Instant Pot 15 Bean Chili. Pressure cooker vegetarian chili, thick and hearty with ALL THE BEANS, for vegetarians or bean lovers. (Thanks to a bean mix bag from my local grocery store.)
Even though I’m a dedicated omnivore, I occasionally cook for vegetarians - especially at my annual Chili Fest at work. I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so I make sure I have a big pot of vegetarian (vegan?) chili ready for them.
(One time at the Chili Fest I was asked: “Is there any meat in the vegetarian chili? If there is, I can’t eat it.” On the one hand, come on! I do know what the word vegetarian means. On the other hand, if you have to ask, it makes me wonder what other “vegetarian” food people have tried to serve you.
To bulk up the chili, I’m going with all the beans. Forget 13 beans, 14 beans…I’m going for a full 15 bean chili. Of course, I’m cooking it in my pressure cooker - my favorite way to make beans.
Bean mixes solve one of my pressure cooker chili problems - thin sauce. Pressure cookers are a sealed environment , so they can build pressure. Water in the pot can’t evaporate, so the sauce does not thicken like it would in a traditional pan. A bean mix has some quick cooking beans, like lentils and peas, and some long cooking beans, like kidney and lima beans. By the time the long cooking beans are tender, the quick cooking beans have cooked into mush, dissolving into starch and thickening up the whole pot of chili.
Looking for a vegetarian treat? Try 15 bean chili.
- 15-bean dry bean mix (aka bean soup mix)
- Fine sea salt
- Vegetable oil
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Dry oregano
- Cocoa powder (optional)
- Ground cloves (optional)
- Vegetable broth
- Diced tomatoes
- Brown sugar
- Fresh ground black pepper
See the recipe card for quantities
How to make 15-bean chili in an Instant Pot
Sort, Rinse, and Soak the beans: Sort and rinse the beans. Sprinkle the beans with 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, cover with 8 cups of water, and soak the beans overnight. Drain the beans.
Sauté the aromatics and spices: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an Instant Pot set to Sauté Mode - High. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno, and sauté until the onions start to brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in the spices and toast for a minute.
Pressure Cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Stir in the soaked beans, vegetable broth, and tomatoes. Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.
Season and serve: Stir in the brown sugar and fresh ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy!
- Other bean mixes: I use the Hambeens 15 bean soup mix because it is the most common in my own grocery store. But...13 bean? 16 bean? Whatever it takes. If your store carries a bean mix, use it.
- Homemade bean mixes: I'll make my own bean mix by saving leftover beans when I don't use a whole bag in my recipe. It won't have quite as much variety, but it still works in this recipe.
Instant Pot 15 Bean Chili
- Total Time: 9 hours
- Yield: 8-12 1x
Instant Pot 15 Bean Chili recipe. A thick, hearty chili with ALL THE BEANS, for vegetarians or bean lovers.
- 20-ounce bag of 15-bean dry bean soup mix, sorted and rinsed (discard the spice packet)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 8 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth or water)
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Soak the beans: Soak the beans overnight: Sort the bean mix, removing broken beans, stones, or dirt clods. Rinse the beans and put them in a large container with the 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover with 8 cups of water. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans and set them aside.
- Sauté the aromatics and the spices: Set an Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC), add the oil, and heat until the oil starts shimmering. Add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onions are softened and browning around the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cocoa powder, and cloves. Toast the spices for one minute.
- Everything in the pot: Pour the drained beans into the pot, and stir to coat with the spices. Stir in the vegetable broth (and 1 teaspoon of salt if using homemade broth) and tomatoes. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to make sure no onions or spices are sticking.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC (use "Manual", "Pressure Cook", or "Pressure Cook - Custom" mode in an Instant Pot), or for 13 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you're in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.) Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you - even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
- Season and serve: Stir in the brown sugar and fresh ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy!.
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: Instant Pot 15 Bean Chili, Pressure Cooker 15 Bean Chili
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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Caryn Hart says
Mike- I love this recipe- easy delicious and vegetarian! I do have a question- I had made this recipe previously and had saved it. I noticed yesterday when putting it together that the recipe that I followed on your site was different from the one that I had saved. Before baking soda was added and in this version it was not. Which do you recommend? It is possible that in the first version that the beans cooked a bit softer, but I don’t remember. I would appreciate it if you could clarify. Thank you. I love your site and have recommended it to many people.
This is hands down, the best chili e recipe I've ever tried, with or without meat. Highly recommend!
Mike Vrobel says
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Brittany Verras says
Excellent! I am a dietitian and always trying out new recipes to share with clients - this was really easy and the flavors came out wonderfully. Thank you!
Nancy travers says
I have quite a few jars of beans, can I mix my own - whatnam punt would I use? Thanks, nt
Mike V says
Sure - just end up with about 20 ounces total, with a bit of all the beans thrown in.
Mike V says
That's right - because baking soda is alkaline, it balances the acidity in the chili ingredients.
J. White says
Wondering if a quick version of this with no overnight soak is possible, with a, say 35 minute cook time? My only concern would be what happens to the lentils/peas, but it seems they're being used for thickener anyway.
I actually like the bean-base idea for use in a non-vegetarian chili. If using stew meat, seems as if a straight 35-min cook time might work for all ingredients? Thoughts?
Mike V says
Yes, 35 minutes without pre-soaking is about right for unsoaked beans. (Check some of the big beans, like the limas, when it is done cooking - if they're not done yet, stir everything and give it another 5 minutes under pressure.) And, yes, go ahead and add the stew meat to the pot - it will cook in 35 minutes.