Chili season is here! If you don’t have a favorite go-to chili recipe, let me fix for you that right now.
There are all kinds of ways to do chili. When I was growing up, one of my mom’s friend’s famous chili recipes even included Coke – you know, like the soda. In chili.
Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but I don’t want to add soda to my family dinners.
My instant pot chili recipe is made with real food, it’s made without any weird ingredients (soda-related or otherwise). And it is my favorite seasonal fall chili recipe to make and eat when the weather turns cold.
Healthy Real Food Chili Recipe
So what is in a healthy real food chili recipe? It depends on how far you want to go down the real food trail.
Plenty of chili recipes involve just opening a bunch of cans and tossing them in a pot. Heat and serve. Done.
This one is almost that simple, but the few added steps ensure a really delicious and satisfying seasonal dinner – one that won’t give you cramps later or regret that extra can of beans.
First, you need to start with good ingredients. Of course, I’m going to recommend grass-fed, organic beef. It tastes better than conventional, and the quality of meat – and life for the cow – is worth the extra cost.
I am not a meat snob. We are on a budget, and we eat ground beef more than any other cut because it is budget-friendly. But I try to support sustainable, good-quality meat and smaller farms.
Next, I prefer home-cooked beans to canned. They are more budget-friendly, I can control the salt content, and I cook my beans with plenty of onion, garlic, and a bay leaf to ensure the best flavors. See how I cook my beans (with only 10 minutes of work!) here.
You can choose organic canned tomato products – not all canned tomatoes are created equal – but I keep it simple here. For an extra flavor kick, try adding a can of fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular.
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Healthy Instant Pot Chili Recipe
Here’s what I put in my healthy, instant pot chili:
- Ground beef or turkey
- Red or yellow bell pepper (normally I use frozen, but fresh is better)
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Tomato paste
- Pinto or kidney beans (or a combination of both)
- Diced tomatoes
- Green chilies
In the Instant Pot, sauté everything together (in the order I share with you) and just pressure cook it for 3 minutes. Done. Now you have delicious, flavorful, real-food chili. It is gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free.
Typically, we serve our instant pot chili with rice, cornbread, or tortilla chips. Jalapeño cheddar biscuits or muffins are great too.
And don’t forget the toppings! My favorite chili toppings are:
- Green onion or other diced onion
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Jalepeño (fresh or pickled)
Seasonal Fall Recipe
This chili recipe harnesses some of our favorite fall flavors and vibes, like hot soup, melted cheese, and flavorful comfort food. But it is simple and delicious.
All you have to chop is an onion and bell pepper (unless you use frozen bell pepper, which I prefer because it is more budget-friendly), and follow the order of the recipe. Sauteeing the garlic after the onion ensures the garlic does not burn. Sauteeing the spices and tomato paste together for just a minute adds more depth of flavor than just stirring it all into the water.
Healthy Dinner Recipe
If you don’t have a go-to chili recipe, try this one. It’s budget-friendly, scrumptious, and loaded with healthy ingredients. You’ll get plenty of protein, fiber, and vegetables. What is there not to love?
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.
You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
Healthy Instant Pot Chili Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 15 min
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6
- Diet: Gluten Free
If you don’t have a go-to chili recipe, try this one. It’s budget-friendly, scrumptious, and loaded with healthy ingredients.
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
- 1 1/2 onions, diced
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 heaping Tsp. tomato paste (in glass jars, no BPA!)
- 2 Tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. oregano
- One 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
- One 6-oz. can of green chilies (or one jalepeño, diced)
- 2 c. pinto or kidney beans (or a combination)
- Toppings: green onion, diced onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh or picked jalepeño
- Set your Instant pot to sauté. When it is warm, add the ground beef and cook until it is browned. Typically, you would then remove the meat and sauté everything else separately. This helps improve the flavor. However, for the sake of simplicity, I usually leave the ground beef in there for this next step. Choose what you prefer: less dishes or better flavor.
- Cook the onion and bell pepper in the instant pot until the onion is translucent.
- Add the garlic and stir for just one minute, so it does not burn.
- Next, stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Stir for one minute, so it does not burn.
- Finally, stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Cover and seal your instant pot. Set it on manual pressure to cook for 3 minutes.
- After it is done cooking, let the pressure release naturally.
- Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve with rice, cornbread, or tortilla chips, and top as desired.
Keywords: comfort food, seasonal eating, easy dinner
More Seasonal, Comforting Recipes:
- White Bean Chili
- Lentil Shepherds’ Pie
- Vegan Turmeric Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats
- Instant Pot Turmeric Chicken & Rice
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
What’s your favorite healthy chili recipe addition?