Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans

The #1 question about my Pressure Cooker Ground Beef and Bean Chili recipe? “What if I want to use canned beans instead of dried?”

I dashed off a quick answer in the comments…“five minutes!”…but then it started to nag at me. Was five minutes under pressure enough time for the chili flavors to mingle?

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Canned beans – a mix of kidney and pinto beans

Normally, cooking time is determined by how long it takes to cook all the ingredients through. Ground beef takes almost no time to cook. 4 The cooking time is based entirely on flavor. We don’t want a ground beef, bean, and chili soup, with each a distinct flavor; we want a chili, with all the flavors blended together, something greater than the sum of its parts. Time for some testing!

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Pressure cooker lineup up for testing chili

I bought beef, canned beans, tomatoes, and got out my pressure cookers. 5 The recipe was the same in all three until I locked the lid: sauté the onions and garlic, toast the spices, mix in the beef, then the liquids and the beans. Then I set one cooker to 5 minutes, one to 10, and one to 15 minutes, and let them pressure cook with a natural pressure release.

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Everything in the pot

The results? Ten minutes is the Goldilocks zone. Five minutes is too short. The beans are the best in after five minutes – still having a little bit to them – but the rest of the ingredients don’t quite come together, tasting like a beef and tomato and bean soup. Fifteen minutes is too long. I get a thick, chili flavor, but the beans are way overcooked, starting to melt away. Ten minutes is just right, a rich chili with beans that have absorbed the chili flavors. 6

Which brings me to my last two points: One, even the 5 minute chili was good – chili is hard to mess up. Two, chili is better if you make your own beans in the pressure cooker. Make the beans ahead and freeze them in 2 cup containers. That lets you pull beans out of the freezer, and they taste much better than canned. (And yes, I know that contradicts point one. Hey, who says I have to be consistent?)

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans


Note: I took this video while making a version of this recipe scaled up for an 8 quart pressure cooker. I’m including it here because it’s the same instructions; just use the ingredient amounts in the recipe on this page if you have a 6 quart pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili (in an 8 Quart Pressure Cooker) [YouTube]

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans


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Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans recipe. What’s the quickest way to get dinner on the table? Pressure cooker chili, of course.



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef (Preferably 85% lean ground round or 80% lean ground chuck)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or homemade chicken broth)
  • 4 (14- to 16-ounce) cans of beans, drained (kidney, pinto, black, or a mix of beans)
  • (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. Sauté the aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pressure cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Toast the spices and cook the beef: Make a hole in the center of the onion mix and add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Let sit for 30 seconds, then stir into the onions. Add the ground beef and stir to coat with the onions and spices, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the water and cook the beef, stirring often, until the beef just loses its pink color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Cook the chili: Stir the beans and crushed tomatoes into the pot. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes in an electric PC or 8 minutes in a stove top cooker. Turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. (Or, if you’re really in a hurry, high pressure for 12 minutes in an electric PC or 10 minutes in a stovetop, then quick release the pressure.) Remove the lid carefully, opening away from you – even when it’s not under pressure, the steam in the cooker is very hot.
  4. Season and serve: Stir in the black pepper, then taste and add salt if needed. (Canned beans tend to be salty, so I rarely need to add more salt.)


Troubleshooting scorching or overheating: I have one pressure cooker that runs hotter than my others, and it had problems with overheating in this recipe. (Overheat usually means the pressure cooker noticed that things are burning on the bottom of the pot.) If you have overheating or scorching in your cooker, add an extra cup of water to the recipe and make sure the bottom of the cooker is scraped well before stirring in the beans.

Homemade beans: If you have leftover pressure cooker beans, this recipe is a great way to use them up. Substitute 6 to 8 cups of cooked homemade beans for the canned beans.

  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans |

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili with Canned Beans

What do you think?

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

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Ground Beef and Bean Chili
Pressure Cooker Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Pressure Cooker Beans: Basic Technique
My other 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. A C says

    Fantastic easy recipe. My family has asked me to make it the 2nd night in a row. Tastes good over a bed of rice as well.

  2. Ron Reynard says

    Very tasty, fast and super easy. I may have used too much liquid though; I was a bit more soupy than chili-like.

  3. PattiAnn says

    Thanks Mike for this post & research. I was down to canned kidney beans and wondered how long to cook in IP. Your timing tips are spot on. Also no hamburger so ground up some stew meat that’s been in the freezer. Using up everything in my pantry & freezer, which, I guess, is a good thing. Will replenish both when this virus is conquered.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Laura says

    This was so good! I did cut the chili powder down a little bit, but also added a can of diced chiles. My husband is a bit picky, but loved this! Will definitely use this recipe again.

  5. sheldon lebowitz says

    I want to make Quick Chili in a pot or a Microwave. How do I do it?

  6. Rachel G says

    Would there be a cooking time difference if I were to do a vegan option of this recipe? Or would I just follow the recipe step by step and skip over the meat portion?


  7. Allison says

    This is my go to recipe for chili! My kids won’t eat anything with even a hint of spice and this recipe is packed full of flavor without any of the spice! They even ask for seconds! I don’t change any part of the recipe or add anything other than a little hot sauce to my bowl cause I like a little kick!

  8. Jules Platt says

    Simple and delicious – thanks! The first time my daughter ate seconds 🙂

  9. SandyToes says

    Tonight I used this recipe as a guide to convert my own chili to the Instant Pot, and it was a resounding success. On the stovetop I follow the same steps you do, right down to toasting the spices and using 4 cans of beans, so it seemed a good fit. The only big difference is that I use a small can of tomato paste (added and toasted after the spices) instead of crushed tomatoes. I add 2 (15-oz) cans of water, so did the same tonight, since I figured I’d need more water than you use. I ended up with more liquid than usual, but a few minutes on Low Sauté took care of that.

    10 minutes was perfect, thanks for testing that! The chili was every bit as delicious as the stovetop one that I always let simmer for 2 hours, this one was on the table in under an hour, from prep to bowls. Thanks, Mike, for helping me convert another recipe to the IP.

  10. Sandy myers says

    Making my second one, I’m thinking of doIng 5 min pressure then switch to regular lid and slow cook for a bit, have you tried that?

  11. Jane Truitt says

    This is the second time I’ve made your chili. GREAT receipt and notes. When I made it today I needed some thing easy and tasty. (I am fighting pneumonia, bronchitis, and the flu). It smells really good in here. I did add my own touch but your recipes was the base. Thanks for your recipes.I will definitely try another one of yours. PEACE ?

  12. Christin says

    Thanks for this! I’m not a good cook and don’t have much time nor experience with my IP. But, this has saved my bacon several times for potlucks. Quick, easy, stuff I usually have on hand, and always tasty. I usually use ground elk meat or occasionally ground venison as we are avid hunters and don’t have beef on hand. Comes out delicious!

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