This easy pumpkin chili is comforting, filling and full of fall flavors. A savory pumpkin dish that you’ll want to enjoy all season long!
I recently made a jar of my homemade chili seasoning to have on hand throughout the fall season. I typically use it make my favorite homemade chili recipe, but decided to add a pumpkin twist this time instead. It turned out so delicious!
With fall around the corner, it’s time to start making all the pumpkin recipes. Contrary to popular belief, pumpkin isn’t only for desserts. I love it in savory dishes as well, like this delicious pumpkin chili.
The pumpkin flavor doesn’t overpower the chili, it really just adds another depth of flavor, extra nutrients, color and silkiness to the texture. I do like adding a little bit of cinnamon to bring out just the right amount of fall spice. It’s a great meal to make for Halloween served with warm homemade cornbread. You could even serve it up in a hallowed pumpkin for a spooky effect!
How to make pumpkin chili
- BROWN. Cook the beef, onion and peppers in a large saucepan over medium heat until the meat is browned and the onions are translucent. Drain any excess grease, then add the seasonings and cook for 1 more minute.
- MIX. Mix in the tomatoes, beans, pumpkin puree and brown sugar. Give it a taste and add any additional seasonings as desired (cinnamon, salt, pepper, etc.). Then pour in 1/2 cup hot water to thin down the consistency and mix well.
- SIMMER. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more flavor it will have.
Favorite chili toppings
This pumpkin chili tastes amazing served hot with any of the below toppings:
- tortilla strips
- crushed tortilla chips
- sliced avocado
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- cornbread croutons
- Use ground turkey or a combination of ground beef and turkey.
- Use green, orange or yellow bell peppers. You can add a mixture as well.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice (more to taste) if you’d like to really bring out the pumpkin flavor.
- Simmer longer for better flavor. Sometimes I’ll make this in the afternoon and then transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for a couple hours.
- For a vegan version, skip the meat and add an extra can of beans.
- Make in the slow cooker by browning the meat first and then adding everything else into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Freezing + reheating
FREEZE: Leftovers make a great freezer meal. Let the chili cool completely, then pour in a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
REHEAT: Remove from freezer and thaw in microwave or in fridge overnight. Pour into a pot and cook over low heat until warm throughout.
More chili recipes to try:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped red bell peppers (1 pepper)
- 2-3 Tablespoons chili seasoning mix (about 1 package)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (more to taste)
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 15 ounce can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
- 15 ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 15 ounce pumpkin puree
- 2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, more to taste)
Optional toppings: shredded cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, cilantro
- In a large saucepan over medium-heat, combine the ground beef, onion and bell peppers. Saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if needed. Add the seasonings and let cook an additional minute.
- Add tomatoes, beans, pumpkin and brown sugar. Taste and add cinnamon as desired for extra flavor. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more chili seasoning if you'd like to take up the heat. Add up to 1/2 cup hot water to thin down.
- Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-60 minutes (the longer the better).
- Serve hot with your favorite toppings.
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder