One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is make a big batch of chili. I can stand watching football for only a few hours; when it’s on from 11am until 9pm, I have to fill my time with other things. You know, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, catching up on laundry, cooking while I sip on a glass of wine or two, and getting ready for the week ahead.
There’s nothing better than getting rid of Sunday scaries before they hit you.
Good thing we’ve got this pumpkin turkey chili that’s both sweet and spicy. It’ll help make me feel better, I’m sure of it. Pumpkin cures all.
No matter what month it is, I’m sure you’ve got a can of pumpkin lurking somewhere in the back of your cupboard. I know it sounds a little crazy, but the pumpkin is a really lovely addition and creates an uber creamy texture to the turkey chili. Plus, you loads of vitamin A & C & that crazy good fiber.
Basically, all I did here was took my favorite healthy turkey chili recipe and switched it up a little with pumpkin, cayenne, cinnamon and a hint of maple. Er muhhh gawd, it’s gooooddd. Especially with cornbread muffins.
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Ingredients in slow cooker pumpkin turkey chili
This deliciously savory pumpkin turkey chili recipe is filled with cozy spices that give it a sweet & spicy flavor you’ll love. It’s also packed with protein thanks to the turkey and a full can of black beans. Win-win! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Olive oil: for cooking the turkey and veggies.
- Ground turkey: I like to use a 99% lean ground turkey in this recipe.
- Veggies: onion and jalapeño for a hint of spice.
- Garlic: gotta have that garlic flavor.
- Spices: truly the star of the shows. We’re adding chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, salt & pepper.
- Maple syrup: a bit of pure maple syrup adds the perfect amount of sweetness to balance the spices.
- Diced tomatoes: for that chili broth. I recommend using diced tomatoes that have no salt added so that you can control the salt in this chili.
- Chicken broth: use a low sodium chicken broth and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Pumpkin puree: you can use canned pumpkin puree or make your own with this tutorial.
- Black beans: for a delicious boost of fiber and protein.
- To garnish: cilantro, sour cream (or greek yogurt), guacamole or cubed avocado and shredded cheddar cheese.
Customize this recipe
This pumpkin turkey chili recipe is easy to customize to your taste preferences. Here’s what I can recommend:
- For the ground turkey: feel free to use ground chicken if you’d like!
- Try it vegetarian: alternatively, you can skip the ground meat and add in an extra can of black beans. Be sure to then use vegetarian broth instead of chicken broth.
- Add extra veggies: feel free to add bell pepper and fresh or frozen corn as well.
How to make pumpkin turkey chili on the stovetop
I love making this healthy pumpkin turkey chili in the slow cooker for less clean-up, but you can easily make it on the stovetop:
- Cook the ground turkey. Place olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in onion, jalapenos and garlic. Stir and cook 2 minutes, then add in turkey, gently breaking up the meat and cooking until brown (about 5 minutes).
- Add the spices. Mix in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook 30 seconds longer.
- Mix the chili together. Instead of transferring to a slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients to the pot: maple syrup, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, pumpkin puree and black beans. Stir until well combined.
- Simmer, taste & enjoy! Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary.
What to serve with this healthy pumpkin turkey chili
I love enjoying this slow cooker pumpkin turkey chili with sharp cheddar cheese, greek yogurt, avocado and crunchy tortilla chips. You can also serve it with delicious sides like:
- Gluten Free Cornbread Muffins
- Tortilla Chip-Crusted Baked Jalapeño Poppers
- The Best Guacamole You’ll Ever Eat
- Fresh & Healthy 7-Layer Dip
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Get even more side dishes here!
How to store & reheat pumpkin turkey chili
- In the refrigerator: this healthy pumpkin turkey chili will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week. Once your chili is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you’d like to meal prep it) without the additional toppings and place it in the fridge. To reheat it, simply do so in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop. Add your toppings once you’re ready to serve!
- In the freezer: can you freeze pumpkin turkey chili? YES! Follow the instructions above, but instead of placing the chili in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw the chili overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
More pumpkin recipes to try
- Vegetarian Spinach Pumpkin Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chicken Soup
- Spicy Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce
- Nourishing Yellow Chickpea Pumpkin Curry with Coconut Brown Rice
- Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta
Get all of my pumpkin recipes here!
Enjoy! If you make this pumpkin turkey chili recipe, leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked it. I’d love to see your creation — simply upload a pic to Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen!
Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Turkey Chili
Delicious, healthy slow cooker black bean pumpkin turkey chili bursting with sweet & spicy flavors thanks to hints of maple, cinnamon, chili powder & cayenne. This easy slow cooker pumpkin turkey chili recipe is freezer-friendly and great for busy weeknights! The perfect fall food.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound extra lean ground turkey (99%)
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or brown sugar)
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 15oz can pumpkin puree (or 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree)
- 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- To garnish: cilantro, sour cream (or greek yogurt), guacamole and cheddar cheese
Place olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, jalapenos and garlic. Stir and cook 2 minutes, then add in turkey, gently breaking up the meat and cooking until brown (about 5 minutes).
Add all of the spices to meat: chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook 30 seconds longer then transfer to a slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker: maple syrup, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, pumpkin puree and black beans. Stir until well combined. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
Once chili is done, distribute into bowls (or do a meal preand top with fixin's such as cilantro, greek yogurt and cheddar cheese. (It's really, really good with a sharp cheddar!). Makes 4 servings. Double the recipe for a crowd!
Recipe can be made in under an hour on the stove top if that's what you're looking for. Follow directions, except cook turkey completely, then add remaining ingredients, stir, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes!
See the full post for tips, tricks and storing & freezing instructions.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
Awww man, I hope you feel better soon Monique but I’m glad you had such a great weekend!! This chili definitely has the power to heal! 🙂
I need to get my butt back out to Austin. Such a fun city and I LOVE their foodie scene!
Love the addition of pumpkin puree. It looks delicious! Hope you feel better!
love how dark and rich this looks! sometimes i feel like chili can be a bit tomato-heavy for me, so i love the addition of pumpkin to help mellow that out.
omg this looks so good! i am going to make it this week. just one question – is the maple syrup necessary? i try not to use sweeteners in anything unless it’s a sweet treat. thank you!
First, this chili looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been craving chili for weeks! Secondly, thanks for sharing the restaurant Gather – I just looked it up and the menu looks so good. I can’t wait to try it! PS. We need a girl date soon.
I will definitely be making this. It still feels like summer here in Denver, but it’s on the top of my list as soon as I break out my crockpot!
You definitely nailed it with this chili recipe; it looks and sounds so amazing!!!! I just love your blog 🙂
London is so chilly now! Just made this with a half a bag of spinach mixed in too. Delicious! L x
Just made this! So so delicious. I added chopped green pepper and corn! Mmm mmmm mmm. Shared recipe with friends on Facebook immediately as it was just THAT good
thanks for sharing this recipe, love the pumpkin-fiber addition, also equally, your cornbread recipe, also with pumpkin and wheat flour! Good to know there’s a more healthy version of these addictive little cakes!
I’ve tried several pumpkin chili recipes and this is by far the best! Making it again this weekend to share with neighbors.
I made this today and it is fantastic. I only precooked the turkey and threw all the other ingredients in the slow cooker. I love the subtle flavors from the cinnamon and cloves. I used chipotle powder since I was out of cayenne. Thank you!
Making for the second time today. This is delicious!
forgot to rate
This looks delicious! Hoping to make it tomorrow. However, any thoughts on whether or not it can be made without the ground turkey?
You can definitely make it without the ground turkey! I would add some extra beans.
Recipe was amazing I followed it exactly except used only 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper for slightly less heat.
So glad you enjoyed!
What if you double the recipe? Do you need to double the time?
I don’t think it would be exactly double, but would just start with the original stated time and check on it then!
LOVE this recipe. Delicious and foolproof! It is now my go-to for Halloween night before trick or treating.
So great to hear! It’s definitely one of my go-to’s 🙂
This was excellent! Made it to share with friends while we passed out candy and everyone loved it and was asking for the recipe! Definitely adding this into my rotation of meals for fall & winter 🙂
I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it! The perfect balance with Halloween candy 🙂
I have made this twice now and it is aaaamazing! Do you think it is something that is okay to freeze?
So glad you’ve been enjoying! And yes – you can definitely freeze this 🙂
This is definitely going on my meal plan next week!!
Hope you love it!
have you tried it with cubed fresh oumpkin instead of pureed
I haven’t but that would be delicious!
Made this today! Monique, your recipes never disappoint! Perfect fall flavors!
Side note: was in Chicago a few weeks ago and was at Gather! Right down the street from my brother’s place!!
