Get ready to Netflix and Chili. Whole30 and Keto Instant Pot Chili gives you slow-simmered comfort food taste in a fraction of the time. This recipe guides you step-by-step to build and layer flavor using two kinds of meat, two kinds of peppers, and a foolproof blend of chili seasonings and veggies for a guilt-free hug in a bowl. Customize your toppings whether you’re Whole30, Keto, or just want more spice in your life!
I’m pleasantly surprised that so many of you are fully committing to making healthy changes this year; I am doubly surprised that we are too. I wasn’t convinced that we’d be able to wake up on January 1, roll over, stare into each other’s eyes and one of us not ask “Will you please go get donuts?” But a week in and I honestly haven’t craved one of those sweet, doughy, flaky, sticky, little iced demons yet…
After the year-that-shall-not-be-named, my body is ready for a reboot. I cannot remember a time when I’ve felt more weighed down. And I’m not just talking about extra pounds. We’re all physically bearing the emotional brunt of stress, grief, malaise, restlessness, and trauma. Of all these feelings, the one I keep hearing the most from friends, family, and followers is “helplessness.”
So, reader, if we can’t help our circumstances, let’s at least help ourselves. It may seem trivial in light of all that’s happening around us, but refocusing our energies into promoting wellness through better eating is one small way we can reclaim our time.
We do Whole30 every January; have for years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about maintaining a plan, is that you’ve got to have delicious, reliable recipes that give you both nutrition and satisfaction. So we’re ticking a few boxes this week with Instant Pot Chili: you’ve got that strong comfort food vibe from chili for emotional support; Instant Pot is tackling both convenience and “instant” gratification; and with Whole30 and Keto variations, it’s definitely guilt-free and keeps up with your best laid dietary plans. Hope it does the trick!
Building flavor in an instant pot chili
Instant pot chili gets a bad rap, and for good reason. A great chili recipe is slowly simmered for hours for intense flavor. What the Instant Pot offers in convenience it can often lack when it comes to complexity.
Not in this recipe though! Follow these tips for building flavor in every step:
- Go for 80/20 ground beef. Fat = flavor.
- Cook ground beef and pork and remove the fat as it cooks so that the ground meat has the chance to truly brown, not just cook through.
- Save those drippings! You’ll use them later for both flavor and function.
- Deglaze the pot, for two reasons: (1) the pot won’t come to pressure with if you have any burned or browned bits stuck to the bottom; (2) those bits are loaded with flavor! Reincorporating them by deglazing (aka dissolving them with liquid) will season the chili even further.
- Use bone broth if you have it – beef or chicken.
- Use fire roasted crushed tomatoes.
- Poblano peppers, with their smoky, earthy bite, lend just another layer of flavor to a quick cooking chili.
- Jalapenos without seeds add flavor, but keep some seeds for more heat too.
Avoid the dreaded “burn” notice
The inner pot needs a certain amount of liquid in order to come to pressure. For recipes with lower water content, like chili, or recipes where there is a bit of a saute period (again, like this chili), it’s common to encounter the burn notice if you don’t properly prepare the inner pot before bringing it to pressure. Make sure you take these 2 steps first:
(1) Deglaze the pot. “Deglaze” simply means to add liquid to the pot contents and use that liquid to dissolve any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. You’ll certainly have a “messy” pot bottom after properly browning the ground beef and pork, and after adding in the spices and tomato paste. Use the reserved fat and broth mixture to deglaze the pot, scraping up and dissolving all of those browned bits. I like to use a rubber spatula for this job.
(2) Do not mix in the tomatoes. Because they’re on the thick side and contain natural sugars, crushed tomatoes tend to burn. Leave them on top of the meat and vegetable mixture to help avoid the burn notice.
Storing and reheating instant pot chili
FRIDGE: store chili in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that.
FREEZER: scoop leftover chili into ziploc bags for easy freezing. Pro Tip: I like doing them in single servings so you’ve got a fast and easy meal for one ready to go!
TO REHEAT: defrost in the refrigerator overnight. I recommend reheating on the stove over medium heat to avoid “re”cooking the meat. For a quicker defrost, submerge your sealed ziploc into a bowl of cool water, changing it when the water comes up to room temperature. Repeat for about 30 minutes until chili has softened, then transfer to a pot on the stovetop for warming.
Make it your way
Instant pot chili is perfect for a round of Whole30 or a ketogenic lifestyle! The base is chock full of protein and healthy fats. Tailor the toppings to your specific dietary needs:
Whole30: top with avocado, diced red onions, sliced green onions, and sliced jalapenos.
Keto: top with avocado, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Be sure to use good quality full-fat dairy products.
More intensely flavored instant pot recipes
Did you make this instant pot chili? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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Instant Pot Chili (Keto, Whole30)Print Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- ½ - ¾ c beef broth
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos, or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 poblano peppers, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-4 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes
- Diced Avocado
- Diced Red Onion
- Jalapeno Slices
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Cheese
- Press the "Saute" button and wait for the inner pot to fully heat (on some models, it will read "hot"). Add 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl on the bottom of the pot. Add the beef. Cook the beef and break into small pieces with a wood spoon. As the meat cooks, it will release water content. Every few minutes, tip the residual moisture from the pot into a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Continue cooking until the pot is dry and the beef is well-browned. Remove the beef and set aside in a bowl.
- Add the second tablespoon of olive oil, and repeat this process with the ground pork - breaking up the meat and tipping the release moisture. You should now have 3-4 ounces of liquid reserved in the measuring cup. Pour enough beef broth into the measuring cup to make 1 c total liquid, then add the coconut aminos or Worcestershire sauce to the liquid.
- Return the beef to the pot with the pork, then add the onion, poblano pepper, jalapeno and garlic. Saute, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt. Work the tomato paste and spices into the meat and vegetables, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the beef broth mixture into the pot to deglaze. Scrape the bottom of the pot until it is clear and no browned bits remain- this is very important. Press the "Cancel" button to turn off the saute function.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes on top of the beef and vegetable mixture. Do not mix.
- Seal the lid, ensure the pressure valve is set to "Sealing", and program to 12 minutes high pressure; it will take approximately 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. Allow the pressure to release naturally (about 15 minutes) after the pressure cooking cycle has completed. Ensure the float valve has dropped, then open the lid. Stir the chili and taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt as needed. If the chili is too thin, press the "Saute" button and allow the chili to simmer, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and served with desired toppings.
- 2 lb 80/20 ground beef can be used in place of the beef and pork mixture; you'll have additional drippings (close to 5-6 ounces).
- Substitute green bell pepper for the poblano based on preference or availability.
- Keep some or all seeds from the jalapenos for additional heat.
- Fridge: store chili in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that.
- Freezer: scoop leftover chili into ziploc bags for flat freezer storage, or store in an another freezer-safe container; store for up to 3 months.
- To Reheat: defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Warm on the stove in pot over medium heat to avoid "re"cooking the meat. For a quicker defrost, submerge your sealed ziploc into a bowl of cool water, changing it when the water comes up to room temperature. Repeat for 30 minutes until chili has softened, then transfer to a pot on the stovetop for warming.