Instant Pot Traditional Texas Chili

Instant Pot Traditional Texas Chili, often referred to as Texas Red Chili is as old as the chuck wagon days. The cowboys on the trails had limited resources but a wide variety of peppers, chilies and beef and wild game to chose from.  The key to great Texas Chili is the selection of which peppers and chilies to use and how much of each to use.

I’ve been fortunate to have won the “Peoples Choice Award” in a Texas Chili competition a few years back here in Austin, Texas. Was a very happy day in my life. Peoples choice award to me is such an honor.  To have been able to share with so many people and them enjoying.

You can find the original recipe on the website here.

traditional Texas red chili recipe


But WAIT 🙂 This recipe is the same Texas Chili recipe but with improvements I’ve made over the years. This recipe works spectacularly in the Instant Pot.

TIP: The chili powder measurements listed below are “Texas” sized scoops. If each tablespoon or teaspoon is a little over, I would encourage. ?

Jump Points


Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

Making Chili using of a pressure cooker/Instant Pot really improves the overall flavor profile. It speeds up the process of creating a true depth of flavor that will not take hours. The chilies and peppers maximize their potential when cooked under pressure. It’s very cool if you think about it. Chili is all about big flavor with a sense of balance of flavor.



texas chili recipe rules

  1. ? No Tomatoes – This is the LAW of the land. I personally like tomatoes in chili, but that is never going to count as a True Texas Chili Recipe. Sorry, rules are rules.

  2. ⛔ No Beans – Another LAW of the land. I personally like beans in chili. That’s more of a Timberland chili and would never count as a Texas Red Chili




The KEY to picking the perfect pepper so you can select the heat you like, look at the stems first.

Straighter stems are less hot.

Next, look on the pepper skin and look for heat fractures. They look like little bruises. See photo below.


how to shop for peppers controlling the heat level


Notice the stem is straight. This pepper will not be as hot as the rest. Heat level would be on the low end.


texas chili selecting the heat level in the peppers


What the hot part of a pepper is is the capsaicin. Capsaicin is the oil in the pepper.

To offset the burn on your tongue use either something acidic or sweet. They both force osmosis to occur. It’s like flushing out the cells in your tongue. Milk works due to the natural sugars.

Osmosis (/ɒzˈm.sɪs/) is the spontaneous net movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, in the direction that tends to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides.


instant pot texas red chili


onion types chart described

NOTE: Use what is local and in season, but if available Vidalia is my pick.

Also known as Texas Sweet 1015 Onions. The name represents the date of October 15th and the suggested date to plant the onions.

The onions are named Vidalia because they were historically grown in the town of Vidalia, Georgia. The cultivation of Vidalia onions started in the early 1930s. The different varieties are unusually sweet compared to other onions due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which Vidalia onions are grown.



Traditional Texas Red Chili isn’t the same without the garlic. Garlic is such a personal decision, do you like a little or a lot?

I suggest using around 6 cloves. Just enough to flavor the chili without over powering the dish. 


poblano pepper texas chili ingredient

The poblano (Capsicum annuum) is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or chile ancho, from the Spanish word ancho (“wide”).

While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano.


Fresno pepper texas chili ingredient

The Fresno Chili Pepper (/ˈfrɛzn/ FREZ-noh) is a medium-sized cultivar of Capsicum annuum. It should not be confused with the Fresno Bell pepper.  It is often confused with the jalapeño pepper but has thinner walls, often has milder heat, and takes less time to mature. It is however a New Mexico chile, which is genetically distinct from the jalapeño and it grows point up, rather than point down as with the jalapeño. The fruit starts out bright green changing to orange and red as fully matured. A mature Fresno pepper will be conical in shape, 2 inches long, and about 1 inch in diameter at the stem. The plants do well in warm to hot temperatures and dry climates with long sunny summer days and cool nights. They are very cold-sensitive and disease resistant, reaching a height of 24 to 30 inches.


serrano peppers texas chili ingredients


The Scoville rating of the Serrano pepper is 10,000 to 23,000. They are typically eaten raw and have a bright and biting flavor that is notably hotter than the jalapeño pepper. Serrano peppers are also commonly used in making pico de gallo and salsa, as the chili is particularly fleshy compared to others, making it ideal for such dishes.

It is the second most used chili pepper in Mexican cuisine and has a fruity flavor profile. 


habanero pepper texas chili ingredient

The habanero (/ˌ(h)ɑːbəˈnɛər/Spanish: [aβaˈneɾo] is a hot variety of chili pepper. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. The most common color variants are orange and red, but the fruit may also be white, brown, yellow, green, or purple. Typically, a ripe habanero is 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chilies are very hot, rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale. The habanero’s heat, flavor and floral aroma make it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and other spicy foods.

CHEF TIP: I think they almost have a peachy flavor profile. You can always take a small bite from the tip of the chile pepper to taste without the high heat hitting your tongue.


thai chile texas chili ingredient

Thai chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often two or three, at a node. The fruits are very pungent.

The bird’s eye chili is small, but is quite hot (piquant). It measures around 50,000 – 100,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower half of the range for the hotter habanero, but still much hotter than a common jalapeño.


anahelm pepper texas chili ingredient

An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of the cultivar ‘New Mexico No. 9’ and commonly grown outside of New Mexico. It is related to the ‘New Mexico No. 6 and 9’, but when grown out of state they have a higher variability rate. The name ‘Anaheim’ derives from Emilio Ortega, a farmer who brought the seeds from New Mexico to the Anaheim, California, area in 1894.

