Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili

Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili is a protein rich, flavorful meal that will take minimal effort to make! It combines bold Mexican flavor with ground lamb and your choice of dried or canned beans in a hearty chili with all the slow-cooked flavor achieved by simmering for hours!

2 terra cotta bowls with instant pot ground lamb chili, 2 copper spoons, and small bowls of chili toppings.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Ground Lamb

Have I been on a lamb “kick” lately? In recent weeks, I have done lamb meatballs, a Peruvian lamb stew, lamb tacos, a Mexican-inspired lamb stew, and a ground lamb casserole. In fact, I have a Ground Lamb Recipes page too!

Why lamb? We love lamb at Andersen casa, and there is a dearth of recipes for cooking with lamb once you go beyond Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. I have no clue as to why this is the case, but I aim to address this shortage of lamb recipes with my Latin-inspired niche.

You have 2 options for making Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili: 1. Start with dried beans, or 2. Rinse and drain canned beans. The end result of both is delicious, and I will provide instructions for both.

I love recipes that provide opportunities for fresh garnishes! I’ve included avocado, jalapeño, thin-sliced radishes, lime wedges, and Greek yogurt. Served with fresh corn tortillas, this warm, comforting meal is both healthy and gluten free (if you use a gluten free beer).

Lastly, when thickening a Mexican-flavored savory dish, I typically use masa rather than flour. It adds earthy flavor to the chili, and it’s naturally gluten free.

📋 Ingredients Notes

  • cooked beans – these can be a mixture or one kind, but you start this recipe with cooked beans!
  • ground lamb – you can substitute other ground meat if you you have an aversion to lamb.
  • masa harina – masa harina used to make corn tortillas. It imparts a wonderful earthy flavor as it thickens the chili.
  • Mexican spice blend – Mexican spice blend is a mix of cumin, cocoa, ancho, cinnamon. If you’re “on the fence” as to whether you want a jar of the spice blend, take a look at my meatballs, lamb tacos, and lamb butternut squash stew.
  • onion – red, white, yellow
  • garlic – minced garlic is a great time saver.
  • fresh jalapeños
  • bell pepper
  • beer – I buy Coronitas – a 7 ounce bottle of Corona Mexican lager, but any light, clean lager is fine.
  • beef broth/stock
  • toppings – plain yogurt or sour cream, avocado, jalapeños, lime wedges, grated or crumbled cheese (we like cotija), chopped scallions, cilantro, thin-sliced radishes, etc.
Ingredients for instant pot ground lamb chili: cooked beans, ground lamb, masa, bell pepper, garlic, spice blend, onion, canned tomatoes, beef broth, beer.

🍲 How to Make Ground Lamb Chili with Dried Beans

Chick peas, black beans, and pinto beans in glass bowls before they're cooked.

My preference is always to start with dried beans due to their superior texture and flavor. Let’s not forget they’re far cheaper too!

With the aid of an Instant Pot/pressure cooker, the process is pretty quick and painless. In fact, cooking beans and making stock are my two favorite uses for my Instant Pots.

I like to use a combination of beans (because I’m weird that way). I chose 3 that are quite common in Mexican cooking – chick peas, black beans, and pinto beans. You can choose your favorites, but you’ll want to adjust cooking time.

While precision isn’t important, I do recommend about 4 cups of cooked beans. Given that 1 cup of dried beans equals approximately 3 cups of cooked beans, I start with about 1 1/3 cups. In actuality, I started with 1/2 cup of each kind. We’re not worried about precision, right?

To be quite honest, I think on photo day I made a large batch of beans – 1 pound of each variety. I cooked them all together in my large Instant Pot, and have a big zip bag in my freezer for future use. Win. Win.

For more information: See How to Measure and Cook Dried Beans.

The beans will be “par cooked” in the Instant Pot/pressure cooker. What is “par cooked?” Par cooking or parboiling is a process by which food is partially cooked so that it can be finished later. Your dry beans will need 7 minutes under high pressure before a quick pressure release. Rinse and drain them before continuing with the recipe.

