Award Winning Instant Pot Chili Recipe


We recently attended a chili cook-off which kicked my obsession with finding an Award Winning Instant Pot Chili Recipe into high gear.


We recently attended a chili cook-off which kicked my obsession with finding an Award Winning Instant Pot Chili Recipe into high gear.


It’s all about chili today, our award winning instant pot chili recipe. It took us 10 years to discover an award winning chili recipe and this is finally it, plus it’s an instant pot chili!!


We will talk about how to make chili in a slow cooker or crock pot or of course, how to make chili in our new obsession, an instant pot. Oh, and who could forget, can you freeze chili. So much to talk about, so let’s get going!


Want the best chili recipe for 2018? I got you covered with this instant pot award winning chili recipe and yes, there's bacon involved!


First, we attended a chili cook-off and brought this awesome Cheesy Ground Beef Enchilada Chili. It was so good, but soooo many arteries were clogged that night. It’s a pretty unhealthy soup, but I heard a rumor that if you don’t eat it alone the calories don’t count.


Pretty sure that’s true.


Oh! And listen to this, a couple of people brought muffin tins and then a sample scoop of chili was placed in each well so they could try them all and vote without going back or over eating. GENIUS. That’s seriously the smartest thing ever. Next to figuring out this award winning instant pot chili recipe, right?!

We hurried and made you all a video to help with the questions. Thank you for all of your love and support with this recipe!



How to Make Chili in an Instant Pot

Making chili in an instant pot is really easy because there’s an actual setting for chili and beans. That pretty much takes all of the thinking out of this award winning instant pot chili recipe, doesn’t it. Because of this awesome setting there isn’t much you need to do other than dump everything in the pot, but because we  don’t want to dirty any other dishes I’m also going to show you how to brown your beef and cook your bacon right in the instant pot.


18 minutes is all it took to cook the chili but you could push to 30 minutes for even more flavor, and I have no reason for rushing, it was purely because instant pot is in my head so I want it instantly done.


Only some of the bacon gets added to the pot, while the rest we will use as a garnish. If you don’t care for garnishes, just add it in, but there is something really yummy about the different textures with the bacon on top.


Want the best chili recipe for 2018? I got you covered with this instant pot award winning chili recipe and yes, there's bacon involved!


Why Make Soup and Chili in an Instant Pot


When you pressure cook something not only does it make it super tender but oh how it enhances flavor!! Our award winning instant pot chili recipe totally proves that a little pressure can be a really good thing!


How to Brown Meat in an Instant Pot

Alright, start with your bacon.




Whenever bacon is going in a dish we crisp it first, drain the fat and leave the browned bits in the pan. All it does is add extra flavor to whatever comes next.


Start by pressing the saute button and once you can feel the heat, add the chopped bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and drain the fat.


Next, grab your ground beef. Any kind is fine for chili since other flavors are in there, but there’s more flavor in an 80/20 versus 90/10, though you will need to drain out the fat before continuing on.


Make sure you stir occasionally in order to crumble the meat instead of having big chunks. Chili shouldn’t be big and chunky. Leave that to the hippopotamuses.  (Totally had to spell check that one. Who knew hippos could be so difficult.)


Want the best chili recipe for 2018? I got you covered with this instant pot award winning chili recipe and yes, there's bacon involved!


Award Winning Instant Pot Chili

There’s nothing crazy about this award winning instant pot chili. It’s the real deal. The best classic chili recipe we’ve ever had. It’s easy to add more heat to, red chili flakes, minced habaneros, whatever you want to add and later die from. Ha, kidding, you won’t die, but  I would because I HATE spicy. 🙂


The bacon adds fantastic flavor without tasting like bacon. The three beans add heartiness, texture and a great variety of flavor as well while the remaining spices all work together beautifully for a chili that’s full of flavor and aromas.


This chili might not be the one that we entered into the competition but it certainly is the one we will enter next time and it’s definitely and award winning chili recipe after hunting for the past 10 years. 10 years! That took forever!


There’s nothing like a favorite, classic chili recipe to keep us warm through these bitter cold months, especially this award winning instant pot chili!


Burn Notice on Instant Pot


We’ve had a lot of questions, comments and concerns about the burn notice on the instant pot.

  • Cooking the Bacon Burn Notice- Is your bacon extra thin or lacking fat? Both of these can cause the bacon to stick to the bottom of the pot and cause a burn notice. Those browned bits stuck to the pot because of the lack of flat can make the instant pot think that you’ve walked away and left meat to burn.

