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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili EVER!

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This is the BEST Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili ever! It’s smoky and hearty, rich and spicy. It is family-friendly, ready in 30 minutes, and will satisfy both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Made with 3 types of beans, packed with veggies, and under 300 calories per serving!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is a family favorite in our house. It’s super easy to make and thanks to the Instant Pot, you end up with that cooked-all-day flavor in just about 30 minutes!

I’ve made this recipe for a crowd, or just for our family (and saved the leftovers for another day) and it turns out great every time!

The smokiness in this dish comes from two secret ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder and smoked paprika. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier, gluten-free, and vegetarian friendly (and can easily be made vegan too).

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

ingredients for instant pot vegetarian chili

How To Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili – Step by Step

Step 1: Turn your instant pot to the Saute function, and add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.

ingredients sauteeing in a pot

Step 2: Add everything else into the pot (beans through paprika in the list above) and stir to combine. Close your instant pot and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.

broth added to pot

Step 3: Once the pressure cooking is done, let it natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.

soup being cooked in a pot

Step 4: Serve warm with any toppings you like! 1 Tbsp cheese, low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

What Makes This Vegetarian Chili Healthy?

  • Fiber and Plant Protein: Thanks to the beans, this chili packs a ton of protein and fiber into each serving. Each serving has 9g protein and 10g fiber.
  • Vitamins and Nutrients: Beans are a heart healthy food that are a great source of iron, B vitamins, protein and fiber. Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, A, Potassium, Folate and Iron.
  • Low Calorie: This Instant Pot Chili is super filling and satisfying, but each serving has only 300 calories! That means you can go back for seconds completely guilt-free!

Will Kids Enjoy This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili?

This recipe is SUPER kid friendly! Both of my kids gobble up this dish every time I make it. I create a toppings bar for this chili and let my kids pick out their own toppings – which they love to do.

I also tend to cut the veggies smaller when serving this to little kids so that it’s easier for them to chew. For super picky eaters, you can even puree the bell peppers/veggies with the tomatoes so they don’t see it, and reduce the spices as needed!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Toppings for This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

There are so many options for toppings – the possibilities are almost endless! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Sour cream or Plain Greek Yogurt (use cashew cream for a vegan substitute!)
  • Sliced green onions or fresh cilantro
  • Shredded cheese or cojita cheese (omit if you want to make this vegan!)
  • Diced tomatoes or Salsa
  • Crushed tortilla chips or crackers
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Brown rice or quinoa (more as a mix-in than a topping, but still tastes great and this is one of my kids’ favorite chili add-ins!)

What to Serve with Vegetarian Chili?

This chili is so hearty it stands on its own, but if you’re looking to round out the meal even further, here are some side dishes to pair it with:

  • A fresh garden salad
  • Cornbread
  • Brown Rice or Quinoa
  • Quesadillas (when cut into strips, can be great for dipping too!)

Storage and Freezing Tips

  • To store in the fridge: This recipe will keep an an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure to store any toppings separately.
  • To freeze: Let the chili cool completely, then transfer into an airtight freezer safe container. You can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat after freezing: Let the chili thaw in the fridge and then defrost in the microwave using the defrost setting, or heat gently on the stovetop.
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Can You Make This Vegetarian Chili On The Stovetop?

Absolutely! Here are the directions for making this on the stovetop:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the thicker your chili will be.
  4. Serve hot!

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

  • You can add any veggies you like into this chili. Think of it as a “clean out your fridge” recipe. If you increase the quantity of veggies, just make sure to increase the quantity of spices accordingly so that it’s not bland.
  • For additional greens, add one 5oz box of chopped baby spinach into this recipe at the same time you add all of the ingredients into the instant pot!
  • When you’re making this for kids, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this chili on the stovetop.
  • If you have a newer Instant Pot, keep in mind that they tend to display the “Burn” warning much more quickly than the older versions. If you have this model, You’d add the vegetable broth and all the spices immediately after step 1 and stir to combine. Then you’d add the rest of the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, etc) and do not stir until after cooking.
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese

Check Out These Other Instant Pot Recipes!

If you have tried this instant pot vegetarian chili recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese
Print Recipe
4.91 from 10 votes

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

This recipe blew my husband, the veggie-chili-skeptic, away. He no longer responded with “this isn’t chili,” but instead said “this is really good!” He even went back for seconds. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier and vegetarian friendly.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 15 oz Kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 15 oz Black beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 15 oz Pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 can
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 large can
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • A couple splashes of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp regular paprika
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, Plain Greek Yogurt (or Low Fat Sour Cream), tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Turn your instant pot to the Saute function, and add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add everything else into the pot (beans through paprika in the list above) and stir to combine. Close your instant pot and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes
  • Once the pressure cooking is done, let it natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release the rest of the pressure.
  • Serve warm with any toppings you like! 1 Tbsp cheese, low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, green onions, or tortilla chips.

