My family's favorite pumpkin chili can keep you warm this fall

Oct 20, 2015 at 6:01 p.m. ET

This recipe is great for your Halloween celebration — or for all fall long.

What I love most about this recipe is that you can doctor it up however you like, and it doesn’t take away from the central flavors. You can make it hot and spicy, savory or sweet — and the meat is optional, if you’d rather go vegetarian style. You can use it as a side dish, as topper for baked potatoes or tortilla chips for fall-style nachos or as a main dish. Best of all, it’s as good for you as it is tasty! No matter how you make it, this recipe will make your home smell warm and inviting to cozy up for fall.

Pumpkin Chili


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow onion
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (any color preferred, I like orange and red)
  • 1 can (15 ounce) reduced sodium or no salt added red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounce) reduced sodium or no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounce) reduced sodium or no salt added great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (8 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 cans (13.5 ounce) fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin purée
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Couple dashes of garlic salt to taste

Optional garnishes:

  • Fresh chopped green onion
  • Sour cream or plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Sliced fresh jalapeños
  • Shredded cheese


  1. Cook the beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly browned and crumbly. Stir in the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes (optional). Cook until the meat is browned and onion is translucent. Add bell peppers and cook about 5 minutes more.
  2. In a large slow cooker, combine all the canned ingredients. Season with chili powder, ground cumin, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and garlic salt. Stir well.
  3. Stir in the meat mixture.
  4. Cook on low until the chili is piping hot, usually takes about 2 hours.
  5. Garnish as desired and enjoy!

Tip: For a slightly sweet variation, add a bit of brown sugar instead of the garlic salt and less chili powder. For more spice, add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce to the slow cooker.

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe on, originally shared by user Daisy K.