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. This pumpkin chili is fantastic, but you could also go for a baked pumpkin French toast skillet is also lovely.

Stretch Your Dollar Further with Yummy Leftovers

This rich and fragrant Pumpkin Chili cooks in your crockpot, or you may prefer to use an air fryer, 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. 😀

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.

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

I 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.