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Pumpkin Chili


This Pumpkin Chili is definitely one of our very favorites! The quinoa adds a great heartiness to this vegetarian chili, and a can of pumpkin brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and makes it rich and a little indulgent. It’s incredibly satisfying and oh-so delicious!

Pumpkin and quinoa chili in a white bowl topped with sour cream and crushed croutons.

Delicious & Hearty Pumpkin Chili with Quinoa

I used to think that to make a nice, hearty chili you needed some sort of meat – whether that was ground beef, ground turkey or even chicken or sausage. A meatless chili just doesn’t satisfy. Oh how I was wrong. Vegetarian chili has made its way into my heart and quickly become a staple in our regular meal rotation.

Now I’ve made my fair share of chili before, but this is definitely one of my favorites. A can of pumpkin brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and makes it rich and even a little indulgent. The pumpkin flavor is super mellow, so if you’re not a huge fan of pumpkin- don’t let that stop you from trying this pumpkin chili recipe! The quinoa gives you a nice hearty texture, and when you add three different beans, you end up with an incredibly filling and flavorful dish.

An overhead shot of a bowl of pumpkin chili in a white serving bowl with a sprig of parsley and an orange linen in the background.

Ingredients You Need to Make Pumpkin Chili:

  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Quinoa
  • Kidney, Black & Pinto Beans
  • Crushed Tomatoes & Tomato Paste
  • Butternut Squash– sweet potato is also good
  • Onion
  • Minced Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Chili Powder, Cumin, Paprika & Coriander
  • Salt & Pepper
Ingredients needed to make pumpkin chili.

How to Make Pumpkin Chili:

  1. Saute the veggies. In a large pot, saute the diced onion and butternut squash in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and begins to caramelize.
  2. Add the seasonings. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two to bring out the flavor.
  3. Cook it down. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes, beans, quinoa and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the chili has reached the desired consistency.
  4. Add the final touches. Stir in the molasses and lemon juice. Taste, and add additional seasonings if necessary.
  5. Serve! Dish up the pumpkin chili and top with sour cream, green onions, diced avocado, and/or corn chips if desired. Enjoy!
A collage of photos showing how to make pumpkin chili with quinoa.

Tips & Suggestions

What goes with pumpkin chili?

The flavor is very similar to traditional chili, so we serve it pretty much the same way. It’s delicious topped with sour cream, diced avocado, diced tomato, green onions, and sliced jalapenos. Serve it with corn chips, tortilla chips, or a big slice of cornbread.

Can I freeze pumpkin chili?

Yes! This makes a great freezer meal. Put leftover pumpkin chili in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will last for 4-6 months when stored properly.

Otherwise, leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Punch up the heat!

This recipe yields a very flavorful, but not very spicy, chili. If you like your chili with a bit more heat, you can add a bit of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.

A serving of pumpkin chili in a white bowl with a spoon, topped with fresh parsley and a swirl of sour cream.

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4.2 from 34 votes

Pumpkin Chili

This Pumpkin Chili is definitely one of our very favorites! Adding a can of pumpkin brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and makes it rich and even a little indulgent. The pumpkin flavor is super mellow- so even the pumpkin skeptics are going to love this satisfying and flavorful chili.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time47 minutes
Course: dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 148kcal



  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stock pan or dutch oven.
  • Dice onion and butternut squash and add to pan. Saute for 5-6 minutes until onions have softened.
  • Add minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and saute for 1 minute to let the flavors release.
  • Add beans, pumpkin, crushed tomatoes, broth and quinoa and stir to combine. Turn heat up and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the squash and quinoa are tender.
  • Stir in molasses and lemon juice, and adjust seasonings as needed. (If mixture is too thick, stir in a little more broth or water until desired consistency is reached).
  • Serve warm with your favorite chili toppings like sour cream or Greek yogurt, grated cheese, crumbled queso fresco, green onions, corn chips, chopped cilantro, chopped avocado, and jalapeno rings. Enjoy!


Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 696mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 11196IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword : Pumpkin Chili


Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

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Recipe Rating


I just made this for dinner and it was delicious! My 4yr old loved it too. What a feel good meal! I accidently didn’t drain one can of the beans, but I just let it simmer longer and it worked out fine. The maple syrup actually was a nice cut to the spice. This is a keeper. Thank you!

Does the chili powder make it too spicy for an 18 month old or does it just add flavour? Would it change the taste too much if I omit it?

Hi Farah,
If your child has yet to even try food with it, I would make a small portion without it. Or maybe even split the recipe and only add half the chili powder to one half so it is not so strong. My kids, now 8 & 10, have gotten used to the spicier foods because I have added it gradually to their dishe.

Thanks so much Jackie. I was just about to make it now. I think I’ll just omit it because whenever we have given him spicy food he seems to have a hard time with it. Makes it tough because we are East Indian and all of our food is spicy! Hopefully one day he’ll develop a taste for it. Thanks again!

4 stars
Very spicy! I only used 1/2 tbsp of chili powder and it is still spicy! I would reduce chili powder to maybe 1 tsp.

4 stars
Yummy recipe and easy to make. My little picky eater did not like it but it was a hit for everyone else. Heats up nicely the next day as well. Definitely needs the guacamole and sour cream topping.

Just made this for dinner and my 2 and 4 year olds both loved it! And literally 1 pot to clean! We don’t have canned pumpkin either so just used some left over baked sweet potatos and butternut pumpkin. Yum!

5 stars
I lived this. I made some minor modifications – mainly somebody out sour cream for Greek yogurt and made my own guacamole. Really good with a few tortilla chips for a bit of crunch.

4 stars
This was quite good! I don’t think anybody in the family knew it was made of pumpkin and squash. Next time I will use half the chili powder, though. It was a little too spicy for us.

5 stars
I used 1/2 the chili powder and was too spicy for my 3 year old. My husband and I loved it though. I will keep tweaking it for the kids as it was easy and delicious.

4 stars
I just made this and it’s delicious, but the sodium content is pretty concerning. Max recommended daily intake of sodium for adults is 1,500 mg.

Hi Alyssa! I haven’t made it yet but was wondering if you tried to make it in Instant Pot. I’d love to cut the cooking time.

We haven’t tried it! But I would use the saute feature to cook the onions, add the rest of the ingredients, then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes before releasing pressure. Good luck!