Pumpkin Chili

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.

  • 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 Ingredients separated out Adding beer to Pumpkin Chili recipe

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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  • 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!


  • KB

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

  • 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.


  • Alene

    Loved loved!! I used butternut squash and a pork smoked sausage link I had in the freezer. Sliced it into small pieces. Otherwise, I kept everything else the same. Cooked up quickly and was delicious, without the beer. We didn’t have a single bottle of beer in the refrigerator!! Will definitely make it again. Thank you!


  • christa

    What would you suggest for replacement of meat… I can of kidney beans? or any other suggestions,

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Christa! Yes, another can of beans would be good! I’d also suggest chopped mushrooms, crumbled baked tofu (not firm tofu; look for baked), or cooked green or brown lentils. All of these have a similar texture to ground pork and would be great in this recipe!

  • Hallie

    I’d like to substitute pumpkin puree that I have in my freezer. How much should I use?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Christa! A one pound squash should give you 3-4 cups of cubed squash, so I’d say maybe 3 cups of puree? Note that this recipe uses cubes and not puree, so if you substitute puree, the texture and flavor will be quite a bit different. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

  • shawn

    Never made pumpkin chili – but have made lots of pumpkin stews/soups. this looks like fun. The only comment for other folks is be careful with the peeling – it is not easy.

  • Rick Persons

    I would replace the can of diced tomatoes with a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies and remove the powdered chillie for a fresher taste!
    This is a great fall treat!

    • Holly

      Green chilies are totally different than using actual chili powder. you can’t exactly substitute one for the other.

  • Theresa Petermann

    what can I substitute for the beer. highly allergic. thanks so much.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Theresa! Can you drink hard cider? If so, I’d use that. Crispin or Angry Orchard both make ciders that are good and fairly widely available. If you can’t have alcohol at all, I’d skip it and use chicken broth instead. Hope that helps! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • a

        I think a splash of coffee along with the water or broth needed to get to 12 oz. would also work.

    • Alene

      Hi Theresa. Can you have ginger beer? It is not really beer, but made from ginger and cane sugar. It might be too sweet for this though. Are you allergic to the gluten in beer? I am, and I have found some decent beers not made with any wheat or barley. The sorghum beer is dreadful, but there are beers made from rice, I think.

      • Holly

        Ginger beer is not beer therefore I wouldn’t use that to substitute for beer. It’s like ginger ale.

  • Rita L Reynolds

    I was hoping this chili was tomato free. I am allergic to tomatoes and miss chili

  • Sandy S.

    All in on this recipe as soon as I can round up the ingredients. It sounds great!

  • Megan Elliott (@LushtoBlush)

    This seriously sounds amazinnggg! I have to try!