Melissa Clark's Instant Pot Chili

October 13, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Reprinted from Comfort in an Instant. Copyright © 2018 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.Food52

Serves: 3 to 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground pork or beef
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded (if desired) and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Cubed avocado, for serving (optional)
In This Recipe


  1. Using the sauté function (set on high, if possible), heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pressure cooker pot. Add half the meat, spread it over the oil, and let it brown without stirring (this helps encourage browning) for 5 to 7 minutes. Give the meat a good stir and sauté for 1 more minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, meat, and another 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Stir the onion, bell pepper, diced chile, garlic, and ½ teaspoon of the salt into the pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the meat and any juices from the plate, along with the tomatoes, beans, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
  4. Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
  5. Stir in the cilantro and a squeeze or two of lime juice, then taste and adjust the lime juice and salt if necessary. Serve with the sour cream and avocado (if using).
  6. Slow-cooker variation: After step 3, slow cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours.

More Great Recipes:
Chili|American|Beef|Pork|Bean|Pressure Cook|Instant Pot|Weeknight Cooking|Dinner

Reviews (9) Questions (2)

9 Reviews

Ling L. November 15, 2018
Instant Pot: I added 3 more minutes to the cook time because the beef was not tender enough and natural release for 10 minutes. I love how the Instant Pot infuses the meat with the spices!
Karen November 5, 2018
I made it tonight with tomato sauce instead of diced tomato, and my first comment (because I doubled the batch) was I think it had too many kidney beans, and not quite enough salt (but that may be me). I also didn't have a real hot pepper and just used red pepper flakes. Overall I liked the taste and consistency, and recommend the recipe.

Oh and by using tomato sauce that is how I got liquid in the recipe. I'm personally not a fan of the texture of any tomato that isn't just simply a sauce ;-)
Lisa October 23, 2018
"3. Stir in the tomato paste..." This was left out of the ingredients list. What? Maybe a 1/4 cup? Never made chili before. Thanks!
Martha October 23, 2018
1 tablespoon - it's mixed in with the garlic ingredients. Making it right now. Odd that it didn't include liquid like beef broth or beer.
Lisa October 24, 2018
Thanks, Martha. Never saw it. And you're right...where is the liquid here? :D
kathy S. October 24, 2018
How did it come out? Any tweaks needed?? Thanks!
Lisa October 24, 2018
I haven't made it yet, Kathy. It's still 76 degrees every day here by the bay in Northern California. Not quite in "chili mode" yet! lol!
Fredrika November 10, 2018
1T It's on the same line as the garlic. Someone forgot to put a return in. I use Italian double strength.

I have made this recipe 3 (4?) times in two weeks. Making it again tonight. Have used instant pot and slow cooker. First time I forgot to add the chili powder. My daughter said best chili she ever had (I di d use 1 raw chili from my own garden; supposed to be an Anaheim but I've seen those in the store and mine definitely are not them). Second time, made it for a work potluck. Won best savory dish award. This recipe is awesome. BTW, have use ground chuck and ground beef. Ground chuck definitely richer flavor.
Fredrika November 10, 2018
Lisa--more like a stew chili than a soup. Doesn't need the liquid. Gets what it needs from the tomatoes. This is a can't fail recipe. :)