Now that fall is officially here, I’ve been making a lot more soups and stews. Whether they’re in the slow cooker, the stovetop, or cooking away in the Instant Pot, there are plenty of different options. This pumpkin chili makes a hearty weeknight meal and it’s packed with fall flavor (and nutrition!).
I originally created this pumpkin chili as a way to use up the 100-pound pumpkin we bought at the farmer’s market. My kids really enjoyed it, and I love that it’s packed with veggies. When my son was on the GAPS protocol to reverse his allergies, I just gave him some of the browned meat with broth and pumpkin. Tomatoes are nightshades so he couldn’t have those at the time.
We cook this on the stovetop, but it would also work in a crockpot.
How to Make Pumpkin Chili
It’s not that different than traditional chili, but it’s a tasty twist on a classic. I’ll often use spices like smoked paprika, ground cumin, and cayenne in my everyday chili. This pumpkin chili has some of the same flavors, but it also features cinnamon. It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy optional (just omit the cheese)
The optional hint of cinnamon adds a winter warmth, and the pumpkin sneaks in some added nutrition. If you don’t have fresh available then a can of pumpkin will work, or even butternut squash or sweet potato.
I like using ground beef, but you could also use ground chicken or ground turkey if preferred. And while most chili recipes rely heavily on beans, I omitted them here. If you prefer your chili with beans though, then feel free to add some to the recipe. Black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are all good options.
Pumpkin Chili Toppings
Here are some topping ideas for your chili. My kids love choosing their own toppings to really customize their bowls!
- Crispy tortilla strips (these homemade chips are delicious!)
Diced bell pepper
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Chopped yellow onion
A sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice
Even if you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, I’d encourage you to try this recipe. It is simple, delicious, and definitely kid-approved at our house! It also reheats well the next day, since the flavors have had even more time to meld.
Pumpkin Chili Recipe
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- green onions
- sliced jalapeños
- crispy tortilla strips
- In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium heat.
- When the beef is almost completely cooked, add the onions and saute until soft.
- Add the diced tomato and tomato sauce, pumpkin, broth, beans if using, and spices and stir to combine.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium-low or until heated through and flavors are incorporated.
- Top with desired toppings and enjoy!
Do you add pumpkin to any unusual dishes? Ever tried it in chili? Share below!