This pressure cooker chili is a one pot meal made with items you can find in any pantry. The black beans add depth and the lentils add a little spice – the mushrooms tie everything together into savory, satisfying dish.

This recipe fills a six liter/quart pressure cooker half-way – that is the maximum fill level for beans and legumes – so don’t double it (unless, of course, you are using a 12 liter/quart pressure cooker).

In the video, I mention how you can also make the quick-pickled peppers that garnish this chili in the pressure cooker, here’s the recipe for those (it’s easy, too!).

Before we get right into the recipe, I’m going to anticipate a couple of questions based on the feedback I’ve received over the years from new cooks.

What’s the deal with the cooking time?

Most of the things you’ve read and seen so far about the difference between electric and stove top pressure cookers is that stove top pressure cookers reach a higher pressure and thusly cook “hotter” and faster than electrics.  So for a dense food like beans, why give the same cooking time for both types of cookers?  The answer lies in the pressure release.  Stove top pressure cookers average a “Natural Release” opening time of about 10 minutes. Instead, because of their thermos-like construction and ceramic heating disk, electric pressure cookers average a “Natural Release” opening time of about 20 minutes.  Because of the fill level, and type of food being cooked the actual opening time in this recipe is closer to 15 for stove top and 30 for electrics.  Even though there is no additional heat or pressure, the food in the cooker is still cooking with the residual heat and steam during the natural release time.  So, the extra time the electric pressure cooker takes to open makes-up for the fact that the lentils were actually pressure cooked at a lower pressure (temperature).

Why does the “keep warm” program not matter? 

My standard recipe instructions always instruct the cook to turn off or unplug an electric pressure cooker when the pressure cooking time is finished.  This has lead to some readers to mistakenly assume that if they don’t do it, the cooker will take longer to loose pressure.

Here’s the deal: “Keep Warm” is not a pressure program so it won’t actually kick-in until after the cooker has lost pressure.  Even though the program light turns on right after pressure cooking, the heating element isn’t actually heating the food until after the pressure cooker has cooled enough to loose pressure.

So, the real reason I instruct you to turn off  the “Keep Warm” program or unplug the cooker is to prevent the food from cooking more after the cooker has lost pressure.

Bottom line: Don’t worry, leaving the “Keep Warm” on when pressure cooking is finished will not prolong them time it takes for your pressure cooker to perform a “Natural Pressure Release”.

Now that we’ve cleared-up this bit, let’s make some chili!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 10 min. High(2) Natural

4.3 from 9 reviews
Pressure Cooker Black Bean & Lentil Chili
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 6 to 8 servings
  • Serving size: ⅛th (about a cup)
  • Calories: 144.9
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.5g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 24.4g
  • Sugar Carbs: 3.2g
  • Sodium: 362mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 7.5g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe fills a 6L/qt pressure cooker half-way - this is the maximum fill level for beans in a pressure cooker. Do not double this recipe unless you're using a 12L/qt pressure cooker. As-is this recipe feeds 6-8 people. Substitute the lentils with any variety of whole lentil. The same pressure cooking time is given for both stove top and electric pressure cookers in this recipe because although the stove top pressure cooker cooks "hotter", at a higher pressure, than electrics the natural release is actually a bit faster. So, the electric pressure cooker compensates for this cooking temperature difference by actually cooking the food further during the longer Natural Release (almost 30 minutes for electric versus about 15 for stove top).
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cumin
  • 1 ounce (30g) dried mushrooms (any kind, I prefer Porcini)
  • 1 cup (200g) lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 cups (400g) dry black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 - 14 oz. can (400g) chopped tomatoes (or 1¾ cups freshly chopped tomatoes - about three tomatoes)
  • 4 cups (1L) water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
optional garnish:
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • quick-pickled jalapeño peppers
  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker by pressing the "Brown" or "Saute'" program - meanwhile gather the ingredients and chop the carrots and onion.
  2. To the pressure cooker add the oil and onion.
  3. Then, add the spices (paprika, oregano, garlic powder and cumin), dried mushrooms, carrots, and chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
  4. Mix-in the lentils, black beans and water. Mix well.
  5. Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
  6. Electric pressure cookers and stove top pressure cookers: Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
  7. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural pressure release.
    Electric pressure cookers: Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down (about 20 to 30 minutes).
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 15 minutes).
  8. Add the salt and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
  9. Serve and, optionally, garnish with grated cheddar cheese and quick-pickled jalapeño peppers.


