Instant Pot vegan sweet potato three bean chili uses dried beans, corn, and hints of cacao powder for an easy, warming chili with a great flavor the whole family will love.
This post walks you through the steps of making this delicious Instant Pot chili recipe with no added oil. I'm also going to teach you how to soak beans in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time.
The Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker is a great way to cook dried beans for delicious one-pot dinners like creamy dal makhani with dry kidney beans, Spanish chickpea soup, and dried chickpea chana masala.
And it's a wonder for making homemade chili with various beans.
Table of Contents
📋 Recipe Ingredients
Cumin seeds. Toasted cumin seeds have an earthy, peppery flavor and are particularly good in chili and curries. Use ½ teaspoon of ground cumin when you add the chili powder as a substitute.
Dried beans. I used red kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, Great Northern beans, or white beans, like white kidney beans can also be used. I would avoid Adzuki beans or small, softer beans because they cook in a shorter amount of time.
Chili powder. For spicier chili powders, consider reducing the amount for less spiciness. You can always add more. Try my homemade chili seasoning blend for a full-flavor powder.
Cacao powder. Cacao, or vegan cocoa powder, is my secret ingredient for quick vegan black bean chili. It adds a slightly sweet, rich flavor.
Sweet potato. Cubed sweet potatoes make the chili naturally creamy.
Corn. Use fresh cobbed corn, drained canned corn, or frozen.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
📖 Recipe Variations
- For more vegetables, add green or red bell pepper or small diced green beans.
- Add ½ a cup of coarse bulgur for a vegan ground beef texture.
🥘 Quick-Soak Dry Beans in the Instant Pot
- Rinse the dry beans and add them to the Instant Pot.
- Add 2-3 times the water. It will seem like a lot, but you want to give the beans plenty of room so that they don’t bang together.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam handle to Sealing. Cook the beans for 5 minutes on High Pressure and 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
- Open the sealing valve to release the steam and then carefully remove the lid.
- Rinse the beans in cold water and set them aside.
Why Soak Dried Beans
- Water rehydrates beans so they hold their shape during the cooking process.
- Reduced cooking time.
- Rinse away their natural sugars that can cause bean indigestion.
♨️ Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: Set the Saute function, then toast the cumin seeds.
Step 2: Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and cacao.
Step 3: Stir in the tomatoes, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the pot. Turn the Instant Pot off.
Step 4: Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes with 10 minutes NPR.
⏲️ Pro Tips
Avoid the Food Burning notice by turning the Instant Pot off between the saute and pressure cook cycles. Use a wooden spoon or non-abrasive utensil to clear ingredients stuck to the bottom.
💬 Frequently Asked Questions
Cocoa and cacao come from the same place – the cacao bean from the Theobroma cacao tree. The difference is all about the processing of the bean. Cocoa is a highly processed cacao. Beans are roasted at a very high temperature, reducing nutrients. It often contains multiple additives and is not always vegan. Cacao is minimally processed, maintains more of the original nutritional properties, and is vegan.
Yams are a typical substitution for sweet potatoes. Although they are different vegetables, they are used interchangeably in many countries, including the US.
It’s possible to make this recipe using both canned and dried beans on the stove. If you use dried beans, be sure to soak them first. Follow the recipe instructions and allow the chili to simmer until the beans are tender (about 45 minutes). If using canned beans, rinse and drain the beans and cook the chili until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes).
The yield from 1 pound of dried beans is about 6 cups. If you substitute canned beans for dried for this recipe, use 4 cans, rinsed and drained.
Store leftover chili in an airtight container for 5 days in the fridge. Reheat on the stove on medium-high heat or in the microwave, stirring a few times to heat through.
This chili recipe is freezer-friendly. Freeze in bulk or in individual containers for 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in the morning and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
🍛 More Vegan Chili Recipes
Instant Pot Vegan Sweet Potato Three Bean Chili (Dry Beans)
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- 1 pound dried beans - pinto, black, and red kidney beans, 2 ¼ cups
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 cups onions - diced, 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic - minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cacao powder - or vegan cocoa powder
- 1 can tomatoes - crushed or diced, 15 ounces/400 grams
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 cups sweet potato - diced, 1 medium sweet potato
- 2 cups corn - fresh, canned, or frozen
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Black pepper and sea salt to taste
- Soak the beans covered in water overnight. Alternatively, do a quick soak in the Instant Pot. Rinse the beans and add them to the Instant Pot with at least 6 cups of water. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam handle in the Sealing position. Set the Instant Pot on High Pressure for 5 minutes. When the beeper goes off, allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Release the steam valve and carefully remove the lid. Drain and rinse the beans. Set them aside.
- Set the Instant Pot on the Sauté mode. Add the cumin seeds and toast them for about 30 seconds. Use a wooden spoon to stir them so that they don't burn.
- Add the onions and cook them for 2-3 minutes. Stir them until they start to soften and become translucent.
- Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and mix them with the onions. Then mix in the spices.
- Mix the tomatoes, maple syrup, and soy sauce with the remaining ingredients. Turn the Instant Pot off. Use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the pot from any ingredients stuck to the bottom.
- Stir in the beans, sweet potatoes, corn, and broth. Clear the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Secure the Instant Pot lid, set the steam handle to Sealing, and set High Pressure for 15 minutes. Turn off the warming function. Once the beeper goes off, let the pot sit for 10 minutes of natural release.
- Carefully open the steam handle on the Instant Pot when the pressure valve sinks back down. Stir the chili, then taste and add salt or pepper if desired.
- Prep time includes soaking the beans and heating up the Instant Pot. Cooking time adds 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to start pressure cooking.
- Use any combination of dried beans you like, including chickpeas and white kidney beans, but avoid softer, smaller beans such as Adzuki.
- Cacao powder is unprocessed and vegan. If you use cocoa powder, be sure to read the label to ensure that it does not contain additives (including animal products) that you don’t want.
- The yield from 1 pound of dried beans is about 6 cups. If you substitute canned beans for dried for this recipe, use 4 cans, rinsed and drained.
- Cook the chili on the stovetop if you use canned beans. Follow the recipe instructions, then bring the cooking pot to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- To cook on the stovetop with dried beans, be sure that you soak the beans first. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender (45 minutes to 1 hour). You may need to add more broth depending on the cooking time of the beans.
- Store chili in an airtight container for 5 days. Freeze for 3 months.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.