Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is a hearty recipe for chili that is packed with sweet potatoes, beans and flavor! This vegan friendly chili comes together in just over 30 minutes for a simple, healthy meal.
There is something so magical about chili. Whether made with meat, vegetables, beans, or lentils, chili is an absolute stick to your ribs comfort food.
But it also has the reputation of taking HOURS to make.
Not with the Instant Pot! Chili that tastes like it has been simmering for hours is possible in a fraction of the time, thanks to the magic of the Instant Pot. Because the Instant Pot seals in the pressure, it also seals in the flavor--meaning this Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili will deliver more flavor than if made on the stove-top!
My personal favorite chili recipe ever happens to be this Vegetation Chili. Made with sweet potatoes, beans, and a thick, perfectly spiced tomato broth, it is hearty, healthy, and oh so flavorful! Plus this recipe is gluten-free and vegan friendly!
I adapted one of my very popular recipes for Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili, to create this Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili. It is easy to adapt using what you have on hand--you can even add in ground meat if desired!
- Sweet Potatoes--Sweet Potatoes provide both earthiness and sweetness to this chili, while also adding in nutrients and fiber. I use regular old sweet potatoes that have been scrubbed clean and diced into 1-inch cubes. You can choose to peel or leave the sweet potatoes unpeeled. The peel adds in some extra nutrients, but the texture of peeled potatoes may be preferred.
- Beans--When it comes to beans, I will eat them all, but for this chili, I find that black beans pair the best with the sweet potatoes. Feel free to use pinto beans, red beans, or chili beans. This recipe is for cooked beans. The sweet potatoes would fall apart in the time it took to fully cook the black beans. Feel free to use my recipe for Instant Pot dried beans first and then proceed with the recipe. If using canned beans, just rinse and drain well.
- Tomatoes--For this chili, you can use diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce. I personally love using diced tomatoes for texture, but my son hates the texture of canned tomatoes, so I typically use crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Another thing to remember is to use low sodium or no salt added tomato products or adjust the seasonings to control the overall sodium in this recipe.
- Spices--Chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder are all used in this Chili recipe. I just use my Homemade Chili Seasoning Blend that I keep on hand to use for all chili recipes.
- Stock--Just like all Instant Pot recipes, you need a thin liquid for the pressure cooker to come to pressure. I use vegetable stock, but chicken stock or even water will work in a bind. Keep in mind if using water instead of stock you may want to add in extra seasonings.
- Onions--I love to saute fresh onions for an added dimension of flavor. However, if you want to skip that step to speed this recipe up, that works as well!
- Jalapeno--If you want to add a kick of heat to this Vegetarian Chili, add finely minced jalapeno to the mix as well.
- Quinoa--My original recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili has quinoa in it. The quinoa adds in protein and makes this vegetarian chili a bit heartier. If you would like to add in quinoa, add in ½ cup dried rinsed quinoa plus an additional 1 cup water or stock.
- Corn--If want some sweetness from corn, add up to 1 cup frozen corn (no need to defrost) to this chili before pressure cooking.
- Meat--Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is also delicious when ground turkey or ground beef is added as well. To add in meat to this recipe, saute the meat along with the chopped onions (if using) using the saute function until browned fully. Drain off excess fat and proceed with the recipe.
How to Make Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
Step One: Saute Onions (OPTIONAL)
Sauteing onions is the first step to so many reasons for good reason! This additional step adds great flavor and depth to so many recipes, but if in a bind for time (or have picky eaters who hate onions), skip this step.
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute function and let heat up until Instant Pot reads HOT. If you need help figuring out functions, be sure to check out my explanation of Instant Pot Functions.
- Add in ½ tablespoon oil, like olive oil, avocado, or canola oil and minced onions.
- Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add in minced garlic and saute for 1 minute longer and then turn the Instant Pot OFF.
Step Two: Prepare Chili
The hardest part about preparing this Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili is the chopping of the sweet potatoes! Once your potatoes are diced, it is as simple as adding everything right to the pressure cooker and giving a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients AND to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the inner pot.
Step Three: Pressure Cook Chili
The trick to this recipe is to cook the chili long enough that the sweet potatoes are tender but do not turn to mush--it only takes 10 minutes of cook time! And because the pressure cooker seals in all the moisture, the flavor is deepened and developed in just that short amount of time.
Be sure to allow pressure to release naturally, as this amount of liquid could spew out of the vent knob if trying to do a quick release. For more information on the difference between quick release and natural pressure release, refer to Instant Pot 101.
Step Four: Serve
Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili is delicious served with Cornbread, cheese, corn chips, sour cream, and/or avocado. It also makes a delicious base for Tamale Pie.
Storing Sweet Potato Chili
To store this chili, allow it to cool slightly and then place it in a sealed tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze this chili, allow to cool fully and then place in freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot French Onion Soup
- Instant Pot Rice and Beans
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
- Turn Instant Pot to Saute function and let heat up until Instant Pot reads HOT. Add in oil and minced onions.
- Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute longer and then turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Stir in remaining ingredients into Instant Pot and place lid on pressure cooker. Be sure vent knob is pointed to sealed.
- Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure release naturally.
- Serve plain or topped with avocado, cheese, sour cream, corn chips, etc
- Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chili can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Be sure to use vegetable stock to keep this chili vegan friendly and vegetarian.
- In place of the homemade chili seasoning, use 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon cumin.
- If you would like spicer chili, add in up to 1 jalapeno, finely minced.
- Use any type of beans you like for this chili--just be sure to use cooked beans!
- The Sweet Potatoes can be peeled or unpeeled.
- In place of diced tomatoes, feel free to use tomato sauce.