🍲 How to Make Ground Lamb Chili with Canned Beans

You will want about 4 cups of cooked beans for this chili recipe. That quantity is roughly equal to 2 cans. If you want to use a third variety of beans, that extra can won’t be a problem.

Be sure to rinse the beans thoroughly to remove the thick, starchy liquid in the can. Drain them thoroughly before commencing.

Important note: Reduce the broth/stock to 2 cups if using canned beans to avoid soupy chili. The beans are added at the end, and they won’t absorb liquid like the par cooked beans will. You can also reduce the cooking time in the pressure cooker to 15 minutes. This will still yield a very flavor chili.

To avoid mushy beans (yuck!), you won’t cook them with the chili; you will add them after the chili is cooked and let them simmer on the “sauté” setting long enough to heat them through.

Gather all ingredients. You will have about 10-15 minutes while the beans cook to prep your ingredients if you’re making the chili with dried beans.

If you’re using canned beans, you’re good to go. The second pressure phase can be shortened to 15 minutes with a quick pressure release. You will simmer the beans with the chili on the “sauté” setting. (Sorry for saying that twice!). This is a key step!

Prep the remaining ingredients. In the list of ingredients, I include my Mexican spice blend. I highly recommend making a batch of this versatile spice blend, but I will include specific measurements for individual spices in the recipe card!

🔪 Instructions

A collage of cooking steps for instant pot ground lamb chili.
  • Prep the beans – If you’re using dried beans, you will “par cook” them for 7 minutes, rinse and drain them, and cook them with the chili. If using canned, rinse and drain then add them after the chili cooks.
  • Brown the ground lamb1. Using the “sauté” setting, brown the ground lamb. A potato masher is helpful in breaking it up (as shown in the photo).
  • Cook the aromatics and spices2. Add the garlic, onion, Mexican spice blend, and masa harina to the pot on “sauté.” Cook 2-3 minutes until masa is lightly toasted.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper and minced jalapeños3. Add the bell pepper and jalapeños, stirring to combine.
  • De-glaze4. Pour the beer into the pot, and let it simmer 1-2 minutes to evaporate a bit. Add the beef broth and Mexican oregano. If using dried beans, add them at this time. DO NOT ADD THE CANNED BEANS! Lock the lid, and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Release pressure after 10 minutes.
  • Finish the chili5. After a quick pressure release, add the canned beans. Set the IP to “sauté” once more. Allow the chili to come to a boil before serving.
A terra cotta bowl with a handle with Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili with yogurt, avocado, cilantro, radish and a corn tortilla.

💭 Tips

  • Make a double batch if you have a large enough Instant Pot/pressure cooker. Because it freezes so well, this is one of my favorite freezer meals!
  • If using canned beans, reduce liquid to 2 cups. The par cooked beans will continue to absorb liquid, but the canned beans are added at the end.
  • If you prefer to soak your beans, you can skip the 10 minute “par cook” step.
  • A potato masher makes breaking up ground meat super easy.
  • One benefit to making your own Mexican spice blend is that you can cut back (or add more) ancho or other red chile powder.
  • If you don’t want to make an entire batch of Mexican spice blend, use 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, 2 teaspoons ancho or other red chile powder (more or less to taste), and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  • Because electric pressure cookers cook on such high heat, you have to be careful with flour and other thickeners. I suggest 2 tablespoons browned before adding liquids because I always like to brown my thickeners (other than cornstarch). If you want a thicker chili, you can add more masa harina after the chili is cooked. Sprinkle a teaspoon at a time over top and let it return to a boil to thicken.

❓ FAQ

I hate lamb! Can I substitute?

YES! Beef, bison, pork, chicken, turkey… it’s your call.

Is it good leftover?

YES! Sometimes I think it’s better the next day…

How long can I store my ground lamb chili?