CONTINUE to next lesson.



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  1. 2 cups of black beans after they’re soaked or before? If after, how much dry beans does that equal?

    1. Sue, measure two cups of dry black beans, then soak (or quick-soak) them, and then use them in this recipe. : )



      1. Laura, Can you use canned black beans in this recipe?

        1. Yes, but add them in after pressure cooking and simmer them in with the chili.



  2. That was lovely! I cut quantities in half as only feeding my wife and I. Used the whole can of tomatoes and cut down on the water. A bit disappointed initially but some lemon juice made this wonderful and easy recipe just perfect.

    1. Perhaps the pickled Jalapenos should not have been marked as “optional.” So glad you found a way to zing-up this chili, anyway!



  3. I made this today. It came out great. Peter: I always try to use the best quality spices possible. Could this have been your issue? My dish came out very tasty. I also sauteed the onions by themselves for a few minutes in the oil then added the spices & sauteed them for about 30 seconds, stirring often. I then proceeded with the recipe as written. I think these steps helped.

  4. I probably came across as overly critical. We loved it and yes, I used the pickled chillis Laura.

    It could just be my test buds. But please don’t get me wrong, this is a lovely, wonderful, easy recipe and my wife (and daughter who did not like the idea of it, but loved it when she tasted it) are nagging me to make it again!

    Thank you for your replies, really appreciate it.

    1. Peter, your feedback is valuable and critiques are always appreciated. I’m so glad that you found a way to brighten it up and took the time to share it with us!



  5. Hi, just a quick note to say that Worcestershire Sauce is not vegan as it has anchovies in it.
    Thanks for helping me get to kn my PC

    1. Jay, this recipe is vegan-friendly. That means that you can leave out or replace a non-essential ingredient to make it vegan.

      You can replace Worcestershire Sauce with a tablespoon of Soy Sauce, a teaspoon of dijon mustard and two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

      You can also leave off the cheddar cheese or replace it with Daiya shreds. : )



      1. You can also use vegan Worcestershire Sauce such as Annie’s brand-

  6. Hi Laura,

    I was looking for the recipe for quick pickled Jalapeño peppers in the pressure cooker that you mentioned, you were able to be done, but am unable to find,
    i am also unable to find it in your recipe book My husband and I walked 22km to purchase while visiting Canada last year,
    Hope you can direct me to the recipe

    Cheers Jo

    1. Jo, it’s coming. I made the video for it and will be posting it in the next month. Watch for it in the next newsletter or two – or subscribe to the YouTube channel to see it the minute I upload it. : )

      Wow – tell me more about your walk!!!



    2. Jo, I published the video and recipe for the quick pickled Jalapeno peppers. You can find it here:



  7. Thanks for your prompt reply, looking forward to making this recipe.
    I’ve followed hip pressure cooking for a few years now and find your recipes fantastic, I have the stove top Silit pressure cookers and just love how quick, easy and healthy our meals are. I had wanted your cookbook for a very long time but was unable to buy it in Australia, Amazon could have posted it but the cost was huge so I went without.
    My husband and I visited Canada last year so I decide to try track this book down, if it was my only souviner from Canada that would be awesome, While on Vancouver island, Victoria we ( I mean me, but he had to come too) decided to go find a book shop, after lots and lots of walking we managed to come across a book shop, no joy, more searching we found another, no joy, the first 2 we visited didn’t have it but could order it in, no good as we were heading off the next morning, I asked if there was another book shop in the area, just across the road, the third book shop had it, finally my hands on the pressure cooking bible yay, my husband was cranky, but relieved I finally found it, we slept very well that night.

    Keep up the good work, now to find out how to subscribe to you tube

    Cheers Jo

  8. This looks selfish! I have a 5qt pressure cooker..l how would you suggest amending this recipe for my size?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. Sorry, that was supposed to say to say “delish”, not selfish! :)

  9. My results differ a bit from yours (though I’m sure yours work very well as well.) I’ve found that some beans benefit from soaking or quick-soaking, and that some work as well, or better when cooked ‘from dry.’

