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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
4.67 from 3 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

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

  1. This is a crowd pleaser! I doubled the recipe for 8 adults and 8 kids, and everyone loved it. I will definitely make this again.

  2. This is DELICIOUS! I added dark chocolate instead of the cocoa because I love to see it melt. Tastes great immediately and even better the next day. Love your recipes – THANK-YOU!

    • Ooooh love the idea of the dark chocolate – I’m sure that was delicious! So glad you liked this recipe, thanks for letting me know!

  3. This was delicious! It was even a hit with my daughter who hates chili. I sauteed the vegetables then cooked everything in the slow cooker on low all day. Thanks for the great recipe!

  4. Can this recipe be adapted for the slow cooker?? If so do you still saute the veggies or do you put in slow cooker as is???

  5. Hi Anjali! I have used this chili recipe a couple of times already and the family loves it! My wife (who doesn’t like chili) really likes the way it turns out and is the one requesting for me to make more! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. Hi Anjali, what is the true yield? How many cups, vs. servings? If I made it in a crock pot, what size crockpot should I use? Thanks.

    • Hi Dave! This should make about 12 cups of chili (one ladle-full being one cup). So if you use a crock pot, make sure you use one that can fit 12 cups! Hope that helps!

      • Hi Anjali! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say that your chili recipe was the first of many that I’ve used from you… It’s become my “go-to” chili recipe…made it so many times I don’t even have to refer to the instructions anymore! Thanks so much and keep up the good work!

  7. Hi! I just wanted to say that I found this recipe about a year ago here. I was nervous about making Vegetarian Chili. This is my favorite dish to make at home. We have it for dinner at least twice a month. My kids, husband, dad and friends love it. I’ve used it as examples in a Power Point Presentation for my Biology Class and shared samples with the class. I’m planning on making it tomorrow for my mother in law that is visiting from Mexico.
    Thank you for this amazing recipe.

    • Hi Cyn! Omg! That is so wonderful to hear 🙂 Love that you made it for your biology class too — how cool! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  8. Hey I want to make this tomorrow but I was hoping to use a crockpot, how long should I let it cook for? I’m not super familiar with crockpot cooking. (:

    • Hi Danielle! You can actually just put everything in the crockpot and let it simmer for as long as you want (on low). At a minimum it will need about 30 minutes to cook through. Hope that helps!

  9. Wow – this is the best vegetarian chili ever! My chili usually turns out…OK…but this was AMAZING! This will be the only chili recipe I ever use – thank you so much for sharing it! I can’t wait to try out some of your other recipes.

    Thanks!
    Bonnie

  10. Hi, just wanted to say thanks for this awesome recipe! I have been on a chili kick and after having a good vegan chili and an ok vegetarian chili from two local restaurants this past week, I thought I’d try making a pot of chili myself. Found your recipe and I do agree it is the “Best Vegetarian Chili EVER!” I added a jalapeno for a little extra kick. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes! Thanks!!

    • Oh yay!! So happy to hear that Shelly! Adding jalapeño sounds delicious as well 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  11. Hello! This recipe looks amazing…going to whip it up for tonight’s dinner. As I’m counting calories I’m hoping you can tell me how many cups a “ladle” would be. I’m guessing probably 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup but would appreciate if you could kindly share this. Thanks!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks so much! I’m sure you will love this recipe 🙂 I think each ladle is probably about 3/4 of a cup – but I can’t be too sure since I haven’t measured it exactly. However, if you divide up the chili into 6 equal bowls that should give you the right portion size per person. Hope that helps!! Let me know how it turns out!

  12. I will be honest when I saw the cocoa powder and soy sauce I was very skeptical, but seeing that the recipe had good reviews I decided to give it a try and I am glad that I did. This made for a delicious meal! I made a few changes (gluten free tamari sauce instead of soy, decreased the cayenne for my 4 y.o., and added carrots and sweet potatoes). We ate it for dinner tonight w/my gluten free cornbread. Thanks again!

    • Haha yes I can see how the cocoa powder and soy sauce would seem weird! But I’m glad you gave this recipe a try and liked it Danielle! Love the idea of adding carrots and sweet potatoes too — that must have been delicious 🙂 Thanks for letting me know how it turned out!

  13. I made it the first time without coriander and smoked paprika and it was just okay. I couldn’t find those 2 ingredients until today. I will try making it again, but what type of smoked paprika did you use? I thought there would only be one smoked paprika but they had sweet, bittersweet, and hot smoked paprika. I bought sweet, but now I am thinking I should have bought hot.

    • Hi Turah — hmm I used spicely organic’s smoked paprika — they only have one kind as far as I know. Make sure you are using ground coriander seed too (not fresh coriander leaves). Feel free to increase the amount of spice (heat-wise) in the recipe too if you like your food really spicy! I’d recommend increasing the amount of cayenne if that’s the case. Let me know how it turns out the second time around!

  14. I’m going to try this this week. Lately meat’s been turning my nose up so I prefer to cook without it. (My poor husband who makes poor food choices most of the time…the only raw vegetable he eats is carrots and they’re better for you if you steam them for 4 or 5 minutes. If it were his choice, he’d skip them all together all the time. I don’t know if he’ll like this (I some how doubt it) but it looks like something nice I can freeze in portions and eat for lunches.

    Hey, what’s the recipe for your corn bread??

    Hannah M.

  15. WOW! This really is the best vegetarian chili ever. I am always skeptical of self titled best Evers! You are not exaggerating. I am a 54 year old who is used to searching for recipes in my many printed cookbooks which I have collected over the years. So glad that I decided to also look online. Cannot wait to try more of your recipes. I grew up eating chili over rice. My healthier solution was to serve this great, chunky chili over Trader Joes tricolor quinoa! Delish! Btw….what on earth did we do before Trader Joes came into our lives…..oh yeah, I remember. We went to the “co-op”!!

    • Awwww yay!! Thank you so much Barbara — I am so happy to hear that you loved this recipe 🙂 And yes! Chili over rice or quinoa is absolutely delicious — sometimes I serve it that way too 🙂 Trader Joe’s is amazing I agree!

  16. Well, I made it with ground corriander seed. It was terrific! Everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing your recipe. This one is a keeper!

    • Hooray! I’m glad you ended up picking the right spice 🙂 So glad you liked this recipe, thanks for letting me know Claire!

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