This gluten free Pumpkin Chili Recipe is a twist on the classic, incorporating rich, earthy pumpkin puree for a fall-inspired comfort meal! Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro for a hearty and satisfying meal that celebrates the flavors of fall!
Why We Love This Best Pumpkin Chili Recipe
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!
I know that adding pumpkin to chili sounds odd, but trust me when I say it offers so much flavor for this savory pumpkin chili! 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.
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!
Ingredients You Need
Healthy gluten-free pumpkin chili uses minimal ingredients for a super flavorful stew. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ground Pork or Chicken – for a richer chili, use ground pork
- Onion – sweet onion is best
- Red Bell Pepper – diced
- Garlic Cloves – freshly minced
- Chipotle Peppers – canned in adobo sauce and chopped
- Pumpkin Puree – 100% canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
- Hard Cider – for a depth of flavor
- Kidney Beans – or black beans, for added protein and texture
- Chicken Broth
- Spices – chili powder, cumin, salt, cinnamon, bay leaves and salt
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Chili
Place a large pot or dutch oven 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 cider, 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 a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, red onion, and avocado! Enjoy!
Get the Full (Printable) Pumpkin Chili Recipe + VIDEO Below!
Pumpkin Chili can be enjoyed on its own as a hearty and comforting meal. I highly recommend topping your bowl off with all of the fixin’s like sour cream, cilantro, red onion, avocado, and some crushed tortilla chips or Fritos!
If you are looking to serve some sides along with your chili, try serving it with some of my favorites:
- Fluffy Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Homemade Tortillas
- Cornbread Muffins
- Sweet Potato Biscuits
Frequently Asked Questions
Definitely! You can use any ground meat you prefer. Ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken are all great options. For a leaner pumpkin chili recipe, you can use ground chicken or turkey!
To make a vegetarian pumpkin chili, omit the ground meat and increase the amount of beans you add to the recipe. You can use a combination of kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans, or use just one or two of them. Use water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. This pumpkin chili is already dairy-free, so for vegan pumpkin chili, simply use vegan toppings!
To store, place in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until heated through!
Generally, yes. You want to simmer your pumpkin chili for at least 30 minutes, but it will develop more flavor the longer you simmer it. If you can simmer it for up to one hour, that would be ideal to let the flavors really come together!
More Chili Recipes We Love
- Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Chili Mac and Cheese
- Best Turkey Chili
- Frito Chili Cheeseburgers
- Nachos with Chili Con Carne
- New Mexican Green Chili
- Vegan Chili
- Paleo White Chicken Chili
- Paleo Chicken Chile Verde
Pumpkin Chili Recipe + Video
- 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.