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Poblano Chicken Chili: Instant Pot Easy & Delish!

poblano chicken chili with sour cream, shredded cheddar and minced cilantro cooked in the Instant Pot

Poblano Chick­en Chili is a recipe I dreamed up for the Instant Pot I received this Christ­mas. It’s creamy, spicy, and deli­cious­ly savory com­fort-food at it’s absolute finest! 

Stud­ded with chunks of ten­der chick­en and pops of sweet­ness from the corn, this chick­en chili isn’t quite like any you’ve ever tast­ed. The soup starts with dry Great North­ern Beans that are pres­sure cooked in a slur­ry of mild­ly spicy poblano pep­pers, some jalapeno, onion, gar­lic, chick­en stock and some of my favorite savory herbs and spices. I don’t think you will ever have expe­ri­enced beans with such deep, rich flavor! 

poblano chicken chili with sour cream, shredded cheddar and minced cilantro cooked in the Instant Pot

Adding the chick­en, corn and cream cheese to those beau­ti­ful­ly savory beans and broth, cre­ates a unique and deli­cious chick­en chili your fam­i­ly will ask for over and over, again. It’s such a sat­is­fy­ing dish! 

When David tast­ed this soup for the first time, he said, “Wow! You’re real­ly onto some­thing here!” and pro­ceed­ed to pol­ish off two bowls in record time. 

This Poblano Chick­en Chili recipe is a keep­er. And, it’s quick enough for week­night din­ners if you make it in an Instant Pot. I think you’ll love it!

Need anoth­er quick and easy chick­en recipe for the Instant Pot? Try this yum­my Instant Pot Chick­en Spaghet­ti from Feast for a Fraction!

About My Instant Pot

I received my Instant Pot for Christ­mas. And, before you make this recipe in yours, you need to know a cou­ple of things. David sur­prised me with the new *8‑quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fry­er unit. I have an old­er 6‑quart mod­el, too, but I don’t believe this recipe would fit in it. 

You def­i­nite­ly don’t need the Air-Fry­er mod­el of Instant Pot for my Poblano Chick­en Chili. You DO need the 8‑quart size, though. If using a 6‑quart Instant Pot, cut the recipe in half. I don’t think the full recipe will fit, safe­ly, in that size.

Instant Pot with Poblano Chicken Chili ingredients and filled to under 1/2.

With an Instant Pot, when cook­ing any­thing that might foam up as it cooks, like beans or rice, you should­n’t fill the pot more than half full. That’s why only the 8‑quart will accom­mo­date this full recipe.

A recipe that could take 3 hours on the stove top is done in just one hour in the Instant Pot. I used unsoaked, dry beans (which are so eco­nom­i­cal in com­par­i­son to canned) and they were ten­der in 30 min­utes! (You will need to allow 10 min­utes for the Instant Pot to come up to pres­sure. Then add, 15–20 min­utes for a nat­ur­al pres­sure release at the end. So, plan for about an hour of cook time to get things finished.

Prepping the Chicken for your Chicken Chili Recipe

chicken breasts cooked in the Instant Pot

Use 4 pre-cooked chick­en breasts to com­plete this recipe. You can cook and sea­son them any way you pre­fer. If you have pre-cooked chick­en in the freez­er or fridge for fast meal prepa­ra­tion, even bet­ter. I also think you could eas­i­ly use a rotis­serie chick­en, instead of chick­en breasts. So, you choose what works best for you.

Whichev­er chick­en you decide to use, you will want to shred or chop it before adding it to the chili. 

Cooking the Poblano Chicken Chili

I prepped all the ingre­di­ents ahead of time so it would come togeth­er quick­ly when it was time to cook.

Peppers and herbs slurry in a food processor ready to add to Poblano Chicken Chili

Start by remov­ing the seeds from the poblanos and jalapeno. Cut them into chunks and toss them into the bowl of your food proces­sor. Peel and quar­ter the onion and toss that in there too, along with the garlic.

Add the oil, cumin, oregano, salt and 2 or 3 cups of the chick­en stock to the food proces­sor, too. Then pulse a few times to get things mov­ing. Turn the proces­sor on high and let the veg­gies and herbs grind down until they are a fine mince float­ing in the liquid. 

Poblano Chicken Chili ingredients in Instant Pot ready to cook

Now, load your Instant Pot. Start with the dry beans in the bot­tom of the pot. Then add the chick­en stock and your veg­etable slurry.

Add the Bet­ter than Bouil­lon chick­en base, bay leaf and but­ter. It won’t look like much, right now, but trust me. This is going to be spectacular!

Close the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the pres­sure valve is set to sealed. Press Pres­sure Cook or Man­u­al (depend­ing on your mod­el) and set the time for 30 min­utes. Then press start.

