This paleo & Whole30-compliant Instant Pot bacon and sweet potato chili is an old favorite made twice as fast in the pressure cooker. Make a big batch and freeze some for later!
I’m kind of a chili purist. I don’t like beans in my chili and I don’t want any tomatoes in there, either. I also don’t like it to be too soupy. Over the years I’ve tried many chili recipes, but my bacon and sweet potato chili is the only one I come back to again and again. Many of my friend have made it, too, and it’s always a hit. It freezes really well, so it’s a perfect make-ahead meal. I’m definitely planning to stock my freezer with some to have on hand once our baby arrives!
After several rounds of delicious tweaking, I’ve modified my stovetop recipe and am proud to bring you this Instant Pot bacon and sweet potato chili, which is made in half the time–under an hour if you’re efficient. Now that one of my very favorite meals is so quick, I’ll probably make it twice as often.
My favorite thing about this recipe is the balance of flavors. It has just the right amount of sweetness from the sweet potato, meatiness from the beef and pork, smoky saltiness from the bacon, and a tiny bit of heat from the smoked paprika and cayenne. All of that is rounded out by the earthy spice of cumin and just a hint of cinnamon. It’s so good! Add to that some creamy avocado, fresh cilantro, tangy lime, and mild raw red onion (see my trick in the notes section!) and you have something really special.
Here’s how I keep things streamlined while making this Instant Pot bacon and sweet potato chili, so that all the prep work is done during the cooking time and the whole thing takes just an hour. First, I use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into pieces right over the Instant Pot as it heats up, so there’s no need to dirty a cutting board. While the bacon is cooking, I chop the onion and peel and chop the sweet potatoes. While the onion and meat are cooking, I measure out the spices and mix them together in a little bowl. When the chili is pressure cooking, I prep and wash the kale and chop all the toppings. Boom! Done. You are just an hour away from this colorful bowl of Instant Pot bacon and sweet potato chili.
Looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Check out a few of my other favorites right below the recipe card.
- 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into half-inch pieces*
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika (reduce to ¼ teaspoon or omit if you're totally heat-averse)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
- A few grinds of black pepper
- 1 cup water or stock
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and chopped into small bite-size pieces
- 4 large leaves of curly kale, destemmed and torn into small pieces (about 3 cups lightly packed)
- Chopped avocado
- Finely chopped red onion**
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Push "Saute" on the Instant Pot and make sure the heat level is set to "Normal" (if not, change it using the "Adjust" button). Add the bacon (I like to snip it right into the pan using kitchen shears so I don't have to get a cutting board dirty) and cook, stirring often, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but about two teaspoons of the bacon fat, leaving as many browned bits as possible in the pot.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan, for about two minutes. Add the beef and pork and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat with a spatula, until fully cooked and no longer pink. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, water, and sweet potatoes. Push "Keep Warm/Cancel" to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to sealing. Push "Manual" (high pressure) and adjust the time to five minutes.
- When the Instant Pot is finished cooking and beeps, push "Keep Warm/Cancel" and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the valve to release any remaining pressure and open the lid. Stir in the kale and half of the bacon (reserve the rest for serving), and let sit for a minute until the kale leaves wilt and turn darker green. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, topped with the reserved bacon, avocado, cilantro, red onion, and lime wedges.
**To take the edge off chopped raw red onion, I like to soak it in ice water for 10-15 minutes, then drain. This will leave you with plenty of flavor but much less bite.
Looking for the stovetop version of this recipe? Here it is.
Try these other Instant Pot favorites!
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