Great Pumpkin Chili

great pumpkin chili

I love Fall and look forward to cooler temps, watching the leaves change and figuring out my Halloween costume. Okay, it's been years since I have dressed-up, but I loved trick or treating as a child in my homemade Cinderella dress and tinfoil crown. I mean, who doesn't like getting free candy for putting on a costume? It's a great ROI in my opinion!

As a child I was focused on the fun part—putting on the costume and filling my plastic pumpkin with as much candy as possible. I didn't think about how hectic Halloween must be for grown-ups who had to help us into costumes, take us trick or treating, then help us out of our costumes while trying to make sure we didn't eat all the candy that night. It's a big job!

Plus, good parents might try to actually serve a wholesome dinner beyond a pumpkin full of candy. And this is where I can help. Life is crazy, even on days when you don't need to wear a costume, which is why I love having a few meals that don't take a lot of work but still taste delicious.

Stretch Your Dollar Further with Yummy Leftovers

This rich and fragrant Pumpkin Chili cooks in your crockpot and can feed a small army. It freezes beautifully, so you can freeze individual servings or one large container for those nights when you need an extra fast meal. If you have fussier eaters who don't like seeing the same meal on the menu two nights in a row, well tough luck. Just kidding. :D

There are so many different meals you can make with your leftover chili. I topped a big baked potato with a hearty helping of chili and also made chili french fries. You can make chili hotdogs or burgers or even top macaroni and cheese with some chili too.

chili options

I was a little nervous adding pumpkin to the chili but it's a great addition. It makes the chili more robust and creamy. It's savory and spicy with just a hint of sweetness. I spent more time hovering around the crockpot, inhaling the yummy aroma, than I did putting the chili together. This is a quick, affordable chili that can easily be stretched for several meals and is perfect for busy nights or those evenings when everybody's schedule is different.

Great Pumpkin Chili

chili muffinsI served buttermilk corn muffins with big bowls of this savory chili, and they were the perfect accompaniment.

This does make a large quantity and you do need to use a 6 quart crockpot, which I do not have. So I mixed everything together and froze half the chili. After thawing overnight, I reheated the chili in the crockpot on low for 7 hours. It tasted just as good as the original batch.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (28.5 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (7 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL toppings: chopped white onion, cheddar cheese, avocado and sour cream


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for approximately 4 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add ground turkey to pan and break apart into small pieces with a fork. Cook until browned. Remove from heat and drain fat.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly spray a 6 quart crockpot with non-stick spray. Combine remaining ingredients (minus the optional toppings) and pour into prepared crockpot.
  4. Stir in turkey mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  5. Serve with chopped white onion, cheddar cheese, avocado chunks and sour cream.

Serves 8-10.


    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 10/09/2013 7:44 a.m. #

      Hmm, the cinnamon is another interesting addition. Can't wait to try this, Tanya!

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 10/09/2013 3 p.m. #

        I will admit to being a little nervous adding the cinnamon but it worked out fine. :) You may want to start out cautious and just use a dash or two, then add more if you like it. For me, this was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet, which is a good thing since I ate this for many, many meals! I definitely got my money's worth! :)

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 10/09/2013 11:11 a.m. #

      I love chili and it is something we often make around Halloween. The pumpkin sounds like an interesting addition. I can't wait to try it!

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 10/09/2013 3:02 p.m. #

        The pumpkin is a welcome addition in my book. It made the chili a bit creamy, which I really enjoyed. And it smelled heavenly. Oddly enough, you can really smell the pumpkin when it cooks but it doesn't overwhelm the taste at all.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 10/09/2013 1:10 p.m. #

      I was telling Sicorra how you come up with some yummy recipes! Now pumpkin is an interesting addition for sure.

      I'll have to try this when the weather gets colder here. Thanks for sharing this Tanya!

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 10/09/2013 3:04 p.m. #

        You guys are so sweet! Let me tell you that I have my share of epic fails in the kitchen too. It generally leads to lots of pouting! :) Pumpkin is an unusual addition but I really liked it. Chili is great cold-weather food. It's cold and rainy here so I wish I had some in the freezer for dinner tonight!

    • krantcents

      krantcents 10/09/2013 5:33 p.m. #

      I am a huge chili fan, but I never thought of pumpkin chili as a choice. I will have to try it some time.

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 10/11/2013 4:25 p.m. #

        It stuck me as strange at first too but I saw some other versions of pumpkin chili and people were raving about it. So monkey see, monkey make, I guess! I really enjoyed it and hope you do too!

    • Hope :)

      Hope :) 10/09/2013 7:51 p.m. #

      Ah, nice! I'm always looking for a new chili recipe, AND I'm always on the lookout for another pumpkiny recipe. The best of both worlds here! I'll add it to one of my upcoming weekly meal plans. :)

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 10/11/2013 4:27 p.m. #

        It makes a delicious combo and I was thrilled how well it turned out. Very comforting and perfect for Fall! I hope you enjoy it!!

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