A Spicy Perspective

Pumpkin Chili

A healthy gluten free Pumpkin Chili Recipe your family will go nuts over!

Perfect Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com
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Best Chili Recipes

To me, fall is chili season. Even more so than winter. I love simmering big pots of traditional chili once the weather turns cold, to serve with fluffy cornbread.

However, when my classic chili hand has been overplayed, I turn to alternative chili recipes like…

Awesome Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Pumpkin Chili

Last month, when we finally got a short break in the hot weather, I sat a heavy sauce pot out to start a large batch of chili for dinner. While I was pulling out cans of crushed tomatoes from the pantry, I noticed a couple large cans of pumpkin puree leftover from last year.

Tomatoes provide a tangy sweetness to chili. What would chili with earthy pumpkin puree taste like?

I had to know.

Love this Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com

A Seasonal Pumpkin Chili Recipe

I nixed the tomatoes and made an almost classic chili recipe with pumpkin puree.

It was amazing! Several bites in, my family couldn’t believe how rich and flavorful the Pumpkin Chili turned out.

In fact, we decided Pumpkin Chili might be our new go-to chili recipe.

Pumpkin Chili Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com

Paleo Chili Recipe

Substituting pumpkin for tomatoes does several wonderful things…

  • It gives the chili a sweet rustic essence and deep flavor.
  • It provides a thicker luxurious texture.
  • It’s a fabulous platform for fall spices.
  • And it tastes great with pork or chicken, if you aren’t a beef lover.
The Best Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Secret Ingredient

Usually, I add beer to my traditional chili recipe to offer a deeper note.

In this Pumpkin Chili recipe, I carried on the fall flavors by pouring in apple hard cider instead. The apple undertones in the chili balance out the spice and make this chili recipe very hard to resist!

In fact, if you don’t tell your friends and family what’s in the chili until after dinner, they might not even guess it’s pumpkin chili.

Instead, they’ll be wondering what made tonight’s chili so amazing… And when you are going to make it again!

Heavenly Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Award Winning Chili Recipe

Update: Last fall, my daughter Ava and I entered this pumpkin chili recipe in a local chili cookoff… And won!

In the last two years since I originally posted this recipe, I’ve had several people email me to say they had also used this recipe for neighborhood, state fair, and sponsored chili competitions and they all placed in first or second place!

Why not give this rustic “award winning” pumpkin chili recipe a try!

Best Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com

More Chili Recipes We Love!

Perfect Pumpkin Chili Recipe (Healthy and Gluten Free!) | ASpicyPerspective.com
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5 from 38 votes
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Pumpkin Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
We love this amazing Pumpkin Chili Recipe! Zesty earthy chili made with pumpkin pure for an unexpected richness that beats tomatoes.
Servings: 8


  • 2 pounds ground pork, or ground chicken
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 29 ounces 100% pure pumpkin puree (1 can)
  • 2 bottles hard cider, gluten-free (12-ounce bottles)
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained (15-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, cilantro, red onion


  • Place a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the ground pork and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chipotle peppers. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are soft.
  • Pour the pumpkin puree, hard ciders, beans, and chicken broth into the pot. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Stir well.
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with toppings if desired.


Serving: 1.5cups, Calories: 335kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 800mg, Potassium: 496mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1225IU, Vitamin C: 24.2mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 2.2mg
Course: Healthy, Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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95 comments on “Pumpkin Chili”

  1. Wow! Been looking for a no tomato chili bc of my acid reflux and this hit the spot !!!! It was DELICIOUS! I left out the chipotle peppers, and used apple cider instead of a hard cider and it was soooooo good! Had a sweet potato which I added and some sweet corn. YUM! 

  2. I paired this chili with a castiron cornbread for some friends that came over and everyone loved it. Definitely adding this to my recipe book!

  3. Made this for Halloween. Tripled the recipe and it worked great. Very delicious. Loved the hint of cinnamon. Everyone enjoyed it, e en the pickiest of eaters.

  4. This is fantastic chili. The whole family loves it, even my pickier kids.

    By the way, the past says server with toppings if deserved, instead of desired.

  5. I tried this tonight and it was fantastic!! Thanks for posting it. I’m going to check out other recipes you might have now!

