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February 21, 2019

by Alyssa

Instant Pot Lentil Chili

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How to make instant pot lentil chili. This easy lentil chili recipe is packed with flavor and plant-based protein! It's healthy and is ready in just about 45 minutes!

Instant Pot Lentil Chili Recipe

I gotta say, I just love my Instant Pot! Granted, I'm still learning and figuring out the best cooking times, but it's been making my life so much easier.

Not only can you cook things like beans in under an hour, but you can also saute with it, slow cook with it and even make yogurt. But for me, what I love most is the speed and the flavor.

Take this lentil chili for example. Typically, chili takes hours to cook in order to build up proper flavor. In the Instant Pot, it's ready in about 45 minutes, and it's bursting with flavor. I'm starting to think of it as a better version of the slow cooker!

How to make Chili in the Instant Pot

How to Make Chili in the Instant Pot

One of the things I love about the Instant Pot over a slow cooker is the saute function. With a slow cooker, you have two options:

  1. Saute on the stove and transfer to the slow cooker
  2. Skip the saute part and lose out on some flavor

But in the Instant Pot, you can do both which is what we're doing with our lentil chili recipe. We start by sauteeing onions and peppers, then we add in the rest of our ingredients – which includes two types of lentils and lots of amazing spices – then we just set our Instant Pot to high pressure and let it do its thing.

Easy Vegetarian Lentil Chili

How Long Does it Take to Make Chili in the Instant Pot?

You're not going to believe me when I tell you this, but it takes just 12 minutes to cook chili in the Instant Pot! Only 12!! Isn't that crazy?!

But here's the thing we have to remember with pressure cookers, it does take extra time to build up the pressure and then naturally release the pressure. So from start to finish, and with those two things accounted for, it takes about 45 minutes to make this instant pot lentil chili.

(which I gotta say is still pretty darn good!)

Lentil Chili Recipe in Instant Pot

The Best Lentil Chili Recipe

Cooking time aside, this really is the best lentil chili I've ever tasted! What I love about the combo of the two lentils is that the brown lentils hold their shape so they have this almost ground beef like quality and the red lentils break down and add this creamy, richness.

Of course, chili isn't chili without spices, and we're using my favorites to flavor this one up:

  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Smoked paprika

Each adds a nice depth of flavor, and the smoked paprika adds a little touch of smokiness which is absolutely lovely!

How to Make Lentil Chili

Ways to Serve Your Lentil Chili

Now the fun part, serving! Chili is one of those things that you can kind of go crazy with. If I'm having people over, I might do a chili bar situation with all sorts of toppings, but if I'm at home, then I'll keep things pretty simple. I'll include toppings like:

  • Avocado (or my mango guac)
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Fresh cilantro
  • and maybe even some crumbled up corn chips

But no matter how you serve it, this lentil chili is a winner! It's thick, it's nourishing, it's full of plant-based protein and best of all, it's super easy to make. Oh, and did I mention it's also great for meal prep? Well, it is, so yay!

Amazing Lentil Chili in the Instant Pot

More Vegetarian Chili Recipes to Try:

Instant Pot Lentil Chili

This easy instant pot lentil chili is packed with flavor and plant-based protein! It has a nice, thick texture, and is ready in under 45 minutes!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Pressure release 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 232kcal
Print Pin
The Best Lentil Chili Recipe
4.39 from 26 votes



  • Turn your Instant Pot to the saute function and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and pepper. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and give it a quick stir. Secure the lid, making sure the pressure valve is sealed and turn to pressure cook.
  • Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and put the timer to 12 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to turn on and come to pressure.
  • Once the timer is finished, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes, then release the rest and remove the lid.
  • Give it a stir and if the chili feels a bit thick, stir in another cup or so of broth. Serve immediately and garnish with your choice of toppings! (I like sliced jalapeno, cilantro, avocado, and corn chips!)



Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 528mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1815IU | Vitamin C: 30.7mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 4.9mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. I made the recipe as is except I added a can of rinsed and drained red kidney beans and 1 tsp of chili flakes. Very very delicious. I will definitely make again.

  2. This was absolutely perfect the first time I made it. I threw in a zucchini and it worked well. Topped it with avocado and cilantro.

  3. Soooo this recipe is on point! This was my very first recipe done in the Instant Pot and it came out perfect! Lentils were perfect…I topped it with avocado and jalepenos…I’ll add cilantro next time. Thanks!

  4. This is my go to chili recipe. It’s great as it is or sometimes I use less lentils and throw in any kind of bean I have…black, kidney or navy. I have only tired it on the stove top as I don’t have an instant pot. It’s delicious! And I love that I have leftovers to eat later in the week. Thank you! Even my meat loving husband can’t deny how good this is!


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