Instant Pot All American Chili


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a bowl of chili with toppingsThis “All American” Chili is a classic version with meat and beans but gets that simmered-all-day flavor in just 15 minutes thanks to the Instant Pot!

October is the official start of fall and, in our house, that makes it the official start of chili season. When I was single and living on my own, I would make a big pot of chili just for myself and eat the leftovers all week long. Now, years later, it’s often on the menu when we’re hosting a crowd, and is always on the menu for Halloween night when everyone needs some warm stick-to-your-ribs sustenance before the candy starts rolling in.

stirring chili in the instant pot

This recipe is an adaptation of an old favorite that was originally published in Cooking Light many years ago. I’ve tweaked it over the years, but it’s a chili formula that I come back to again and again. The depth of flavor comes from a good mix of spices as well as the addition of Italian sausage and a healthy pour of beer or red wine (beef stock works too, if you prefer to skip the alcohol).

two bottles of beer next to an instant pot

The latest and greatest adaptation to the recipe is that I’ve been making it in the Instant Pot. The pressure cooker gives this chili a depth of flavor that makes it seem as if it simmered low and slow all day long. The first time I tested it this way, I couldn’t believe how fast it came together, using just the Instant Pot to saute and simmer it.

chopped Onions and peppers in a small clear bowl

Chili might be the perfect make-ahead food, so this is a great one to have in the rotation. It reheats well but, more importantly, it tastes even better after a day, or two, or three. When the weather turns cold, there are few things better than a warm bowl of chili to wrap your hands around for lunch. And let’s be real, the best part of any bowl of chili is the toppings.

a bowl of All American Chili with toppings

I took it easy for these photographs, but you better believe that I load my bowl up with twice as many toppings as shown here!

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Instant Pot All American Chili
5 from 7 votes

Instant Pot All American Chili

This “All American” Chili is a classic version with meat and beans but gets that simmered-all-day flavor in just 15 minutes thanks to the Instant Pot!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker



  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 8 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz Italian Sausage, loose (I prefer a mild version)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef (I use an 80/20 ground beef, but drain it well to remove excess fat / oil during cooking)
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups / 1 12 oz bottle Mild-Flavored Beer (see note)
  • 3/4 cup Beef or Chicken Broth (can substitute water)
  • 1 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Ideas for toppings:

  • Green Onions, chopped
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Chips (corn tortilla chips or Fritos are our favorites!)


  • Turn the Instant Pot / pressure cooker (6 quart capacity or larger) on the saute function.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until onions are starting to turn tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add sausage and beef and saute, breaking it apart, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Drain excess grease out of the bowl (this will prevent the finished chili from being too greasy).
  • Add chili powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, and dried oregano and saute for 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomato paste, black pepper, and salt.
  • Add beer, broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, and bay leaves.
  • Close and lock the lid.
  • Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 15 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.
  • Finish each bowl with your favorite toppings!


Chili always tastes better a day or two after it’s made. The flavors develop as the chili sits in the fridge overnight. If you can do it, I always recommend making this a day ahead and reheating it before serving.
If you prefer a chili that is not super spicy, check the ingredients in your chili powder to be sure that cayenne pepper isn’t on the list. I like McCormick Chili Powder.
This recipe is great made with any mild-flavored beer. I’ve made it and liked it with both a pale ale and a wheat beer. The flavor is subtle but will still come through in the finished chili. It’s also great with red wine which gives the finished chili a very subtle fruit flavor. If you’d like to skip the alcohol, beef broth will work great too.
This recipe can be made in the slow cooker too! Prep as directed and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.
This recipe is adapted from the Cooking Light version of All-American Chili which I’ve been making for years.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 671mg | Potassium: 652mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1587IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00
Calories: 318
Keyword: beef recipe, chili, instant pot
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

The weather has been so nice that we took our whole crew out to the zoo over the weekend. The ladies rode the carousel and for once everyone was happy because Molly and Clara’s favorite animals were right next to one another – Clara on the tiger and Molly on the flamingo! Major win for our family at the Kansas City zoo!

little girls riding a carousel

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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    1. So glad you like it Hilary!! It’s my favorite too. I’ve got a double batch cooking at this very moment for dinner tonight. Thanks so much for the sweet note.

  1. I made your chili last weekend using beef broth. It tasted great and everyone liked it.However, I found it very soupy. Is it possible to decrease the amount of fluid in this IP recipe?

    1. Hi Elaine – absolutely you could decrease the liquid in this recipe. There is more than enough to safely cook the chili without risk of burning in the IP. I’d recommend starting by reducing it by 1/2 cup (either less beer or less broth). The onions and peppers can release a lot of moisture during cooking, so I do find that I really need to saute them for the full amount of time recommended until they have released all of their moisture. That might help too! Glad you liked the recipe!

  2. Hello, I have just discovered your lovely blog and I like very much this recipe. Making Chilli con carne in an Insta Post it’s a great idea. Have a lovely Sunday.

  3. I love chili, especially served with cornbread. Making it in the Instant Pot is smart. Cute picture of the girls at the carousel at the zoo. We went to our local zoo last week on free carousel day — and rode the carousel four times in a row. The boys loved it!

  4. Good morning ,first of all I love your posts and your recipes.I have an instapot but a 3 quart.Do you have any suggestions about adapting your recipe to a smaller pot?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks so much Christine! For your 3 quart, I’d follow the recipe exactly but just halve the amounts. Or prep the full recipe and cook it in two batches. (I actually made this for friends last weekend and I doubled the recipe above but cooked it in two batches in my 6 quart. Then transferred it to a large crockpot to keep the double batch warm until we served it.)