Pressure Cooker Pork and Pinto Bean Chili

This pressure cooker pork and pinto bean chili, which can also be made in an Instant Pot, is filled with smoky, fall-apart pork shoulder, creamy pinto beans, and slightly spicy poblano chile peppers. Pretty magnificent with cornbread though not shabby on its own.

Three white bowls of pork and pinto beans chili on a metal tray with cornbread in a skillet

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we have pressure cookers. Because they render an inexpensive cut of pork and plain old pinto beans into a smoky, soulful, put-your-spoon-down-and-sigh bowl of chili in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.–Jenny Howard

Pressure Cooker Pork and Pinto Bean Chili

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker cookbook

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Special Equipment: Pressure cooker or Instant Pot



Preheat the broiler. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil.

Place the poblanos on the foil and broil, turning as needed, until completely charred, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer the peppers to a medium bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes. Using your hands, rub off most of charred skin, rinsing your hands frequently under cool running water. (You may first wish to slip on gloves of some sort as poblanos can irritate your skin.) Slice the poblanos in half and discard the stems, ribs, and seeds. Finely chop the chiles.

In a 6- to 8-quart stovetop pressure cooker set over medium-high heat or in an electric pressure cooker set to sauté, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add half the pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining pork and heap it onto the pork already on the plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil, the onions, and garlic to the pressure cooker or Instant Pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and poblanos and cook until combined, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, stock, beans, reserved pork along with any accumulated juices, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring up the browned bits, and bring to a boil.

If using a stovetop pressure cooker: Secure lid. Bring to high pressure over medium-high heat; reduce heat to maintain pressure and cook for 26 minutes. Remove from heat, quickly release pressure, and remove lid. If using an electric pressure cooker: Secure lid. Manually set cooker to 31 minutes and let it come to pressure. Once time is complete, turn off, quickly release pressure, and remove the lid. If using an Instant Pot: Secure lid. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure for 31 minutes. Once finished, turn off, quickly release pressure, and remove the lid.

Let the chili stand, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. If desired, season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat gently, if necessary, before serving. Originally published November 13, 2018.

Print RecipeBuy the Martha Stewart’s Pressure Cooker cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This delicious pressure cooker pork and pinto bean chili comes together quickly and has great flavor. The smoky poblanos, cumin, and oregano combine to really amp up the simple broth. We enjoyed this the day that I made it as well as a few days later. Each time it has been very good.

I would make this again and would consider doubling the amount of pork next time.

Chili that can be an afternoon project rather than a weekend effort is always a useful recipe in our kitchen. This pressure cooker pork and pinto bean chili didn’t even require soaking the beans the night before so it was extra time-friendly.

We have a conventional pressure cooker, and I did plan ahead a bit to make stock the night before, then the prep could start late in the afternoon and still be done for dinner. Roasting the peppers is easy either under the broiler or on your grill if you’re already using it. I take a little slower approach than the recipe because I like to lower the rack a little to keep the broiler from setting off my smoke detector so I put the rack about 5 inches below the broiler element and carefully watched the peppers, turning them to get all sides blistered. This technique and the brief steaming make them a cinch to peel, but I would also suggest wearing gloves as even poblano peppers can irritate your skin.

Overall, the prep for this recipe is easy because the recipe isn’t that complex, but it still gives a satisfying weeknight chile result. I was a little light on the meat, but my 1-pound bag of beans was a little over 2 cups, so it all worked in fine balance. Pork shoulder responds especially well to longer cooking or braising. The browning is a nice way to add a bit of flavor, as well as the cooking of the onions (I might even sauté them a little longer to develop some golden edges next time).

I think that if beans are not done at the indicated time, finishing them with the cover off will both bring them to the perfect point as well as let the broth evaporate a bit and naturally thicken.

The resulting chili is a nicely balanced flavor that is family friendly—not so spicy to scare tender palates. It’s not quite a chile verde, though it heads in that direction, and not really a red or white chili. After tasting it the first night I considered how to make it a bit more to our liking (a bit more forward with the heat and slightly thicker).

My solution was to add a couple of roasted Hatch chiles that I had already prepared, chop then heat them. In a measuring jug, I added the roasted peppers, a bit of broth and some beans (a half ladle full, no meat) and give a brief buzz with an immersion blender to create a roux-like thickening which I stirred back into the pot. You could also smash them by hand with a machadora (wooden bean masher). That simple step fixed the heat level and thickness (both a personal preference)


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  1. Used 2 serrano peppers and 1 red bell pepper. Perfect amount of spice. Served with skillet cornbread.

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