The chile “heat” of ‘Anaheim’ varies from 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale.


bell pepper texas chili ingredient

Sweet and not hot at all, zero. Very nice to use to round of the heat from the chile peppers. 


jalapeno texas chili ingredient

The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper pod type cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum. A mature jalapeño chili is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and hangs down with a round, firm, smooth flesh of 25–38 mm (1.0–1.5 in) wide. It can have a range of pungency, with Scoville heat units of 3,500 to 8,000. Commonly picked and consumed while still green, it is occasionally allowed to fully ripen and turn red, orange, or yellow. It is wider and generally milder than the similar Serrano pepper.

Instant Pot Traditional Texas Chili

Instant Pot Traditional Texas Chili

Award winning chili recipe in Austin Texas
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Classic Texas
Keyword: chilies in texas chili described, how to shop for peppers, Instant Pot Traditional Texas Chili
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooking The Base: 4 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 7 People
Calories: 420kcal
Cost: $20


  • Instant Pot
  • Food Processor
  • Chefs Knife
  • Spatula
  • Towel (To cover the food processor opening with to help stay clean)


  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion
  • 6 tbsp Garlic minced
  • 2 cups + Beef or Chicken Stock / only fill to cover the meat and base





  • Do not worry if you cannot find these chili powders. You can use what you can find in the store. The key is to use a few different ones to create a complex and deep flavor profile.
    I have added links to Amazon for chili powder purchase.
  • San Antonio Chili Powder
    San Antonio Chili Powder
  • New Mexico Chili Powder
    New Mexico Chili Powder
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Ancho Chili Powder
    Ancho Chili Powder


  • The level of HEAT will be controlled by how you handle the fresh chile peppers.
    Three HEAT Options:
    *Low/Medium Heat (remove the seeds and the rib (Rib= the white part the seeds are connected to)
    Medium+ (only remove the seeds)
    HOT ( Only remove the stem from the chili pepper)

Creating the TEXAS CHILI Flavor"BASE"

  • Using a food processor works best.
    Start by cutting the peppers to your liking. Use the HEAT instruction chart above to control the heat level.
    Be sure to read the section In-Article above covering, How To Shop For Peppers - Controlling The Heat Level
  • Keep half of the poblano, 1/2 onion, 1/2 jalapeno, 1/2 bell pepper, 1/2 anaheim pepper to the side after cutting. We will be dicing these up to add texture to the chili later.
  • First, add onion and garlic to food processor. Keep the food processor on while you add all the peppers.
  • Add the Habanero, Thai Chiles, ( I cut each in half and add the bottom half to the base and discard the top/stem half)
  • Add to the Base, 1 jalapeno, 2 serranos, 2 fresno chiles, half of one poblano pepper, half of the red bell pepper, half of the anaheim pepper,
  • Dried ancho and guajillo peppers, remove the stems and seeds and slice/chop to help the food processor. Add the dried peppers. Have a towel ready to cover the top to reduce any mess. The dried peppers can give the food processor a quick hickup. The other peppers chop up very easy in the food processor.

Making Instant Pot Traditional TEXAS CHILI

  • The MEAT: try to use more than one cut of beef or protein you enjoy most. Venison, Elk, Pork, Chicken, Tofu, Beef.
    Suggestions for Cuts Of Beef:
    *Chuck *Short Rib *Brisket *Sirloin
    Meat Mix: Use cubed chunks of beef along with ground beef (Sirlion)
  • Turn the Instant Pot ((Saute)) feature on by pressing the button ON the front panel.
    Set to Normal heat. The timer should be set to 30 minutes.
    instant pot control interface
  • As the Instant Pot heats up cut up your beef. Sprinkle kosher salt all over the beef and rub into meat.
  • Next< add oil to the Instant Pot. Give the oil a short moment to heat up and add the cut up beef. Save the ground beef for later.
  • Sear the beef then remove from Instant Pot and reserve in a bowl. Clean out the Instant Pot pot then replace with the saute feature still turned ON.
  • Add the BASE to the pot and cook. This will deepen the flavor and marry the flavors together and create the magic. The cooking process also softens the HEAT level. Cook for around 5 minutes or you can see that the BASE has tightened up/thickened UP.
  • Add the seared beef to the pot with the cooked BASE and add the ground beef and combine/stir together. Cut up the peppers we saved to the side. Dice them up to your liking. Adds texture to the chili.
  • Next< add the dry seasonings and spices according to the measurements outlined in the ingredients section above. Add the BEEF STOCK. Stir everything together and cook for 3 minutes.
    Visit OUR Beef Stock Stock Recipe Link Below Recipe Card
    How To Make Clean Homemade Beef Stock
    homemade beef stock
  • Place the Instant Pot cover on. Make sure the plastic circle ring/gasket is installed on the cover. Turn to exhaust value to sealing.
  • Press the Pressure Cook button and set the timer to 30 to 35 minutes. Make sure the Heat setting in set to "Normal" (the middle setting). And the pressure setting is set to "High Pressure".
  • Once the timer is up you can do a quick release with the sealing value. I like placing a knife under the value a small bit and allow the steam to release. Once the small metal PIN drops the pressure has left the Instant Pot and it is now safe to open.




Serving: 1cup | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 670mg | Fiber: 4g | Iron: 2mg
Try MAKING Your OWN Homemade BEEF Stock.

How To Make Clean Homemade Beef Stock

homemade beef stock


instant pot clean up tips


Try using mister clean magic erasers to keep the stainless steel super clean

instant pot clean up tips try using mister clean magic eraser to keep the stainless steel super clean - action cleaning

instant pot clean up tips try using mister clean magic eraser