Easy Pumpkin Chili

$9.73 recipe / $1.62 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.98 from 38 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I love all things pumpkin, and I’m not sorry about it. I also love just about every iteration of chili that is out there (see my Homemade Chili recipe and the long list of variations you can make). So it’s only fitting that I combined my two fall loves. Adding pumpkin is a super easy way to add a dose of nutrients to your pot of chili without changing that classic chili feel. The flavor and texture blend seamlessly into a pot of classic chili and even kind of makes it feel a tad lighter, so I’m totally into it!

A bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

What Does Pumpkin Chili Taste Like?

Okay, if you’re looking at me with a side-eye over the idea of putting pumpkin into your chili, just hear me out. The flavor difference is subtle. It makes the chili a little more saucy and rich, without being overly heavy. The pumpkin adds a little earthiness and a super subtle sweetness, which is nice because I usually add a little bit of brown sugar to my chili, but I was able to skip that with the pumpkin. And since I like to load up my chili with a lot of spices (see my homemade chili seasoning), the flavor of the pumpkin is not super noticeable.

And I think this is a good time to mention that you don’t want to taste your chili until it has simmered on the stove a while. You might be tempted to give it a taste right after you add everything to the pot, but at that point, it does not taste good. The chili needs time to do its thing. The spices need to bloom, the flavors need to cook down and combine. Give it time, and then taste. Be patient!

Make it Vegetarian or Vegan

It’s super easy to make your pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan. Just swap out the ground beef for an extra can of beans, cooked lentils, some crumbled tempeh, or your favorite ground beef substitute. Most of the flavor in this chili comes from the chili seasoning, tomatoes, and other vegetables, so you can safely substitute the beef without too much of an effect.

Use a Different Meat

You can also swap the ground beef out for a different kind of ground meat. Ground turkey is very popular for pumpkin chili because it has a lighter flavor to match the lighter flavor of the pumpkin, but I also think that some Mexican chorizo would be awesome. Those smoky spices would pair perfectly with the flavor of the pumpkin.

Is Pumpkin Chili Spicy?

The recipe, as written below, is only as spicy as the chili powder you use. Many grocery store chili powders tend to be quite mild, but some brands can be spicy. So, if you’re sensitive to heat, make sure you use a chili powder that is mild. I find that McCormick brand chili powder is pretty mild.

If you want to add more heat to your pumpkin chili, feel free to dice up a jalapeño and sautéing that with the onion and garlic in the beginning. You can also add some chipotle powder to the chili seasoning, or dice up a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and stir that into the chili. There are a lot of options!

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili

By the way, you should totally make some cornbread to go with your pumpkin chili. Try my classic homemade cornbread, jalapeño cheddar cornbread, or sweet potato cornbread!

Share this recipe

Easy Pumpkin Chili

4.98 from 38 votes
Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It's the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.
Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips
Servings 6 1.25 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 50 minutes



  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.28)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 lb. ground beef ($5.35)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained ($0.59)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained ($0.55)
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes ($0.69)
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée ($1.05)
  • 1/2 6oz. can tomato paste (5 Tbsp) ($0.25)
  • 2 cups water ($0.00)

Chili Seasoning*


  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Add the garlic, onion, and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the kidney beans (drained), black beans (drained), diced tomatoes (with juices), puréed pumpkin, tomato paste, water, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top of the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed. Serve hot with your favorite toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onion, corn chips, etc.)

See how we calculate recipe costs here.



*You can use your own store-bought chili seasoning or your favorite mix of chili herbs and spices.


Serving: 1.25cupCalories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 24gFat: 21gSodium: 1131mgFiber: 14g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!
A spoon lifting a bite of pumpkin chili with melted cheese stretching from the bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Chili – Step by Step Photos

diced onion and minced garlic in a pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

browned ground beef in the pot with onion and garlic

Add one pound ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through.

remaining chili ingredients added to the pot, unstirred.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: 1 15oz. can black beans (drained), 1 15oz. can kidney beans (drained), 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée, ½ of a 6oz. can tomato paste, 2 cups water, ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until everything is well combined.

simmered chili in a pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any extra).

Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Serve hot with your favorite toppings! I especially like something creamy on my bowl, whether that is cheese, avocado, or sour cream. :)

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili with toppings on the sides
Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Leave a Comment
  1. This is a lovely recipe with loads of nutritions, and it’s very easy to make. I only made it twice, but I’ve already gotten all the groceries to make it again. It’s cheap, but very filling. I like it with both ground chicken and ground beef, both honestly taste great.

  2. Yum! I honestly couldn’t taste the pumpkin, which is fine, and an added nutrient boost. Classic chili, super tasty with a cold breeze coming in the dining room. Sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese were our choices of goodies. Would add Fritos for salt and texture next time.

  3. This chili was wonderful. I used ground turkey instead of beef. Next time I will add a minced jalapeño for some heat.

  4. This was delicious. Perfect for a rainy day. I used ground turkey and added some diced bell peppers with the onion. Kept everything else the same. My son was excited that I finally made a real dinner. I had been phoning it in while my husband was deployed for work. It was easy enough for a lazy cook and perfect for a hungry preteen.

  5. This came out delicious even without any meat. Perfect over rice and super easy to make. Thanks for this yummy recipe!

  6. Yum! I used TVP (texturized vegetable protein) instead of ground beef because I’m vegetarian. I rehydrated the TVP with Better than Bouillon, and I felt like it had a nice flavor in the chili. 😋

  7. Delicious. The pumpkin gives the chili a creaminess which means you don’t need sour cream. I also added a small can of diced green chilis I had lying around. Also a dash of cayenne.
    Chili is one of those recipes that’s even better as left overs, so I’m really looking forward to trying this tomorrow.

  8. Amazing! The only differences I made were substituting ground turkey (dark meat) for ground beef, and adding a can of diced jalapeños and a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. It turned out more delicious than I thought it would. I will makes this again and again and again. Thank you, Beth!!

    1. It’s a winner! This recipe is so simple and always turns out delicious. For my books, it’s the perfect chili – cozy, flavorful, filling… Making a big pot for my family on Christmas Day!! 😋