    I’ve put black beans in the ‘don’t soak’ category. I get really good results without soaking black beans, but… the key to this is something that will bother traditionalists a bit, I suspect. I salt them ;).

    This is something I was starting to play with even before I saw Kenji-Alt Lopez’s articles on the subject, but his experiments really helped me refine the technique and dial things in.

    That said, of course when following a recipe that involves soaking you _must_ soak to keep times consistent, unless you are _very_ confident in your ability to adjust timings.

    I’d also say ‘Yay for pressure-cooked chili.’ I am not a purist about chili- I like everything from authentic 5-alarm Texas red to Northeastern chili with a lot of tomato and beans (though I’m not sure I will ever entirely approve of the way people from Cincinnati use chili as a spaghetti topping- it is my one real chili prejudice.) I’ve found that, beans or no beans, tomato or no tomato, fiery-hot or mild as a lamb (maybe even made with lamb,) there is no chili that cannot be made well in a pressure-cooker.

    1. Tagore, I’m a big fan of brining beans during the soak as well (ever since ATK did a video on it). I don’t propose doing it (yet) on the website because I’ve gotten inconsistent results. The beans have been super-tasty and cook super-fast but I haven’t been able to pin down a set “rule” of ratios for salt to water in the soak, or by how much the pressure cooking time is decreased – my early testing indicates that it’s bean variety independent.

      I know some readers salt their beans during the soaking phase as well – please consider starting a topic on the subject for further discussion and discovery in the forums.

      Thanks for sharing your all-inclusive chili policy. ; )



  10. Hi Laura,
    Made this chilli tonight, it was a huge hit with my husband and the kids
    Just wanted to say a huge thanks for the different meal options you have provided for my family

    Again a huge thank you, keep up the great work

    Cheers Jo

  11. Dear Laura, I made this recipe yesterday and it is a home run all the way! Reading Tagore Smith’s comments about Cincy chili made me realize this would be a superb topping for spaghetti squash. I cannot wait to try it this weekend or sooner. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!



  12. How can I print this? When I copy and paste into a document, it comes out as one long paragraph. I know I’m old-school, but I still like to print recipes.

    1. Karen, at the bottom of the recipe, under the heading “Sharing is Caring” there is a little circle with a picture of a printer. It’s the next-to-last circle. Click on it and you can either print as-is or click on the intro and pictures to make them disappear so you only print the recipe.



  13. Let me start by saying, this is an AMAZING recipe! It is a terrific starting block to making a hearty, veggie chili. Now, everyone has different tastes in chili and I will share what I like. I usually forget to soak the black beans over night and do a “quick soak” in the pressure cooker. I like to double the spices called for (maybe my spices are weak or maybe I like it more flavorful, who knows?) and do everything the recipe says except to add a pint of cherry tomatoes and an 8oz carton of chopped mushrooms as well. I also find that I need to add 2 more cups of water. When it’s finished – follow the instructions, they are perfect!! – I like to add a cup of frozen corn, an additional can of Rotel spicy tomatoes, the “optional” pickled jalapenos, chopped cilantro and Worcestershire to taste. This really is such a terrific and adaptable recipe! Thanks Laura!!

  14. Admitted newbie question here – I just got an old stove top pressure cooker (with the weighted jiggly valve) and want to make this recipe. You say to cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. Do I start the time at when that jiggly valve starts jigglin’? Also, I somehow (obviously wrongly) assumed I wouldn’t have to soak beans anymore with this miraculous, time saving pressure cooker – have you written on this subject before and might you point me to it?


    1. Mike, you should not be operating the pressure cooker without reading the instructions. Take a look to see if you can find them here:

      Also, here is an article and the beginning of the bean lesson that this recipe belongs to- both describe why it’s not a good idea, in my opinion, to pressure cook beans straight from dry:

      BTW, if you do the math, you’ll find that it is actually faster to quick-soak and pressure cook beans than pressure cooking them directly from dry.



  15. Thank you so much for both a recipe for a delicious dish and great instructions. I am an instant pot newbie and this was the second thing I cooked in it. I can’t wait to explore the rest of this site.

