Pumpkin Chili

Is it too early in the season to declare this my favorite chili of the year?

I’m doing it anyway.

Pumpkin Chili with Chili Toppings

I hesitate to even call this a pumpkin chili because it really is just a good, basic chili that happens to have pumpkin in it. And I am convinced it has universal appeal to individuals on all ends of the pumpkin loving-or-hating spectrum. 

I like my chili to be on the thick side. Overly soupy chili to me is akin to mushy Brussels sprouts or unsalted eggs. Just no.

Bowls of Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin puree gives this chili a perfect consistency – not too runny, not too thick. 

Pumpkin lovers, be amazed at your favorite gourd’s ability to thicken soup. Pumpkin haters, you might not even know it’s there.

Pumpkin Chili

  • Difficulty: Easy
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An easy, basic chili that uses pumpkin puree to get the perfect, thick-and-rich chili consistency.


  • 1 pound ground beef (80 – 85% lean)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer (see note)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomato
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 bay leaf


In a Dutch oven, brown the beef over medium-high heat until no pink remains (8-10 minutes). Stir frequently, breaking up the beef as it cooks. Add the diced onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper and cook 2 minutes more, until fragrant. Don’t worry if the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of your pan. Pour in the beer and stir to get any browned bits off the bottom. Once mixture is boiling, add the diced tomato, black beans, pumpkin puree, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover. Continue simmering at least 45 minutes, or until ready to eat. Serve hot with your favorite chili toppings.

My go-to beer for this chili is a strong IPA. I love the flavor of a dark beer in this, but feel free to choose something lighter if you prefer.

If you are worried about alcohol content, allow beer to cook down more before you add the tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Or you could substitute beef broth for the beer and omit it altogether.

The Best Beef Pumpkin Chili


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