This easy pumpkin chili recipe is comforting, filling and full of fall flavors. A savory pumpkin dish that’s made in just one pot. You’ll want to enjoy this fall chili all season long!
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Favorite Fall Dinner
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 or my creamy pumpkin soup with canned pumpkin.
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.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy one pot meal. Everything comes together in one pan, meaning less dishes and an easy cleanup in just minutes!
- Subtle flavor. Even non pumpkin lovers with enjoy this pumpkin chili recipe. You can’t really taste the flavor, although it makes the soup super thick and fibrous.
- Hearty and comforting. Made with warm spices and a deliciously thick texture. Pumpkin chili is the perfect comfort soup on a chilly fall day.
- Fiber and protein. Filled with lean ground beef, 2 types of beans, pumpkin and chopped veggies. This soup is loaded with all the good stuff!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Pumpkin: Chili with pumpkin may sound a bit strange, but trust me on this one. It’s going to add fiber and thickness to your chili (you won’t really taste it). I like to use canned pumpkin, but you could also make your own homemade pumpkin puree.
- Ground beef: I love to use good quality ground beef. You could even swap for ground turkey (or do half and half).
- Beans: I prefer to use a combo of kidney and black beans, but you could also use pinto or white beans, if preferred.
- Vegetables: I usually add in onion, bell peppers and tomatoes. You could use a variation of bell peppers here.
- Seasoning: You can use my homemade chili seasoning and homemade pumpkin pie spice to boost the flavors. You don’t need a lot of the pumpkin spice or cinnamon, start with just a pinch and go from there.
- Brown sugar: Technically you could omit this, but I find it really helps to bring the flavors together. This is supposed to be a little sweeter pumpkin chili.
- 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.
- For a spicier pumpkin chili, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika, chopped jalapeno or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
- Add an extra 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice (more to taste) if you’d like to really bring out the pumpkin flavor.
- For a vegan version, skip the meat and add an extra can of beans or your favorite plant based ground meat substitute.
How to Make Pumpkin Chili
Made in just one pot, this recipe for pumpkin chili couldn’t be easier to whip up. Just follow the simple steps below to get started.
- Brown the meat. 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.
- Season. Add the seasonings and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir. 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.
5 star review
I love all things pumpkin, but have to admit that I was hesitant about this pair. However, I ended up loving it! So perfect for fall.– Alisha
- 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. You may need to add in a little extra water. Cooking low and slow creates a bolder taste.
- Sweeten with brown sugar. This may seem like a strange ingredient, but it really does help round out all of the flavors in the chili. It gives it just enough sweetness to cut the acidity from the tomatoes, without being overpowering.
- Go light on the fall spices. A little goes a long way with the cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Start by adding just a pinch, then taste and add more if preferred. You don’t want to add too much at first!
- Consistency. This is a hearty chili, so the texture will be on the thicker side. If you prefer a thinner consistency, feel free to add in a dash of water or chicken broth.
Not really! It just helps thicken the texture and gives the flavor more depth. My kids will gobble it right up and don’t even notice a pumpkin taste!
Simmering the pumpkin chili on the stove helps make the flavors even more bold and delicious, but it’s definitely possible to over do it. Stick to 1-2 hours, then remove from the stove. Otherwise it could burn or the texture could get mushy.
Sure. Simply brown the meat first in a pan with the onion, bell pepper and seasonings. Then add the meat and everything else into the crockpot and 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.
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- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped red bell peppers (1 pepper)
- 2-3 Tablespoons chili seasoning mix (about 1 package or see notes for homemade)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt , plus more to taste
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes , with liquid
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans , rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans , rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 2-3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin spice , optional (more or less to taste)
- Ground black pepper , 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 pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if needed. Add the chili seasoning and and cook 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, pumpkin, and brown sugar. Taste and add cinnamon as desired for extra flavor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add more chili seasoning, if you'd like a spicier chili. Add up to 1/2 cup hot water to thin down, if needed.
- Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 60 minutes (the longer the better).
- Serve hot with your favorite toppings.
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!