, and you’ve ensured there’s there should be enough water in the pot. Instant Pot before you put the lid on, there’s actually no risk of you ending up burning the chili. If you get the burn message on your Instant Pot, simply press the off button and switch the valve to the venting position to release the pressure quickly and open the lid.
What if the beans are undercooked?
If you’re using canned beans, you’ll be fine. However, if you’re using dry beans, you’ll want to soak them overnight or at least for a 8-10 hours before you use them for the recipe. This helps to remove the phytic acid and lectin in the beans, which helps to improve the digestibility of the beans.
If you don’t have the time to soak them, you can cook them first in the Instant Pot, and then follow the rest of the recipe as is. To cook dried beans in the Instant Pot, add 1 lb of dried beans, 8 cups water and 1 tbsp olive oil to the inner pot. Cook for 25-30 minutes on high pressure (add additional 5-10 minutes if cooking red kidney beans). Let it naturally depressurize once it’s done cooking (about 20 minutes). Drain the beans and add to this three bean chili recipe.
How can I make the chili more flavorful?
One of the simplest ways to make your chili flavorful is to experiment with the spices and herbs or add chili flakes or hot sauce to taste. Even an extra dash of white pepper or chili powder can do the trick.
What else can I add into the chili?
Chili is so incredibly versatile, you can actually modify it based on what you have in your kitchen. Celery, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, corn, bell peppers and butternut squash all taste great with the chili and take their nutritional value up a notch. Just add them in when you add the beans to the Instant Pot. Be sure to chop up into 1/2 inch or less chunks so they’ll cook up nicely with the beans.
You can also swap the beans in this recipe with other beans like cannellini beans.
How long can I store this chili in the fridge?
Leftover three-bean chili will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. I prefer to store food in plastic free containers but any airtight container will do.
Can I make Instant Pot 3-bean chili ahead of time and freeze it?
Yes. This chili is great for meal prep as you can batch cook several portions and freeze for later. Or save any leftover 3 bean chili in the freezer. Allow the chili to cool fully before transferring to an airtight container and freezing for up to 3 months. Note, do not freeze with the maple cream topping. The topping should be made when you’re ready to serve it.
To freeze, wait until the three bean chili is completely cool, then add it to an airtight container or freezer-friendly zip loc bag. It can then be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do I reheat Instant Pot three-bean chili?
I actually got rid of my microwave, but you may prefer to use one to reheat chili or check out my guide of ways to reheat food without a microwave. You can also reheat using the Instant Pot, or warm this Instant Pot 3 bean chili on the stove until hot through. If you find the chili has thickened when you reheat, add a splash of broth to thin it out.
Top Tips to Make This Three Bean Chili
- Be sure to brown the meat first and add the onions to caramelize it. This will get the flavor from the meat and deglaze the inner pot.
- Make sure you’re using beans that have already been soaked and cooked. Canned beans are a great option if you’re limited on time.
- Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the inner pot.
- Don’t drain the stewed tomatoes as the juice adds flavor to this dish.
- You may need to adjust the spices to your taste. You can omit the cinnamon but it adds a slight sweetness to this recipe that cuts the acid from the tomatoes.
- Serve up the toppings in a fixings bar so everyone in the family can customize their chili bowls.
- Try your chili with rice. That’s how we eat it in Hawaii and it’s the only way I’ll eat my chili.
More Recipes You Might Like
- Instant Pot Low-Carb Cheesecake (Gluten-Free)
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Beef Pho
- 4 Ways to Reheat Food in the Instant Pot
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Instant Pot Three Bean Chili
- Instantn Pot or electric pressure cooker
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 15 oz canned kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz canned pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes blended
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 cups chicken stock
- Dash ground cinnamon
- sour cream dollop
- cheddar cheese shredded
- onion chopped
- green onions sliced
- cilantro chopped
- tortilla chips
- Gather your ingredients together. Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot, and place the ground beef in the Instant Pot, and cook it until it's completely done, and golden brown.
- Add the chopped onion to the Instant Pot, and saute until it's caramelized – or golden brown. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the bottom of the inner pot for about 1 minute. Turn off the Saute setting.
- Drain the beans, and rinse in a colander under cold water. Add the kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans and add to the inner pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients (not the toppings) and stir well. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, until it beeps and locks. Make sure the pressure valve is set to 'SEALING', and press the MANUAL button, and set the time to 18 minutes. Let the Instant pot build and release the pressure (about 10 minutes).
- When the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will beep and go to the 'OFF' setting. Make sure all the pressure has been released by turning the pressure valve to VENTING, and make sure the FLOAT valve is down. Open the lid to the Instant Pot, and stir the chili.
- Serve with your favorite toppings: sour cream, cheese, onions, green onions, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!
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Totally comforting!! My family enjoyed it for dinner last night!