This turkey pumpkin chili is a fresh and healthy spin on a classic dish. It’s got the complex and spicy flavors of a traditional chili, but with an extra layer of richness from pumpkin puree. Plus, you make it in the crockpot, so it requires very little effort!
We probably all agree that chili is a nearly perfect food for when the weather starts to get cold. What could possibly be cozier than a warm bowl of spicy, meaty, hearty chili?
This turkey chili has all the flavors that you love in chili, but it adds a new ingredient: pumpkin. Using turkey instead of beef makes this a healthier chili than the average recipe, and it all comes together easily in a crockpot. In other words, this recipe is easy, healthy, and most importantly, mouth-watering. It’s sure to become a fall staple in your kitchen.
What Does Pumpkin Add to Chili?
I know what you’re thinking: pumpkin is a pretty unique ingredient for a chili recipe. But trust me when I say that it works wonders!
The pumpkin flavor isn’t strong enough to really stand out. If you gave someone a bowl of this chili without telling them what was in it, they probably wouldn’t guess that pumpkin was an ingredient. What it does do is add extra depth to the hearty chili, while also thickening the recipe.
Here’s everything you need to make crockpot turkey pumpkin chili. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to find the exact ingredient quantities.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Onion – You can use any kind of onion, but yellow onions are the most traditional for making chili.
- Green bell pepper
- Ground turkey
- Diced tomatoes – You want to use the liquid from the canned tomatoes too, so don’t drain them.
- Pumpkin puree – It’s very important that you use pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweet and seasoned.
- Kidney beans
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Ground black pepper
Can You Use Ground Beef or Ground Chicken Instead?
I love to use ground turkey in this crockpot chili for two reasons. First, it’s a lean protein, which makes it quite a bit healthier than ground beef. And second, turkey goes very well with the flavors in this chili, like the green bell peppers and kidney beans, which makes it a tastier option than ground chicken in my eyes (and stomach).
With that said, you can use any kind of ground meat you’d like! This recipe works with ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, or a ground meat substitute.
How to Make Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Thanks to the use of a crockpot, this chili recipe is very easy to make. Only a few steps stand between you and a mouth-watering meal.
- Cook the turkey. In a small pan, cook the ground turkey. You don’t need to cook it all the way through, just enough that you can start to really break it up into small pieces.
- Add all the ingredients together. Put the turkey and all the other ingredients into the crockpot. Stir until everything has mixed together. It may take a little bit of effort to get the pumpkin puree to mix with the other ingredients.
- Cook. Cook the pumpkin chili for 3-4 hours on high, or for 5-6 hours on low.
- Garnish and serve. Your chili is ready to serve! Top it with your preferred garnishes, and dig in.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tricks for making sure your chili is perfect every time.
- Brown the turkey. Even though you don’t need to cook the turkey all the way through before adding it to the crockpot, try to get some color on it. A little bit of browning on the turkey will add both flavor and texture to your chili.
- Adjust the seasonings. If you like spicier food, add extra chili powder or jalapeños. If you like your chili to have even more flavor, increase the ground cumin and garlic. You can adjust the recipe to match your palate.
- Rinse the kidney beans. The liquid in canned kidney beans can really change the texture of your chili, so make sure you rinse them before putting them in the crockpot.
Turkey Pumpkin Chili Topping Ideas
You can top this cozy chili with pretty much any garnish that you please. Here are some of my favorites.
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Green onions
- Tortilla strips
- Diced onions
- Fresh tomatoes
- Hot sauce
What Goes With Turkey Pumpkin Chili?
This recipe works very well on its own, but it’s even better if you pair it with some other tasty fall dishes. Here are a few things I love to serve with this chili.
- Pistachio pesto brussels sprouts
- Scalloped potatoes
- Corn casserole
- Crazy roasted cauliflower
- Garlic roasted green beans
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can store this turkey pumpkin chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw first, then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More Cozy Soups and Chilis
If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out a few of my other favorite soups and chilis for sweater weather.
- Instant pot sausage and herbed white bean soup
- Nourishing pumpkin wild rice soup
- Leftover turkey and dumpling soup
- Slow cooker chorizo, potato, and two-bean chili
Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound (454 g) ground turkey
- 14.5 ounce (411 g) can diced tomatoes, with the liquid
- 15 ounce (425 g) can pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling
- 15 ounce (425 g) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cup (355 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small saucepan, cook the ground turkey halfway through, just enough so you can break it into smaller pieces.
- Then add the turkey and all the other ingredients into the insert of a 6 quart crockpot. Stir or whisk everything together until the pumpkin puree has been dissolved or broken up.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Serve warm and top with whatever toppings you like (cheese, sour cream, green onions, etc.)
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
Photography by Eat Love Eats