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Instant Pot Beef Picadillo Chili With Sweet Raisins

December 29, 2017

Beef picadillo chili with sweet raisins has salty and sweet “all day cooked” flavor in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

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It is officially a winter wonderland!

A week or so into December, it finally decided to be winter in Michigan, and it doesn’t feel like it has stopped snowing since! The lake effect snow machine has been in full force over our little beach town in the last week, and my born and bred Michiganders are loving every minute!

I hope that you and yours enjoyed the holidays, and are ready to gear back up into the first part of the new year! 

Fresh new year…any new Instant Pots?!

Over the last few years, the holidays seemed to have become notorious for Instant Pots getting stuffed under the Christmas tree – and for good reason! While it took this old dog a bit of coaxing to embrace a new kitchen gadget, the new tricks that the Instant Pot has allowed this busy momma of 3 kids to learn has literally been a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to keep real, nourishing food on the table without spending all day in the kitchen.

From my staple weekly whole chicken and bone broth, to school thermos soups and full dinner meals, the Instant Pot is used almost daily in my kitchen now…

…and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the Instant Pot’s capabilities!

Remember that old dog, new trick reference? I’m not kidding when I say it took me a couple months to even take the thing out of the box when I received it 3 years ago! I had my kitchen routine down, and just couldn’t wrap my mind around doing things differently. My first round of bone broth quickly changed my mind, and my kitchen routine has become more convenient without compromising my real food standards ever since.

There are so many things I have not taken on with my Instant Pot though, and I’m so thankful for amazingly talented friends like Emily from Recipes To Nourish for creating a resource like her new Instant Pot cookbook to help me learn how to make the most out of my Instant Pot.

The Art Of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot

Filled to the brim with 80 gluten free, allergy friendly, WAPF and paleo compliant *nourishing* recipes, The Art of Great Cooking With Your Instant Pot is a must have for your cookbook library if you own an Instant Pot. One thing I noticed when I first started looking for recipes to learn using my Instant Pot was that not all Instant Pot recipe sources are created equal. If using whole, real, nourishing foods is important to you, this is the Instant Pot cookbook for you. Often I would have to make swaps or figure out other ways to make recipes in a real food way using other Instant Pot cookbooks, but Emily’s book is 100% real food. Period.

Chapters include: Hearty Beef, Pork & Lamb, Elegant Poultry, Delectable Pastas, Seafood, Vegetables & More, Beautiful Soups, Tantalizing Stews, Appetizing Breakfasts, and Heavenly Sweet Treats. It has been fun to pull myself out of my comfort zone and attempt some recipes other than my staple soups such as some of the pasta dishes and even the desserts!

A new family favorite Instant Pot recipe!

I’m so honored to have the chance to put one of Emily’s Instant Pot recipes from the cookbook right here on the blog – and I just had to go with a warming chili type stew to add to your winter menu – Beef Picadillo Chili with Sweet Raisins! I will be the first to admit I had no idea what to expect from such a unique chili, and I was blown away with the flavor.

This kid pleasing chili is a must for your winter dinner menu rotation!

The sweet raisins and dash of warm maple syrup and cinnamon give the broth a mild, kid friendly sweetness – the girls were literally licking their bowls clean! There is such a good balance between that mild sweetness that will keep the kiddos happy, and the briney saltyness from the capers and olives that had me hooked. I had to smuggle the last bowl to the corner of the fridge to have for breakfast the next day! The girls brought leftovers to school in their lunch thermoses and really loved the soup, asking if we could make it again soon.

All day cooked flavor, in a fraction of the time!

Because this chili is super delicious, I thought I’d give you a few tips for making it run even faster, so you can have this meal any night of the week!

  • Get the veggie chopping done the night before – that shaves off a good 5-10 minutes of prep time!
  • Get all of the seasonings in a little container measured out the night before, so you just have to dump them in.
  • If your beef is not already pre-cut, you can cube that up too. Our grass-fed stew meat comes cubed up, but I like to cut the pieces smaller since I still have a really little one at the table. If you have kiddos at home, this is a helpful trick to making cuts of beef easier to chew. The Instant Pot cooking makes the beef so tender too!
  • You could potentially brown the meat the night before as well – if you are going to be spending 10 minutes chopping the veggies and measuring the seasonings, you could be babysitting the meat in the pan next to you too! Just be sure to save the pan drippings to go back into the soup – flavor! The meat saute takes a good 5-10 minutes as well which helps on a busy day!

Beef Picadillo Chili with Sweet Raisins

“This flavorful Latin American stew is seasoned with spices and fragrant herbs. You’ll taste sweet undertones from the raisins and salty goodness from pimento-stuffed olives and capers.”

