Instant Pot Green Chili Cheese Fries

published Jan 28, 2023
Instant Pot Green Chili Cheese Fries Recipe

A saucy combination of cheese and fried carbs with obligatory crudités for freshness, these fries encapsulate the key components of a game day spread into one dish.

Serves6 to 8

Makesabout 2 quarts chili

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

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someone taking a chili cheese fry from a plate
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Football may be the reason people gather on Super Bowl Sunday, but for me the real cause for celebration isn’t the game — it’s the food (and, let’s be honest, the half-time show). A good game-day spread is all about abundance. Something fried and saucy (we’re looking at you, chicken wings), a dip or two with obligatory crudités for freshness and a respite from all the fried goodness, and of course, some combination of cheese and carbs. Enter: these green chili cheese fries.

Inspired by Mexican chile verde, this green chili — packed with poblano peppers, jalapeños, tomatillos, cumin, oregano, and coriander — comes together using a food processor and an Instant Pot. The former makes it a whiz to chop the vegetables and purée the tomatillos, while the latter cuts down the cooking time and results in tender, flavorful bites of pork.

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Styling: Brett Regot

If You’re Making this Recipe, a Few Tips

  • Don’t skip the masa harina. One of the most important ingredients is the masa harina, which acts as a thickening agent, tightening the chili to the perfect scoopable texture (read: not watery).
  • Use frozen fries. Take a helping hand from the grocery store and buy frozen. Just make sure to pick a sturdy fry, like crinkle- or waffle-cut, that can stand up to the chili and toppings.
  • But also, you don’t need the fries. The chili is also a winner on its own without the fries. If you’re serving it this way, reduce the masa to two tablespoons (this will result in a looser, more spoonable texture). Keep warm on the game-day buffet and serve with a variety of garnishes like Fritos, shredded cheese, diced avocado, red onion, sour cream, and pickled jalapeños.
  • Add beans. If you like beans in your chili, you can substitute one pound of the ground pork with two 14-ounce cans of drained black or pinto beans, added in with the tomatillos before pressure cooking.
  • Plan for leftovers. This recipe makes a little extra chili than you need for 32 ounces of french fries — leftovers make a great nachos topping and freeze well!

Instant Pot Green Chili Cheese Fries Recipe

A saucy combination of cheese and fried carbs with obligatory crudités for freshness, these fries encapsulate the key components of a game day spread into one dish.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

Makes about 2 quarts chili

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1 large bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 2

    medium white or yellow onions

  • 3

    medium poblano peppers

  • 2 to 3

    medium jalapeños

  • 2 tablespoons

    canola oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 pound


  • 2 pounds

    ground pork

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth, divided

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1/4 cup

    masa harina

  • 8 ounces

    pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese

  • 1 (32-ounce) bag

    frozen crinkle-cut fries

Garnish options:

  • Diced red onion

  • Sour cream

  • Hot sauce


  1. Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems of 1 large bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1 1/2 cups.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment as it is completed: Peel and cut 2 medium white or yellow onions into 8 wedges each. Trim 3 medium poblano peppers, remove the seeds, and cut into large pieces. Trim and coarsely chop 2 to 3 medium jalapeños. Pulse until everything is finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, 15 to 20 (1-second) pulses.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker on the highest Sauté function until shimmering. Add the onion mixture (reserve the food processor for later use) and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until any liquid from the vegetables has evaporated and the onions start to soften and just start to turn translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, peel the papery skins from 1 pound tomatillos and rinse the tomatillos under cold water. Quarter the tomatillos, place in the food processor (no need to clean) and process into a coarse purée, about 15 seconds. Heat the oven according to the French fry package directions.

  5. Add 2 pounds ground pork, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the sautéed vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat into small crumbles, until the pork starts to turn opaque and loses its rawness, 4 to 6 minutes.

  6. Add the reserved blended tomatillos, 1/2 cup of the cilantro, and 1/2 cup of the low-sodium chicken broth. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lime into the pressure cooker and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.

  7. Turn off the pressure cooker. Lock the lid on and make sure the valve is set to seal. Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 14 minutes. It will take about 9 minutes to come up to pressure.

  8. Meanwhile, juice the zested lime until you have 2 tablespoons juice and place in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup masa harina and whisk until smooth. Grate 8 ounces pepper jack of Monterey jack cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups) if needed.

  9. When the cook time is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bake 1 (32-ounce) bag frozen crinkle-cut fries according to package directions, cooking them on the crisper side.

  10. Release any remaining pressure from the pressure cooker. Stir the chili, then taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Turn on the medium-high or high Sauté function (go with medium-high if you have both). Add the masa mixture and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid starts to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the cooker, cover, and keep warm if the fries are not ready yet.

  11. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the fries. Bake until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. To assemble, place the fries on a shallow serving platter or individual plates, then spoon on the desired amount of hot chili on top. Garnish with sour cream, diced red onion, the remaining chopped cilantro, and a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Ground pork substitutes: Use ground turkey, ground chicken, or plant-based meat (such Impossible or Beyond Meat) instead of the ground pork.

Make ahead: The chili can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring back to a simmer while baking off the frozen fries.