5-Ingredient Instant Pot Chili with Healthier Frito Chili Pie and Chili Cheese Tots Recipes
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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. And making things like crispy carnitas and easy pulled pork sandwiches, for example. This is the Instant Pot I use.
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.
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.
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.
High Protein Chili Cheese Cauliflower Tots Recipe
And finally, I’d like to point you towards both my high protein cauliflower tots and protein waffle fries recipes. Both of these recipes call for a bit of unflavored protein powder, but you could certainly substitute with nutritional yeast or other thickeners to make the recipes work without it.
Both of these recipes are crazy simple and have unbelievable macros. The cauliflower tots, for example, only have 68 calories and nearly 7 grams of protein per tot (they’re giant). While the waffle fries have 245 calories and 25 grams of protein in the entire recipe! And don’t worry, the fries are made with real potatoes.
Okay, we’re finally to the instant pot chili recipe. I hope you enjoy!
5-Ingredient Instant Pot Chili
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
Set instant pot to saute and add minced garlic to pot.
Next, add ground beef (or meat of choice) and brown as you normally would. Optional: salt and pepper the meat as it browns.
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.)
Once the meat has browned, add remaining ingredients and stir.
Seal the Instant Pot and close the vent. Cook on manual for 10 minutes and allow a 15 to 20-minute natural release.
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.
Are you looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Check out my Crispy Carnitas or Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice and Pan Roasted Corn and Black Beans Bowls (pictured above) recipes next.
And as always, if you try any of my recipes, I want to see your re-creations on Instagram. It lets me know you’re putting healthy recipes into action, and I love sharing your recipes to inspire others.