Three Bean Chili (Pressure Cooker Friendly)

As I'm sure you guys have seen on my blog, my Facebook, and my Twitter and Instagram accounts, that I am OBSESSED with my new pressure cooker, the Instant Pot IPDUO-60.  Here are some of my favorite things about it:

It has made my kitchen cleaner.  Not only do I not require different pots and pans to saute, steam, and cook everything, but I haven't had to cook separate meals for my husband because he has been enjoying a lot of what I have been making. (More about the husband in another post.)  Also, as the Instant Pot is heating up, cooking, and depressurizing, I can easily have time to clean all of my prep dishes, set the table, and set out Tupperware for any leftovers.  The Instant Pot itself is also super easy to clean!  I made oatmeal the other day with not quite enough liquid, so some stuck to the bottom.  I had it washed out in just a few minutes with soap and water.  No scrubbing!

It has made me more sane.  Not only has cooking with the Instant Pot been easier to clean, it has given me back some sanity when I'm in the kitchen.  Instead of running back and forth between sauteing, chopping, and stirring, I can set my meal to go and leave it until its ready (or when I'm ready, thank you warmer).  No stirring involved!  And because the Instant Pot cooks faster than other methods, I don't feel like I NEED to multi-task to get a meal on the table in a timely matter.  I have been enjoying getting all of my ingredients ready to go, then starting with the Instant Pot, rather than jumping from the cutting board, to the stove top, then sink, and back again.

It has made my kitchen quieter.  When I imagined getting a pressure cooker, I was thinking it would be loud and make noises similar to a steaming teapot.  Wrong!  The only time the Instant Pot isn't perfectly quiet is when the lid opens and closes (happy little notes), it beeps to let me know it has started and finished, if you are sauteing something (which goes really quickly because it can get so hot), and if you do a quick release of pressure rather than a natural release at the end of cooking.  I'm sure Kevin would tell you (as he is trying to watch football) that my old kitchen cooking with pots and pans was much more disruptive.

It has helped me to be better organized.  Many of the recipes I have made so far include dried beans.  Because of this, I have been planning what I will be making a day or two before so that I can soak the beans while I am at work the day that I plan on using them.  I feel like I can also plan for the perfect amount of leftovers for lunch the next day for Kevin and I.  When I used to make things on the stove, I would have a difficult time estimating quantities and end up with too much food.  I would get sick of the leftovers and have to toss a lot out.

It makes meals more flavorful.  When cooking meals in the pressure cooker, you often have to add more amounts of spices, probably due to the lack of evaporation in the recipe and the reduced time in cooking.  That being said, once you do add the extra spices, your food comes out cooked perfectly and wonderfully flavorful.  I have found that I haven't wanted to add salt to anything I have cooked in my Instant Pot.

It has saved and is going to save us money.  Let's do a little bean math!  Just in this last week alone, I have made recipes with the equivalent of about 15 cans of beans (Keep in mind that my husband has been eating 1.5+ cups of beans a day, and we had my parents over to visit for the weekend).  At my grocery store, a can of low sodium beans costs around $1, making our weekly bean consumption equal to $15 worth of cans.  BUT, because of the pressure cooker, I have been using dried beans in all of our meals.

15 cans = 22.5 cups of beans
1 lb dried beans = 8 cups cooked beans
1 lb dried beans = $2
22.5 cups beans = 2.8 lbs dried beans = $5.63

That saves almost $10 in one week alone!  That equates to over $500 in savings over a year.  That number alone makes the pressure cooker worth the money!

Now, on to the recipe!  I made this in my pressure cooker as adapted from Lorna Sass' Black Bean Chili recipe from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  I started with her recipe and added in extra veggies, different beans, and different spices.  While this recipe was made in a pressure cooker, it can easily be done on the stove top or in a crock pot with pre-cooked beans (amounts in parenthesis).  Please see the instructions below for each adaptation.

Three Bean Chili
    Pressure Cooker: 10 minutes prep, 12 minutes high pressure, 10 minute natural pressure release
    Stove top: 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking (with canned beans)
    Crock pot: 10 minutes prep, 4 hours high/8 hours low (with canned beans)
Servings: 6-8

        2/3 cup dried black beans, soaked for 8 hours (or 1 1/2 cup cooked black beans/1 can)
        2/3 cup dried pinto beans, soaked for 8 hours (or 1 1/2 cup cooked pinto beans/1 can)
        2/3 cup dried red beans, soaked for 8 hours ( or 1 1/2 cup cooked red or kidney beans/1 can)

        1 tsp cumin seeds
        2 cups onion, chopped
        1 Tbsp minced garlic

        3 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth, boiling
        3/4 cup carrots, chopped, about 2 carrot sticks
        1/4 cup celery, chopped, about 1 celery stick)
        1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
        2 Tbsp mild chili powder
        1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
        1 1/2 tsp cumin
        1 tsp smoked paprika
        1/2 tsp coriander
        1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

