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!

  • Muffin Tin Trick

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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4.23 from 1432 votes

Servings: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 40 minutes mins

Total Time: 50 minutes mins


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!


  • 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


  • 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



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.


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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The BEST Instant Pot Chili {Award Winning} Recipe - Oh Sweet Basil (16)

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!


When you try a recipe, please use the hashtag #ohsweetbasil on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in our stories! FOLLOW OH, SWEET BASIL ON FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER FOR ALL OF OUR LATEST CONTENT, RECIPES AND STORIES.

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


What is the secret to amazing chili? ›

Elevate your chili recipe by adding an extra layer of flavor. Cocoa powder, bacon, cinnamon, ground coffee and tomato paste will all add a rich sweet & salty flavors that are sure to surprise and delight.

What fresh herbs are good in chili? ›

Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. These ingredients can be combined to create a savory and well-balanced pot of top notch comfort food.

What can I add to chili to make it richer? ›

Cocoa Powder

Chocolate might not be the first thing you think of when you're making a batch of chili but it pairs perfectly with peppers. Adding just a teaspoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder like we do in our Instant Pot Chili (pictured above) will make your go-to recipe rich and flavorful.

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.

What is the most important spice in chili? ›

Cumin and garlic are must have spices in every chili pot, I believe. If you're looking to make a chili that will please both your taste buds and your wallet, there are a few key spices you should consider. chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic are all great options for adding flavor to your chili.

Does Wendy's put sugar in their chili? ›

Chili Concentrate: Chili Sauce (Water, Tomato Juice, Tomatoes, Calcium Chloride, Seasoning (Sugar, Salt, Corn Starch, Dried Chilies, Spices, Flavor Enhancer [Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Silicon Dioxide, Modified Corn Starch], Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Xanthan gum), Beans (Pink Beans, Red ...

What is chili magic? ›

Where there's chipotle smoke, there's chili fire. Bush's® Chili Magic® Campfire Style brings tender pintos together with smoky chipotle and green bell peppers for quick, unforgettable chili any night of the week.​

How do you make chili taste good? ›

If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

What does cinnamon do for chili? ›

Much like adding chili powder and other common chili spices, cinnamon is a super versatile spice that adds warmth without the heat to Firecracker chili.

Is basil and oregano good in chili? ›

I've taken a combination of a few of my favorite chili recipes and added my own personal touches to create a very flavorful, spicy chili. You can also sub dried basil and oregano for fresh, and bacon bits for crumbles; fresh is always a better flavor though. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

What chili has the best flavor? ›

The best chile peppers for adding both flavor and heat to your...
  • Serrano chiles. Paul Stephen / Staff.
  • Fresno chiles, often mistaken for jalapenos, are fruity and sweet, with a mild smokiness that's ideal for sauces. ...
  • Habanero chiles. ...
  • Jalapeño chiles. ...
  • Poblano chiles. ...
  • Thai chiles, also known as bird's eye chiles.
Sep 15, 2021

Does chili need tomato paste? ›

Tomato sauce is not a strong a taste as tomato paste. Also, sauce will increase the liquid content of your chili ever so slightly. Tomato paste has a more full, rich, tomato taste and smell. Using either one is appropriate, but you will need to tweak your seasonings to suit your personal tastes, anyway.

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.

Why would 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.

Why do you put brown sugar in chili? ›

The brown sugar gave it a sweet/tangy flavor that reminded me of BBQ-sauce! Th chili was so good - it was hard to stop eating it! I did had some extra veggies (1 cl. garlic, 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1 bell pepper, 1 hot pepper) and used a can of diced tomatoes rather than tomato juice.

Why do you put baking soda in chili? ›

In this chili recipe, baking soda (that same thing the fluffs up cakes and cookies) tenderizes the ground beef while making it brown better. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is alkaline.

What does adding sugar to chili do? ›

Why is sugar used in this chili recipe? Sugar is used to cut the acidity of the tomatoes used in my homemade chili recipe. Using a small amount of sugar balances the flavors which in turn creates a smoother and richer taste overall.


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