Chili colorado recipe! A simple traditional Mexican stew made in a red chili sauce. Learn how to make this dish in an Instant Pot!
What Does Chili Colorado Mean?
Boy, you are in for a treat! Today I’m sharing a traditional dish that has been enjoyed in many household for generations!
“Colorado” means the color red in Spanish, which is the deep rich color of the chili sauce the meat simmers in while cooking.
Have tried Nana’s Pozole Mexican Soup? If so, then you already know to expect rich flavors in this chili colorado recipe.
If that pork stew is still on your must make list, get to it! Seriously, it’s FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!
For this recipe we’re using beef and follow the same method as cooking a stew without the vegetables!
No dicing and peeling carrots or potatoes!
Traditional Recipe With Modern Convenience
Do you remember the big pot on the stovetop simmering delicious meals for hours and hours growing up?
I do, especially when visiting my grandmothers’ homes. Every time we were over their kitchen waifed of the magical smell spices and foods that cooked ALL DAY LONG.
Those were the days, right? Simple, yet it wasn’t. I didn’t know then what I know now, but food needed to be stretched back then.
Both of my parents grew up in large families. Five kids each and they lived just two houses apart!
My grandmother and mother made their meals from scratch. I bet yours did too. It was just as common as opening a can of chicken broth is now!
Now we’re right smack in the middle of third and fourth Mexican-American generations. We have so many modern conveniences to help us savor homemade dishes like slow cookers and pressure cookers.
How To Make Chili Colorado In An Instant Pot
This recipe calls for the same ingredients previous generations did, but with a modern twist.
First, this tender beef stew is made in an Instant Pot. Second, we use some canned goods: broth and prepared chili sauce (as an enhancer to the homemade sauce).
Don’t have a pressure cooker? No problem! Check the recipe card for instructions on how to make chili colorado in a slow cooker or on the stovetop.
This recipe is adapted from my friend Eva as told to her by her mama! The original instructions were to cook this in a slow cooker.
Getting hungry? Let’s get cooking!
What Type of Beef Should You Use?
First, what type of beef should be purchased for this dish?
There is nothing worse than going from store to store looking for the right cut of beef. My advice? Choose what is on sale!
Also, don’t worry about purchasing a fattier beef in hopes of adding flavor. The sauce has you covered!
- London Broil/Flank Steak – Lean cuts of beef with not a lot of fat, which is what is used in this recipe.
- Beef Chuck roast – from the shoulder of the cow is fattier cut of meat, trim the disable fat
- Top Round – from near the leg of the cow is leaner than the chuck roast.
London broil was on special at my grocery store – buy one and get one free!
So lucky to get that deal because I made this twice in two days!
Saute The Meat For Chili Colorado Recipe
Cut the beef into 1″ x 2″ pieces. In two to three batches brown the meat on saute mode.
Note that the beef will render water, so between browning take a paper towel to soak up the moisture, carefully.
Next, turn off the pressure cooker and prepare the chili sauce.
How To Make Chili Sauce
The chili sauce is made from dried chilis: California red also known as Anaheim chili and Pasilla“pah-SEE-yah”.
You can find these in the spice section of most grocery stores where you will find pre-packaged Latin spices. Of course, Mexican markets will have an aisle dedicated to chilis and spices.
Steps To Make Chili Sauce
- Toast the chili pods over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the stems and cut the chilis to remove the seeds.
- Place chili in a small sauce pan of boiling water. Remove from heat and cover for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain Chilis over a sieve and reserve 1 cup of the chili water.
- Place broth, chili water and spices in a blender.
- Pulse ingredients into a sauce.
- Pour into the Instant Pot over the beef.
CAUTION – handle chilis with care and be sure not to touch your face!
Cook In Meat/Stew Setting Mode
Finally, place the lid on the Instant Pot, seal the vent and use the meat/stew setting.
Once the pressure releases naturally, serve it up!
What To Serve Chili Colorado With
Serve chili colorado with a fresh green salad along with the following side dishes:
- Spanish rice – traditional basic fluffy full flavored rice with or without additional vegetables.
- 3 Ingredient Cauliflower Spanish Rice – Keep this meal low-carb and serve with rice made with cauliflower.
- Mexican Pinto Beans – crock pot recipe with flavorful spices like cumin, oregano, and fresh chopped tomatoes.
- Homemade Tortilla – tender and chewy traditional flour tortillas.
- Low Carb Tortilla – check out these low carb pre-made tortillas.
- 3 pounds beef (London Broil, Beef Chuck, Chuck Roast)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 10 ounce Red Chili Sauce (Las Palmas)*
- 14.5 ounce broth **
- 3 each California Red or Anaheim dried chilies
- 3 each Pasilla chilies
- Himalayan salt (to taste)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon all-spice
Instant Pot Method
- Cube meat into medium size pieces, 1" X 2"
- Add oil to the Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. Lightly salt meat and brown on all side in 2-3 batches.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and add Las Palmas chili sauce.
- To prepare the chili sauce, heat a skillet on medium heat and lightly saute the chili pods until lightly fragrant (watch carefully so they don't burn).
- Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, remove the stems and cut chili to remove the seeds.
- Place a small saucepan filled with 3 cups of water on high. Once boiling, place chili in the pan and cover. Remove from heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain chili and reserve 1 cup of the chili water.
- In a blender add soften chilies, broth, 1 cup of chili water, garlic cloves, cumin and all-spice. Blend into a sauce.
- Pour sauce into Instant Pot and add 1 bay leaf.
- Place lid on and lock vent.
- Cook on stew/meat setting and let the pressure to naturally release.
- Season with additional salt
Slow Cooker Method
*Be sure to purchase chili sauce, NOT enchilada sauce
**you can use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 406Trans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 38g
Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.
Helpful Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! There is no thickener used in the sauce. It isn’t necessary, so it’s naturally low carb.
Yes, there are no flours used in this recipe, but as a precaution ensure that the canned chili sauce and broth you use does not contain gluten in the ingredient list.
No. Since we take out the seeds in the chilis, the skins add flavor. If you would like this dish to be spicy, then keep in the seeds and membrane from the chili or add additional chili spices like cayenne.