Instant Pot Chicken Chili

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The pressure cooker chicken chili recipe I’m sharing with you today a super-casual meal that I make regularly. We use our pressure cooker constantly for fast weeknight meals, and we have for years (wayyyy before it became trendy). I haven’t shared any recipes because I don’t like to call for highly specific tools, but I think that pressure cookers and instant pots are becoming so popular now that it’s ok.

Before 50% of you scamper off, though, you can totally make it stovetop – just simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through.  The high-pressure appliance just mimics a looooong cook time, so the meat is falling right off the bone. Still delicious either way, though.

This is another post that, like my previous, is coming to you from the past. As I sit typing this, I’m chugging my second coffee of the hour just to stay warm. Vancouver has been having an arctic air system, which brought snow to our typically-mild climate and biting cold to my nose and toes. As soon as I hit “schedule” I’m going to go throw all of my summer clothes in a suitcase and sit on it until our flight to Hawaii tomorrow. Except for when I head out to get a spray tan. Because I like to play with fire.


I figured if I’m gonna be frolicking on a warm beach with a Mai Tai, the least I can do is offer up some comfort food. Nothing is more satisfying on a cold day than a filling bowl of hearty chili, right?

The cooking down of the garlic and tomato paste might be an irritating step if you’re using an electric pressure cooker without a saute function, but please don’t skip it. Raw tomato paste has a metallic, tart-raw taste that doesn’t go away with simmering. Sauted tomato paste is rich and meaty and toasty – full of umami. Try it, you’ll see what a big difference this extra step makes.

I have a pressure cooker that my mother-in-law bought me from India, where they are as ubiquitous in home kitchens as a knife, but for the past year I’ve been using my Fast Slo Pro from Breville (they’re a partner and gifted it to me). It’s a fabulous appliance.

Note that the cooking time starts from the point when the cooker comes up to pressure, which might take ten minutes or more.

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Instant Pot Chicken Chili

By: The Foodess Team
A hearty chicken chili recipe made with a pressure cooker (or option for without). Quick, cozy, hearty, filling - exactly as cold-weather dinners should be.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 6- oz can no-sodium tomato paste
  • ½ cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 chicken legs skin discarded
  • 1 540- mL can black or kidney beans or about 2 cups home-cooked beans
  • 2 cups no-sodium chicken broth
  • sour cream and cilantro for serving (optional)
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  • If you're using an electric pressure cooker with a saute function, use it. If not, heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute garlic in oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook it, stirring frequently, until it smells toasty and becomes darker red, about 4 minutes. (If using a skillet, scrape it into the pressure cooker now). Add remaining ingredients to pressure cooker,stir to incorporate, and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.
  • Use slotted spoon to remove chicken legs and transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove meat and stir back into chili; discard bones.  Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.
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