Pumpkin Chili

Soup and StewGame Day1-PotMake-ahead

Pumpkin Chili! Made with chunks of pumpkin, ground pork, black beans, a bottle of beer, and plenty of spices. Ready in under an hour. Even better the next day.

Photography Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Pumpkin and chili: two things we all crave every fall. This recipe combines them into one dish. It’s the best of both worlds!

The pumpkin provides some natural sweetness, which plays well with the different spices. If you aren’t able to find fresh pumpkin, then butternut squash, acorn squash, or any other hard squash would be good substitutes.

Video! How to Make Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili’s Secret Ingredient

I love using beer in my chili recipes because it adds a rich, earthy flavor and just enough bitterness to balance the richness of the finished dish. Since this is a pumpkin chili, I thought it only fitting to use a pumpkin beer in this recipe. There usually isn’t any real squash in pumpkin beer, but it has a mellow malty flavor and a spiciness that underscores the flavors in this chili really nicely.

However, you can really use whatever beer you have on hand; I recommend sticking with an amber beer or lager since those usually have a good balance of malty flavors with a light bitterness. (Avoid overly-bitter, hoppy beers for this recipe.) 

Pumpkin Chili With Chunks of Pumpkin


This chili only needs about 30 minutes of simmer on the stovetop before it’s ready. It also tastes even better reheated the next day, making it a great make-ahead meal for busy weeks.

And don’t forget to serve this pumpkin chili with your favorite accompaniments. Mine are tortilla chips and sour cream.


Pumpkin Chili Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings (makes about 8 cups)


  • Small 1-pound sugar or pie pumpkin, or other hard winter squash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle pumpkin beer (or amber ale or lager)

Suggested toppings (to serve):

  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheddar cheese


1 Prepare the pumpkin: Peel the skin from the pumpkin with a vegetable peeler. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut away the stem, then cut the pumpkin into small bite-sized pieces. (See this guide to How to Peel A Butternut Squash; the steps are similar.)

2 Begin making the soup: Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the cut pumpkin, onion, jalapeños, garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. (The pumpkin should be slightly soft around the edges, but probably won't be cooked through yet.)

Add the ground pork, breaking it up with a stiff spatula, and continue to cook until no longer raw, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, beer, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot.

Pumpkin Chili Pumpkin Chili

3 Simmer the soup: Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin has cooked through and the flavors have had time to mingle, about 30 minutes.

Taste and add more salt or spices if needed. (If the chili tastes a little bland, add more spices; if the chili tastes a little bitter, add more salt.)

4 Serve: Divide among bowls and serve with your favorite chili toppings. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Aaron Hutcherson

Aaron or “Hutch” is the blogger behind The Hungry Hutch, which features a delicious variety of savory and sweet recipes. He grew up in the Midwest, but has called New York City home for nearly a decade.

More from Aaron

23 Comments / Reviews

No ImagePumpkin Chili

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sandi

    I made this to take on our motor home trip this week. Of course I tested a small bowl ahead of time. It is delicious! Last time I used butternut squash and loved that too!


  2. Jane

    Love this recipe, I have made it several times and it is so hearty and delicious! Used 2 tsp of salt instead of 3, otherwise made it as written.


  3. Marjorie holste

    I normally don’t alter your recipes.I didn’t have all ingredients so had to this time. I used pinto beans in place of black beans , chicken stock instead of beer, added 1tsp oregano, butternut squash, and chuck stew meat. I cooked it in 350o oven 2 1/2 hours . Divine!


  4. KB

    So delicious and so easy. I used chicken sausage instead of the pork. Will make again.

  5. Sharon

    This is easy to make.First time I have made chili. I cut back on the salt and the chili powder amounts ( 2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp chili powder). I used a butternut squash from my home garden. The chili was delicious. I highly recommend. The reason for 4 stars both the prep time and cooking time took me longer than 30 minutes. One note had to buy 6 bottles of beer.


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