Instant Pot Vegan Chili is a comforting meal that tastes just as satisfying as the traditional version. The electric pressure cooker creates a flavorful chili without the need to simmer for hours!
This plant-based chili is so hearty and delicious, it will satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters alike! It’s loaded with vegetables and has all the comforting flavor you love.
Top it with crunchy tortilla strips or your favorite dairy-free cheese for the perfect cold-weather meal.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipe features protein-rich lentils, which cook quickly. Green lentils tend to hold their shape better, but you can also use red lentils if you don’t mind a slightly mushier texture. (The cooking time won’t change either way.)
Canned beans are added for convenience, but if you prefer to start with dried beans, check out the chili recipe in my Instant Pot cookbook for another variation.
You can use another variety of beans, like pinto beans, or add in sweet potato chunks for extra texture. This recipe is naturally gluten-free and very easy to customize. Feel free to add any other veggies you like, too.
How to Make Instant Pot Vegan Chili
Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and add in the olive oil. Saute the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper until they soften, about 5 minutes.
Add in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want it spicy). Stir the spices briefly until they smell fragrant, about 1 minute.
Press the “Off/Cancel” button and immediately pour in the water. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot, to make sure nothing is stuck. (This will prevent a burn error later.)
Next, add in the lentils, fire-roasted tomatoes, rinsed black beans, kidney beans, and salt. Stir well, then secure the lid and move the steam release valve to “Sealing.”
Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. It will take roughly 10 minutes for the pot to pressurize, so the screen will read “ON” until then.
When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10, move the steam release valve to “Venting” to release any remaining pressure. The floating valve in the lid will drop when no pressure remains in the pot, and then it’s safe to remove the lid.
Give the Instant Pot Chili a stir and adjust any seasoning to taste. You may want to stir in some fresh cilantro or lime juice or add a little more salt to boost the flavor. The chili will thicken as it rests, so by the time it’s cool enough to eat you may notice that it has a thicker texture.
Ladle it warm into a bowl and serve with a side of tortilla chips and sour cream or sliced avocado on top. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t have lentils on hand, dry quinoa may be a suitable substitute. In that case, I’d start with 3/4 cup of dry quinoa to replace the 1 cup of lentils.
Yes, there is a chili recipe in my Instant Pot cookbook that calls for dry beans instead of canned. You’ll need to use dry beans that have been soaked for at least 8 hours for a reasonable cooking time that won’t turn the vegetables into mush.
Yes, if you prefer to start with broth in this recipe, that will work, too! You might not need as much salt in that case, since store-bought broth already contains sodium.
Yes, chili freezes very well! You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. It will reheat easily if you thaw it in the fridge the night before you plan on serving it again. Or, place the frozen block of soup in a large pot on the stove over medium heat and patiently stir until it is heated through again.
Yes, check out my other vegetarian chili recipe for a stove-top version!
Instant Pot Vegan Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion , diced
- 3 large carrots , diced
- 3 celery ribs , diced
- 1 red bell pepper , seeds removed and diced
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 (28 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes , with juices
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot. Add in the olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Stir until the veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, if using. (Omit the cayenne for a mild chili.) Stir until the spices smell fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Press the "Off/Cancel" button and immediately add in the water. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or spatula, to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot. (This will prevent a burn error later.)
- Add in the lentils, drained beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, and salt. Stir well, then secure the lid and move the steam release valve to "Sealing." Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. The pot will take roughly 10 minutes to pressurize, so the screen will read ON until then.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. When the screen reads L0:10 move the steam release valve to "Venting" to release the remaining pressure. You'll know it's safe to open the lid when the floating valve drops, signaling that the pot is no longer pressurized.
- Stir the chili well and adjust any seasoning to taste. You can add more salt, just a ½ teaspoon at a time to make the flavor pop (I usually add a full teaspoon more after cooking, but this will vary based on your taste buds.) As the chili rests it will thicken more.
- Serve warm with fresh lime slices, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you try this Instant Pot Vegan Chili recipe please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.