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This hearty vegan Instant Pot sweet potato chili with black beans, buckwheat, and chipotles tastes like it took all day to make — but thanks to the magic of pressure cooking, it’s ready in about 30 minutes.

Instant Pot sweet potato chili with black beans, buckwheat, and chipotle in a white bowl garnished with lime, sour cream, and cilantro
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Why we love this recipe

Chili should taste like it’s been simmering away all day. This meal is ready in about 30 minutes, but thanks to a combination of pressure cooking, hearty ingredients, and layers of spice and flavor, it totally achieves all-day-simmer status.

It’s:

  • A nice big batch and keeps well, so it’s equally at home at a game-day party and for meal prep
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Packed with nutrients, and without any added nonsense
  • Hearty, filling, and flavorful enough to please devoted carnivores, too

I first published this recipe here back in 2018. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You can use any variety of sweet potatoes (sometimes sold as “yams” in the U.S., though they aren’t yams). You’ll peel them and dice them nice and small so they cook through in a short time.
  • Buckwheat may sound like wheat, but it’s a gluten-free seed that cooks up tender and nutty. This recipe uses whole raw buckwheat groats. It’s very important that you buy the correct product. Look for RAW buckwheat groats rather than toasted ones (kasha), and make sure the groats are WHOLE. The cracked buckwheat sold as a breakfast porridge is delicious, but it won’t work in this recipe.
  • Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do.
  • You can use one 28-ounce can or one 26.5-ounce box of diced tomatoes (sometimes sold as chopped tomatoes), including all their juices. Different brands vary in consistency — the liquid may be thinner or thicker. They’ll all work just fine. If your brand is on the thicker side, you may end up scrubbing the bottom of your Instant Pot a bit while cleaning up.
  • Chili powder means the American-style spice blend, and not pure ground chili.
  • Canned black beans help make this recipe quick and easy. The two 15.5-ounce cans called for in the recipe equal about 3 1/2 cups cooked beans. You can, of course, substitute beans you’ve cooked from dried.
  • Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add smokiness and heat. If you use the two peppers called for in the recipe with just the sauce that clings to them, the heat is fairly gentle. You can add more peppers and/or more sauce if you like, and it’s okay to so after cooking.
  • There’s no substitute for freshly squeezed lime juice. I’ve called for just a bit, but you can use as much as you like.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great batch of sweet potato chili in the Instant Pot. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Add all ingredients except lime juice and toppings to the Instant Pot.
  2. Give them a good stir.
  3. Cover, seal, and cook on manual, high pressure, for six minutes. You can perform a manual pressure release or let it release naturally.
  4. Stir in the lime juice. Chili is ready to serve and will only improve as it sits. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

What Instant Pot should I use?

This recipe will work in any 6-quart Instant Pot or other similar electric pressure cooker. I have not personally tested it in an 8-quart pot, but it should work in that size as well. You may want to add another 1/2 cup broth (for a total of three cups) if using an 8-quart pot, just to be on the safe side.

Can I make this recipe on the stovetop instead?

You can. I’d recommend starting with four cups of broth, since a pot set on the stovetop is not a sealed environment, and you’ll lose more liquid to evaporation. Add all ingredients to a large pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until both the sweet potatoes and the buckwheat are tender, at least 25 minutes.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Definitely. The broth will thicken up over the first hour after cooking, so I like to let the chili rest for a while if possible. The flavors, too, only improve over time. You can keep the chili in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or freeze it for up to a year.