    1. Welcome Sara, so glad you’ve found the Pressure Cooking school and are having success!!



  16. Hi Laura,

    I was excited to try this tonight but it was a disaster, my black beans wouldn’t soften even after 3 x extra 5 mins at high and 15 mins on the hob without pressure. My cooker is a British Tower brand cooker, high is 85kPa, 12,5psi so I added an extra minute initially. I’m also using an induction hob so I heated the cooker to pressure on a medium setting.

    Have you any idea where I went wrong? thank you!

    1. Did you soak the black beans?



      1. Yes, I put them in boiling water, put the lid on and then left them for 6 hours. Would this be enough?

        1. Sally, that should have been enough to soak them. If you did not add any other ingredients in the “conventional quick-soak” and did not alter from the recipe then it would bring me to think that the beans are an issue. Because you did everything else right, including bringing to pressure on medium on induction.

          BTW, for future reference, because of the “lower” (non-standard) pressure of your cooker follow the recipe cooking times given for electric pressure cookers. ; )



          P.S. To use the rest of these HTC (Hard To Cook) beans, long-soak the heck out of them (48 hours changing the water regularly) and pressure cook in only water.

          1. Thanks Laura! That’s a relief to know it’s the beans, I must admit this was the first bag of black beans i’d ever bought and I was a little put off. Luckily it’s a small bag, fingers crossed that my next batch cook up easily but I know what do do if I have that problem again. By the way I made your speedy jacket potatoes to go with the chilli, they worked out great, having them again tonight.

            Thanks for all your tips, your website is a fantastic resource.

  17. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I’m embarrassed to admit that it was my first time to cook/eat a lentil. Ever. In my life. We topped ours with some chopped cilantro and shredded cheese- amazing!

  18. Amazing recipe! Great flavor profile. I chose not to soak the black beans because I find them more flavorful by not soaking them.

  19. This did not work so well for me. After cooking for the stated amount of time, the beans weren’t done. I added a cup of water and cooked the chili a while longer, after which the beans were done, but the chili was watery and a burnt layer had stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    As for the flavor, it’s okay, but I would at least halve the cumin, which is very dominant, and maybe add some hot pepper flakes to give the dish some heat.

    1. Hi Lena, what kind of pressure cooker do you have? Did soak the beans and wait for the full Natural Release? Remember that the beans are continuing to cook during that time, too.

      Following my instructions, the beans SHOULD have been done on the first cook. By the second cook the beans were too thick to boil in just one cup of water which is why they stuck to the bottom and burned.

      I’m sorry to hear that this didn’t work out well for you.



  20. I have the power pressure XL and it does not have a high pressure setting. What setting would you use for the Black bean and lentil chili?

    1. Chrissie, use the “Beans/Lentils” program and adjust it to 15 minutes. : )

      Happy New Year!!



      1. Thank you for a quick response.

  21. Hi Laura

    I am about to try this recipe. Did you use red or green lentils?

    1. Brown lentils. But, inside they’re orange. ; )



  22. This might be the first comment that I’ve ever left. This was really yummy. Thank you so much for the recipe. I added 1 chile in adobo before cooking and additional cider vinegar at the end. The lentils fall apart and the texture was great! Again, I never leave reviews, so thank you!

  23. This was my first Instant Pot recipe, just bought a 6qt Duo Plus model. The only changes I made were I added a jalapeno when I added the onions and did not use any salt as I’m on a low sodium diet.

    I did the natural method of depressurizing, it took 42 minutes according to the timer. Overall the beans came out great, nice and soft as I like them. However, the overall flavor was bland (I’m sure no added salt didn’t help), and there was still too much water in the chili. It looks more watery than the pictures you have here.

    Thank you for the website, I’ve learned a lot already about using the Instant Pot and pressure cooking.

  24. Can you add a pound of hamburger to this recipe? My husband thinks he has to have meat, lol!

    1. That’s hilarious! My husband said the same! I asked him to taste it b/c I wanted to add more spices, & he said it needs hamburger meat! I said that is not a spice! He said it’s not chili if it doesn’t have meat. I disagree. like it!

  25. If you add a pound of hamburger to this, do you need to add more water?

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