Originally posted February 28, 2019. Updated September 22, 2021.
Because we have someone in our family who can’t eat tomatoes, we had to lay off the chili for a while. Last fall, I had the idea to replace tomato sauce with pumpkin instead and voila we had pumpkin chili. At first, some were a bit skeptical about the flavor being like pumpkin pie, but it turns out it tastes almost exactly like traditional chili thanks to the beef broth and vinegar. If you prefer vegetarian chili, just substitute veggie broth and leave out the hamburger. This easy pumpkin chili pairs perfectly with a big slice of cornbread or corn chips. Enjoy!
What ingredients go into pumpkin chili?
Pumpkin – For this recipe you can used canned pumpkin puree or homemade, if you like to roast your own pumpkins. My son says freshly roasted pumpkins taste better in this chili, so you can decide for yourself. Just make sure to avoid pumpkin pie filling. We don’t want any pumpkin spice flavor in this chili.
Ground Beef – We always have beef and beans in our chili. If you dislike either, then feel free to leave them out. Make it vegetarian by omitting the beef and using vegetable broth instead of beef broth.
Beans – I like to use a mix of beans in my chili. Typically I use one can each of kidney beans, black beans and chili beans (pinto). Bush’s brand is gluten free and widely available.
Beef Broth – The broth works with the pumpkin and vinegar to mimic the tomato sauce in traditional chili. Make sure to look for gluten free beef broth as this is an ingredient that frequently contains hidden gluten.
Apple Cider Vinegar – The vinegar adds a little of the acidity that is missing from tomatoes.
Onion, Green Pepper, Jalapeno and Garlic – All used for added flavor.
Chili Powder – You can’t have chili without chili powder.
How do you make pumpkin chili?
This chili is easy to make on the stove top and takes about an hour to cook. But for an even easier option make pumpkin chili in the slow cooker and have it when you get home from work. It’s the perfect way to warm up on a cool evening.
To prepare on the stove, you will brown and drain your ground beef. Then cook the onions, peppers and garlic in a little oil until they are soft. Add the broth, pumpkin, beans and all the spices to the pot and simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes. Then remove your lid and add the ground beef and let it cook for about 10 more minutes to thicken up.
If you prefer to make your chili in the slow cooker, simple brown the ground beef and then add all the ingredients, including the cooked beef, to your slow cooker. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. So easy!
If you're looking for more soups and stews, check out these great recipes!
Easy Pumpkin Chili (Gluten Free)
- 1 C Yellow Onion diced
- ½ C Green Pepper diced
- 1 Jalapeno diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic diced
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 C Gluten Free Beef Broth
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree not pie filling
- 15 oz Can Chili Beans
- 15 oz Can Black Beans
- 15 oz Can Kidney Beans
- 1 lb Ground Beef browned and drained
- Pour olive oil into a large soup pot and heat over medium. Add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are translucent.
- Add the green pepper and jalapeno. Continue to cook about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic. Cook 1 minute more.
- Add in the chili powder, salt, beef broth, vinegar and pumpkin. Stir well until it’s soupy and all the pumpkin has been mixed in. Add the beans.
- Bring to a simmer then lower the heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes to keep it from sticking to the pan.
- Add the cooked ground beef. Continue to cook without the lid for another 10-15 minutes. It should thicken up a bit.
- Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
To prepare in a slow cooker
- Brown and drain your ground beef.
- Add all ingredients, including cooked beef, to your slow cooker.
- Cover with the lid and cook on high temperature for 4 hours or low temperature for 6 hours.