  6. Hi! Is it only 2 chipotle peppers from a can or 2 can of chipotle peppers? Want to make sure I don’t misread it 😂

    • I made it with just 2 peppers not 2 cans. 2 cans seems like it would be way too much 

      • I halved the recipe and used a can of chipotle peppers… I guess I should have read the questions. The chili is still good, but the peppers are definitely overpowering. I guess I’ll have to make it again some time 

  7. How many days in advance can this be made and left in the refrigerator?

  8. Do you drain the fat off before adding pumpkin & cider?

  9. I’ve tried this recipe and its amazing!  Do you think would work without the meat for my vegetarian friend?  Maybe add an extra can of beans?

  10. I’m intrigued with this recipe! I usually add chopped celery to my chili, would you think this addition would do well with your recipe?

  11. For a no-bean and low carb version, what can I replace the kidney beans with? Will it change the taste profile materially or is it fine to remove? Thanks can’t wait to try

  12. OK, my husband was looking for a chili recipe that was unusual for a chili cookoff at work. We discovered this. I am allergic to tomatoes so was definitely intrigued.
    We bought ingredients to be able to make twice. I had him make it exactly as written.
    We were both amazed. Best chili I have ever had. Only change I made was added an extra tsp of cinnamon. He made it again and it goes to work tomorrow.

  13. Made some tweaks of my own.
    – used ground Turkey and increased it about 1/2 lbs
    – used a pumpkin ale instead of cider
    – added a cup of unsweetened applesauce
    – used black beans instead as I really like them in all chili.

  14. I just made this chili for a chili cooking contest and people loved it! It won 2nd place and Most Unique chili. I used a mix of Italian sweet chicken sausage and ground beef. I also used a pumpkin cider. It was a total hit AND sooo delicious!!

  15. I don’t have hard cider but I do have apple juice and amber beer (yuingling). Which would be best? Or maybe 12 oz of each? 

  16. I don’t have hard cider but I do have apple juice and amber beer (Yuingling). Which would you recommend? Or maybe 12 oz of each? 

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  19. Hi:)
    A couple of questions: 
    1. What cook temp/time would you recommend for using a slow cooker to make this recipe?
    2. Would a sparkling cider work in place of hard? Would you recommend any adjustment to combat the added sweetness (sparkling vs hard)

    Planning on making this for a family chili contest! I’m really excited to try it :)

  20. This recipe is amazing! I’ve made this a few times and now it’s my partner’s favorite chili. I’ve used canned pumpkin puree and fresh roasted pumpkin, and it’s delicious both ways. It’s the perfect blend of flavors and spices!

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  31. Can the chili be made ahead and frozen?

  32. I made this the other day, but changed up a few things. This turned out amazing

    used 2lbs of ground pork and beef
    added 5 sweet Italian sausage (removed casings)
    added a bouquet garni of thyme and rosemary to add some aromatics and more depth of flavor. Removed them once cooking was finished
    Roasted cumin and ground in a pestle and mortar for enhanced flavor, rather than pre ground.

  33. Would this work well with a beef and pork mixture –instead of all pork?

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  35. Truly an amazing chili!
    It’s the only one that I make anymore… Some sour cream and cilantro on top and it is perfect!
    Serve with corn bread and a salad and it is a complete meal…

  36. This is my favorite non-tomato chili! Any kind of beer works too. Many thanks!

  37. I wanted to let you know that this recipe is still winning Chili contests! I found your recipe when looking for a unique chili recipe and new it was perfect since I had fresh pumpkin puree in my freezer. I made this recipe for my company’s chili contents and it won most unique chili.
    Thank you for a great recipe and I will continue to make this recipe. Its perfect for anyone who loves pumpkin

  38. I made this last night but modified it only to make it vegan by subbing veggie broth for the chicken broth and lightlife vegan meat for the meat.  It was absolutely fabulous.  Thank you so much for this beautiful fall chili which is now permanently part of our repertoire.  

