Turkey Pumpkin Chili (vegan option too!)

Turkey Pumpkin Chili (vegan option too!)

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Fall is just around the corner, the perfect time for this amazing Turkey Pumpkin Chili. The turkey helps to keep the fat down, while the pumpkin and spices add a deep rich flavor to usher in Fall.

turkey chili in pumpkin with chips

Why Add Pumpkin to Chili?

When I was contemplating new Fall recipes using pumpkin, chili seemed like an obvious choice. Although chili is usually known for being spicy, adding pureed pumpkin results not only in a richer chili, but adds a hint of irresistible sweetness as well!

pumpkin chili

Pumpkin is also loaded with nutrition. According to Medical News Today, pumpkins have the following health benefits:

  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Reduce cancer risk
  • Help to control diabetes
  • Aid immunity

We continue with the pumpkin theme by adding a bottle of pumpkin beer. Spices like freshly grated nutmeg, ginger, and cloves bind the rest of the ingredients together beautifully!

pumpkin beer

What’s The Best Way to Cook Chili?

This chili can be cooked using an Instant Pot when you are short on time. If you don’t own a pressure cooker, no sweat! You can just as easily use a Dutch oven to prepare the chili. Or if you want to cook it over a longer period of time, follow the slow cooker instructions below.

Instant Pot Chili

Using an Instant Pot to make this Turkey Pumpkin Chili is the perfect choice when you’re short on time. In fact, you won’t believe the complex flavors that develop in just under 20 minutes of cooking.

chili instant pot

Approximately fifteen minutes are usually required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure. Once sealed, the chili only needs to cook for another 15 minutes. Any longer and the beans begin to fall apart.

Stove-Top Chili

If you prefer the stove-top method, just sauté the meat in a Dutch oven, along with the onion and garlic. Add the remaining chili ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or longer before serving.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

Preparing this Turkey Pumpkin Chili recipe in a slow cooker is yet another option. To prepare in a crockpot, start by sautéing the meat, onion, and garlic in a pan. Add the contents of the pan, along with the remaining ingredients inside your crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 5-6 hours.

chili in spoon

What Spices Are Used in Chili?

The spices I use in this Turkey Pumpkin Chili are different than the spices I use in other chili recipes, including my Spicy Bison Chili. Here’s a list of my usual chili spices and herbs:

  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • Oregano

Spices used in my Turkey Pumpkin Chili

I used a different combination of spices in this Turkey Pumpkin Chili. Many of these spices are generally used in other pumpkin recipes so I felt pretty confident that they would work in this recipe, and they do.

  • ginger powder
  • ground cloves
  • sweet paprika
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon

Vegan Pumpkin Chili

If you would like to make this a vegan chili recipe, it’s easy to do. Instead of the turkey, you can add an additional can of beans. Black beans, cannellini beans, great northern beans, and kidney beans are all great options.

You can also add more veggies to give the chili a thicker texture. Which vegetables to add? How about green peppers, zucchini, squash, or roasted pumpkin? Finally, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Serving Suggestions

One festive way to serve this chili is in a sugar pumpkin. Just cut a circle around the stem, remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and guts. Then drizzle the inside with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

pie pumpkin

Or as this Food Network Post suggests, sprinkle with a small amount of sugar. Brown sugar would be my personal choice.

Next, place the pumpkin on a tray and roast in a 400-degree F oven for approximately 30 minutes. Cool slightly before filling the pumpkin with chili. If the pumpkin is too soft, make sure to put it on a plate or in a bowl before serving. 

You may also enjoy the following recipes: Chili Verde, Pulled Pork Enchiladas, and Mexican Spanish Rice.

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5 from 1 vote
turkey pumpkin chili
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins

Turkey Pumpkin Chili, the perfect dish to usher in Fall!

Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 424 kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (spicy) (chopped, optional)
  • 2 T. sweet paprika
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 2 tsp. chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ginger powder
  • tsp. ground cloves
  • tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1 14.5 oz chicken broth
  • 1 15.5 oz canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 12 oz pumpkin beer
  • 2 15.5 oz kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 15.5 oz great northern beans (drained)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  1. Choose the Saute option on an Instant Pot

  2. Add oil then brown the ground turkey.

  3. Add onion, garlic, and chipotle peppers (if using) and cook for a few additional minutes.

  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

  5. Seal the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. It will also take approximately 15 minutes for the pressure to build up.

  6. After the time has elapsed, do a quick release to release the built up pressure.

  7. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, diced onion, and tortilla chips.

Nutrition Facts
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 424 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 859mg37%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 16g67%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 31g62%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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