Hearty game day chili prepped, cooked, and served in less than hour! Sound too good to be true? It’s all possible with the magic of the Instant Pot. Ever since I made this recipe from Pinch of Yum, I’ve been dreaming about all the easy meal possibilities I could make with this shiny new kitchen appliance.
This Buffalo Chicken Red Lentil Chili was an ideal recipe to break in my Instant Pot. Not only did it prove its insane ability to create tender and juicy pulled chicken in just 30 minutes, it also cooked raw veggies and lentils just like a slow cooker. Did I mention it did this all in 30 minutes? Sorry, I’m just so impressed!
Another reason to love this recipe: It’s a one-pot, throw-and-go type of meal. And believe me when I say, the toughest part of this recipe is chopping up the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, which takes maybe 2 minutes! You could even shortcut this step and buy pre-chopped mirepoix at the grocery store!
Let’s talk about the lentils. Have you ever cooked with lentils? I don’t use them nearly enough as I’d like in my everyday meals, but now that I have the Instant Pot, my kitchen just might turn into a lentil-making factory. I usually only find brown lentils in the grocery store, and you could definitely use those in this recipe. However, I spotted red lentils on the shelf and immediately knew they’d work wonders in this recipe. Their vibrant color, which is more orange than red, gave this chili an even more authentic shade of buffalo-sauce orange. And when cooked, they tenderized so beautifully and basically melted into the tomato sauces and broth to create a thick and hearty base.
And the chicken. The gloriously tender, pulled chicken! Once cooking is finished, you can either pick out the chicken breasts and shred separately or do so directly in the pot. You will be amazed at how easily the chicken pulls apart with so little effort.
I’m all for serving this chili with the typical buffalo wing condiments like blue cheese, ranch dressing, celery sticks for some crunch. However, if you’d like to keep this chili dairy-free, simply add a garnish of chopped green onions or herbs. If you’re feeling extra fancy, a cashew cream would even add a nice touch.
At the end of the day though, this chili really only needs a spoon so you can get it into your mouth. It’s wholesome and stick-to-your-bones hearty for those cold winter days. And it carries that classic buffalo wing flavor so it’s a great healthy and creative chili option to serve for game day.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s definitely become a favorite in our house!
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- 16-20 ounces raw boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1½ cups red lentils
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅓ cup Frank's Red Hot sauce or buffalo wing sauce
- 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Green onions
- Sour cream or nondairy alternative
- Add all ingredients into the Instant Pot.
- Press the soup setting button and cook for 30 minutes.
- Release pressure.
- Remove chicken from the pot. Shred and return to pot.
- Give the chili a stir and serve with optional toppings.
Hillary Dodge says
Wow! I am sooo craving the buffalo chicken flavors here in South America. I wish I could get me some hot wings! But this will do nicely! Thank you!
Yes, hot wings in healthy soup form 🙂 Thanks Hillary!
This looks delicious, and I’ve been wanting to find some ways to cook with lentils. Can’t wait to try it!
Thanks Monica! This was my first time cooking with red lentils. The instant pot made them soft like split peas. It was delish!
What a beautiful color of chili! I’ve been hearing so much about instant pots lately. I’ve got a pressure cooker but all I’ve used it for is canning. You’re recipe sounds so easy I’m thinking its time to finally see what this Instant Pot is all about!
Thanks so much Kitty! The instant pot is my new obsession!
This looks SO good and sounds simple. Can I ask what kind of chicken you used? It looks very lean. I need to get an instant pot!
Hi Reyann, I used boneless skinless chicken breasts.
If you were inquiring about the brand I used, I believe it was Gold’n Plump. Thanks!
Hi! I want to make this for my husband next week for lunches! We’re watching calories pretty closely now and I think he’d love this! I saw the low calorie count, but when I popped it into MyFitnessPal to build a recipe to save it doesn’t come out nearly as low. The 1½ cups red lentils are what’s getting me. They’re showing up as over 1100 calories themselves! I’ve never actually used them, am I doing something wrong? Just 1 1/2 cups of dry red lentils?
Hi Lynn! That’s a great question and admittedly, the info on calories in dry vs cooked beans is confusing to me! I initially calculated the nutrition information by entering the equivalent of cooked lentils (about 3 cups) because I couldn’t find info in the Spark Recipes tracker for dried red lentils. After a second look, I found a slew of community entries for dried red lentils and the numbers differ for nearly every entry! After a bit of googling, it seems as though calculating the calories for dry lentils is the most accurate since the amount of cooking liquid and size of lentils after cooking can vary from recipe to recipe. With all the discrepancies in calorie counts for dried lentils in the database I use, I decided to calculate directly from the nutrition info on the bag of lentils I used (Everyday Essential brand 1/4 cup dry = 120 calories). I’ve updated the recipe nutrition info and the calories per serving are higher (unfortunately). Since the calories for dried lentils can vary depending on brand of lentil or calorie tracker used, I’d refer to the info on the actual bag of lentils for the most accurate info. That was a lot…Hope this helps a little!
I don’t have an Instant Pot… Can I make this on the stove top??
Hi Janet, I haven’t tested a stove top version of this recipe, but I’m sure it would work! I’d start by sauteeing the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots with some olive oil. Then, add in the seasonings, canned tomatoes, buffalo sauce, lentils, and broth and simmer until the lentils are tender. For the chicken, I’d recommend using pre-cooked chicken and adding in at the end. Hope this helps. Thanks for reaching out!