Thick and creamy, with a rich, deep flavor, this Vegan Instant Pot Chili, is a meal you can prep in 20 minutes, put in your Instant Pot and walk away. Your family will love this and you’ll love being able to get things accomplished while a hearty, delicious dinner cooks away!
At first glance, this chili looks like it takes a long time to make. But once you get everything into the Instant Pot, which takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, you can walk away, forget about it. Something that tastes like it took a lot more effort, will be bubbling away while you are relaxing or finishing your last to-do items for the day.
Do I have to use dried beans in this Vegan Instant Pot Chili?
No, you absolutely can used canned beans for convenience. The cooking time is also shorter, so if you are in a hurry, it is a good option. Note the adjusted cooking time in the recipe for canned, 20 minutes with option for quick release vs. 30 minutes with natural release for dried.
I prefer dried because they are more economical and I think they bring a creamier texture to the chili. But if you prefer canned, go for it!
If you do use dried, just remember to soak your beans the night before, or alternatively you can do a quick soak method:
Quick soak method for dried beans:
-Place the beans in a large pot and cover with enough water so that there is at least 3 inches of water above where the beans sit.
-Bring to a boil
-Cook for 1 minute on a rapid boil and then turn the heat off
-Cover immediately and let them sit for 1 hour covered
-Drain and rinse your beans before use
*I am aware that there are quick soak methods for beans in the Instant Pot. I have not yet tried that method with this recipe. Let me know in the comments if you decide to try it and how it works out!
Why do you add the salt at the end?
If I am cooking something with beans, I always like to add salt towards the end of the cooking process. I’m not a food scientist, but in my experience, salt can occasionally cause the beans to cook unevenly.
We also like to watch our salt intake. If I add the salt at the end, I find I end up using less salt overall than if I added it before cooking and then again at the end.
What does Natural Release mean on the Instant Pot?
There are two options for releasing the pressure built up during the cooking process on your Instant Pot. One is called a “Quick release,” where you press in the valve on the top of your Instant Pot as soon as the cooking time is over and allow all of the steam to escape. The second, is called a “Natural release,” where you leave the Instant Pot to sit after the cooking time finishes. This allows the steam to escape little by little over a longer period of time.
Depending on how much is your pot, this can take quite a long time. If you start to get impatient during the natural release, I would say that after about 25 minutes, you can go ahead and release the remaining pressure through a quick release. If you are like me, you will probably walk away and forget about it anyway, in which case, the pressure will probably be released before you remember that it’s time eat!
What do I serve this Vegan Instant Pot Chili with?
We like to eat our chili over a side of rice, but it’s also delicious on it’s own. The red lentils in this recipe provide a natural thickening agent, which makes this chili very hearty and thick.
It’s also delicious with a topping of Vegan Sour cream. If you haven’t tried Hot for Food’s Vegan Sour Cream recipe, it’s a definite must!
Epic Vegan Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- 1 onion diced
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup diced celery about 3 stalks
- 1 cup diced carrots about 3 medium sized carrots
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 2 cups mushrooms diced
- 1/2 cup dried red kidney beans soaked & rinsed or a 15 oz can rinsed
- 1/2 cup dried black beans soaked & rinsed or a 15 oz can rinsed
- 1/2 cup dried pinto beans soaked & rinsed or a 15 oz can rinsed
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils rinsed
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Better than bouillon paste or other bouillon leave out if watching salt intake
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper This will be mildly spicy. Adjust accordingly to your spice preference, or leave out completely.
- 1 tsp chiipotle seasoning
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes "Fire roasted" if available
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 1/2 tsp salt or more depending on your salt preference
- If you are using canned beans, skip this stip. Otherwise, if you are using dried beans (preferred method), combine the black, pinto, and kidney beans in a large pot or bowl and soak in water overnight. Aternatively, you can also use the quick soak method: Bringing the beans to a boil in a large pot, cook for one minute and then cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 1 hour.Drain and rinse before using.
- Chop and prepare all your veggies so they are ready to go in the pot.
- Turn Instant Pot to Sauté mode medium heat, and add diced onions to the bottom of your pot. Sauté onion for about 5 minutes until translucent, adding small amount water if necessary if they start to stick.
- Add garlic and sauté for another minute or so until the aroma is released.
- Add celery, carrots, musrooms, and bell peppers and contiunue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, bouillon paste, and all your spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne & chipotle) to the pot. Continue to stir until everything is incorporated and spices get nicely toasted.
- Then add diced tomatoes, soaked or canned beans, red lentils and water to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to High Pressure for 30 minutes for dry soaked beans, letting it naturally release for at least 20 minutes. If you are using canned beans, set to High Pressure for 20 minutes, and either do a quick release, or let the pressure relase naturally.
- Once the pressure has released, remove the lid, and add salt and pepper to taste. Start with about 1/2 tsp of salt and add accordingly.
- Serve on it's own or with a side of rice, with fresh vegan sour cream on top!