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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
- 1 lb ground beef (or other ground meat)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 bell peppers
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 15 oz canned pinto beans (drained and rinsed, optional)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 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!
Discussion (20 Comments)
Two whole onions just turned it into onion stew. I would maybe try again with half an onion and other veggies or beans to mix it up a bit. Flavor was good though.
As I was making this, I was questioning how it would turn out because I was skeptical of how pumpkin would combine with savory stuff. But DAMN! This turned out amazing!!
this was amazing! I use diced tomatoes and chipotle and it gave it the perfect kick to balance out the sweet. =) definately making it again!
Thanks for helping out a new wife!! This chili is healthy, delicious, and husband-approved 🙂
This pumpkin chili is so delicious! I just made this for my family for dinner tonight and everyone really liked it! I love the pumpkin flavor and spice! I actually subbed the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice and I will continue to do so! Thanks so much! We just started our grain free diet this week and I am enjoying all of your recipes!
I tweaked the receipe a bit, I added the spices after browning the bison continue stirring for 2 minutes….this really brings out the oils that are locked up in the spices, I also added a 2tsp of Oregano, Grandulated Garlic and a 1/2 tsp of Cumin, then the onion. After adding the balance of ingredients, I added a cup of ultra distilled vodka, this acts as a solvent that further extracts flavours from the spices and the tomato and pumpkin ( I learned this from a chef from Rome) Vodka has no real flavour of its own, and is used in many restaurants around the world…alcohol cooks of in just a few moments and adds a certain jenesequa to almost any sauce or soup.
Do u think I could make this with turkey meat and chicken stock?
Certainly! I have a good friend who does just that, and while it has a milder taste, it is stills very good.