Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

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This Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili with two kinds of beans, sweet potato, tomato, and dried spices is a sweet and healthy family meal that takes one pot and less than an hour from start to finish. 

A 45 degree shot of vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes, beans, and mushrooms visible in the chili, topped with sliced avocados and sour cream and diced cilantro

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: If you love a sweet chili, this pantry-friendly meal is for you! It is a delicious one-pot dinner full of flavor from various colorful veggies, dried spices, and canned tomatoes.

We’re been making Instant Pot chili for decades; however, we’re new to sweet chili. This vegetarian version has sweet, savory, and just a bit smoky flavors.

Plus, this version is make-ahead friendly and freezes great. 

This is a fun variation on a classic Instant Pot chili recipe! It’s delicious served with fluffy cornbread on the side or over a bed of hearty brown rice

Chili is one of our favorite things to make in the Instant Pot. It’s quick, filling, and always family-friendly. This sweet potato chili a great go-to if you want something lighter that’s just as comforting and high-protein as more traditional meat-based versions. 

all of the ingredients for Instant Pot vegetarian chili arranged in prep bowls ready to go into the Instant Pot

Ingredients for Vegetarian Chili

Gather these ingredients to make your chili:

  • Canned beans. You’ll use both black and kidney beans for the chili. 
  • Sweet potatoes. This simple starch adds a ton of flavor to the chili. If you love sweet potatoes, this is the recipe for you! They also add nutrition and extra fiber. 
  • Canned tomatoes. I use petite diced tomatoes from Hunts. 
  • Fresh mushrooms. Button or cremini work. 
  • Yellow onion. White onion will also work if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Green bell pepper. If you prefer, use red or yellow bell pepper. 
  • Fresh garlic. I highly recommend using fresh as it brings out the flavor even more than powdered
  • Vegetable broth. We used canned in this recipe, but if you prefer homemade, our recipe for Instant Pot vegetable broth will amp up the flavor even more. 
  • Olive oil. Necessary to sauté the vegetables.
  • Brown sugar. This brings a nice molasses-like consistency, however can use granulated if you like.
  • Balsamic vinegar.  For added acidity and sweetness. 
  • Spices. This chili gets flavor from cumin, smoked paprika, and dark chili powder. 

NOTE: This is a sweet chili that gets a lot of flavor from the sweet potatoes. If you love sweet potatoes and sweet-savory combinations, you’ll love this chili!

an overhead shot of the Instant Pot filled with green peppers and mushrooms to saute

How to Make Vegetarian Chili in an Instant Pot

This easy Vegetarian Chili recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant PotNinja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Sauté the Garlic, Onion, and Pepper

The first step in this recipe is to sauté the aromatics in the pressure cooking pot. Use a drizzle of olive oil to soften up the garlic, onion, and bell pepper. 

An overhead shot looking into the pressure cooker cooking pot, adding the sweet potatoes, spices, and broth to the vegetarian chili

Next, Add Most of the Remaining Ingredients and Pressure Cook

Next, add the sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broth, tomatoes, and spices, then pressure cook for 5 minutes. Since there’s a lot of liquid, the pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure. When the cook time ends, you can release the pressure manually. 

An overhead shot into an Instant Pot, adding the two different beans

Release the Pressure & Add the Beans

When the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and stir in the canned beans. Then cover the pot and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to heat the beans through.

Finally, finish the dish by stirring in the balsamic vinegar and serve with your favorite toppings. 

An overhead shot looking into the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon showing the chili before it thickens

Important Tips

Here are a few key notes to keep in mind when making this sweet potato chili in the pressure cooker:

  • Add the canned beans after cooking to help prevent the beans from becoming too soft or mushy. If you’re using dry beans, I recommend pressure cooking them before making this chili.
  • Adding balsamic vinegar just before serving helps bring out the flavor of the chili. 
  • Don’t skip the sugar! A bit of brown sugar helps cut the acidity from the tomatoes. Just a little goes a long way!
An overhead shot of a wooden spoon scooping up a bite of vegetarian chili with diced avocados and sour cream as garnish

Frequently Asked Questions about Sweet Potato Chili 

Can I make this chili on the stove?

You can also make this chili on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. I have not yet tried these methods, but here are my starting recommendations for making this on the stove top:
In a large pot, sauté the garlic, onions and bell peppers in olive oil. Then add the remaining ingredients except the beans and vinegar. I suggest to simmer ingredients for 20-25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Once tender, stir in the beans and cook  an additional 10 minutes on low. Add the vinegar right before serving.

Can I use a slow cooker?

To make the chili in a slow cooker, add all ingredients except the beans and vinegar. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until sweet potatoes are tender. About 30 minutes before the meal is finished, stir in the beans. Just before serving, add the vinegar for that extra zing!

Can I make any ingredient substitutions?

If you don’t have dark chili powder, regular works just fine. It just has a richer flavor profile. I recommend using a little more than the two tablespoons. 

If you don’t have brown sugar, you can use granulated white sugar. The brown sugar just gives it a little more of a molasses like flavor/consistency.

How to store leftovers?

Once cooled, place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days or up to 2-3 months in the freezer for future use.

Can I make the chili ahead of time and freeze it?

Yes you can! I actually prefer the flavor and texture of day-old chili.

Just ensure you have some nice airtight containers that are freezer safe. Keep the chili in the freezer for up to six months.

You can reheat from frozen in the Instant Pot or defrost the chili in the firdge overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

A vertical shot showing a white bowl full of vegetarian chili in front of an Instant Pot, garnished with sour cream, tortilla chips, and sliced avocados, with fresh cut lime and a small bowl of additional chili in the background.

MORE Instant Pot Chili Recipes

If you’re looking for more Instant Pot Chili, we have several different versions:

  • Beef and Bean Chili features tender chunks of beef in a delicious savory broth.
  • Chili Mac is a fully-loaded tex-mex spin on mac and cheese with plenty of spice. (Sorry Cincinnati Chili lovers, we’ve never heard of your way to make it until we started getting questions on that post.)
  • Instant Pot White Chicken Chili is a light and healthy stew with white beans and juicy chicken.
  • Instant Pot Chili Dog Sauce is the perfect meaty and savory topping for your next barbecue.  
An overhead shot of the sweet potato chili  garnished with sour cream and avocados with a halved avocado and tortilla chips in the background

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A 45 degree shot of Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili with sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and red kidney beans visible underneath a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocados

Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 1 can 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can 15 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can 15 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 small sweet potatoes about 2 cups diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Toppings as desired (tortilla chips, sour cream, sliced avocado, cilantro or cheese)

Instructions

  • Select Saute to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add the olive oil to coat the cooking pot, then add the garlic. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds, then add the onions and bell peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Stir a few times to avoid sticking to bottom of pan and any vegetables from browning too quickly.
  • Add the vegetable broth, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour in the tomatoes on top and do not stir.
  • Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and a 5 minute cook time. When the cook time ends, use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  • Stir in the black beans, kidney beans, and brown sugar. Cover with the lid and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the beans heat through and the chili to continue to thicken.
  • Remove the lid and add the balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  • Garnish with any toppings you desire. This chili pairs well with tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, and then sprinkled with cilantro or cheese.

Notes

*If you can't find dark chili powder, regular is fine.
pinterest image that reads "Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili: made with sweet potatoes" overlaid on two photos: the top photo of an Instant Pot filled with cooked chili and the bottom photo dished up in a pretty white bowl with handles where the chili clearly shows the sweet potatoes, black and pinto beans, and mushrooms, garnished with sour cream and sliced avocados

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