~ These delicious Pumpkin Chili recipes are so easy, so healthy … and so yummy on a cold night! From traditional chili flavors to more unique twists … from vegan to loaded with lean beef … and from stovetop to crock-pot to Instant Pot. There’s truly something here for everyone! ~
When the weather turns cold, is there anything cozier than a big, steaming pot of chili? Ok ok … it would definitely be cozier if you dug into it while cuddled into your favorite sweatshirt and jammy pants. Maybe some fuzzy slippers and a crackling fire, too. Hey, why not?
And you know what else?
What makes any pot of chili instantly more cold-weather cozy?
Don’t be surprised! When everyone starts lining up for pumpkin spice lattes and planning their Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, it’s time to take chili to the next level of comfort food bliss, too!
But wait. If you’ve never tried pumpkin chili before, you might be having a tough time envisioning what that could possibly be like. How does pumpkin make the leap from pumpkin breads and pumpkin muffins and pies and lattes … into a chili pot??
Basically, you might be wondering what on earth it would taste like, and how you’d go about making it. Let’s start with taste (since that’s really the most important thing, right?!?).
What Does Pumpkin Chili Taste Like?
There are probably as many ways to answer that question as there are pumpkin chili recipes out there in the world (and trust me – there are actually a lot of ’em!).
Pumpkin is a terrific ingredient to work with because it nimbly adapts from sweet recipes (like those Thanksgiving pies) to savory dishes (like our 5-Minute Savory Pumpkin Hummus with Fresh Sage). So, if you can only imagine pumpkin in sweet things, the whole savory, pumpkin chili idea will be an epiphany for ya!
Just like with other chili recipes – pumpkin chilis can range from spicy or mild, they can be vegan or loaded with beef, and they can stick pretty close to traditional chili flavors, or they can take that unique pumpkin twist and run with it in all sorts of unexpected ways.
So many possibilities!
You’ll find that some recipes actually don’t even taste much like pumpkin at all. Take our Quick Stovetop Vegetarian Chili (the first one in the list below). Pumpkin puree forms the thick, rich, creamy base of the chili. But honestly, I’m not sure you’d ever guess there was pumpkin in there if you didn’t already know. With all the other veggies and spices taking center stage, the pumpkin is definitely just a supporting cast member.
On the flip side, if you peek a little further down our list, you’ll see other recipes that absolutely highlight pumpkin as the star.
Either way, they all leverage the creamy, buttery texture of pumpkin and also its big nutrition benefits. Pumpkin is very nutrient-dense and low in carbs, and it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants (like beta-carotene, a powerful carotenoid). You can read more about pumpkin nutrition HERE.
So, does pumpkin chili taste like pumpkin? Or does it taste like a regular chili? Depends which recipe you try. But even more likely – it’ll taste like something in between, wonderful and totally unique. (And just right to spoon up while wearing that favorite sweatshirt and comfy jammy pants!)
How Do You Make Chili with Pumpkin?
As you’ll see from the recipes in our list, most pumpkin chilis use pumpkin puree. Some will simply start with a store-bought can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!), and some will start with an actual, whole pumpkin that you’ll cook and puree.
But, some recipes feature big, gorgeous chunks of pumpkin, like the Quick & Easy Pumpkin Chili from Brian at Krumpli. That recipe is meant to absolutely showcase pumpkin in all its delicious glory, for when you crave an unmistakably wholesome vegetarian vibe.
Beyond all that, there’s also the question of how you cook pumpkin chili. I’ve tried to choose recipes here that fit into all the ways people typically make chili recipes – on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.
It’s really up to you in terms of what fits into your schedule: whether you need the make-ahead convenience of a crock-pot, or you like the near-instant gratification of a pressure cooker, or you like to fill the house with the smell of a pot of chili, burbling away on the stove.
So, whatcha gonna do next … where to begin? Which one to try first???
But now, I’ve got 11 more chili recipes to cuddle up with on blustery, cold nights. Maybe I need to buy some more comfy jammy pants to go with them! 😉
Try one of these recipes today … jammy pants optional but totally recommended!