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5-Ingredient Instant Pot Chili with Healthier Frito Chili Pie and Chili Cheese Tots Recipes

There are millions of chili recipes out there with exotic flavor combinations and unique ingredients. This is not one of those recipes. Nope, this instant pot chili is as simple as it gets with the intention of saving time and energy with your food prep or having a base for other recipes.

While this recipe is perfect by itself or with a few crackers, I’m going to spice things up a bit with ideas for a healthier Frito chili pie creation and high protein chili cheese tater tots and fries. As I’ll touch on below, I want you to take this base Instant Pot chili recipe and run with it.

If by chance you’re reading this and don’t have an Instant Pot, you can actually make do without one for this recipe. That said, I would seriously consider adding one to your kitchen for saving a ton of time in the kitchen. 

A ridiculously easy Instant Pot chili recipe that will save you a ton of time and energy while opening up a world of opportunity for other healthy recipes like low calorie Frito chili pie and high protein chili cheese tater tots and fries.

Update 11/2019: With only 5 ingredients, this is a barebones beef and bean chili. If you wanted to take things up a notch with more spices and flavor, check out recipes like my chipotle black bean chili, pressure cooker Mexican chicken soup, or even breakfast chili.

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Instant Pot Chili Ingredients

First things first, I have a picky eater in my household. Meaning, this instant pot chili recipe will be as bare bones as it gets. It’s delicious nonetheless, but I would recommend souping it up as you see fit. You could add diced onions and peppers, a bit of cayenne pepper to spice things up, or other seasonings and ingredients that you like in chili.

Or, if you too have picky eaters in the house, five ingredients get the job done.

The only true ingredient note worth mentioning here is the chili seasoning. In the spirit of my blog’s recipe style, the recipe calls for a pre-packaged chili seasoning. I understand the dread of looking at a recipe with 20+ ingredients, even if most are just spices and herbs, so we’re keeping it simple. If you want to use your family’s top-secret chili seasoning blend, be my guest. Otherwise, party on.

Before we get to the full chili recipe, let’s cover the healthier Frito chili pie and how to make high protein chili cheese tots and fries.

Healthier Frito Chili Pie Recipe

This could be a southern thing but other than crackers, I’m not sure of a better chili pairing than a handful of Fritos and shredded cheese. Typing that sentence peaked my curiosity about the origin story behind Frito pie, and it looks like it originated in Mexico with corn chips before Fritos even existed. Frito-Lay published a cookbook in the 50s with a Frito Pie recipe, and the rest is history.

Super interesting, right?

Back to what matters—making a healthier Frito chili pie. Since corn chips are the biggest calorie contributor to the recipe, I’ve replaced them with a higher protein chip from a baked flatbread or tortilla. The recipe below uses a flour-based flatbread, but a thin corn tortilla (pictured below) is probably the better option for a Frito replacement.

high protein chips recipe

P.S. Here’s a link to my Instagram if you’d like to see more recipe graphics like the one above. 

You’ll see an example of thin corn tortillas below. In this case, these actually have fewer calories per serving size than the flatbread above. You may have to adjust baking time slightly depending on what you use for your faux Fritos and how many you’re cooking at once. I’d say no longer than 10 minutes for anything, though. low calorie corn tortillas for frito chili pie

To make chips for a Frito pie, you’ll likely want to cut them into small strips like you see below. Actually, you’ll want to cut them even smaller than you see below so they’re more Frito-sized.

After you’ve made your faux corn chips, it’s as easy as adding the chili and a bit of fat-free or reduced fat shredded cheese. In the photo above, I used a mixture of 1/4 cup of fat-free cheddar and 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese.

Chili Cheese Tots and Fries

Here’s a handful of recipes that would go perfectly under your chili:

Or you could always use frozen tots like in my chili dog tater tot casserole.

Okay, we’re finally to the instant pot chili recipe. I hope you enjoy!

A ridiculously easy Instant Pot chili recipe that will save you a ton of time and energy while opening up a world of opportunity for other healthy recipes like low calorie Frito chili pie and high protein chili cheese tater tots and fries.

5-Ingredient Instant Pot Chili

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The easiest Instant Pot chili recipe you'll come across. 


  • 2 lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef, Turkey, or Chicken, macros are with 96/4
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Minced Garlic
  • 1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 15 oz cans Red Kidney Beans
  • 2 packets Chili Seasoning*
  • 1/2-1 tsp Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. Set instant pot to saute and add minced garlic to pot. 
  2. Next, add ground beef (or meat of choice) and brown as you normally would. Optional: salt and pepper the meat as it browns.
  3. If you're using 95/5 or leaner, don't drain the meat. If you're using a fattier cut, you can drain and rinse the meat 3/4 way through cooking to remove some of the fat. (Studies have shown that draining and rinsing meat may remove up to half the fat in ground meat, though it will slightly affect your tracking accuracy.)
  4. Once the meat has browned, add remaining ingredients and stir. 
  5. Seal the Instant Pot and close the vent. Cook on manual for 10 minutes and allow a 15 to 20-minute natural release. 


*If you want to make your own chili seasoning, check out my high protein chili or Instant Pot turkey chili recipes.

Entire Recipe: 2,000 Calories | 178P | 266C | 25F (74g Fiber) --- Serving size may vary based on the cut of meat you use and whether or not you drain. The easiest way to get an accurate measure is to log all ingredients, weigh the entire pot of chili either in the Instant Pot or in a separate container, and divide accordingly. Let's say the entire pot weighs 5,000 grams and you wanted 10, 200-calorie servings. Each serving would need to weigh 500 grams. If you'd like to convert that to cups, weigh your chili in a measuring cup and calculate accordingly. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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A ridiculously easy Instant Pot chili recipe that will save you a ton of time and energy while opening up a world of opportunity for other healthy recipes like low calorie Frito chili pie and high protein chili cheese tater tots and fries.


Friday 11th of September 2020

I've made this quite a few times now, as written (although I'm pretty sure I did drain the beans), with no issues. Great recipe! Half of my family is vegetarian, so we end up freezing half of it, and it freezes well!


Monday 3rd of February 2020

How can I make this without the burn notice coming on? I even added a can of diced tomatoes. I wasn’t sure what to do once it game me the burn notice

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 4th of February 2020

You could add a bit of broth or water. Or open, stir, and continue cooking.


Monday 16th of December 2019

If we’re not using chili seasoning packets, how many Tbsp of chili seasoning should we use? Thanks

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

I believe a chili packet has around 35-40 grams. So two would be 70-80 or about 8-10 tablespoons.


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

I love how minimal this recipe list is. Chili can get to be a bit much with ingredients in order for it to be tasty, but this one is great! I sometimes love to have this with rice. Other times I’ll eat with frito chips. Thanks for sharing a quick and efficient recipe!


Monday 21st of January 2019

This is a good basic recipe and I agree unless you have a picky eater you will want to add more spice to this dish for added flavor. There were a couple ?? For me on the recipe- things I think may have been left out? For the kidney beans- rinsed and drained or use the liquid in the beans for the chili? I ask because I rinsed/drained mine but my insta didn't seal cooking this recipe and I think it was lack of liquid. You say to cook for 10 min then natural release but do we cook on high or low? The recipe came out very tasty with added spices and I will make again but I think I will add maybe 1 cup beef broth to add liquid.

Mason Woodruff

Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

Undrained on the beans. I always note when when to drain/rinse beans and other canned goods. So if you don't see it, go straight in. An for the IP, I'm assuming the default setting for the manual function is high.

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