Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef
American | Published Sep 21, 2022 | Updated Jan 30, 2023 | By Tawnie
Don’t let Fall pass you by without making this Pumpkin Chili recipe. And I really mean it!! It’s Fall in a bowl and like a really big, cozy hug. Who’d want to pass that up?!
I love adding in unexpected ingredients to my recipes and the 100% pumpkin puree makes this chili recipe a game changer. Just make it once, and instead of talking about the football game around the dinner table, you’ll be raving about this Pumpkin Chili!
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And if you’re not a fan of this recipe, try my spicy slow cooker chili or this butternut squash chili.
As the days and nights cool down, some of my favorite foods to cook are soups and comforting casseroles but one of my fall-favorites to cook is chili. I love adding in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and the slight sweetness and earthy flavors of pumpkin puree to create a hearty, thick, flavor-packed pumpkin chili.
You will love this recipe because…
- The pumpkin puree adds a slightly sweet, earthy flavor
- It uses tons of pantry staple ingredients and spices
- Can be a seasonal recipe or better yet, a year round favorite
- It is packed with the spicy heat of chili & cayenne and warmth from cinnamon & nutmeg
- It’s rich, thick, comforting and made with the perfect combination of spices.
- Made in one pot, fast and easy to make and will quickly become your go-to chili recipe
- Ground beef: I love this recipe best with ground beef for a more hearty vibe but feel free to use ground turkey, ground chicken or even ground pork. Leave the meat out completely and use a veggie broth for a vegetarian option.
- Spices: cinnamon, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, nutmeg. These spices all add warmth and compliment the pumpkin flavor perfectly.
- Diced Tomatoes: I like using the petite diced tomatoes, but you can also use the fire-roasted tomatoes for an added smoky flavor.
- Beans: I’m using 3 types of beans to make this a hearty meal. The classic, dense kidney bean adds a meaty, sweet flavor. The black beans take on the rich flavors of the chili, and the pinto beans add the perfect creaminess to the chili.
- Pumpkin puree: is nutritionally dense, and adds a creamy, slightly sweet, earthy flavor to the chili. Trust me though, even if you’re not a fan of pumpkin you won’t really even know the pumpkin is hiding in there! It’s a subtle flavor.
- Broth: Using chicken broth helps tenderize the meat as it cooks in the chili along with adding a milder flavor to the chili. Use vegetable broth if preferred.
Step by Step Directions
This recipe doesn’t get easier (yay!) Made in one large soup pot or dutch oven and makes a big enough batch to have for a few days.
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven and saute the veggies until fragrant, ~5-7 minutes.
- Add the beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir occasionally, taste and adjust seasonings and garnish the chili with your favorite toppings (my ideas are below!)
Tips and Variations
- Use ground turkey instead of beef or simply leave meat out for vegetarian option.
- You can substitute beef broth, vegetable broth, or water for the chicken broth.
- Add in lentils or more beans/different beans to make it heartier if you’re not using beef.
- Don’t skip out on the sugar when adding in the seasonings. Adding a touch of sugar helps add sweetness to balance the rich, deep flavors of chili.
- Be sure to allow the chili to simmer for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you can. Chili needs plenty of time for the flavors to meld and overall it’s the secret to ultra yummy chili.
- If you like a thicker chili, I recommend only using 2 cups of broth. I always add 3 cups when I make it, but it’s all personal preference.
I love fresh cilantro, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, avocado and sour cream. But the toppings are endless! Feta cheese, diced tomatoes and chips are a few other ideas.
Yes. Brown the ground beef first. Then add to your slow cooker with all of the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Yes. Allow the chili to cool completely and store in an airtight storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge overnight and heat on the stove or in the microwave.
Up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight storage container.
Pumpkin adds a subtle sweet, earthly flavor. It is not overpowering, and most people wouldn’t even know that pumpkin is in the recipe.
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Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 recipe chili seasoning*
- 3 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups for a thicker chili)
- 2, 15 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes, not drained
- 1, 15 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin
- 1, 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- garnish ideas: sour cream, cilantro, avocado, cheddar cheese, red onion, chips.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers and saute the veggies until fragrant, ~5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until combined.
- Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Add in the chili seasonings and stir to combine.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, bring the chili to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings and garnish the chili with your favorite toppings. Serve hot and enjoy!
- Chili seasoning recipe: 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.
- Storage: Up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight storage container.
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie
Yum, I made this and my family really liked it. I didn’t have Chipotle seasoning or cayenne, but I did what you said and adjusted other seasonings. I served it over rice with cheese, sour cream, onions, and saltines!
Sounds so so good!! Glad everyone enjoyed 🙂 thank you!
I had been looking for a pumpkin chili but many of them don’t include tomatoes and I LOVE tomatoes in my chili! I didn’t disclose that I made my family chili with pumpkin and they all raves about it, one of the favorites I’ve made. A couple changes..I didn’t add the celery and added a few more spices that I add to my classic chili recipe. I cooked it in my crockpot all day..delicious!! I will definitely make this again!
Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for making my recipe 🙂 Love that you made it in the crockpot, so easy huh?! So glad you enjoyed. xo, Tawnie