Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans

A bowl of turkey and small red bean chili, with minced green onions, tortilla chips, and an Instant Pot in the background.
Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans

Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans. Small red beans, pressure cooked from dried, are the backbone of this ground turkey chili.

Canned beans are an add-on to bulk up chili. Homemade beans, cooked from dried, are the main ingredient, giving chili backbone and depth.

(Now, I’m not a purist. I do make quick chilis with canned beans when I have a serious time crunch. Chili is always better than no chili. But all it takes is the foresight to start soaking beans the night before, or the extra hour to do a quick soak right before cooking.)

I call this wimpy chili – I mean, it has turkey and beans in it – but it has some kick from the peppers in the two cans of Ro*Tel tomatoes. I hate the “how hot is it?”, question, because it’s coming from someone who is sensitive to spicy food. My heat level of “hmm…I think it’s a little spicy?” makes them turn red, break out in a sweat, and lunge for a glass of water.

(An aside for the Texans currently lighting up the comments with “Beans?!? What in tarnation do you think you’re doing?” You can find a nice bowl of pressure cooked Texas Red right here. And serve the beans on the side.)

Recipe: Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans

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A bowl of turkey and small red bean chili, with minced green onions, tortilla chips, and an Instant Pot in the background.

Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 cups of chili 1x


Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans. Small red beans, pressure cooked from dried, are the backbone of this ground turkey chili.


  • 1 pound dry small red beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 10.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with chiles (aka RoTel tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Sort and rinse the beans: Sort the small red beans, discarding any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
  2. Overnight soak: Cover the beans with 8 cups of water, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Leave the beans to soak at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.
  3. OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the beans and 8 cups of water in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot for 1 minute), then quick release the pressure. Let the beans soak in the pot for 30 minutes, then drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
  4. Sauté the aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the Instant Pot with sauté mode until the oil is shimmering. (medium heat in a stovetop PC). Add the onion and garlic to the pot, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring and scraping occasionally with a flat-edged wooden spoon, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Toast the spices and break up the turkey: Make a hole in the center of the onions and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice. Let the spices sit until you smell them toasting, about 1 minute, then stir into the onions. Add the turkey and stir to coat with the onions and spices. Cook, stirring often and breaking up any clumps, until the turkey loses its pink color, about 5 minutes.
  6. Everything in the pot: Stir the soaked and drained beans, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes.
  7. Pressure cook the chili for 10 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. (8 minutes in a stovetop PC). Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
  8. Season and serve: Stir in the brown sugar, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt (use ½ teaspoon of salt if you used store-bought chicken broth). Serve and enjoy!


  • Substitute kidney beans: If you can’t find small red beans, you can use dried red kidney beans. Increase the cooking time to 15 minutes at high pressure.
  • Make ahead beans: If you really don’t have time to soak the beans, you can make them ahead and freeze them in their broth. Thaw them out before cooking (I microwave them) and include them in the 
  • Canned beans. OK, OK, if you insist on canned beans, check out my Quick Turkey Chili recipe.


  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Pressure Cooker Ground Beef and Bean Chili
Pressure Cooker 15 Bean Chili
Pressure Cooker Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Instant Pot Quick Turkey Chili with Canned Beans
My other Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. I noticed there’s only 1lb of Turkey in this recipe vs 3 in your black bean Turkey chili recipe. Does this work better for the size and texture of the red beans?

      • Thanks for confirming that i wouldn’t be violating some mystical red bean ratio. 🙂 I split the difference and went with 2lbs, (plus a little extra chili powder, cumin and salt) and it came out great. Thanks for another excellent recipe, I really like the flavors from the cocoa, cinnamon & allspice.

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