    After Pressure Cooking:
        1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
        1-14.5 oz can tomato sauce

    Topping Ideas:
        fresh cilantro
        fresh parsley
        cashew sour cream (recipe from Helyn's Healthy Kitchen)
        green onions
        nutritional yeast
        roasted red peppers
        black olives
        favorite hot sauce
        shredded vegan cheese

Pressure Cooker Instructions:
1.)  Rinse and pick over all of the dried beans.  In a large bowl combine all of the dried beans and cover with water.  Allow to soak for at least 8 hours.  Drain and rinse after soaking.
2.)  In the pressure cooker, saute the cumin seeds, onion, and minced garlic for 5 minutes, adding vegetable broth or water to prevent burning as needed.
3.)  Add the remaining ingredients, reserving the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce for after pressure cooking.  Stir well and lock lid into place, with the venting valve closed.  Set to manual high pressure for 12 minutes.  Once 12 minutes are up, allow the pressure cooker to go into warming mode for 15 minutes.
4.)  After 15 minutes, turn the warming unit off and quick release any remaining pressure, OR allow pressure to come all the way down naturally.  Stir in the can of diced tomatoes and can of tomato sauce.  Allow to cool and thicken with the lid off if time allows.  If you find the chili isn't thick enough, blend 1-2 cups in a high speed blender and return to the pot, or use an immersion blender.
5.)  Serve hot with any of the topping ideas above.

Stove top Instructions:
1.) Drain and rinse the 3 cans of beans.
2.) In a large dutch oven, saute the cumin seeds, onion, and minced garlic on high heat for 5 minutes, adding vegetable broth or water to prevent burning as needed.
3.)  Add the remaining ingredients including the diced tomato and tomato sauce.  Stir well to incorporate.
4.)  Bring to a boil, and then lower heat.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You may need to add more liquid as needed to achieve your desired chili consistency.  If you find the chili isn't thick enough, blend 1-2 cups in a high speed blender, or use an immersion blender.
5.)  Serve hot with any of the topping ideas above.

Crock pot Instructions:
1.) Drain and rinse the 3 cans of beans.
2.) In a frying pan on the stove top, saute the cumin seeds, onion, and garlic for 5 minutes.
3.) Add all ingredients, including the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, to the crock pot.  Stir well to incorporate.
4.)  Cook covered in the crock pot on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  You may need to add more liquid as needed to achieve your desired chili consistency.  If you find the chili isn't thick enough, blend 1-2 cups in a high speed blender, or use an immersion blender.
5.)  Serve hot with any of the topping ideas above.

Amy's Notes:
I have not tried this recipe on the stove top or crock pot, but I assume the results will be deliciously similar.

With the pressure cooker method, you can decrease the cooking time even more by using canned/cooked beans.  If this is the case, I would reduce the cooking time at high pressure to 7 minutes with a natural pressure release.  Just use your best judgement as you change the recipe!

This chili is wonderfully flavorful!  I have been enjoying it on its own with some of the toppings above, but it would also be great served on any type of baked potato; with a cooked whole grain like brown rice, barley, or quinoa; or with tortilla chips on the side.  This time, I served mine with nutritional yeast, cilantro, green onions, and roasted red pepper.

Health and Happiness,



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie! Photoshop is a lifesaver for my poorly lit kitchen!

  2. I love my stovetop pressure cooker! I understand your enthusiasm! It can change your (kitchen) life!
    Thank you so much for sharing this chili recipe. It looks awesome! I am going to make it next week!

    1. Thanks Gira! Hope the recipe works just as well in your stovetop cooker. I'm totally new to all of this, so I am learning as I go. :)

    2. Hi Amy! I have made this recipe 3-4 times already, and I love it! Last night I added an extra tbsp of chili powder plus a small can of chipotles in adobo sauce for added kick! It is soooo yummy! Thank you so much!

  3. Looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I made this last night using my crock pot, and it was fantastic! The flavors were incredible! My spouse took one bite and immediately started raving about it. I will use less broth next time if I use the crock pot again... maybe 2 cups and see how that works? Anyway, it was one we'll make over and over again. Thank you!

  5. So pleased to hear you are enjoying your pressure cooker! I am also completely in love with mine. I upgraded from a stove top one and it has been so so worth it!

  6. This was delicious! Thank you!

  7. This was a fantastic recipe; thank you, Amy! I added dried mushrooms and stirred in kale after cooking. My kids loved it! Will become part of our regular rotation. I'm guessing it would be great with some corn thrown in, too.

  8. Finally! I have been searching for months to find an Instant Pot chili recipe that incorporates the healthy habit of soaking the beans. Thank you, can't wait to try it.

  9. Im trying to log this into my fitness pal. Any suggestions?

  10. It would be nice to have a printer friendly version of the recipes. Thanks this was a great recipe.

  11. Is it possible to use unsoaked beans? ive made both red beans and black beans in my pressure cooker without soaking them but im unsure if it would be the same with the chili.