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!

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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. Julia, so glad you like it.

  2. I started making this last night, and it's in the crockpot as we speak. I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand, but only to a little bit of the seasonings. It's a WONDERFUL recipe!!!! Perfect ratio of meat/beans/sauce. Not to thick, or thin. Just perfect! Thanks Kalyn!

  3. Lynne, I think it will still be good without the Spike. If you have another type of all-purpose seasoning blend that you like, you could use a little of that.

  4. Argh! No Spike seasoning at our local grocery stores. I guess they didn't restock after the recall. I don't have any other spice blends; do you think it will be okay without it, or do you have other suggestions? Thanks!

  5. Katie, I think butternut squash would be great in this.

  6. What a great idea! I'll have to use butternut squash, tho. I put pureed zucchini into my white chili last year to thicken it and it was delicious!

  7. So glad you enjoyed the chili with a touch of pumpkin and cumin flavor added to the mix.

  8. Thanks for the great recipe. A good way to get pumpkin's benefits into your diet without sugar, and even though it adds flavor to the chili, it's subtle enough that no one would even guess that's the mystery ingredient. I don't normally add cumin to my chili, so it was a good variation to my usual and quite good.

  9. Melody, I did eat it with cheese and sour cream, just didn't think about the sour cream until after I took the photos.

  10. I would love to try this chili recipe. I love pumpkin and might try to add some croutons and sour creme as a way to splurge and have fun with it.

  11. PJ, thanks; so glad you liked it. I love winter squash, especially butternut!

  12. your pumpkin article on blogher was so resourceful, Kalyn! This year, I have been buying atleast one pumpkin/winter squash a week and trying something new with it.. and that article gave me so many ideas. thank you!

  13. I think this would be very flavorful without the beef. Of course you'd want to use vegetable broth, and I might cut down the liquid just a little because of less volume in the solid ingredients.

  14. Kalyn, I'm considering trying this but I'm a vegetarian. If I omit the beef, do you suggest I replace it with something else so it's not "missing something?" Thank You!

  15. Katie, so glad you liked it. Great idea to substitute the salsa!

  16. This was delicious. I had made salsa a few days ago with fresh roasted anaheims, cilantro, onions, tomatoes and garlic. I substituted it for some of the other ingredients. I also used ground turkey and beef bouillion as my protein. The flavor is wonderful. Thank you Kalyn!

  17. Angie, thanks! It did get a big thumbs up from my dad yesterday.

  18. Yum, I want to try yours! It looks amazing!

  19. Thanks Tobias. I'm feeding it to my dad today (the ultimate food critic.) Hope he likes it!