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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. I’ve been making this chili for the last few years, it’s always a hit! I want to make a freezer meal for a friend who’s getting ready to have a baby. Am I OK to freeze the ingredients uncooked (to be put in the crockpot later) or should I cook everything and then freeze? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Amber! Yay! So happy to hear this recipe has worked out so well for you! If you’re going to freeze this, I’d recommend cooking everything together and then freezing it (vs. just freezing the uncooked ingredients). It’ll taste a lot better if you cook it and then freeze. Hope that helps and congrats to your friend!

  2. I’ve tried others, but this has become my favorite chili recipe, hands down. Delicious and healthy. Even the meat eaters in my life love it. Over rice, over pasta or right out of the pot with a big spoon! 🙂
    For something really different, try adding a bit of peanut butter. It adds some fat and a few calories, but it goes really well with the already great flavor of this chili. About 1tsp or so per serving.
    Thanks Anjali!

    • Yay!! So happy to hear that Tom! Really interesting idea about the peanut butter – I’ll have to try that next time! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Hi there, just wondering – when you say chilli powder, are you referring to actual ground chillis or the chilli powder blend which contains chilli, oregano, cumin, etc.

      • Finally got around to trying the recipe. It really was the best vegetarian chilli that I’ve ever had! Thank you! I think I might add some more cumin next time though. I’d also like it a bit more spicy. What do you suggest I increase for this? More cayenne? Thanks again.

      • Yay!! So happy to hear that Joe! And yes absolutely – if you want more spice (like hot – pepper spice) – then add more cayenne and chili powder too. Hope that helps! So glad you liked this recipe!

  4. Try adding Light Life Smart Ground, leave it chunky. Use way more cocoa and ancho chili powder if you really want to rock it.

    • Thanks for the tip Rick! But actually, I wouldn’t recommend using Light Life Smart Ground because it’s a very highly processed, soy protein based “fake meat.” Take a look at the ingredients: Water, textured soy protein concentrate, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), less than 2% of: chicory extract (inulin), natural flavor (from plant sources), salt, barley malt extract, caramel color, evaporated cane syrup, barley malt, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, molasses, yeast extract, dried garlic, dried onions. The textured soy protein concentrate, hydrolyzed soy protein are problematic as ingredients to eat on a regular basis (I have more details on why here). But love the idea of using more cocoa and ancho chili to give it more heat! Hope that helps!

  5. I’m making this chili right now. I just tasted my first bite and WOW! So flavorful! I didn’t have any green or red peppers on hand so those didn’t make it in. I don’t have frozen corn either…so I figured I’d use canned-but then I found there was none in my cabinets! So I used a can of mixed veggies that had corn in it. I drained and rinsed it so that the liquid wouldn’t interfere with the flavor. Despite my changes it is yummy! I can’t wait to make it again with the peppers!

    • Glad this recipe worked so well for you Joy!! I’m sure you’ll love it with the peppers in it too. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  6. This is our go to chili. I make it often, and I always get positive comments from all ( vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I use what ever beans we have available and I used canned corn because it is usually available. Don’t like green peppers so I use all red or yellow, sometimes I even add another vegetable. It is sincerely ALWAYS a hit. Thank you for this recipe.

    • Awww yay!!! That’s so awesome to hear Chris!! Yeah you can totally mix up the veggies in this based on your preference and it should still always work 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Made this tonight and it really hits the spot!!!! Wanted to use up some tins in my pantry and this did just that and I now have 3 weeks worth of chilli in the freezer! Result

    • Woohoo! That’s awesome Phil – so happy to hear that! I love freezing this recipe – it defrosts great – you won’t even be able to tell it was frozen 🙂 Enjoy!

  8. I was so excited to find this recipe yesterday – I’m always on the look out for a good Vegetarian chili because there are so few. I made this and the cornbread today and it was amazing! The hubby loved it too! I think my can of crushed tomatoes was a little too tangy so I add 1/2 tspn more of the cocoa and that fixed that problem! And let me just say, thank you for introducing me to Trader Joe’s Cornbread! It was so delicious and the perfect pairing with this chili. I topped with avocado pieces and a little cheddar cheese. I’m going to try this in the slow cooker next time. I have finally found a veg chili recipe keeper!

    • So happy to hear that Paaru!! I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed this chili and the cornbread so much! 🙂

  9. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian chili recipe, and this is definitely the winner. I made it in the winter and LOVED it, then froze the leftovers. The other day I reheated some, and it was just as good as the first time around!

    My favorite parts are the three types of beans (I love beans! Am I allowed to say that? Haha) and the slight spicy kick. It’s perfect! I did make one substitution based on what I had on hand: I used one 15 oz can crushed tomatoes + canned tomato paste w/ water added.

