Instant Pot beef chilli

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Although some sources report that chilli originated in northern Mexico, most food historians assert that it is a classic American dish invented in southern Texas. In fact, some Mexicans will strongly concur; a 1959 Mexican dictionary defined chili con carne as a “detestable food falsely called Mexican, sold in the United States from Texas to New York”. Now that’s cold.

According to this interesting article from National Geographic, Texas style chilli was popularized amongst the American public at the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, where it then spread quickly across the country.

On this chilly evening up in Canada, Mr. Chuckles and I enjoyed this pressure cooker version of beef chilli that features an extra kick with dark chocolate and espresso.


Adapted from Serious Eats.

Serves: 5 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Ready time: 1 hour


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more if needed
  • 2½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder, plus more if desired
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more if desired
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, tomatoes crushed by hand, juices drained and reserved
  • ¼ cup brewed espresso
  • ¾ ounce dark chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 4 cups cooked and drained red kidney beans
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 Fresno pepper, diced
  • 1 Aloha pepper, diced
  • 2 Chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 can corn niblets
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • Sour cream, avocado, cilantro leaves, grated cheese, and lime wedges for serving


1) Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium-high heat (or, if using electric pressure cooker, using sauté setting), until shimmering. Add about ¼ of the ground beef, stirring occasionally, until very well browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove browned beef from cooker and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from cooker.

2) Add onion and the Jalapeño, Fresno, and Aloha peppers. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of cooker, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in garlic, chilli powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3) Combine the Chipotle peppers with 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce, chocolate, fish sauce, espresso, anchovies, and tomato paste. Blend into paste. Add paste into mixture and cook, stirring until slightly darkened, about 1 minute.

4) Return browned beef to cooker along with any accumulated juices. Add uncooked beef, crushed tomatoes, and stir well to combine. Season lightly with salt. Add bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, stirring well and scraping bottom all over. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, break up any chunks of ground beef. Scrape bottom all over once more before sealing the cooker.

5) Seal the cooker, bring to high pressure, and cook for 20 minutes. Quick-release cooker and stir chilli well, scraping bottom to make sure nothing is sticking.

6) Discard bay leaf. Stir in drained beans. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste chili and add more chilli powder, cumin, or cayenne pepper to taste, if desired. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. If chilli is too thick, stir in some reserved tomato juices and thin to desired consistency. If chilli is too thin, simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

7) Cook corn niblets. Strain and add to mixture. Ready to serve with toppings of your choice.

👨‍🍳 Notes from Mr. Chuckles

As noted in the title, our pressure cooker of choice is the ever popular Instant Pot. I bought this for Mr. Chuckles last year as a Christmas gift, and it has been yet another nifty addition to our kitchen arsenal. We often use it for the slow cooker and steamer functions as well.

Although our recipe included a few peppers, the heat level was very low so it will be tolerable for those with spice aversion. The dark chocolate and espresso also gives it a little something extra. It is actually a great dish to bring to potlucks during this season of holiday parties.

Happy eating!

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