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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
  • 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.


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American