Pressure Cooker Ground Beef Chili

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30-minute beef chili in the pressure cooker! Made with green peppers, onions, celery, ground beef, and tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese and sliced green onions. Gluten-free.

Photography Credit: Coco Morante

A warm bowl of chili is such a comforting meal on cold nights. Beef chili usually takes at least an hour and a half to simmer on the stove, but you can cut that time down by half when you use a pressure cooker!

Electric pressure cookers are having a renaissance these days. The newest models are programmable smart appliances that are safe and easy to use. They’re completely different than the traditional stovetop models many of us grew up with.

Find out just how great pressure cooking can be with this super-quick chili recipe.

2016-01-10-pc-beef-chili-16The pressure cooker I use is an Instant Pot. I have both the 6- and 8-quart models (IP-DUO60 and IP-DUO80), and I find that the 6-quart size is plenty big for most meals. It handles recipes making 4 to 6 serving recipes easily, including this beef chili.

Using an Instant Pot isn’t any harder than cooking a pot of chili on the stove. You can sauté and simmer right in the appliance, just you would when cooking on the stovetop. The only difference here is that instead of turning a knob on the stove, you press a few buttons on the Instant Pot.

If you have another model of electric or stovetop pressure cooker, the sautéing instructions might be slightly different. Just check your user manual for guidance.

The most intimidating aspect of pressure cooking is probably releasing the pressure once your food is cooked, but it’s really not so tricky. There are two different ways to release the steam.

The quickest way to release the steam is with the “quick release” method. For this, protect your hand with a heat-proof oven mitt or use a pair of long-handled tongs, and nudge the pressure release knob on the top of the pressure cooker from “Sealing” to “Venting.” As you do this, a big plume of steam will issue from the pot, releasing the pressure.

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The second way to release the steam is the “natural release” method. For this, just let your pot sit on the counter and do nothing. The pressure cooker will slowly depressurize on its own in about 20 minutes (you’ll see the float valve next to the pressure release knob go down), and you will be able to safely open the pot. Use this method if you’re scared of that plume of steam.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll know that the pot is depressurized when the float valve on the lid (right next to the pressure release knob) returns to its lowered position.

I’ve included stove-top instructions as well, in case you’d like to make this chili without a pressure cooker. No matter how you make it, serve the chili piping hot, with plenty of grated cheese and green onions on top.

Pressure Cooker Ground Beef Chili Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you have leftover tomato paste after making this recipe, you can freeze it in tablespoon portions for another recipe.

Note that no extra liquid needs to be added to this recipe. The liquid from the canned tomatoes is sufficient.

Stovetop Instructions: In a medium saucepan or soup pot, cook the bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the spices, tomato paste, tomatoes, and beans, along with a cup of water or broth. Bring to a simmer. then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for one hour.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, any favorite mix, to serve
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly, to serve

Special equipment:

Method

1 Cook the vegetables: Select the “Sauté” program on your pressure cooker and add the oil to the pot. (If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium heat.) Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about five minutes.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

2 Cook the ground beef: Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up in small pieces. Cook until no longer pink, about five minutes.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

3 Stir in the spices and tomato paste. Add the chili powder, salt, oregano, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste is evenly mixed into the other ingredients and no clumps remain.

4 Add the tomatoes and beans: Strain the tomatoes, then add enough water or broth to make 1 cup total liquid. Add the liquid, the strained tomatoes, and the beans to the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

5 Cook the chili: Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. If you are using an Instant Pot, select the “Chili” program, then adjust the time to 20 minutes. If your pressure cooker does not have a “Chili” program, set it manually to “High Pressure” for 20 minutes. For stovetop pressure cookers, cook for 17 minutes at high pressure.

It will take about 10 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about 30 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

6 Release the pressure after cooking: When the timer goes off, you may either perform a quick pressure release by moving the pressure release knob from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or let the pot depressurize naturally on its own (this takes about 20 minutes; open the vent to "Venting" when you’re ready to serve the chili.) For stovetop pressure cookers, perform a quick pressure release.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

6 To serve: Top bowls of chili with shredded cheese and green onions, if desired. Serve alone, over rice, or with cornbread.

Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

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Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • L.D.

    Just a couple of tips for caring for your pressure cooker, don’t store the pressure cooker with the lid on with seal in it, take the seal out of the lid and lay it on top, also I spray cooking spray on the seal before locking it into cooking position, this will insure you don’t scuff the tender silicone gasket. I bought an El Cheapo 6 1/2 qt stainless steel stove top for 30 bucks, not bad huh ? One thing that’s handy about the pressure cooker is I’ve made smoked turkey with dry great northern beans and with lentils, I didn’t soak ’em either and they came out nice and tender, a real time saver (like I’m real busy or sumptin,… eye roll !)

  • SD

    How big a can of kidney beans do you recommend? Where I live they come in two sizes: 450 grams or 900 grams. Which would you recommend?

  • Slartibartfast

    I’ve had an electronic pressure cooker I bought about a decade ago in storage and never used. I resolved to start using it and this was the first recipe I tried. I have a Bravetti PC107H which doesn’t have a dedicated “Chili” program, but they recommend the “Beef/Pork” program for chili, and it worked well. My machine also doesn’t have a “Saute” feature, so I just placed the removable non-stick inner pot right on the stovetop for steps one and two. Once the veggies and meat were done I just dropped the pot into the cooker and picked up the recipe at step #3.

    It was very tasty, but the next time I make it I will probably double the chili powder for my taste. Also, I used store-branded diced tomatoes and found they were packed in sauce/paste rather than “juice” so I had to just add the can and then add water by eye until I thought it was the right consistency and had enough moisture for the pressure cooking. I probably added just over half a cup of water.

    As others have pointed out, it only takes about 20 minutes at pressure for this recipe, but that doesn’t include the warmup/pressurize period. On my machine this turned out to be about 5 minutes, but it could be longer for others, so make sure you start it a little earlier than you think you’ll need it. Also, I did a fast pressure release when the cook time was done and it turned out fine.

  • Annie

    We tried this recipe in our IP Smart and kept getting the Overheat error. We ended up adding 2 cups of chicken stock (in small increments, scraping the bottom each time), but it still kept overheating.

  • Shari Henley

    I haven’t used my pressure cooker but my instructions and menu phamplet had been lost. The pressure cooker came with a round metal circle, do I need to use that to make chili?

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