Notes

Top Tips for Making Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
  • You can add any veggies you like into this chili. Think of it as a “clean out your fridge” recipe. If you increase the quantity of veggies, just make sure to increase the quantity of spices accordingly so that it’s not bland.
  • For additional greens, add one 5oz box of chopped baby spinach into this recipe at the same time you add all of the ingredients into the instant pot!
  • When you’re making this for kids, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • If you don’t have an instant pot, you can make this chili on the stovetop.
  • If you have a newer Instant Pot, keep in mind that they tend to display the “Burn” warning much more quickly than the older versions. If you have this model, You’d add the vegetable broth and all the spices immediately after step 1 and stir to combine. Then you’d add the rest of the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, etc) and do not stir until after cooking.

To Make on the Stovetop: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the thicker your chili will be.
  4. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 2ladles | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.8g | Protein: 18.1g | Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 800mg | Fiber: 20.2g | Sugar: 4.3g

Posted In…

Soups ·

Soups can be hearty enough for a cozy winter meal, or fresh and light like my summery cucumber gazpacho. My family’s favorite option is the best vegetarian chili ever!

Whether you like your soups smooth or full of healthy chunks, my recipes will help you combine fresh, flavorful ingredients into a filling, balanced meal.

290 responses to “The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili EVER!”

  1. Thank u soo much! Def crowd pleaser. Not to mention it is the best veg chili I ever made (that tasted close to the ‘real’ thing.. Lol). Coco was the missing link!!!

    • Awesome!! And yes! Cocoa is definitely one of the “secrets” to making this chili great. It adds such a wonderful smoky quality to the sauce — I love it! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  2. Thanks so much for the recipe- it really was delicious. I added carrots and I think they were a good addition.

    • Yay!! So glad you liked it, and I love the addition of the carrots! I bet it gave it great texture 🙂

  3. Hello, I just made this and my children and i absolutely LOVE it. I’m shocked that my kids love it as much as I do. Thank you so much for sharing. Don’t miss the meat at all.

    • Yay!! That is wonderful! So happy to hear that you and your kids loved this recipe 🙂 Thanks Cyndi!

  4. Making this yet again today!! It was sooo helpful to have this in my fridge to chow down on when I would get home super late from work. Such a healthy, filling dinner with some avocado and light sour cream on it!

    • Hehe that’s awesome Kim! I actually made this recipe over this past weekend – ate it for leftovers on Sunday night, used it as a topping for nachos on Monday night, and used it as a filling for a burrito on Tuesday night! 🙂

  5. Just discovered your blog yesterday…the chili was fantastic! I threw in a bunch of smoked paprika and ground coriander… yummy! Planning on trying the black bean and quinoa griddle cakes tonight… guess I’m hooked! Keep up the great work… we all need to try to adopt a more plant based diet, right?

    • The griddle cakes were wonderful, but I had trouble with the cakes falling apart when I turned and plated them… Had some crumbley leftovers that I piled up in a sauce pan and poured scrambled eggs over for brunch today… wow! The eggs bound everything together into an omelet sort of affair… so good!

      • Hi John! Aw I’m sorry the cakes didn’t hold together for you, but I am glad that you enjoyed the flavors and were able to use them in your eggs! What a great idea 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

    • I’d say one ladle is about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup! Hope that helps, and I hope you like the recipe! 🙂

  6. I want to use dry beans in place of canned (actually, I want to use dried kidney beans, and probably canned for the black and pinto beans). Can you advise how I should go about doing so for this recipe, i.e. how to prepare the dry kidney beans so they can be switched in for the canned? I have a general idea on the basics–soak overnight, boiled for 10 mins. to remove toxicity, then cooked until ready–but never done this before, esp. for your wonderful sounding recipe.

    • Hi Sam! So basically, what you need to do is cook the dried beans and then (after they are cooked) measure them out so you are using the same amount of beans as this recipe calls for (about 40 oz of beans). For the kidney beans, first sort through them to pick out any old/shriveled beans, stones or debris. Then rinse them well in cold, running water. Then soak them: cover with cool water, set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Drain well. If it’s warm in your kitchen, soak the beans in the fridge to avoid fermentation). To cook, put the beans into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender when mashed or pierced with a fork. It’ll take about 1-2 hours depending on the beans.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how it turns out!

  7. You weren’t kidding..this is the best! This has become an almost weekly dinner for us. With all the kids evening sporting events this is perfect to prepare earlier in the day (and heat up later) or slow cook in the slowcooker. My meat loving husband loves this…which is a huge score because he is not easy to please and my kids (3 years old, 5years old, 7 years old and 8 years old) all love it! Please keep the great recipes coming.

    • Oh hooray!! That is so wonderful Babs! I’m so glad this recipe works for your whole family 🙂 If you have leftovers, it’s also a great topping for nachos or a filling for burritos for another quick, weeknight dinner!

  8. I just stumbled across this recipe yesterday – and it is in the crockpot now!! Thanks for putting up a recipe for a healthy veggie chili!!