Aw thanks Carrie! Love this one. And small world! I hope you had a great trip 🙂
Made this tonight! Added chopped carrots and sweet potatoes when doing the initial onions/garlic/jalapenos. Also added a teaspoon of cocoa powder and cooked for an hour on the stove instead of slow cooker. This recipe is delicious, so flavorful in the spicy and sweet combination. I trust Monique completely with her recipes, the combination and amounts are always on point.
Perfect! LOVE the idea of adding a little cocoa powder. Thanks for your comment Rachel 🙂
So good and so easy. Such a great meal prep recipe.
Absolutely! So happy you liked it 🙂
Love this one for fall!
WOW! Made this last night for dinner with a side of GF cornbread and literally can’t wait until lunch time today so I can eat the leftovers. Woke up craving this! Thank you for another amazing recipe!!!!!
Love that!! The best leftovers 🙂
I made this yesterday for dinner on the stove top, and it was so delicious! Super easy to make, and including prep and cook time took me about 60-75 minutes. Had to make a few substitutions with the ingredients I had on hand (no chili powder so used paprika and some cut dried chili; didn’t have minced turkey so used minced chicken instead; also used my own homemade roasted pumpkin puree) and omitted a few ingredients cause didn’t have them (no jalapeno, cloves or cayenne pepper) but turned out delicious anyways. Perfect hearty texture with just the right hint of heat! Served with plain yogurt, shredded parmesan, avocado and tortilla. Will definitely make again! Thanks for sharing!
Delicious! This one’s great for customizing, so I’m glad your tweaks worked out well. Love the idea of shredded parmesan on top 🙂
I’ve been rotating through the various AMAZING chili recipes Monique creates for us and this one is actually my absolute favorite (which is saying something, because the white chicken chili, ALSO, DOPE). I made this one on the stovetop and the creaminess in unreal, Seriously if you haven’t tried this, get ON IT, Monique’s content/flavoring has always been spot on with everything I’ve made, but THIS I seriously annot wait to eat for dinner the rest of the week…!
So happy to hear that, Kelsey! Love this one (and the white chicken chili, too). Best dinner!
So dang good I haven’t even finished this batch and I’m shopping to make the next one! I used crushed tomatoes instead because I dont. Like chunks of tomatoes, and that was about it! It is spicy sour it’s a family dish I would tone down the jalapeño or cayenne. Made some cornbread to go with it!
Amazing! This one’s great for customizing for family & friends, too. Delicious with cornbread!
I absolutely love this recipe. Has considerably less of a pumpkin taste than I thought it would which was a good thing :). I made mine extra spicy and introduced it to my family over the holidays. They loved it so much that I think between the 4 of us, we’ve made a batch every week since December!
Love that! I’m glad everyone enjoyed.
When i told people I was making a turkey pumpkin chili they rolled their eyes and said, commmee on, make a REAL chili!
Well, joke’s on them because this is hands down the best chili, the most popping flavors, I have ever had. Absolutely amazing.
Made the recipe exactly as is without any modifications. Doubled it, and added a whole green bell pepper. New favorite chili recipe!! Definitely different than usual and more spiced. Served alongside your pumpkin cornbread.
This recipe is fantastic! If you are craving fall flavors but not the calories that come with the usual fall treats, you have to try it! I altered the recipe a bit to suit my preferences, and based on what was in my pantry. I was out of the 28oz cans of tomatoes, so I added t 15oz diced, and 1 15oz roasted tomatoes. It looked to me like it needed more beans, so I used 2 cans. No maple syrup so I added brown sugar. I also added some cardamom because I like it. I LOVE the finished product and will be sharing this recipe and making it again. And to those who might worry that it would taste weird with the sweetness, pumpkin and spices, it’s not, I promise! It’s not sweet or too “pumpkin-y” at all. Also, I made on the stove because I wanted to eat sooner and this recipe works just fine that way. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!
Amazing! So happy you loved it 🙂 and perfect on the stovetop!
I’ve gotta admit I was a little nervous putting cinnamon and cloves into chili, but I’ve learned not to question your recipes. This chili is delicious! We topped it with sharp cheddar and a tad of sour cream.
It’s a game changer! So glad you enjoyed 🙂
This recipe was delicious and easy! I added 1 tsp of cocoa powder to cut the heat for my kids and doubled the salt. I also cooked it on the stovetop and simmered for 2-3 hours. We will definitely be making this recipe again, and again!
Perfect! So glad you enjoyed!
My favorite chili. Pumpkin Turkey.