When you first hit the Start but­ton, your dig­i­tal screen will only show On and High. There will be 3 but­tons lit up: Pres­sure Cook, Start and Keep Warm. This lets you know that the Instant Pot is work­ing to come up to pressure.

Instant Pot Start Sequence

When the appli­ance has come to full pres­sure, you will hear a beep and and then the dis­play will change. It will show you are pres­sure cook­ing on Hi for 30 min­utes. The Pres­sure Cook and Keep Warm But­tons will still be lit, but the Start but­ton will have gone off.

Instant Pot digital screen showing 30 minute pressure cook

At the end of the 30 min­utes, the Instant Pot timer will let you know it’s done and will begin to nat­u­ral­ly release pres­sure. Let the nat­ur­al pres­sure release go for about 15–20 min­utes. Then care­ful­ly release any remain­ing pressure.

Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Your beans should be ten­der and fla­vor­ful. They will still be float­ing in a good amount of stock. That’s perfect!

Now, choose the Saute but­ton on the Instant Pot and hit Start. As it begins to bub­ble add the diced chick­en, frozen corn and cream cheese. Stir to encour­age the cream cheese to melt. It will only take a cou­ple of min­utes for every­thing to be heat­ed through and the cream cheese to be melted. 

You’re ready to serve Poblano Chick­en Chili with your favorite gar­nish­es and top­pings. We like tor­tilla chips, avo­ca­do, cilantro, green onion, sour cream and grat­ed ched­dar. You do you and choose your fam­i­ly’s favorites.

Enjoy, my friend!

Instant Pot Poblano Chicken Chili served in a blue bowl on a marble counter

The Recipe

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poblano chicken chili with sour cream, shredded cheddar and minced cilantro

Instant Pot Poblano Chicken Chili

  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 serv­ings 1x


Units Scale

To cook the Beans:

  • 2 cups dry Great North­ern Beans (Can­neli­ni or Navy Beans would also work.)
  • 8 cups chick­en stock
  • 2 poblano pep­pers, seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 1 small (or 1/2 a large) jalapeno, seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 1 medi­um onion, any col­or, quartered
  • 2 Table­spoons avo­ca­do oil
  • 1 Table­spoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tea­spoon cumin
  • 1/2 tea­spoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 Table­spoon Bet­ter than Bouil­lon Chick­en Base
  • 2 Table­spoons butter

To fin­ish the Chili:

  • 4 pre-cooked bone­less skin­less chick­en breasts, chopped or shredded
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 8 oz block of cream cheese, cut into 1″ chunks
  • salt and pep­per, to taste
  • option­al gar­nish ideas: grat­ed ched­dar or Mon­terey Jack cheese, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro or pars­ley, avo­ca­do, sour cream, tor­tilla chips


  1. Peel and quar­ter the onion.
  2. Remove seeds from poblanos and jalapeno.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Add the poblanos, jalapeno, onion, gar­lic, avo­ca­do oil, cumin and oregano to the bowl of your food proces­sor.  Pulse to start break­ing down the veg­eta­bles and con­tin­ue on high until a veggie/herb slur­ry is formed.  You want the veg­eta­bles chopped down to a fine mince.
  5. Rinse the dry beans to remove dust and give them a quick check to remove any bad beans, peb­bles or debris that may have got­ten into the bag.
  6. Add the dry beans to the stain­less steel pan/liner of an 8‑quart Instant Pot.
  7. Scrape in the veg­eta­bles you chopped in the food processor.
  8. Add the chick­en stock, bay leaf, salt, chick­en base and butter.
  9. Seal the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the pres­sure valve is closed.
  10. Select Pres­sure Cook (or Man­u­al, depend­ing on your mod­el) and set the timer for 30 min­utes.  Push the Start button.
  11. When the Instant Pot timer goes off in 30 min­utes, allow a nat­ur­al pres­sure release for 15–20 min­utes.  Then, care­ful­ly release any remain­ing pres­sure and remove the Instant Pot lid.
  12. Select the Saute but­ton on your Instant Pot and hit Start.
  13. Give every­thing a good stir and remove the bay leaf.  Your beans should be ful­ly cooked and there will still be broth in the pot.
  14. Add the diced chick­en breasts, frozen corn and cream cheese to the Instant Pot.  Stir occa­sion­al­ly over the next cou­ple of min­utes as the cream cheese melts and chick­en and corn cook through. 
  15. Taste the chili and make sure the sea­son­ing is good.  Add salt and pep­per, if needed.
  16. Serve!
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Soup, Main Dish, Chicken
  • Method: Pres­sure Cooker
  • Cui­sine: Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can

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