Pumpkin Chili

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

This savory Pumpkin Chili has everything you want in a chili: tomatoes, peppers, black beans, pinto beans, corn, and a little pumpkin in there to make it perfect for fall! Top with crunchy cornbread croutons and your favorite chili toppings.

pumpkin chili with cornbread croutons in bowl with toppings and spoon.

Pumpkin Chili

I love fall because that means it is soup and chili season. This Pumpkin Chili is the PERFECT fall chili recipe! When you are feeling chilly, reach for a bowl of this hearty vegetarian pumpkin chili. It is basically a hug in a bowl!

No one will even believe there’s pumpkin mixed in, and the flavor is incredible. This is a pumpkin chili recipe I would use for a game day, as an easy weeknight dinner, or to have warm on the stove for Halloween night!

I like to make homemade cornbread croutons to top things off, they aren’t required, but SO good! They take the pumpkin to a whole new level. Our family looks forward to this chili recipe every single year. It is a fall staple at our house.

pumpkin chili in pot with wooden spoon.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil– for sautéing the veggies!
  • Onion– chopped.
  • Bell peppers– I like to use red and yellow peppers for color. Orange or green will work too!
  • Garlic-minced.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes– fire roasted tomatoes add extra flavor.
  • Beans– use a mix of black beans and pinto beans. Rinse and drain before using.
  • Pumpkin– use pure pumpkin puree.
  • Vegetable broth– use your favorite brand.
  • Corn– I use frozen corn, but fresh will work too.
  • Spices– chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika.
  • Salt and pepper– for seasoning!

How to Make Pumpkin Chili

I love having a big pot of chili simmering on my stove. Nothing feels quite so cozy! Once you have your ingredients gathered, this Pumpkin Chili comes together quickly, making it a slam-dunk weeknight meal that everyone in your house will love.

  • Heat a large pot with olive oil in it at medium-high heat. Add in onions, red peppers, and yellow peppers, letting those veggies heat until they start to soften. It should only take about 5 minutes with occasional stirring.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. This is where you start getting the “What’s cooking?!” smells going. My favorite part!
  • Add in everything else! Tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, pumpkin, vegetable broth, corn, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir and let it simmer on low for 15 minutes until you’re ready to ladle it into bowls.
  • FYI-this pumpkin chili is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. To keep it vegan and gluten-free, don’t use the cornbread croutons and don’t top your bowl with cheese.
cornbread croutons on baking sheet with parchment paper.

How to Make Cornbread Croutons

Cornbread croutons aren’t a necessary addition to this Pumpkin Chili, but take my word for it, they really add something special to this dish! I like to use my easy cornbread recipe because it is the BEST, but you can use store bought. The croutons work best with day old cornbread, so you can make it in advance.

They croutons only take 15 minutes get toasty in the oven so you can make them while the chili simmers.

  • Start with day-old cornbread, cut into 1” cubes, and a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Put the cornbread cubes on the baking sheet. Make sure none of them are overlapping so they can get nice and crunchy.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the croutons at the halfway point. You want them golden brown and crispy!
pumpkin chili in bowl with cornbread croutons, avocado, jalapeño slices, and cheese.

Chili Toppings

This is where everyone can customize their dinner! Toppings are a great way to finish off a bowl of chili. I suggest putting out:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Cornbread croutons

How to Store

Let the chili cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

This chili freezes well too. To freeze, let the chili cool completely. Place in a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat.

The cornbread croutons will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.

pumpkin chili in bowl with cornbread croutons and toppings.

More Chili Recipes

Make chili all fall and winter long! Here are some of my favorite variations on homemade chili:

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Pumpkin Chili with Cornbread Croutons

This easy pumpkin chili is a fall favorite! Top with your favorite chili toppings and cornbread croutons for the ultimate bowl of chili!
4.92 from 12 votes

Ingredients
  

For the Chili:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 oz fire roasted tomatoes
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen roasted corn, we use fire roasted
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Toppings:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced green onion
  • Jalapeno slices

For the Cornbread Croutons:

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, and yellow pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetable soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, pumpkin, vegetable broth, corn, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir and let the chili simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  • While the chili is simmering, make the cornbread croutons, if using. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cornbread cubes on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and toss. Spread the croutons out so they are iIn an even layer and not touching. Sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for 15 minutes, turning half way through, or until the croutons are golden brown and crispy.
  • To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Top with desired toppings and cornbread croutons, if using. Serve warm.

Notes

You can use store bought cornbread to make the cornbread. You can freeze the chili for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 596mg, Potassium: 711mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 9623IU, Vitamin C: 54mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 5mg
Keywords pumpkin, vegetarian

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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Vegetarian Fall Winter Kid Friendly Gluten-Free

4.92 from 12 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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Comments

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  1. Wow. This sounds so good!! Will be making this chili next weekend WITH the cornbread croutons 🙂 Would you consider the chili to be spicy? My fiancé and I are not a fan.

    1. I don’t think it is spicy. You can always use less chili powder but I think it is perfect. My boys ate it!

    1. I found fire roasted sweet corn at Walmart. The brand is The Planted Path and it was in the canned vegetables section.

  2. 5 stars
    This is delicious! I didn’t have the full quantities of peppers and pumpkin; it didn’t matter. I used chunky tomato sauce as I didn’t have the fire roasted tomatoes, however, I will buy a can for when I make this again. It’s very thick a bit spicy; however the cheese and a bit of sour cream may reduce the spiciness. I don’t usually like pinto beans, and these worked perfectly in the recipe. I didn’t add croutons, but made cornbread, doctoring up a Jiffy corn bread mix.

  3. I love your recipes and this was no exception. My son who is a total foodie and me a non cook was totally impressed. I couldn’t find cornbread and didn’t have time to make it. I thoroughly enjoyed it also. I will be making again next week only I will also be trying your cornbread recipe. I made exactly to recipe and was perfect. Thanks for making me look like a cook

  4. 5 stars
    Forgot to leave rating with comment

    Also I am not a fan of spicy and I found it pleasant. My son enjoys spicy but found it flavourful and not lacking because it’s not spicy. I did my own fire roasted tomatoes and corn.

  5. 5 stars
    This Pumpkin Chili was soooo good! I made it for Halloween dinner . The addition of Cornbread Croutons was off the charts. I used a box mix and toasted them .. I topped my chili wit green onions cheese avocado and croutons. So so good!!

  6. 5 stars
    I have to add, I did cut the chili and cumin in half to keep the taste and. Lower the heat .. so delicious