Kalyn's Kitchen

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef

This popular recipe for Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef has been updated so now you can make it in the CrockPot or in the Instant Pot! This recipe has black beans and kidney beans; check out Pumpkin Chili with Beef, Peppers, and Olives if you prefer a no-bean Pumpkin Chili recipe!

PIN Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef to try it later!

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef finished chili in bowl with toppings

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef is a recipe my family has been making for years. In fact, my nephew Matt Denny and his wife Lindy won a chili-making contest with that recipe, and they’ve been making it ever since. And it’s definitely pumpkin season right now, so I’m updating the recipe so now you can make Instant Pot Pumpkin Chili using this recipe if you prefer that method!

This is a Pumpkin Chili recipe without an overly strong pumpkin flavor, but the pumpkin thickens the chili and adds a touch of sweetness. Kara and I made this a few times to get it just right in the Instant Pot, and for one version we used one can of beans, twice as much ground beef, and two peppers for a lower-carb version that was really tasty. Or check out my round-up of Low-Carb Chili Recipes or Pumpkin Chili with Beef, Peppers, and Olives if you’d prefer a chili without beans. But if you enjoy a traditional pumpkin chili recipe with beans occasionally and might need a little comfort food right now, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

What Size Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Should You Use?

I use 6 Quart Instant Pot (affiliate link) for all my Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Recipes! If you want to make the traditional slow cooker version of this recipe I recommend using at least a 5 Quart Slow Cooker (affiliate link) and the oval Six Quart size will also be fine.

Instant Pot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef process shots collage

Making Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef in the Instant Pot:

  1. Heat olive oil in the Instant Pot, using SAUTE and HIGH temperature. Then brown the ground beef well, seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper 
  2. While beef cooks, chop up the onion and green bell pepper.
  3. Add chopped onion, chopped green pepper, and minced garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring to combine with the ground beef.
  4. Then add ground cumin (affiliate link), chili powder, ground Ancho chile Pepper (affiliate link), dried cilantro (affiliate link), dried oregano, and Spike Seasoning, stir to combine, and cook a couple minutes more.
  5. You probably don’t have to rinse the canned beans, but it helps rinse away some of the starchiness so the beans are easier to digest. 
  6. Add the beans to the Instant Pot along with 3 cups beef stock (or broth) a can of pumpkin, two cans petite diced tomatoes, and a can of diced green chiles.
  7. Stir the mixture, then lock the lid and set Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH, 10 minutes.
  8. When time is up, let the Instant Pot NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually.
  9. Serve hot, with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Crockpot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef process shots collage

Making Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef in the CrockPot:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy pan, the brown the ground beef well, seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Add browned meat to the crockpot.
  3. Add a bit more oil and cook onions and green peppers a few minutes. Then add minced garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, ground Ancho chili pepper, dried cilantro, dried oregano, Spike Seasoning and diced green chiles and cook a couple minutes more. 
  4. Put this mixture in the crockpot, then deglaze the pan with beef stock and add that to crockpot.
  5. You probably don’t have to rinse the canned beans when you’re using them in a crockpot recipe, but it helps rinse away some of the starchiness so the beans are easier to digest. (I used 2 cans black beans and 1 can kidney beans, but I figured you didn’t need another photo of rinsed kidney beans.)
  6. Add the beans to the crockpot along with a can of pumpkin and two cans petite diced tomatoes. Stir the mixture, then cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, depending on how hot your slow cooker is.
  7. I cooked my chili about 4 1/2 hours, and it looked like the next-to-last photo above when it was done.
  8. Serve hot, with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef in bowl with toppings on the side

Make it a Meal:

I think Spicy Mexican Slaw would make a great side dish for this chili if you wanted a heartier meal.

More Recipes for Pumpkin Chili:

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot Pumpkin Chili Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Pumpkin Chili with Beef, Peppers, and Olives ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pumpkin Turkey Chili ~ Love and Olive Oil

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef finished chili in bowl with toppings

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

This Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef has a lot of fans in my family, and now you can make this tasty chili in the CrockPot or the Instant Pot, whichever you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to season meat
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T chili powder (see notes)
  • 2 tsp. ground Ancho Chile pepper (or use a little more chili powder if you don’t have this)
  • 2 tsp. dried cilantro (optional, see notes)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. Spike Seasoning
  • one 4 oz. can diced green chiles (more or less to taste)
  • 3 cups homemade beef stock (see notes)
  • one 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed with cold water
  • two 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed with cold water
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz. can, not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • two 14.5 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes with juice

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in the Instant Pot, using SAUTE and HIGH temperature. Then brown the ground beef well, seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. 
  2. While the beef cooks, chop up the onion and green bell pepper.
  3. Add chopped onion, chopped green pepper, and minced garlic to the Instant Pot. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring to combine with the ground beef.
  4. Then add ground cumin, chili powder, ground Ancho chili pepper, dried cilantro, dried oregano, and Spike Seasoning, stir to combine, and cook a couple minutes more.
  5. You probably don't have to rinse the canned beans, but it helps rinse away some of the starchiness so the beans are easier to digest. 
  6. Add the beans to the Instant Pot along with 3 cups beef stock (or broth) a can of pumpkin, two cans petite diced tomatoes, and a can of diced green chiles.
  7. Stir the mixture, then lock the lid and set Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH, 10 minutes.
  8. When time is up, let the Instant Pot NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually.
  9. Serve hot, with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large heavy frying pan, add ground beef, season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and cook until the beef is well browned. Add browned meat to the crockpot.
  2. Add a little more oil to the frying pan, add diced onion and green bell pepper and cook 2-3 minutes, until the onion and pepper is just starting to soften.
  3. Add minced garlic, ground cumin, chili powder, ground Ancho chile pepper, dried cilantro, dried oregano, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link) and diced green chiles and cook a couple minutes more.
  4. Put the onion mixture into the crockpot, then deglaze the pan with the beef stock and add that to crockpot.
  5. While onions and peppers are cooking, drain the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. (This removes excess starchiness and makes the beans easier to digest.)
  6. Add beans to the crockpot. Add canned pumpkin and diced tomatoes with juice.
  7. Stir the mixture to combine ingredients, then cook on high for 4 hours, (or 8 hours on low) stirring a few times if you’re home. (Crockpots can vary greatly as to how hot they get, so adjust the cooking time depending on your own slow cooker.)
  8. Serve hot, topped with grated cheese and sour cream if desired.
  9. This chili will be even better after it’s been in the fridge overnight, and also freezes well.