One of mine, too! 🙂
Made this chilli tonight and it was AMAZING!!! Made it on stove top with football on in the background the the amazing fall fragrances coming from the pot made it very difficult to wait the 30 mins to eat! We like things spicy, followed the ingredients exactly and it was perfect. Not too spicy at all but very flavorful. Will def make this again- thanks for the delicious fall recipe!!
Perfect! Love this one for fall 🙂
Made this recipe with no substitutions and it was really good, loved all of the spices in this chili! Topped with some cheese, avocado and it was a perfect Sunday night dinner, my husband loved it too!
Amazing! I’m so glad 🙂
Made this for Halloween and it was absolutely delicious! Love the change up from the usual chili flavor profile. Only substitutions I made were water instead of chicken broth and then ran out of chili powder so only used about half the amount and was still very flavorful!
Perfect! Such a great dinner 🙂
Amazing! It was super easy to make. A great fall recipe.
So glad you enjoyed!
This was an AMAZING recipe! Made exactly as stated besides: 1) adding 1/3 cup more black beans 2) adding 3/4 bag of frozen sweet corn 3) Adding a bunch more chicken stock to balance out the extra veggies. (and of course ore salt and seasonings too)
Thanks so much, Monique! Your recipes are fabulous!
Perfect! So glad you loved it!
I’ve tried quite a few pumpkin chili recipes and this is the best! Love the spices and addition of maple syrup. Goes great with all AK honey pumpkin cornbread muffin
Amazing! So happy to hear that 🙂
This was so delicious! I cut down on jalepeno and cayenne for the kids. There was nothing but empty bowls and smiling faces left.
So happy to hear that!
I’ve made this year numerous times since you created it and it’s always a hit. I recommend it to everyone! Healthy and filling!
Amazing! Glad you love it 🙂
Really well balanced chili recipe! I made it exactly as noted and topped with cheddar cheese, green onions and avocado and it was delicious. Made for my husband and I for the super bowl, but I’d say it’s more like 6 servings vs 4. Will definitely make again!
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed!
This chili is SO GOOD! My favorite new chili recipe. The tomato-y/pumpkin flavor is delish and the texture is so creamy. Perfect for a fall/winter night. I added crackers, DF sour cream, and cilantro – yum!
Love it! Glad it’s a new fav!
The sweetness in this one is really nice. We did it on the stove and really let it cook down, probably 90 minutes, so it was thicker and made the turkey more tender. Glad I doubled this one. It was a hit and just got better and a little more kick each day.
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed!
This is my go to chili recipe, especially during pumpkin season! Delicious and a great balance of spice and sweetness.
Monique always give the most comprehensive instructions, it’s amazing. I don’t have a slow cooker (and probably won’t as long as I’m living in a studio with literally a 18×18′ square of counter space) so the recipe note of the stove instruction was key. I loved that the pumpkin lent a slight sweetness that didn’t overpower anything else going on. A really great mix of savory and sweet. I took the advice of sharp cheddar and MAN! So delicious. Just ask yourself….are you feeling cold and unmotivated? Don’t want to ‘cook’ cook? This is your recipe. Minimal effort and MAXIMUM taste!
So glad you loved this one! Easy and delicious 🙂
This is my favorite chili recipe of all time! Although skeptical at first, my family was so surprised at how delicious the combination of pumpkin and cinnamon is in chili. Love, love, love it!
It’s one of my fav too! Such a good one for when the weather gets colder 🙂
I rarely leave comments on recipes, but for the last several years I have made this one more times than I can count!!! It’s been such a hit with friends and family that every year when autumn approaches everyone asks me when I’m going to make the pumpkin chili! This recipe is sooo delicious!!! Thank you for sharing!!!
Excellent recipe. I substituted soy ground round for fun and vegetable broth for chicken broth. upped the jalapenos by one and added a green hoy chili. Excellent. However thats really 8 servings. Nobody in my family can eat that much food in one sitting 🙂
So glad that all worked out well and that you loved it! And thanks for the note about the serving size 🙂
This is SO GOOD! I meal prepped it for my lunches last week (over a bed of kale with some cheese sprinkled on top) and loved it so much that I’m making it again this week! I had a can of stewed tomatoes in my pantry, so I used that instead of diced tomatoes, and doubled the cinnamon. Love!
I’m not a huge chili fan but hubs loves it… this was the perfect compromise. Absolutely delicious! The babe chowed down too!
