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Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili

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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! 

Three bowls of turkey pumpkin chili with green onions, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, and avocado on top, with a spoon in each bowl

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.

Recipe Ingredients

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
  • Jalapeños
  • Garlic
  • 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
  • Water
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 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. 

Three bowls of turkey pumpkin chili topped with cheese, sour cream, and scallions, on a table with spoons, tortilla chips, a bowl of cheese, a bowl of sour cream, and a plate of sliced avocado

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.
A bowl of turkey pumpkin chili, garnished with sour cream, scallions, and cheese, with a spoon in it, next to two other bowls, surrounded by tortilla chips

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
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • Diced onions
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • 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. 

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.

Overhead view of a bowl of turkey pumpkin chili with green onions, cheese, and sour cream on top, a spoon sticking out, and other bowls next to it, with tortilla chips all around
Close up of a bowl of turkey pumpkin chili, topped with cheese, green onions, and sour cream

Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili

This turkey pumpkin chili recipe has all the flavors of chili that you love. Pumpkin gives it a thicker texture, while turkey makes the recipe a little bit healthier. Plus it's made in the crockpot, so it's very easy.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 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 ground turkey
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with the liquid
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

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.

Equipment

Instructions

  • 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 your 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.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 0.25 of recipe | Calories: 379 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 29 g | Fat: 18 g | Fiber: 11 g | Sugar: 10 g

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.

Course: Chili, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground turkey chili, ground turkey chili recipe, pumpkin chili, turkey chili, turkey chili in a crock pot

Photography by Eat Love Eats

Recipe Rating




Caitlin

Thursday 5th of March 2015

Also, if you leave out the water, do you think it will be thicker? Thank you!

Julie

Thursday 5th of March 2015

Yes, it will be thicker if you leave out the water.

Caitlin

Thursday 5th of March 2015

Love pumpkin and turkey! How many servings would you estimate this makes?

Julie

Thursday 5th of March 2015

About 4-6 servings, depending on bowl size.

Fiona

Sunday 26th of October 2014

All I have is leftover pumpkin pie mix from making a dip. Do you think it will ruin the recipe if I use it rather than puree?

Julie

Sunday 26th of October 2014

Hi, Fiona..no, I mentioned you can't use that. Pumpkin pie mix/filling has added spices and sweetness that is supposed to be used in pies alone. Definitely don't use it in this savory dish. You need to use puree.

Meghan

Monday 20th of October 2014

For anyone that has made this, does this get thick in the crock pot? I made chili a few weeks ago and wasn't thrilled with the thickness. It was kind of watered down. I am thinking the pumpkin would thicken it up a bit.

Julie

Monday 20th of October 2014

This one is not as thick as most chili's. If you want thick chili, try this one: https://www.tablefortwoblog.com/crockpot-chili-cornbread/

Jaclyn

Saturday 26th of October 2013

What a perfect fall soup! This looks delicious!