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Art of Great Cooking with Your Instant Pot by Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Beef Picadillo Chili With Sweet Raisins

Beef picadillo chili with sweet raisins has salty and sweet “all day cooked” flavor in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time47 minutes
Total Time1 hour 12 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Latin American
Keyword: Instant Pot beef chili, Instant Pot beef chili recipe, Instant Pot beef picadillo chili
Servings: 6 servings
Author: EmilySunwell-Vidaurri


  • 3 tbsp 43 g grass-fed butter, ghee or avocado oil, divided
  • 2 lbs 907 g grass-fed stew meat, cut into 2" (5-cm) cubes
  • tsp 4 g sea salt, divided
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 7 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp 15 g chili powder blend
  • 2 tsp 4 g ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp 30 ml maple syrup or honey
  • 18 oz 510 g crushed or diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup 73 g raisins
  • 5 oz 142 g pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 tbsp 9 g capers
  • 1 cup 237 ml chicken bone broth


  • Add 2 tablespoons (29 g) of healthy fat of choice to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté.” Add the stew meat, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sea salt and brown the meat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes (you might have to do this in two batches). Remove the browned stew meat to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon (14 g) of healthy fat of choice, onion and garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sea salt, sautéing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and cinnamon and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, giving it a good stir. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Add the sweetener of choice, tomatoes, raisins, olives, capers and bone broth and stir to combine. Add the browned stew meat and stir. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the steam release valve is sealed. Press the “Meat/Stew” setting for 35 minutes.
  • When the Instant Pot is done and beeps, press “Keep Warm/Cancel.” Using an oven mitt, “quick release”/open the steam release valve. When the steam venting stops and the silver dial drops, carefully open the lid.
  • Serve immediately. This chili is delicious topped with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese (or both!).



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  • Reply Megan Stevens January 1, 2018 at 10:21 am

    5 stars
    Oh yum yum yum!! This totally reminds me of one my mom made growing up: capers and olive and raisins, and all of those good Mexican spices. So authentic and comforting and warming! I bought 2 of the cookbooks: one for me and one for my mom! Thank you, Renee, for sharing such a beautiful cookbook and recipe!

  • Reply linda spiker January 1, 2018 at 11:30 am

    5 stars
    Wow! What a beautiful dish! I love this book! I have two 😉

  • Reply Tina January 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Just got an Instant Pot as a gift – super excited to try this!

  • Reply Joni Gomes January 1, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    The addition of raisins is genius!!!

  • Reply Jean January 1, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    5 stars
    Looks so delicious on a cold day! I love the addition of raisins for that natural sweetness.

  • Reply Tessa@tessadomesticdiva.com January 1, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    5 stars
    I adore picadillo, and Emily’s recipes are always great!! Thank you for sharing, I had this recipe earmarked in her book too!

  • Reply Irena Macri January 2, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Yum! Another IP recipe I must try. The raisins and the olives are calling my name. Such a beautiful explosion of flavour!

  • Reply Kari - Get Inspired Everyday! January 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    5 stars
    It’s a winter wonderland where we are too, so much snow, and I’m craving all things warm and cozy like this awesome looking insta pot beef!

  • Reply Melissa @Real Nutritious Living January 2, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    I pinned this first thing this morning. It looks so good. Thank you!

  • Reply Carrie @ Clean Eating Kitchen January 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    5 stars
    Oh I love that you added raisins because I have a sweet tooth! And, so easy in the Instant Pot. Stay warm, Renee!!!

  • Reply cristina January 3, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    5 stars
    I grew up on picadillo! Cuban girl here. Making a chili out of it is genius!

  • Reply Katja January 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I love savory meat dishes with a bit of sweet. I bet the cinnamon and raisins are delish. Can’t wait to try this. My fam will LOVE it.

  • Reply Becky Winkler January 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Love the Instant Pot so much–I have two! Emily’s book is great and I can’t wait to try this chili!

  • Reply Christina Shoemaker January 8, 2018 at 1:22 am

    5 stars
    I really need to use my Instant Pot more! This looks yummy and I love the raisins!

  • Reply Lindsey Dietz January 8, 2018 at 10:40 am

    5 stars
    It’s so amazing how the IP gives food the flavor and texture of being simmered on low all day!

  • Reply Katie Mae @ Nourishing Simplicity January 10, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    I love picadillo! It’s one of my all time favourtie dishes! 🙂 It’s been years since I add olives, which is funny since they are grown in the region of Mexico that I lived in.

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