Easy Instant Pot Red Lentil Chili Recipe | Slow Cooker Too!

Packed with nourishing navy beans and red lentils, this Instant Pot Red Lentil Chili offers both nutrition and satisfaction without any meat! The best part is this red lentil chili recipe is even better the next day so you can make a ton and have meals for days!

instant pot red lentil chili spoon

We’ve been trying to eat less red meat so we’ve been looking to use lentils as alternatives to meat. I started thinking about chili so I made this red lentil chili the other day and I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to doing meat-based chili again!

It was a great way to make a healthy bowl of chili, did not take long to make in my Instant Pot, and tasted fantastic. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of meat in your diet, this is a good one to try! You could even add some plant-based proteins if you want!

instant pot red lentil chili ingredients

Red Lentil Chili Ingredients

A red lentil chili typically includes the following ingredients, but keep in mind that recipes can vary:

  1. Red Lentils: The main ingredient, providing protein and texture. Can use brown or green lentils if you prefer.
  2. Vegetables: Common choices include onions, garlic, red bell pepper, red onion, carrots, and tomatoes.
  3. Tomato Products: Crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or tomato sauce are often used as a base.
  4. Spices: A combination of chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and sometimes coriander or cinnamon for flavor.
  5. Broth or Water: To create the soup-like consistency. Can use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or beef broth.
  6. Beans: Kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans are often added for additional protein and texture.
  7. Olive Oil: For sautéing the vegetables.
  8. Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  9. Optional Ingredients: Depending on personal preference, you can add ingredients like corn, zucchini, jalapeños, green onions or even a touch of hot sauce for extra heat.

The beauty of chili is its flexibility, so feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste preferences. Additionally, you can top your red lentil chili with toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, or cilantro.

instant pot red lentil chili finished

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Instant Pot Lentil Chili

What makes this Lentil Chili healthy?

Our Healthy Lentil Chili is crafted with nutrient-rich ingredients, including protein-packed navy beans and brown lentils. It’s a wholesome option that combines delicious flavors with nutritional benefits.

Is this Lentil Chili suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Absolutely! This chili is entirely vegetarian, making it a perfect choice for those who follow a plant-based diet. Adjust the recipe by omitting any non-vegan ingredients, and you’ll have a satisfying Vegan Lentil Chili too!

How do I cook the lentils in the chili?

The lentils in the chili are typically cooked by simmering in a flavorful broth until they are tender. Follow the recipe instructions for precise details on cooking times.

Are there gluten-free options for this Healthy Lentil Chili?

Yes, the basic ingredients are gluten-free. However, make sure to check the labels of any additional spices or canned goods to ensure they are gluten-free.

Can I freeze this Healthy Lentil Chili?

Absolutely! This chili freezes well. Allow it to cool before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Reheat it when you’re ready to enjoy a quick and healthy meal.

Can I customize the spice level in the chili?

Certainly! Adjust the amount of chili powder, cumin, or other spices to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with different spice combinations.

What are some serving suggestions for Healthy Lentil Chili?

This chili pairs well with toppings like avocado, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt, or a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. You can also serve it over rice or with a side of crusty bread.

How long can I store leftovers in the refrigerator?

Store any leftover Healthy Lentil Chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Can I make this chili in a slow cooker? Certainly! Just set it to high and cook for four hours or longer until done. Just omit the pressure cook step.

Do you have a spicier version of this Lentil Chili recipe? If you prefer a spicier kick, you can increase the amount of chili powder, add cayenne pepper, or include your favorite hot sauce to intensify the heat.

More One Pot Instant Pot Meals to Try…

instant pot red lentil chili

Instant Pot Red Lentil Chili

Quick and easy to prepare, our Red Lentil Chili promises a satisfying meal that's perfect for vegetarians and chili enthusiasts alike.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Beans, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 183 kcal



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 red orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or beef broth I use the Herbox low sodium packets
  • One 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce can navy beans or another small white bean do not drain
  • One 15-ounce can of kidney beans
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 dried bay leaf or 1/2 tsp of dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup of corn optional – we live corn in chili
  • Shredded reduced-fat Cheddar plain yogurt, pickled jalapenos and crushed tortilla chips, for serving (all are optional)


  • Set the Instant Pot to Saute function and heat the olive oil in it. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. I like to use my little food processor to dice them up small.
  • Saute the vegetables until they are slightly tender stirring occasionally for approximately 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, and cumin, and continue cooking, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the broth and the remaining ingredients.
  • Hit off and then select "Soup" function.The cooking time will be 10 minutes on high. Once done do a natural release or you can quick release by flipping the pressure valve. Stir and taste – if not quite done to your liking, cook another 5 minutes under pressure. This is really a preference as to how you like beans cooked.
  • Or you can select “slow cook” and let it go until you are ready to eat!
  • Remove the bay leaf and season more as desired. If it is too thin, you can add a slurry of one tbsp of flour or cornstarch and a tbsp of water to make thick chili.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, jalapenos, or chips!


NOTE if using dried beans instead of canned you will need to precook them as they will take quite a bit longer to cook than the lentils.


Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 11gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 688mgPotassium: 589mgFiber: 11gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 940IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Instant Pot, One Pot Meal
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