Awesome! So glad you and the fam all loved this one 🙂
This was a great fall chili. I did stovetop version simply because I waited until the last min to cook. I added extra broth because it was super thick and used fire roasted tomatoes. Will have to try the slow cooker version next. Thank you!
Tonight was my second time making this recipe, and it does not disappoint! So comforting and delicious and is a crowd pleaser. Perfect for Halloween. Only addition I made was adding a can of pinto beans. I served with an einkorn green chile cornbread and topped with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and Trader Joe’s unexpected cheddar. Yum!
Omg yes SO perfect for Halloween! That all sounds delicious, happy you enjoyed it 🙂
This recipe brought me to the Ambitious Kitchen website. I have made this multiple times–it is easy and I’ve had consistent results. I go with brown sugar instead of maple syrup (which I simply don’t have in the house). My husband and son both love it!
Aw I’m so glad it brought you here! Glad to hear it’s on repeat in your kitchen and that the fam loves it!
Phenomenal chili! I had pumpkins leftover from fall decor and was looking for recipes that use pumpkin purée. This one looked interesting and healthy. The flavors are amazing and it has just the right amount of kick. I made a couple of modifications – added a handful of carrots and a half of a bell pepper, chopped – then cooked it in the instant pot. Delish!
Love those additions and so great that you used up those pumpkins!
This was so dang good! I adapted the recipe for my instant pot and cooked it for 10 minutes. Also, I subbed in ground chicken because I didn’t have any turkey. The flavors in this recipe are just AMAZING!
So happy you loved it and that it worked well in the Instant Pot!
This is by far my favorite chili recipe, and I’ve tried plenty of them. So much flavor, i think through the addition of cloves and maple syrup.
I usually use 500g 5-7% turkey instead of ground breast (most stuff in Europe isn’t packed by pounds so it’s either 400 or 500g).
One thing that benefits the recipe a lot is adding one small (about 200g) can of red kidney beans, i think it needs just a bit more beans 😉
Couldn’t get fresh jalapenos last time I was making it, so instead I’ve added 30g of this new Jalapeno green Frank’s sauce (i think it may be something that they sell only here) and it turned out amazing.
I absolutely love your slowcooker recipes! Peanut butter chicken stew is another one i regularly make.
I’m SO glad you love this recipe — thank you! Good call on adding the extra beans. And the hot sauce is a smart substitution, too!
Why did i wait so long to make this?! Soooo delish!
Haha better late than never!! So glad you had the chance to make it + that you loved it, Jessica 🙂 Appreciate the review!
Just made this for the first time and it’s amazing! Rich and perfectly seasoned to leave just that hint of heat on the tongue.
Wow! This is another AK recipe WIN! I’ve never made chili before and was looking for a way to use ground turkey… so so good! I’m continually so impressed by your recipes that I can’t pick a favorite. Thank you for helping me become better in the kitchen!
Aw thank you SO much, Emily!! I’m so happy you loved this one. Glad you’re here ❤️
Made this in on the stovetop instead of the crockpot. Followed the recipe exactly. It was absolutely delicious! Even better the next day! I don’t even think it needs any toppings.
Such a great dinner! Glad you enjoyed!
WOW this chili is incredible!! I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to make it – I’m obsessed. Will definitely be on rotation through fall & winter! Heck, maybe even when it’s 100 degrees- it’s that good 😉
Ahhh I’m so glad you tried and loved it! Yes such a great one to keep in your back pocket all winter 🙂
This was such a wonderful recipe! My boyfriend and I loved it. I love your pumpkin based recipes. I have a question, if i would want to make it again but adding corn (from a can or frozen), should I add it at the same time as all the other ingredients?
Hi! So happy you both loved it 🙂 Yes, feel free to add it when you add the black beans!
Thank you for this wonderful recipie! I’ve made it about 5 times and shared it with my pre-diabetes class. My husband and I grow a vegetable garden and also belong to a CSA (community share agriculture). I strive to never waste fresh veggies, so I add garden veggies to the crockpot about halfway through the cooking time, My favorite veggies to add are chopped zuchinni and/or kale. I’ve also used other winter squashes instead of pumpkin when I was out. They all taste great. This recipe is super versatile and everyone loves it! Thank you so much!
P.S. I also I add bell pepper and corn when I add the beans, as recommended by AK in ways to “customize this recipe”, and carrots as others have suggested. The corn and carrots add a fun spash of color to the chili.