    • Awww thanks Casey!! I freeze this recipe all the time – I agree it reheats really well! 🙂 Haha I love that you love beans — I do too! They are one of my favorite ingredients because they’re hearty, healthy, full of fiber and protein and veggie friendly. Love the substitution idea too! Thanks for letting me know!

  10. Wow, this looks like a great recipe. I usually make a turkey chili but never use all these different ingredients. I’ll definitely be mixing in some of your ingredients for my next batch.

    What tool do you use to get the nutritional values? MenuCalc?

    Jose Martinez

  11. This is phenomenal! I just finished a bowl and can’t wait for future meal times 🙂 The spice level was JUST RIGHT and with some yogurt it was great.

    • Hooray!! That is so wonderful to hear, thanks for letting me know Amna! Love that you served it with yogurt too – it’s a great substitution for sour cream (which traditionally goes on chili)!

  12. This is a good recipe. I doubled the cumin, smoked paprika, and salt to enhance the flavor. It definitely could use more spiciness, so next time I’ll try adding fresh jalapenos and maybe double the chili powder and add some crushed red pepper. But otherwise a really good recipe.

    • Thanks Mona! Glad you liked this recipe. Regarding the spiciness level — everyone’s tastes are different so definitely add more spice if you need to! The heat of this recipe was perfect for us but I don’t generally love super super hot/spicy food 🙂

  13. I have never seen cocoa powder in a chili recipe, but I could see it working. Have you tried cinnamon or bay leaves? I’ve tried them before in other vegetarian chili attempts and liked them.

    • Hi Brianna! I haven’t actually tried cinnamon or bay leaves in this recipe – but I’m sure those would taste great. I’d definitely encourage you to try the cocoa powder though – it really makes this recipe great!

  14. This is without a doubt,the BEST!!!!! recipe. Thank you so much for posting this. I made this for a superbowl party and the entire meat eating crowd loved it. Thanks again for such a flavorful vegan recipe..

  15. I added a poblano and a couple serranos, as I can get them at the Puerto Rican grocery around the corner for a song. Great recipe.

  16. I found this recipe a few years ago and have since made it numerous times. It is absolutely fabulous, and I figured it was time to thank you for the post because everyone I make it for raves about it! I’m fairly certain there isn’t a soul out there who wouldn’t eat this chili.

    • Thank you so much Mary — I love that you’ve made this so many times at home! It’s so great to hear the positive feedback, so I appreciate you coming back here to let me know 🙂 Thanks again!

  17. Really Great! Showed up to a Thanksgiving get together with one picky vegetarian, and after all the leftovers were in Tupperware, the meat- eater guys kept going back for more chilli! It was a big hit, and my new favorite recipe!- Also, I doubled it, but not the onion- and I used one can of diced tomatoes along with one can of crushed. Thank you so much for the recipe- I will be e-mailing this link to everyone I know!

    • Aww that is so great to hear Rose! Thank you for letting me know! I love making a double batch of this recipe too — sometimes I’ll even freeze the leftovers and they still taste great when we eat them!

  18. I’ve made this a couple of times now and it is awesome. Only had 1 can of beans on hand but that was plenty. I added some texture and nutrition by chopping up a couple of veggie patties I wasn’t crazy about and throwing them in there. I also added some sliced mushrooms and even my carnivore husband enjoyed it served with a sprinkling of cheese, chopped avocado and sour cream, It’s going in my permanent collection. Thank you.

    • That is so great to hear! Great idea to throw some veggie burger patties in for some texture too. Thanks for letting me know Sky!

  19. This is my go-to recipe for chili. I discovered it last fall and made it at least every other week! I generally don’t add the cocoa or the soy sauce & modify it to be slightly less spicy. I also use canned corn instead of frozen, as well as sub tomato juice when I don’t have veggie broth on hand. My favorite mod is adding vegetarian mycoprotein (Quorn grounds). I did this last year & fed it to a large group of guys. I didn’t tell them that there wasn’t any meat in it until afterward. They said it was the best chili they ever had and couldn’t believe it was vegetarian! The Quorn grounds add fabulous texture indistinguishable from ground beef & boost the protein content! I make my own modifications here & there, but this is an AMAZING recipe whether you follow the instructions exactly or feel comfortable enough to make it to your own taste!

    When I make cornbread to go with, I generally use good ol’ Jiffy corn muffin mix & add some no salt added canned corn & tablespoon or so of sugar.

    Thanks so much for this recipe, Anjali! You’ve forever raised my family’s standards on Chili 😉

    • Thank you so much for sharing all of this Chelsea! I love the modifications you made – and you’re absolutely right – this recipe can totally be tweaked to suit anyone’s tastes and preferences 🙂 Thanks again – so glad you liked this recipe!!

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