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A plate of Cincinnati chili with cheese, oyster crackers, and hot sauce

Cincinnati Chili (Instant Pot) Recipe

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4 from 1 review

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Cincinnati Chili Recipe (Instant Pot) - a taste of the queen city from your pressure cooker in about an hour.



Soaked Kidney Beans

  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (or 1 tablespoon kosher salt)

Cincinnati Chili

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef (85/15 or leaner)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14- to 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Other ingredients and toppings

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti, cooked according to package directions in salted water
  • 8 ounces (4 cups) finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • Minced onions
  • Oyster crackers
  • Hot sauce (I use Frank's red hot, but it's milder than what they serve at Skyline.)


  1. Sort and rinse the kidney beans: Sort the kidney beans, discarding any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
  2. Overnight soak: Cover the kidney 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 kidney 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”, “Pressure Cook”, or "Pressure Cook - Custom" mode in an Instant Pot). Let the beans soak in the pot for 30 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
  4. Sauté the aromatics: Heat the vegetable oil until shimmering in an Instant Pot set to Sauté mode - High. (Use medium-high heat for a stovetop PC.) Add the onions, garlic, and ½ teaspoon  salt to the pressure cooker. Sauté until the the onions and garlic soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Toast the spices and cook the beef: Make a hole in the center of the onions and add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, cocoa powder, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Let sit for 30 seconds to toast the spices, then stir them into the onions. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef just loses its pink color, stirring and breaking up the beef, and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure none of the spices are sticking.
  6. Everything in the pot: Stir the drained and rinsed kidney beans into the pot, coating them with the spices. Pour in the water, add the bay leaf, and then add the crushed tomatoes on top. (Do not stir; the tomatoes may burn if they get to the bottom of the pot.)
  7. Pressure Cook for 20 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. and bring the cooker up to high pressure. (Read your fine pressure cooker manual for how to do this). Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes in an electric PC, 15 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (You can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.)
  8. Season and Serve: Unlock the lid and fish out the bay leaf. Stir in the cider vinegar, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. To serve, put a layer of spaghetti on a plate, top with a generous layer of chili, sprinkle on the minced onions, then heap on the cheese. Pass the oyster crackers and hot sauce at the table. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American