Notes

You can use 2-3 T chopped fresh cilantro instead of the dried cilantro if you prefer. Use 2 cans beef broth if you don't have homemade beef stock. (This will be slightly more broth than 3 cups, so if you don't mind waiting you could reduce it a bit by simmering.

Recipe adapted from Pumpkin Chili at Eclectic Recipes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 486Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 817mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 17gSugar: 10gProtein: 37g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef thumbnail image of chili in bowl with toppings on the side

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
The addition of pumpkin to this Chili with Ground Beef would make it phase 2 or 3 for the original South Beach Diet. You can make a lower-carb version of this by doubling the beef, using two green peppers, and only using one can of beans, but chili with pumpkin won’t ever be super low in carbs.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Chili Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
CrockPot Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef was first posted in October 2010. In October 2020 the recipe was updated to add Instant Pot instructions, plus options for a lower-carb Chili made with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef Pinterest image

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    68 Comments on “Pumpkin Chili with Ground Beef”

  1. Great way of using pumpkin. Nice fall recipe.

  2. Thanks Donna. I've been noticing you are definitely a pumpkin fan by all the yummy pumpkin things on your blog!

  3. Pumpkin is one of the best things about fall! Exhibit A: Your Chili!

    Happy Fall Everyone!

    Donna

  4. TW, it's cold here too. I hate cold weather, but I love the cold weather foods; figure that one out!

  5. Wow! This is packed with vitamin and color. I'm always looking for interesting ways to use pumpkin. It's so cold this morning, that it would be so nice to smell this rich stew simmering in the house.

  6. Dara, I don't know if it's Blogger or Comcast that's holding up my comments, but I didn't get your comment until after I'd written those replies. Hate it when that happens! You're right, the pumpkin makes this more nutritious as well as tasty!

  7. Anon — Comments are moderated and don't show up on the blog until I publish them. If I don't do that, I get all kinds of spam comments that I don't want to appear on my blog. I'm usually pretty quick at posting them unless I'm out and about; no need to repost the comment.

  8. Anonymous, I know a lot of people have that opinion about crockpot cooking, but personally I think that's why so many crockpot dishes are just kind of so-so. The extra flavor from browning the meat and sauteeing the vegetables is worth it for me.

    If you did make it on the stovetop I would slightly reduce the amount of spaces (because the crockpot needs more spices to stand up to the long cooking time) and use a little more liquid.

  9. This is a fantastic take on a classic chili recipe, Kalyn. Whether or not the pumpkin flavor is strong, you can feel good about all of the vitamins it is providing.

  10. For me,if I have to cook the meat,and saute veggies I might as well forgo the crock pot,and just cook on the stove. My crock pot cooking imo shortens the amount of dishes,and prep work,so I only go w/crock pot as a one step..that's my reasoning of course..the recipe looks good,has anyone already made it?

  11. Cara, I will try a touch of cinnamon next time, although I'd say I'm not a big cinnamon fan in savory dishes.

  12. I started making pumpkin chili several years ago and it's been my absolute favorite, go-to recipe ever since! I agree with you that the pumpkin flavor is not strong; it's more of a nice background flavor and adds a wonderful texture. If I might also make a suggestion – I find that cinnamon is a wonderful ingredient in my pumpkin chili!

  13. Katrina, there's a lot of spicy flavor here so I think it would be good with chicken or ground turkey instead of beef.

  14. Nice! Love the deep color of the chili. I'd skip the ground beef, though, and maybe substitute poached chicken. Lately all hamburger ( even the sirloin) I cook makes me think of dog food. It's just so tasteless.

  15. Joanne, love the idea of adding some chunks of squash or pumpkin.

    Shirley, I think sauteeing the spices and aromatics makes a lot of difference in a recipe like this, especially for the crockpot.

    Leanne, glad you like it. (And glad I'm not the only one who's accidentally hit publish!)

  16. This looks like a wonderful recipe. Such an interesting group of ingredients that I can only imagine blend into wonderful flavors. Another bookmarked! I've accidently hit the publish button before, but knew I did and was frantically editing before anyone could see it. 🙂

  17. Oh, how delicious, Kalyn! I've had sweet potato in chili and it just thickened and subtly complemented the spiciness, so I expect the pumpkin here is similar. This might be just the ticket for my support group meeting here on Tuesday! Oh, and thanks for the info on sauteeing the dried spices to help release the flavor. I don't often do that, but will now! 🙂

    Shirley

  18. i did see this last night and it made me so excited because I love the sound of this! I bet you could add some butternut squash or pumpkin chunks to really enhance the pumpkin taste! Sounds great though.

  19. Lydia, that will work, but the pumpkin flavor isn't strong in this. You'll want the whole can of green chiles!

  20. Oh boy, I'm bookmarking! I don't love pumpkin, so I might substitute canned squash puree.