  9. I have recently had to cut meat, out of my diet due to the burning effect it has on my right side, as of late. Anyway, I’m desperate for great vegetarian recipes and was thrilled to find this one. Instead of having pain and nausea after eating, I devoured several bowls. I hope there are more as good as this or I’m going to be eating a ton of chil!

    • That is so great!! I’m so glad this recipe was satisfying and easy to digest for you as well 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how you like the other recipes on my site – I promise there are many more recipes that are as good as this one!

  10. This is a fantastic recipe. When I first came across it, I was really impressed at how much better it sounded than the other vegie chili recipes I saw. We have made it several times now and it is definitely one of our favorite recipes. My hubby, who is not totally vegetarian, says this is his favorite chili and requests it on a ergular basis. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Oh thank you so much Robin! So glad this has made it into your favorite recipes list! 🙂

  11. I’m trying to convince the hubs to go vegetarian with me and this was my first attempt at a vegetarian adaptation. So good!! It got an A+ and I can’t wait to make it again! Great recipe…passed it along to my mom too!

    • Hooorayy!! It’s so great to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this chili!! I hope this helps him to ease into a vegetarian diet 🙂 Thanks for letting me know Rebecca!

  12. So, I must say that I did try this chilli with a couple of modifications of my own. I skipped out on the chocolate, (I’m very open minded, but not fond of mole!), and when I sauteed the veggies, I sauteed them in just a bit of cooking wine.

    I also added a bit more liquid to mine, and thickened it up with masa harina! If you have never tried this before, you must, it adds a whole new flavour to the chilli and this amazing consistency. I’d say that my modifications were mild enough to say that this is the best chilli I’ve ever eaten! (And to have been a once-meat-eater gone vegetarian/vegan hybrid, you know that’s an epic compliment!!) I do not exaggerate when I say that I don’t ever want to eat chilli another way again.

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much Amanda!! I’m sooo happy you enjoyed this recipe – and the additions / modifications you made sound fantastic! I’ve never tried masa harina before so I’m super excited to try that out soon. Thanks again! 🙂

      • Definitely try it, you will love it!

        I forgot to mention, I added almost a table spoon of Asian chilli paste too! And ate it over rice.

      • Thanks for the inspiration Amanda! Asian chili paste – absolutely brilliant! Eating it with rice is actually really great – especially if you use brown rice – because then you’ll end up with a complete protein (beans + rice = complete protein 🙂 ). Love it!

  13. What a wonderful recipe, I tried it today and it came out perfect. Added a small yellow squash and zucchini, diced, for added texture. It’s all in those spices, delicious!

  14. This looks lovely, will definitely be trying it!:)
    Do you have a rough idea of the fat content in a serving for 1 person? And also how do you think turkey mince would fit into this?

    • I’d say this recipe is super low in fat – maybe just 2-3 grams of fat per serving (max) – but that doesn’t count the cornbread or any toppings you might add to the chili. I think turkey would totally work in this chili – just add it in along with the beans and cook it through! Enjoy!

  15. It is 1:30 am, I have this chili simmering away in a crock pot right now, and it is taking all of my will-power to keep from sneaking into the kitchen and scooping myself out a bowl! The only change I made to your recipe is substituting the canned beans with Rancho Gordo’s “Good Mother Stallard” “Purple Runner” and “Goats Eye” heirloom beans.
    You, being from California, could most likely find them at your local farmers market. It may take a few additional hours of prep time (waiting for the beans to soak) but it is WELL worth it. Once you try Fresh heirloom beans, you’ll never want to eat canned (or the super old dried bean variety that is sitting on the supermarket shelf) again! Cooking them is a cinch, I just sauteed up some onion, garlic, and celery, then tossed the beans-and their soaking water- into the crock-pot for about 3 hours, or until they are nearly soft, then added all the rest of the ingredients. Perfect! Thanks for sharing your recipe, I can’t wait for lunch.

    No seriously, I can’t. Going to tip-toe into the kitchen…

    • Hahaha! This was the greatest description ever – thanks for sharing it with me Kathryn 🙂 I feel like this chili would make the perfect midnight snack too. Love the idea of trying the fresh heirloom beans – I’ve never cooked with them before but you’ve inspired me to give it a shot! Thanks for the tip!

  16. I’m giving up meat for Lent and I made this chili as a hearty way to kick of my Ash Wednesday & 40 days without meat. It was delicious!! I am a huge carnivore and after the first couple of bites I didn’t notice the absence of meat. Thank you for sharing this, I know I will be making it a couple more times before Easter lol

  17. This title does NOT lie! This really is the best vegetarian chili EVER!Trust me, I have tried dozens (literally) of recipes. They always turn out bland, don’t have enough of “this” or “that”. Seems like I always had to use a ridiculous (and unhealthy) amount of salt and seasoning just to make it palatable. Not this recipe! It is so delicious. I barely added any salt to it. I made it just as the recipe states, and it turned out perfectly. So grateful to finally find a keeper for veggie chili. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and finally ending my search for the perfect veggie chili.

    • Hooorayyy!! I’m so, so glad this recipe ended your search for the perfect veggie chili 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know!!

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