Instant Pot Best Blue Ribbon Chili

Ah, Chili.

This dish is essentially a hearty ground beef stew that has hints of southwestern flair to it while remaining completely subjective based on the geography in which it’s created (beans vs. no beans; spicy vs. mild and so on). So, basically, there is no right (or wrong) way to make this classic Americana dish.

That said, there’s Chili…and then there’s CHILI.

This here Chili is going to satisfy ANY Chili lover – guaranteed. Why? Because I load it up with some of the simplest and tastiest ingredients that packs a classic and premium flavor punch so rewarding, you’d better clear the mantle for that Chili cook-off trophy to proudly display!

Here’s How I Made It!:

Start out with an onion…

…and dice it up.

Now we have a trinity of peppers at three different spice levels we’re gonna add in (if you choose to use all three). We’ll take a poblano pepper, which is mild…
…finely diced with the seeds removed.

Then we’ll graduate to the next level and take a jalapeño pepper, which is medium in terms of heat…

…and, like the poblano, dice it up and de-seed.

Now we’re getting a little serious. For a pretty intense heat factor to complete the pepper trifecta, take a habanero pepper…

…and slice it in half, also removing the seeds. (Note: you can leave it out if you aren’t into spice, but it’s not going to be spice overkill – especially since we’ll be removing it)

Now go to the Instant Pot and toss in some butter and oil.

Once melted and sizzlin’, add in the onion…

…and peppers…

…including that halved habanero (if you dare).

Coat everything with the butter and let cook for a few minutes.

After sautéing and letting the flavors come out, remove the habanero pepper and discard (or, if you choose to make this a super spicy chili, dice it up and return it to the pot).

Add in some garlic…

…and let cook for another moment.

Now we’ll take some ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken)…

…and add it to the pot. Stir and allow it to cook for a few minutes until crumbly, mixed with the veggies and lightly browned.

Next we’ll add in a little beer (I don’t mess around. And not to worry – your kids won’t get drunk. The heat will remove any alcohol)…

…some diced tomatoes (there are many varieties so use any of your choice)…

…a can of Rotel…

…and a can of tomato sauce.

Stir everything together very well, deglazing (scraping) the bottom of the pot.

Now let’s add some sauces to the mix! Take some hoisin sauce (secret ingredient! – it’s awesome)…

…some taco sauce…

…and some Worcestershire sauce.

Then season with kosher salt…

…Italian seasoning…

…dried cilantro…

…cumin…

…chili powder…

…seasoned salt…

…celery salt…

…and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (if you can get at your local market. If not, the link is here).

Stir everything together super well until nice and combined, deglazing the bottom of the pot once more (nothing should stick anyway).

Some people hate beans in their chili. I’m not one of those people. Take some red kidney beans and rinse ’em and drain ’em.

Add them on top of the chili…

…but DON’T STIR THEM INTO THE CHILI. Just use a spatula/spoon to smooth them out along the top so they’re resting there (they don’t need to be submerged). Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.

When done, it’s gonna look and smell AWESOME so give it a stir.

Now, my secret and final touch to really send this chili home. Some CHILI Better Than Bouillon (I know, right?!) This stuff is hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. You can buy it here or here! It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home.

Add some into the chili…

…and stir it up nice and good. Allow the chili to cool down for a few minutes before serving.

When ready to serve, take a bowl (I love using these crocks)…

…add in the chili…

…and top with whatever you want (be it sour cream, cheese, oyster crackers or whatever else makes you happy!)

Now admire how gorgeous, full and perfect that chili is…

…bring it to your mouth…

…and be prepared to earn some pats on the back and some respect. This chili is BLUE RIBBON caliber!

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Best Blue Ribbon Chili

Instant Pot Best Blue Ribbon Chili

This chili has won my readers more contests than I can count at this point. It is the role model for all chilis around and I wouldn't dare state such a thing unless it was completely true. Oh, and if you to leave out the beans, go for it (but it's most definitely chili with OR without beans).

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs of ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken)
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) of salted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 poblano peppers, finely diced with seeds removed (this is a mild pepper and if you can’t find one, you can use a green bell pepper)
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely diced with seeds removed (optional as this is a medium hot pepper)
  • 1 small habanero pepper, sliced in half with seeds removed (totally optional as this is a very hot pepper)
  • 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup of beer (I used Budweiser, but you can really use any – and don’t worry, the beer will burn off and the kids won’t get drunk)
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz can of Rotel
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of taco sauce
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried cilantro
  • 2 tbsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp of celery salt
  • 1 tsp of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (optional)
  • Two 15.5 oz cans of red kidney beans, drained & rinsed (leave this out if you want it “Texas” style)
  • 4 tbsp of Chili Better Than Bouillon (hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. If it’s sold out, just keep searching online but DO NOT pay more than $8 for an 8 oz jar. It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home!)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

