clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
red lentil chili with avocado

Instant Pot Red Lentil Chili

  • Author: Allie
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


A simple and hearty bowl of one-pot vegan red lentil chili that's oil-free.  It comes together in about an hour on the stovetop or in the instant pot.


  • 1 red onion, diced 
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (200 g) dry red lentils
  • 1 can (28 ounces (794 g)) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces (439 g)) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2  1/4-1/2 cups (530-590 ml) vegetable broth (use extra 1/4 cup if chili is too thick)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder (the spice blend not cayenne pepper or chili flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Pepper to taste



Instant Pot:

  1. Rinse the red lentils in a strainer and set them aside.  Prep the rest of the ingredients (chopping vegetables, measuring out spices, and opening cans) to have them ready before starting the cooking process.  The beginning of the recipe can go quickly.
  2. For oil-free, set your instant pot on saute function for about 6-7 minutes, once hot add the red onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeño, stirring frequently.  Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the ingredients start to stick.
  3. Add the garlic at the end of sautéing (about 1 minute-30 seconds left) or just add it with the rest of the ingredients.  Add water as needed if it starts to stick.  If your instant pot is losing some of its nonstick, then sauté in 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Once the sauté function is done, I like to add 1-2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pot (if you haven’t done so already).
  5. Then add the rest of the ingredients and 2  1/4 cups of vegetable broth reserving the extra 1/4 cup if the chili is too thick at the end of cooking.  Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients and to prevent the lentils from clumping.
  6. Move the pressure valve to seal, close the lid, and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  7. Once the timer has gone off naturally release for 20 minutes, then manually release the rest.  You can also naturally release all of the pressure, which can take more than 30 minutes.
  8. Once done, stir to combine and it will thicken up while cooling.


  1. Rinse the red lentils in a strainer and set them aside.
  2. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and all seasonings and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.  For oil-free, add a tablespoon of water if needed to prevent ingredients from burning.  Another option is to just cook the vegetables in 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and 2 1/4 cup of vegetable broth reserving the extra 1/4 cup if chili is too thick at the end of cooking, and stir to combine.  Stir the red lentils to prevent them from clumping.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cook covered for 30-35 minutes.
  6. If it’s too thin, simmer it a little longer with the lid off until it reduces down.  
  7. If it’s too thick, add 1/4 cup more of vegetable broth to thin out.


This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes (+20 minutes pressure release)
  • Category: main course
  • Method: instant pot, stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Red lentil chili recipe, Vegan one pot red lentil chili, Instant pot red lentil chili vegan