More favorite vegan sweet potato recipes

Instant Pot sweet potato chili with black beans, buckwheat, and chipotle in a white bowl garnished with lime, sour cream, and cilantro

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Instant Pot sweet potato chili with black beans, buckwheat, and chipotle in a white bowl garnished with lime, sour cream, and cilantro
4.85 from 32 votes

Sweet Potato Chili (Instant Pot Recipe)

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This hearty vegan Instant Pot sweet potato chili with black beans, buckwheat, and chipotles tastes like it took all day to make — but thanks to the magic of pressure cooking, it's ready in about 30 minutes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
To Pressurize: 10 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

For the chili

  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds total, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup WHOLE buckwheat groats, see important ingredient note below, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 ½ cups (600 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 28- ounce 793-gram can (or 26.5-ounce box) diced tomatoes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 15.5- ounce 439-gram cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

To serve

  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Vegan sour cream

Instructions 

  • Place all chili ingredients except lime juice into an Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  • Cover, seal vent, and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • You can release the pressure manually or let it release naturally.
  • Stir in lime juice.
  • Chili is ready to eat right away but, like all chili, will only get better over the next 24 hours. I like to make it at least an hour in advance if possible to let the juices absorb.
  • Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and vegan sour cream.

Notes

  1. You can use any variety of sweet potatoes (sometimes sold as "yams" in the U.S., though they aren't yams). 1/2-inch dice is small, so keep that in mind when you're cutting up the sweet potatoes. This will help ensure they're perfectly tender.
  2. Buckwheat is a grain-like seed that's gluten-free. It adds a mild nuttiness and lots of good texture and nutrition to this vegan chili recipe. Be sure to use raw buckwheat groats rather than toasted ones, which are usually sold as kasha. And be sure to use WHOLE buckwheat groats, not the cracked kind sold as buckwheat hot cereal. The cracked cereal will not work.
  3. Reduced-sodium Imagine No Chicken Broth is my favorite boxed veggie broth by far, since it somehow magically has the flavor profile of a good chicken stock rather than being weirdly red and tasting tinny or sweet, as some other vegetable broths can do.
  4. You can use one 28-ounce can or one 26.5-ounce box of diced tomatoes (sometimes sold as chopped tomatoes), including all their juices. Different brands vary in consistency — the liquid may be thinner or thicker. They'll all work just fine. If your brand is on the thicker side, you may end up scrubbing the bottom of your Instant Pot a bit while cleaning up.
  5. Chili powder means the American-style spice blend, and not pure ground chili.
  6. Canned black beans help make this recipe quick and easy. The two 15.5-ounce cans called for in the recipe equal about 3 1/2 cups cooked beans. You can, of course, substitute beans you've cooked from dried.
  7. Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add smokiness and heat. If you use the two peppers called for in the recipe with just the sauce that clings to them, the heat is fairly gentle. You can add more peppers and/or more sauce if you like, and it's okay to do so after cooking.
  8. There's no substitute for freshly squeezed lime juice. I've called for just a bit, but you can use as much as you like.
  9. This recipe will work in any 6-quart Instant Pot or other similar electric pressure cooker. I have not personally tested it in an 8-quart pot, but it should work in that size as well. You may want to add another 1/2 cup broth (for a total of three cups) if using an 8-quart pot, just to be on the safe side.
  10. The broth will thicken up over the first hour after cooking, so I like to let the chili rest for a while if possible. The flavors, too, only improve over time. You can keep the chili in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or freeze it for up to a year.
  11. You can make this recipe on the stovetop if you like. I'd recommend starting with four cups of broth, since a pot set on the stovetop is not a sealed environment, and you'll lose more liquid to evaporation. Add all ingredients to a large pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until both the sweet potatoes and the buckwheat are tender, at least 25 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal, Carbohydrates: 60.1g, Protein: 13.7g, Fat: 1.5g, Fiber: 15.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Stews
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.85 from 32 votes (31 ratings without comment)

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25 Comments

    1. Hi, Claudia! I haven’t made this recipe on the stovetop, but I think the buckwheat and sweet potato would both be tender in about 25 minutes. If you make it, please let me know how it goes!

    1. Hi, Jada! I’ve never tried this recipe in the slow cooker, but I think it would work just fine. Each of the elements tends to do well in a slow cooker. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!

  1. 4 stars
    I found it impossible to make this in the instant pot due to lack of liquids. The “burn” alert came on right after pressure was reached. I ended up cooking it on the stove and had to use an entire 32 oz box of vegetable broth to finish at the right consistency.
    That being said it Had amazing flavor and got rave reviews. I will definitely make this again but with the amount of broth I used.