Instructions

  1. Add the butter and vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” on the “More” or “High” setting. Once the butter’s melted and the oil’s sizzling, add in the onions, poblano, jalapeño and habanero peppers and stir & set for 5 minutes until softened and then add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove only the habanero pepper when done and discard
  2. Next, add the ground beef and stir until it cooks down and crumbles and becomes a slightly browned in color (about 3 minutes – it doesn’t need to be fully cooked yet). Its juices will be released while cooking and this is a good thing – keep them in the pot and do not drain
  3. Add in the beer, diced tomatoes, Rotel, tomato sauce, taco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hoisin sauce. Stir well and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot
  4. Now, add the kosher salt, Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, dried cilantro, seasoned salt, celery salt and Tony’s Creole seasoning (if using). Stir again until well combined
  5. Lastly, add the drained and rinsed kidney beans but DO NOT stir them in with the rest. Just lightly smooth them out as they rest on the top of the chili (see video for visual guidance)
  6. Secure the lid and select “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” High Pressure for 5 minutes (it may take up to 15 minutes to come to pressure so be patient). When done, do a quick release and allow the pot to sty on the “Keep Warm” setting
  7. When the lid comes off, give everything a good stir, add in the Chili Better Than Bouillon and stir again. Allow it to cool down to a warmish-hot, but not scalding temperature (about 10-15 minutes, as chili tastes even BETTER once it cools down a bit and the flavors have a chance to meld!)
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with some optional shredded cheese, sour cream or even my awesome refried beans. Serve it with my acclaimed Mexican Street Corn and/or my raved-about Creamy Chicken Enchiladas as terrific companions!
  9. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

The Chili Better Than Bouillon is hard to find in stores, but easy to find online. You can buy it here or here! If it’s sold out, just keep searching online but DO NOT pay more than $8 for an 8 oz jar. You’ll be getting ripped off otherwise! It’s not 100% necessary to use but it REALLY sends this chili home.

The reason we add the Chili Better Than Bouillon at the end and not before pressure cooking is because it’s a bit different from the other bases. It’s a less potent concentrate and therefore I feel the maximum flavor result occurs when you slather it on and mix it together with the chili at the end just before serving.

Like my crocks to use for your bowls? (which are also perfect for my famed French Onion Soup?) Buy them here!

Hate beans and think it’s not a “real chili” if it has them? Well, fine then – LEAVE ‘EM OUT! 😉

If you have the time and feel like it, before adding them to the Instant Pot, feel free to roast the diced poblano peppers in the oven at 450 for about 5-10 minutes with some olive oil and sea salt drizzled on them. It will create an even richer flavor!

While this chili is absolutely top-notch, it is a known fact that the flavor of chili always REALLY comes out the next day when its had a chance to cool down in the fridge. The cold temperature makes all of the flavors meld so that when reheated, they come out in ways that are even more extraordinary than before! So you can DEFINITELY make this ahead of time and even freeze the leftovers!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kevbeaux

    Jeffrey, in Texas, you can be forced to move if you put beans in chili. Ive been making chili since dirt was in diapers and I keep the peace by using 2 cans of retried beans. Gives great taste and texture….so if your readers see this. Be sure and hide the cans. Kidding, but JUST ONLY….😂. Love your Chili!

    • Jeffrey

      Oh I’m well aware of that. But many would also argue that chili without beans is no more than meat sauce. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Either way, it’s great!

  2. Laura

    Everyone loved it. Left out the habenero. The fun was watching the dares to eat the pepper. Sweat, requests for more drinks and a second bowl of chili.. Laughed and had a great family dinner

  3. Matt Feikema

    I am really enjoying how this turned out my first try, all the flavors, the spice, and the heat. I use 93% lean beef in my IP recipes, and I substituted anaheim peppers as the grocery store was out of poblanos that day. Still tasting great! However, I think I found this more salty than I prefer. I noticed several of the seasonings contain some kind of salt – but I don’t want to just skip them and lose the other flavors they provide. Any adjustment suggestions for less salty but still retaining flavor?

    • Jeffrey

      Thanks much for trying it! I think it’s the perfect salt factor as I can’t stand over salted foods, but a rule of thumb: if prone to salt sensitivity, always start out with less. You can always add more to taste later.

    • George

      We reduce our salt intake whenever we cook. Here’s what we do:

      1. Replace any salt you decide to use with Morton’s Lite Salt (50% less sodium).
      2. Use no salt added tomato sauce.
      3. Use no salt added diced tomatoes.
      4. Use low sodium Worcestershire sauce (30% less sodium).
      5. Omit the Kosher salt entirely as there’s still plenty of sodium everywhere else.
      6. Make your own Seasoned Salt and Creole Seasoning using Morton’s Lite Salt. We used ones we found on Allrecipes.com and I think we even use less Morton’s than those recipes called for.
      7. If that’s not enough, you could also make your own Taco Sauce, though even we haven’t gone that far.

      Even after all these changes, it still tastes absolutely incredible and the best chili we’ve ever had/made.

  4. Jerry Tune

    I agree with everybody else, best chili I ever had have made it several times. Having company so doubling the recipe, using the 8 qt, any suggestions or advise?
    Thanks and keep going.

