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Instant Pot Mini Chili

Instant Pot Mini Chili is a quick and easy dinner for cold winter nights. It’s been on my list of recipes to try once the cooler weather came around.

Maybe it’s just me, but with all the chili recipes available, it feels like there are a lot of passions around what to include in your chili. Beans or no beans. Spice combinations. Oh my! For my Instant Pot Mini Chili recipe, I adapted one from an old favorite in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Chili also freezes really well so you can have a few dinners to eat later too!

Close up of Instant Pot Mini Chili

How to make Instant Pot Mini Chili

One of the challenges with a 3 quart Instant Pot Mini is figuring out if a recipe will fit the smaller electric pressure cooker, or if it needs to be adjusted. I started to put together a bunch of Instant Pot Mini recipes so I don’t need to remember what needs to be adjusted or not. I bought my Instant Pot Mini because I am generally cooking for one and while I like leftovers, I don’t have that much freezer space to pack leftovers for 6. That’s why I started with the Betty Crocker version because it was one I cooked in smaller stove-top pots.

This particular chili came out a little thinner and soupier than others. So if that’s not your preference, you may not love this one as much. You could also thicken this up with a little cornstarch (hint that’s in those chili seasoning packs), or even quickly blend a little bit of the chili itself. You can also saute it a little after it’s done pressure cooking to remove some of the extra moisture.

Chili’s and other thick dishes can be challenging to make in an Instant Pot. Ideally, you need to avoid the dreaded BURN message.

For this particular recipe, I somewhat winged it to convert it for cooking in an Instant Pot. Overall it was completed quickly and easy, given I decided late in the day to even try this. Start off by sautéing the meat, garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Deglaze the pan with stock or broth (or water) to ensure no food bits are stuck to the bottom of the inner pot. Mix in a can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed) along with seasonings. Pour in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Avoid mixing in these last two because the tomato products reaching the bottom could result in scorching and that dreaded burn message!

Ultimately I wanted a flavorful, no-fuss chili that I could make in my Instant Pot Mini. If you like your chili hotter, definitely play around with the seasoning. This one worked for me, because I wanted mild flavor, not crying heat.

Close up of Instant Pot Mini Chili

Instant Pot Mini Chili

A simple chili recipe sized for the 3 quart Instant Pot Mini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 lbs ground beef extra lean or you’ll need to drain the extra fat
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 memium bell pepper diced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth, beef both, or water
  • 15 oz can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes fire roasted, suggested


  • Turn your Instant Pot to saute, hot. Allow to preheat until hot. Spray with canola spray.
  • Saute ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic until no pink remains.
  • Pour in chicken broth and clear bottom of the inner pot of any stuck food
  • Add kidney beans, chili powder, and cumin to the pot and stir.
  • Pour diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on top. Do not stir in.
  • Put on the Instant Pot lid, lock, and turn the knob to sealing. Press the “Bean/Chili” button and set to 20 minutes. If you don’t have a Chili button, use the manual or pressure cook button set to high for the same amount of time.
  • Once the cooking cycle completes, allow to natural release for at least 10 minutes and then quick release the remaining.
  • Open and stir. Optionally top with your preferred chili additions such as grated cheese, sour cream, or green onions. Serve with corn bread if you have it.


I usually try to limit my salt so I buy low or no salt added tomatoes, broth, and beans.
Season as your prefer. If you prefer a hotter chili, increase the chili powder and cumin.

Over to you. How do you make your Instant Pot Mini Chili?

What do you like to have your chili – hot versus mild spice? Do you prefer more or fewer beans? More vegetables or less?

Quick and Easy Instant Pot Mini Chili


  1. I am new to this instant pot thing just bought the three quart one. Your chili is the second time I used it and it was the best chili I’ve ever made. So easy and so quick thank you for making me more comfortable with this new tool. I was a little intimidated with the recipes because they are mostly for the bigger pots. Thank you again

    1. Hey Deborah –
      So happy to hear you liked the chili! It’s one I made on the stove-top for years and converted it to use in my Mini.

  2. Dear Cara…Am going to make your chili tonight. First time in my mini. Thanks for the heads up about it being a bit thin. What has worked for me in the past for thickening and flavoring thin chili is to add masa. I ordered mine online, one of the few places to get it non-gmo. Put a bit in a cup then add water and stir. Now you can add the mix to your chili. The exact measurements are variable. I would add a little and stir while heating the chili, wait a bit to see how thick it gets and add more if not thick enough. It works just like adding cornstarch, but you do not get the glazing and it adds a wonderful authentic flavor to the chili. I will write again to let you know how it comes out. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Namaste

    1. Hi Fran! I hope you enjoyed the chili. Great tip about masa. I hadn’t considered that and will try that in the future. Thanks for visiting.

    2. 4 stars
      I like to add a little cocoa powder an molasses to round out the flavors even more. A little frozen corn also gives it a nice appearance and slight sweetness. It’s then a 5 star in my books!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for this. I live alone and breaking down recipes are sometimes really difficult to make turn out well

  4. 5 stars
    I made this a few weeks back and it’s amazing. I love it. So now, I’m gonna make it in my 8 quart pot and double the recipe. I’m hoping it’ll turn out good (fairly certain it will).

  5. I have always loved the classic Betty Crocker chili recipe, although it usually takes more than 2 hours. Thank you for converting it to Instant Pot Mini proportions!! I can’t wait to try this, and cut the cooking time to less than half!

  6. Yes, this will end up being a “thin” chili. However: Don’t thicken it with fillers like cornstarch! NO! Once the chili is done, (while it’s still in ‘warming’ mode’) just add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, and stir well, then let it sit. Then you can also add some shredded cheddar cheese (again stir, of course) to thicken it a bit and give a thicker creamier texture.

    *NOTE: I highly recommend adding sour cream to the top, If you like favor: also top with chopped jalapeño and onion, and shredded cheddar if you didn’t already blend cheese to thicken the chili.

    For those that are more adventurous, make a small pot of spaghetti noodles, and top with this chili using whatever extra toppings (onions, chopped jalapeño, cheese, sour cream) you want. AKA “Cincinnati Chili”

    Another great option: Make a bowl of the chili – filling the bowl halfway, then line the sides with Fritos Scoops, then add a bit more chili to the top, then add chopped onions, cheese, jalapeños, etc to the top. Scoop chili with the ‘Scoops’, then devour the rest as you see fit.


  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I’m just waiting for it to finish up/naturally vent. Question: newbie instant pot user here: leave it on the keep warm, when waiting for the natural venting? Thanks again!

    1. Yes. Typically I leave anything I’m cooking in the keep warm while I’m waiting for a natural release, with the caveat of “unless the recipe suggests otherwise”.

  8. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and welcomed the thickening suggestions. I have made it with beef and ground turkey. I wish there were more mini pot recipes available.

  9. 5 stars
    Just discovered this recipe. I will be making it for the second time tonight and I wrote it in my notebook for future use. The meat comes out so tender. It is a thin chili so I suggest making some rice or cornbread or something with it to add some body. The thinness does not diminish the flavor though.

  10. 5 stars
    Thank you! I just made this in my first Instant Pot adventure. I appreciate your precise step-by-step instructions on the use of the 3 quart Mini-Ultra Instant Pot. I added sliced carrots to the sauté stage and plan to include diced celery next time.

  11. 5 stars
    Finally, a recipe I can use in my mini.. THANK YOU!! I’ve been using this as a base to different styles and it’s fantastic every time

    1. Thanks Anna! Glad to hear the recipe’s been useful. Agree. Having a base is super helpful!

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