Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili is an easy pumpkin chili recipe with ground turkey, pumpkin, black beans and plenty of spice!  This chili is hearty, smoky, and perfect for fall!

pumpkin chili in white bowl with cheese on top

This past week has been a difficult one here in California as fires rage across the state.  The sky has been filled with smoke, people have been losing or evacuating their homes, and the power outages are affecting thousands and thousands of people.

We lost our power for 7 hours Sunday, then 12 hours from Sunday night through Monday, and it made me realize how much I take for granted in my day to day life.

As hard as times like this are, they make me so grateful for what I have, but my heart breaks for the loss that others are enduring.

I’ve wanted to share this pumpkin chili recipe with you for some time, and I can’t think of a better time than now as we can all use a big helping of comfort food over here!

overhead shot of pumpkin chili with cheese and peppers

Pumpkin Chili

I’m a huge fan of pumpkin desserts, but I love savory pumpkin recipes even more.  There are so many varieties of heirloom pumpkins out there, and they each have their own unique flavor and texture.

This pumpkin chili is such a great way to celebrate the fall season.  It’s extremely hearty with ground turkey, kidney and black beans, and the pumpkin gives it a luxurious, smooth texture and mild sweetness.

The chili is smoky and spicy — without being too spicy!  And since it’s not tomato based, it’s less acidic than most chili recipes out there.

This chili recipe does have two secret ingredients to give it a nice depth of flavor — beer and maple syrup.  I used Guinness stout, which adds a ton of flavor, but you can add your favorite beer or simply use chicken stock instead.  

The maple syrup adds just a touch of sweetness that compliments the pumpkin, beer and smokiness.

What kind of pumpkin should I use for pumpkin chili?

You can use fresh or canned pumpkin for this recipe, but fresh pumpkin definitely gives this dish more flavor.

If you’d like to use fresh pumpkin, see the following:

How to Make Pumpkin Puree in the Instant Pot

How to roast pumpkin in the oven

pumpkin chili in dutch oven with wooden spoon

How to make pumpkin chili

This turkey pumpkin chili recipe takes a minimal amount of prep, and comes together in just 10 minutes if you use canned pumpkin puree or make your own in advance.

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add the ground turkey and break up into small pieces. Cook 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Add the red bell pepper and cook 3 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and spices and cook 30 seconds longer.
  • Stir in the beer, water or stock and tomatoes, and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the pumpkin, tomato paste, beans and corn to the pan, and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes longer until thickened.
  • Add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste, and serve with optional toppings if desired. Enjoy!

front view of pumpkin chili with parsley in background

Recipe tips and substitutions

  • Total time does not include making your own pumpkin puree.  If you make your own, it may be made a few days in advance.
  • If you roast or cook your own pumpkin for this recipe, there’s no need to puree it until it’s nice and smooth.  I mashed mine with a fork — it was rustic and chunky!
  • Make this pumpkin chili gluten-free by omitting the beer or using a gluten-free beer.  If you prefer not to use beer at all, simply substitute with the same amount of chicken or vegetable stock.
  • Omit the ground turkey to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan.
  • Leftover chili may be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Need more comfort food?  See all of my Soup recipes.

More chili recipes you’ll love:

Guinness beef chili

Lentil chili by Minimalist Baker

Slow cooker turkey chili

Vegetarian quinoa chili

White bean turkey chili

pumpkin chili with spoon

Pumpkin Chili

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Pumpkin Chili is an easy pumpkin chili recipe with ground turkey, pumpkin, black beans and plenty of spice!  This chili is hearty, smoky, and perfect for fall!

Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bottle of beer (I used Guinness Stout)*
  • 1 cup water or chicken or vegetable stock
  • (1) 14 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups (15 ounces) homemade pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • (1) 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • (1) 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Optional toppings: freshly chopped cilantro, cheese and jalapeño

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add the ground turkey and break up into small pieces. Cook 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Add the red bell pepper and cook 3 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and spices and cook 30 seconds longer.
  3. Stir in the beer, water or stock and tomatoes, and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the pumpkin, tomato paste, beans and corn to the pan, and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes longer until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste, and serve with optional toppings if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Total time does not include making your own pumpkin puree.  If you make your own, it may be made a few days in advance.
  • If you roast or cook your own pumpkin for this recipe, there's no need to puree it until it's nice and smooth.  I mashed mine with a fork -- it was rustic and chunky!
  • Make this pumpkin chili gluten-free by omitting the beer or using a gluten-free beer.
  • Omit the ground turkey to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan.
  • Leftover chili may be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 559mg Carbohydrates: 41g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 12g Sugar: 9g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 28g
Nutrition information is mean to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

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