  5. Heather

    If leaving beer out, just substitute that amount of water? Or would something else work instead? (We don’t drink so we don’t have any in the house, and are only curbsiding groceries right now and liquor stores don’t offer that service) Just didn’t know if something else might suffice in place of the beer. I do have cooking wine…

  6. Leanne

    Try using the Hot Rotel. Really adds an extra layer of depth to the heat. We make a double recipe and use on regular and one hot.

  7. Melissa

    I love the taste of this chili but also find it to be very salty – I think it’s the better than bouillon chili base. Any substitution ideas?

    • George

      I replied to Matt, above (Jan 8), with all the changes I make to this recipe to reduce the sodium, but you absolutely CANNOT skip the Better than Bouillon. Trust me on this as we tried it both with and without, side-by-side.

  8. Debra

    Made this last night. Used chuck roast cut into 1x1x1 cubes, because my husband doesn’t like ground beef. Added a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, and a 14 oz can of tomatoes with chilies (a major grocery chain in a big city didn’t have Rotel). Everything thing else was the same, except I pressure cooked for 6 minutes.

    THIS WAS THE BEST CHILI EVER.

  9. Scott Henke

    I’ve made this chili twice, once without and once with the chili base.I won first place at both cook offs. It truly is blue ribbon chili.

  10. MaryAnn A

    Is cook time really only 5 minutes on pressure?! I keep seeing other IP chili recipes that say to cook it for 30+ minutes, but I vastly prefer your recipes (family loved your beef stroganoff one). Also, would I cook ground buffalo for less time? Thanks, and thank you for sharing all your knowledge and recipes with us. Looking forward to your new book!

  11. Scott Henke

    I’ve made this once with and once without the chili base. I won first place at both cook offs. This is truly Blue Ribbon Chili!!

  12. Lindsay

    Just got your cookbook yesterday (SO excited) and this is the first recipe I tried. It turned out PERFECT! My husband doesn’t like chilli and he went back for seconds. Best chilli, HANDS DOWN!

  13. Chad

    Very great recipe, I added mushrooms and corn because I like them in my chili. No adjustments on cook time and it turned out perfectly.

  14. Carolyn

    Outstanding! My husband likes soupy soups and chili, but this sounded too good not to try. This is so delicious that he decided thick is good when it comes to chili, and it’s our new go-to chili! Thank you!!

  15. Laura

    This is one damn tasty chili! My husband, son, and I all loved it. I do, however, agree with the reviews that say it is too salty, which is surprising because I LOVE salt. (We were drinking lots of water later that evening.) I definitely will make this again, as it was very, very good. But I will use a few of George’s suggestions to reduce the sodium and still keep the flavors. I’m hoping they work, as I’d love this to be my go-to chili recipe.

    • Sally Renna

      I’m going to make this next week for my family, I also purchased on all the canned tomatoes either a no salt added or low sodium, I’d rather be under salted and we can always add extra salt later if needed, I can’t wait to try this.

  16. Sally Renna

    Jeffrey, is it necessary to add the vegetable oil and the butter to brown the veggies? Can I just brown them with a mist of my olive oil sprayer? Will it make a difference in the taste if I leave the butter and vegetable oil out? Thanks for all your amazing recipes!

  17. Rochelle

    I was a dummy and read the “Don’t stir the beans!!” Disclaimer…..then when I got to that part, promptly forgot and stirred. 🤦‍♀️ Fingers crossed it’s still okay!

  18. Lisa

    I just made this on a cold rainy day in the mountains of NC. I tasted before and after adding the chili base out of curiosity. That chili base is money! Appreciate your recipes as always. I also made avocado chicken last week and there want enough leftovers to have another meal so I put over tortilla chips and it was amazing!

  19. Jerome

    I followed your recipe to a T and it came out perfect! Best chili I have ever tasted!

    Question: next time if I want to make it paleo and remove the beans, should I adjust with less liquid? And if so, what should I reduce? Thanks!

  20. Elena

    This chili is absolutely delicious. Cooked some today for lunch, and it was a big hit. Added some carrots and celery as well (love my veg). Definitely my new favourite. I’m so glad I bought your book at the same time I got my Instant Pot, it changed my life!

  21. Kate

    Would it be a waste to use a different kind of Bouillon to add additional flavor?

    And, is there any other ingredient that could be added to approximate the flavor of the chili bullion?

  22. Holly Bowden

    I have made this several times. This is the BEST chili EVER. I did omit the hot hot pepper. Everyone I have shared this with loves it. It freezes so well too. Unless I screwed up the recipe, I didn’t think it tasted as well doubled. Thank goodness I have two IP’s 😉 I like corn in my chili has this been tried?

  23. Vicki T

    I have a mini but want to make the full recipe or double the recipe–do you have an idea of how long I would have to cook it on the stove in a le creuset?

  24. Rick Retired

    Better than Bullion Chili Base added that tweak to my previous recipe. It cost me $10.99 at Amz so I’ll need to find a better supplier before I make it again. I also cut down on the salt, but added 3 strips of crispy, crumbled bacon. It is now a keeper Jeffrey just as all of your recipes are! Latest was Cockadoodle Noodle lol and I’m rushing through my pot of chili so I can make that again. Thank you sir, from an older (age 74) IP semi-newbie who is very grateful for the videos you make to ease anxiety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe