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The Shockingly Good Pumpkin Chili You Need To Try This Fall

little white cup filled with chili
October 3, 2022
Erin Branham

You read that right: there’s pumpkin in this chili recipe. Why “shockingly good?” Because…who actually expects pumpkin in chili to be good, right? But it is so, so good. Each time I’ve made it, I’ve brought extras into the station and the staff has loved it. I drop the “there’s pumpkin in the chili” bomb after they’ve eaten it and raved over it. Not everyone expects pumpkin to be used in a savory dish, so it’s fun to have them enjoy it before they get a chance to make up their mind if they’ll like it or not, know what I mean? 

I think the pumpkin flavor is very subtle. It marries so well with the beef, vegetables, and spices. This recipe is very forgiving, so if you’d prefer to have some beans in your chili, feel free to add a can of drained beans. If you don’t care for mushrooms (like my dad), just add in an extra zucchini or even eggplant. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can leave out the chipotle peppers; however, the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add a nice, smokey heat. If you’ve never tried them before, try ’em for this recipe. Just package the rest of the peppers and sauce up in a sandwich baggy and freeze for your next recipe…or for when you make this again. 

Shockingly Good Pumpkin Chili
Makes 11, 1-cup servings (4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus, per serving)

2lbs of lean ground beef (93/7)
1 large onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
8oz sliced baby bella mushrooms 
14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
15oz can tomato sauce
15oz canned pumpkin
1 cup water or beef broth
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped, plus one heaping tsp of sauce
2 Tbls chili powder
1 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbls cumin
1 Tbls coriander
2 tsp salt 
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the ground beef in a large skillet on the stove until it’s cooked through. Drain and transfer to a big slow cooker.

Add in remaining ingredients and stir to combine. 

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, mix in a big pot and cook over medium heat on the stove for a couple of hours. 

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