I suggest 5 days maximum in the refrigerator, 6 months in the refrigerator freezer, and up to a year in a deep freeze.

This ground lamb chili has a decidedly different flavor, but one I think you’re going to love! The Mexican spice blend – ancho, cumin, cocoa, and cinnamon – provides a hint of Mexican mole flavor, the masa thickener adds depth, and lamb is lamb. LOL.

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

🧂 Useful Stuff

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Instant Pot
Potato Masher
Stackable Soup Bowls

A terra cotta bowl with a handle with Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili with yogurt, avocado, cilantro, radish and a corn tortilla.

Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili

Chili and beans with a hint of Mexican mole…
5 from 6 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Pressure Release 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 4 servings
Calories 444 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups par cooked or canned beans
  • 12 to 16 ounces ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican spice blend - see notes
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina - see notes
  • 7 to 8 ounces beer - see notes
  • 1 can tomatoes with their juice
  • 3 cups broth/stock - see notes
  • 1 bell pepper - chopped
  • 2 jalapeños - minced
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional masa harina to thicken - as desired

Instructions

  • Starting with Dried Beans
  • Prep the beans – If you’re using dried beans, you will “par cook” them for 7 minutes on high pressure with a quick pressure release, rinse and drain them.
  • Brown the ground lamb – Using the “sauté” setting, brown the ground lamb. A potato masher is helpful in breaking it up.
  • Cook the aromatics and spices – Add the garlic, onion, Mexican spice blend, and masa harina to the pot on “sauté.” Cook 2-3 minutes until masa is lightly toasted.
  • De-glaze with beer – Let it cook down a bit to reduce alcohol if desired.
  • Add remaining ingredients – except salt and pepper! – tomatoes with juice, broth/stock, bell pepper, jalapeños.
  • Lock lid in place – Cook on high pressure 22 minutes. Do a quick pressure release, adjust seasoning and thickening as desired. Garnish and serve!
  • Starting with Canned Beans
  • Brown the ground lamb – Using the “sauté” setting, brown the ground lamb. A potato masher is helpful in breaking it up.
  • Cook the aromatics and spices – Add the garlic, onion, Mexican spice blend, and masa harina to the pot on “sauté.” Cook 2-3 minutes until masa is lightly toasted.
  • De-glaze with beer – Let it cook down a bit to reduce alcohol if desired.
  • Add remaining ingredients – Except for beans, salt and pepper! Tomatoes with juice, broth/stock, bell pepper, jalapeños.
  • Lock lid in place – Cook on high pressure 15 minutes. Do a quick pressure release, adjust seasoning and thickening as desired. Garnish and serve!

Notes

If you don’t want to make a batch of my Mexican mole spice blend, use 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, 2 teaspoons +/- ancho or other red chile powder, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
When cooking in an Instant Pot, flours can cause a "burn" error. I like a fairly thick chili, and I’ve successfully used 1/3 cup masa. However, to be safe, I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons. Stir it in well both while it browns and when you add the liquid. If when you de-pressurize you want it thicker, sprinkle more masa and stir it in a little at a time on the saute setting. The chili must come to a boil for thickener to do its job.
If "lean" ground lamb is a question mark, on this recipe it’s not an issue. I have 2 markets that I get ground lamb from. The amount of white fat to red meat is a good sign that it is lean. Additionally, I don’t have much (if any) grease in the pan after browning. You can certainly remove excess.
I typically don’t add salt to beans until after cooking as I think it messes with liquid absorption. Don’t forget to season before serving!
Macronutrients are an approximation only from MyFitnessPal.com and use 14 ounces ground lamb and 2 tablespoons masa harina. I did not include toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 15g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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3 Comments

  1. You mention alternatives for those allergic to lamb. We were advised years ago in connection with a cleanse that lamb was the only meat allowed because no one is allergic to lamb! Not only that, but it tastes good.

  2. We are big chili fans but have never made it with lamb before. This was delicious! Really easy too in the Instant Pot.