  39. I intended to make this chili just for my husband and me, but my workplace was having a Wellness Week and on one of the days we were encouraged to make and bring a healthy dish- so I chose to make this chili. The only modification I did was to use Pumpkin Cider, a large bottle, rather than hard apple cider. The result was AMAZING!!! Just like the blog said, it is a crowd-pleaser! There was not a drop left (much to my husband’s disappointment, even though I had put aside some for him, too!). Everyone raved about it and several people asked for the recipe, so I printed it out and gave them copies. My husband is now begging me to make this again- soon- and not take any of it to work!

  40. You said you sometimes use beer? What kind?  Is that in place of cider? Is cider better? 

  41. I just made this for my school’s annual chili cook-off, and I won best unique chili! Thank you for posting it. The end result was amazing!

  42. Would this work with regular apple juice? I don’t have access to cider here in Turkey

  43. Is it possible to use another bean instead of kidney (not a fan!)..say, pinto or great northern?? Thank you, this sounds SO yummy!

  44. Great recipe. Have made mostly tomato based with the occasional white chili. Usually less ingredients. This was a huge hit. Amazing depth of flavor. Followed the recipe except for 1 more chipotle pepper. Thanks

  45. What a ground pork ground beef mixture work in this recipe?

  46. This is was SO delicious. I love savory pumpkin dishes like this and using the pork was a nice twist.

  47. Pumpkin should ALWAYS be in chili. This is a game changer and was a huge hit! Thanks for sharing!

  48. The secret ingredient in this recipe is absolutely brilliant! Yum!

  49. Love pumpkin chili! I’ve always added a can of pumpkin to whatever chili I make, but decided to follow along with this recipe for a change and I’m so glad I did! It was a huge hit!

  50. I know I am just going to LOVE this! I can’t wait to make this!

  51. I made this chili in the slow cooker. It was really good, and I will make it again, but I am adjusting the spices to 1tsp of cayenne powder (I don’t have chili powder), 1/2 tbsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. For us, it was too spicy, we loved that itwas really creamy and nice with the pumpkin purée instead of tomatoes, and felt very much like fall comfort food!

  52. You say to add the chicken broth in with the ciders, but you don’t have chicken broth listed in the ingredients, or how much to add. 

  53. This looks so good! What are your thoughts on using a slow cooker? Could I put everything in there for 2-3 hours on low instead?

    • Hi Janelle,

      If you have a multi-cooker and can sauté the veggies and get the pork started at a higher heat first, that would be best. Then turn it down to slow cook and leave it for several hours. If not, I would do this in a skillet, then combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker.

    • I did use the slow cooker for two hours, but it smelled so amazing after one hour that we couldn’t resist and ate it then. It is amazing!

  54. i only used 1 cider and 1/2 cup of chicken broth as this seemed to be way too much liquid – turned out wonderful and was a hit for a party!

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  56. This was a great surprise on a cold blizzardly day! I added cumin seeds first to the pan to roast them a bit then added the vegetables and meat to the pan. To add a little extra kick to the seasonings, I added 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. The last 10 minutes of simmering I rinsed a bag of frozen corn. and tossed it in. I served it with sliced avocados. WOW!!! it turned out fabulous!!!

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  66. Making chili tonight with a different recipe but saving this for pumpkin carving time so I’ll have yet another place to dump all of that puree! thank you for this, prefer non-tomato chili recipes too!!

  67. Good one! I’d never have thought of pumpkin. I’ve been on Tim Ferriss’s four hour body plan to ditch a few sneaky pounds, and was pondering subbing tomatoes for something else. Not sure if pumpkin will be better than toms for 4-HB but sounds delicious. Definitely one of the great things about a giant family pot of chili is you can hide practically anything in there. lol. I like to blitz mushrooms in a processor and add them to chilies for a bit of body and extra flavor. Shhhhh. Don’t tell.

  68. What a great recipe for fall! It looks so hearty!

  69. I love this Sommer! looks delicious!

  70. Sounds amazing. I will most definitely be making this but will use fresh pumpkin or butternut as here, in Dordogne, we do not get canned pumpkin.

  71. Oh my – I am so glad I subscribed – I love chici, I love pumpkin and I absolutely adore hard cider – this is happening this week!

  72. Can I use something else besides hard cider?

  73. I could go for a big bowl of this pumpkin chili right now! Sounds amazing!