To counter this, please use a good quality bacon and stir often to keep it from sticking.


  • Prior browned bits on the pot- If your pot had previous food stuck to the bottom of the pot it will continue to cook and confuse the pot to thinking that something is burning. Clean your pot well after every use. Bar Keeper’s Friend is my go-to cleaner for browned bits in pots and pans.


  • Burn notice after the chili has been combined- If your chili has been combined and then you get the burn notice you probably didn’t thoroughly stir everything together or something is stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is why that bacon step is important. if you added those heavy ingredients and added the lid something will probably stick and burn. Stir well, make sure you measured properly.

We have not ever had a burn notice. If you’re getting quite a few, make sure that pot is clean, stir things well, adding oil while cooking the bacon if it appears that there isn’t much fat, and if none of that works, you should contact instant pot as you may have a model that needs to be replaced.



We recently attended a chili cook-off which kicked my obsession with finding an Instant Pot Award Winning Chili Recipe into high gear.


How to Freeze Chili

Chili is really easy to freeze as there isn’t any dairy or fibrous vegetables to mess with texture and flavor. Cool your chili completely and store in ziplocs with all the air pressed out, or we prefer to use our Food Saver as the chili tastes as fresh as the day it was made.


How to Make Chili in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

To make slow cooker chili (I linked up to the brand and model we prefer) or of course make chili in a crock pot if that’s what you have, you’ll need to  cook the bacon and ground beef in a pan, then add the peppers and onions to saute them all nice and tender. Then dump it all in a slow cooker and we prefer 5-6 hours on low or 3 hours on high, though I have probably only used the high function twice. Low and slow really allows the spices to bloom, or in other words to open up and really do their thing. Before snagging the recipe, check out this cheesy ground beef enchilada chili recipe!


Cheesy Ground Beef Enchilada Chili

The absolute best cheesy chili ever!! You are going to go nuts for it!


This is the most amazing cheesy ground beef enchilada soup, full of potatoes, beans, corn and ohhhh that cheesy goodness!


If you are still looking for another excellent chili recipe, this Old Fashioned Chili Recipe, this All Beef American chili recipe, and this 5 Ingredient Crockpot Chili Recipe have been some of our favorites!

Award Winning Instant Pot Chili Recipe

Instant Pot Award Winning Chili Recipe

We recently attended a chili-cook which kicked my obsession with finding an Instant Pot Award Winning Chili Recipe into high gear.


  • 1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 6 Strips of Bacon, chopped
  • 1 Can (15 ounces) Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 Can (15 ounces)  Pinto beans, drained
  • 1 Can (15 ounces) Black beans, drained
  • 1 Can (15 ounces) Fire Roasted diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Can (6 ounce) Tomato paste
  • 1 large Red onion, chopped
  • 1 Red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and minced *optional
  • 2 Cups Beef stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced garlic

For Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Cheese, shredded



  1. Turn your instant pot to sauté and add the bacon.
  2. Cook until crisp, stirring often to cook evenly.
  3. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender.
  5. Add the meat and cook until browned.
  6. Drain off any excess grease, we just tilt the pot and use a large spoon.
  7. Add all of the remaining ingredients and 3/4 of the bacon and stir to combine.
  8. Turn the instant pot to chili (if you don’t have a “chili” settng, use the “manual” setting) and cook for 18-20 minutes*. Allow pressure to release for 10-15 minutes or quick release with the vent.
  9. Serve with limes, sour cream, cheese, and a little bacon!

For the stove: Cook everything in the pot just like you do for the instant pot and then allow to simmer on low heat for 3 hours.

For the slow cooker: Cook the bacon and set aside on a plate. Cook the onion and peppers and set aside on another plate. Drain any excess grease and add the meat, cooking until browned. Add everything into the pot, leaving out a little bacon for garnish and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Most batches will be done after 18 minutes, however we’ve had a few times when the flavor just wasn’t there yet, so feel free to pressure cook a little longer for more flavor or if your beans are not as tender as you’d like.

To freeze, cool the chili completely. Place in a large ziploc bag or FoodSaver, removing all air and freeze by laying flat for up to 2 months.


Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings, Serving Size: 1 bowl

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 505 Calories
  • Total Fat: 27.3g
  • Cholesterol: 74mg
  • Fiber: 12.3g
  • Sugar: 8.1g
  • Protein: 29.3g
All images and text ©Carrian Cheney for Oh Sweet Basil.

