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Pumpkin Chili Recipe – The Best No Tomato Chili Recipe

If you are looking for a delicious chili recipe that everyone will love, but is a little different than a standard recipe then you have to try this Pumpkin Chili recipe. It is a favorite among many of our family and friends, especially for those who are looking for a chili recipe that contains no tomato products.

This Award Winning Chili recipe is thick, creamy and delicious and has a few surprise ingredients. When I first mentioned that I was going to make Pumpkin Chili for dinner, the expressions that I got from everyone in the house was less than enthusiastic.

And I am pretty sure that I saw a few eye rolls, scrunched noses, and there might have even been a few texts to friends to see if they could somehow get out of being home for dinner.

bowl of Autumn chili
A bowl of Pumpkin chili that is garnished with cheese and green onions.

You see, everyone in our family loves my Thick and Hearty Chili recipe. And yes, it is made using the standard mid-west chili ingredients of ground beef, beans and tomatoes.

It is our go to recipe when we decide to make a huge batch in a large cast iron pot over our fire pit. After we eat a few bowls we will freeze the leftovers as Soup Bricks so that we can have a quick lunch or dinner whenever we need one.

However, when I entered a chili cook-off contest several years ago, I knew I needed to make something a little different than a typical chili recipe.

Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Chili

That is when I decided to make Pumpkin Chili. The contest was in October and of course, every coffee shop and restaurant was serving everything pumpkin related.

From the popular pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cream cheese muffins and of course the famous pumpkin rolls there was pumpkin everywhere that you went.

So when I decided to enter a Fall Harvest Chili Cook-off contest, I decided to incorporate pumpkin and a few other special ingredients into my chili recipe.

However, I did not want to actually use diced pumpkin. Instead, I decided to use a more subtle approach and use pure pumpkin puree instead.

I also added in a few other special ingredients so I decided to change the name of the recipe from Pumpkin Chili to Autumn Chili so that one of the surprise ingredients wasn’t so obvious.

After the taste testing was complete, this Pumpkin Chili recipe was a blue ribbon winner!!!! The chili had such great flavor and a smooth and silky texture that no one could pick out the mystery ingredients.

Pumpkin Chili Secret Ingredients

1. Pumpkin Puree

As mentioned above, I used pure pumpkin puree instead of diced pumpkin. I wanted the chili to look traditional, therefore, I didn’t want orange chunks scattered throughout the dish.

In addition, the pumpkin puree provides a creamy and silky texture to the sauce that makes the chili melt in your mouth.

But the puree also adds a touch of sweetness that is the perfect compliment to the chili seasonings.

chipotle peppers in can
This recipe calls for 2 chipotle peppers. Simply dice them and add them to your chili.

2. Chipotle Peppers

To add even more flavor to my pumpkin chili recipe I add in a couple of chipotle peppers. Because it was the end of garden season, I had just smoked our red jalapeños from the garden to make chipotle peppers.

Therefore, I thought it was a perfect ingredient to add to the chili recipe. The flavor of the smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce reminds me of a chili that has been cooked over a campfire.

I used two large ones for this batch of chili, but you could certainly add more or less depending on your taste preference.

But after making this recipe several times, I have found that using two chipotle peppers is the perfect amount for us.

3. Hard Apple Cider

This time of the year it is easy to find apple cider. The local orchards, Farmer’s markets and grocery stores carry it throughout the Fall months.

However, I have always added a can of lager beer when I make my classic chili recipe. Not only does it add more liquid to the mix, but it also adds a little flavor.

Therefore, when I went to grab a can for this recipe, I decided to keep with the Autumn themes and use hard apple cider instead. As an added bonus, the recipe can remain Gluten-Free when using hard apple cider instead of beer.

ground chicken for chili
If you use ground chicken instead of beef, you may need to add a little oil to the bottom of your pan to prevent sticking.

4. Cinnamon

Many people add cinnamon to their chili recipes. And it wouldn’t be Pumpkin chili without a little cinnamon to go along with the other warm Fall ingredients.

By adding just 1 teaspoon, it enhances the flavor of all of the other ingredients in this recipe.

5. No Tomatoes or Tomato Products Included

Although I have listed what secret ingredients that I used to make this recipe, I thought it was important to mention a product that we don’t include as well.

When you look at the ingredients list below, you will see that this is a tomato-free chili recipe. No diced tomatoes and no tomato sauce.

Although it is common to not use tomatoes in Texas Chili, most Midwesterners will add both diced tomatoes and/or tomato sauce or juice to their chili.

But I am here to tell you, even if you love a big bowl of classic chili filled with diced tomatoes, I promise you, that you will not miss them!!

There is so much flavor in this recipe that I had to actually tell people that there were no tomatoes included in this chili.

autumn chili with pumpkin puree
Pumpkin puree makes this chili thick, yet silky.

Pumpkin Chili Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds ground beef, pork or ground chicken
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 29 ounces 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 12 ounce bottles hard cider
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Optional Garnish Ingredients

  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • diced onion
  • diced jalapeno
  • sliced avocado
  • cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot over medium heat, add the ground beef and begin to brown. If you are using ground chicken or turkey you will need to add a little extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking.

Once the meat is half cooked through, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chipotle peppers. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.

drained beans in Autumn chili
Be sure to drain your beans so that the other flavors can take center stage.

Add the pumpkin puree, hard cider, beans, and chicken broth into the pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Stir well.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve warm and top with optional garnishes if desired.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Pumpkin Chili Recipe

Pumpkin Chili Recipe

Thick, yet creamy chili made with pumpkin and hard apple cider to give this recipe a delicious twist that everyone loves! A no tomato chili recipe that I promise you will love!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef, pork or ground chicken
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 29 ounces 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 12 ounce bottles hard cider
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional Garnishes: sour cream, cheese, diced onion, diced jalapeno, cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the ground beef and begin to brown (if you are using ground chicken you may need to add a little extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking). Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chipotle peppers. Cook until the meat is brown
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, hard cider, beans, and chicken broth into the pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Stir well.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve warm and top with optional garnishes if desired.

Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 980mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 11gSugar: 17gProtein: 47g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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