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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667 comments on “Award Winning Instant Pot Chili Recipe”

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  2. Do you recommend adding another type of beef? Would that add to the flavor or texture profile? I’m curious because I’ve seen a few award winning chilis where they added sausage or other cuts of beef as well. Would love to hear your thoughts. And I’m making this recipe tomorrow for a chili cookoff!

    • We have found with the beef and bacon that the flavor is awesome, but you are welcome to change things up however you would like! We’ve had some people do half beef and half sausage. Other people have added chorizo or even venison.

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  4. Made this tonight. Delicious! Subbed 1 tbsp chipotle chili pepper for one of the regular chili pepper and that might have been a bit much heat. Lol. Used less broth and left paste on top. It was perfect. Thank you for the recipe. I will definitely save this one!

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  6. Wow!! Absolutely amazing! I have never made chili before and this is actually better than what I have bought in restaurants! Thank you for sharing your love for food with us and guiding us through all these intricate processes (at least for some) when it comes to cooking 🙂 I’ll continue to follow you!

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  8. Excellent chili! Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  9. Looking forward to making this recipe! Could you substitute ground chicken or turkey instead of beef?

  10. If I double the recipe will it fit in my 6 quart instapot?

  11. I made this last night….delicious! I put the tomato paste on top before cooking as others suggested. I have an 8 qt. Instant Pot. Cooked to perfection. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  12. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I actually made it this weekend for a chili cook off we have with friends and WON! My first time ever entering a chili! I added some extra ground beef but other than that followed the recipe to a tee- and it was delicious! Will definitely be making this again!

  13. This chili is great! We made it tonight for the Superbowl!

    I had one question though, I see your nutritional info for it, but do you have the carb count for it?

    • Hey Jenny! Unfortunately our nutrition calculator doesn’t do carbs. Ugh! I’m so sorry. You can plug all the ingredients into an app like My Fitness Pal and it will tell you there.

  14. I followed the instructions and used the natural release for 15 minutes. It still turned out as soup, and I had to saute to reduce. in the end, not the biggest time saver.

    • Did you add tomato paste and drain the beans?

      • I made it tonight as written and had the same result! Yes to tomato paste and yes, drained the beans, and 20 min NR — opened the lid to see a great deal of liquid as the top layer! I simmered it off, added cooked rice after removing the keto dieter’s portion, and all was well. Great mix of flavors, but I’ll reduce the liquid to 1/5 c. next time and see if that helps.

      • I’m so glad you’ve found a way to make it just the way you like!

  15. Thank you for your chili recipe, our neighborhood had a chili cook off and I used your recipe and won, funny thing was this was my first ever attempt and cooking chili. Thank you so very much your chili is definitely award winning. 

  16. Won a chili cook-off with this recipe today. Truly “Award winning!”  Thank you!  My go-to recipe forever. 

  17. I made today for my husband & I. Delicious! February is my birthday month. So it was a great way to start my birthday month. I have 6 quart, & chose to use the manual button for 18 minutes as you suggested 18-20 minutes. I do have the chili button on my Instant Pot however it was my first time using that setting. & it automatically set to 30 minutes. Is that what I am suppose to do? I wasn’t sure since the 18-20 minute manual option was there. So is it 30 minutes if chili setting but 18-20 minutes if manuel? 

  18. I made this 3x now.  I followed the advice to put tomatoes and paste on top and not mix in.  I also used the bean/chili setting and cooked on low pressure.  No problem with the Burn notice.  Came out great!

  19. I followed this recipe nearly exact specifically liquid ingredients and it errored my instant pot. Award winning seems like a stretch. 

  20. I just made this and the flavor and taste was very good but overall the chili was a little watery.  Has this ever happened to you?  I did release the steam immediately, no natural release.  maybe next time I should do natural release.  Any other suggestions?

  21. I thought I was really good at making chili, until i tried this recipe. The best I’ve ever had….ever!

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  25. I’m not a chili eater, but my husband loved it!  Did the recipe as written. More juice than to his liking, so added another can of beans and about a rounded cup diced carrot and celery (I hide veggies from him too).  I got a burn notice when I put it on for 10 more minutes. However, I just stirred it around, put in on LOW pressure cook for 10 minutes, and it finished fine…tasty! Next time, for added antioxidants, going to try another can or two of tomatoes minus the liquid.

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