Pumpkin Chili

by Marcie
pumpkin chili ingredients on the counter in front of a crock pot

Pumpkin chili is my favorite recipe to use my garden produce in. Guess how many home grown ingredients it uses? Seven! Pumpkin, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Can you top that? If so, send me your recipe; I want it!

Anyway, if you want a soup that uses lots of your surplus garden produce, pumpkin chili is the one!

If you want a meal that has a lot of iron and vitamin C, pumpkin chili is the one! I frequently give this soup to new mothers as it’s excellent at restoring energy and depleted vitamins. I’ve also given it to older people who just had surgery. I eat it when I want to donate blood or plasma, we eat it all fall and winter, and of course we eat it just when we feel like it! I always have the ingredients in the freezer so it’s a snap to put in the crock pot and in a couple of hours, it’s ready!

Pumpkin Chili

pumpkin chili ingredients on the counter in front of a crock pot
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 lb of organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion or 3-4 T minced onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves or 1 T garlic salt
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 of a zucchini (or 1 sandwich size bag chopped)
  • 1/2 of a squash (or 1/2 a sandwich size bag chopped)
  • 2 C cooked pumpkin (or 1 sandwich size bag ful)
  • 1 C tomatoes (or 1/2 a sandwich size bag)
  • 2 C cooked beans (or 1 sandwich size bag)
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2-3 tsp salt to taste


  1. Cook beef with onion, garlic and green pepper until meat is done.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cook in crock pot on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.


Veggies can be fresh or frozen. I keep sandwich size ziplock bags of each veggie in the freezer. The night before I want to make the soup I take the popcorn bowl to the deep freezer and fill it up with the bags of veggies and beans (and sometimes beef I've precooked) and put it in the fridge. The next afternoon I dump them all in the crockpot after cooking the meat. It's ok if they're still slightly frozen.

Use your favorite kind of beans. I frequently cook a crock pot of beans and take out two Ziploc bags worth and put them in the fridge or freezer for another meal. Then I grab one of these when I'm making a chili. So use whatever you have on hand: black, kidney, northern, pinto, etc.

This recipe is totally flexible! Leave out a veggie if you don't have it, double the meat if you like it with more meat. Omit it if you're vegetarian. Use as much or as little spices as you like. I like mine salty. Don't worry, you won't ruin it!

Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, sour cream, or grated cheese.

I’m the queen of not measuring so I don’t know how much of everything I put in this chili, but I tried to estimate. Yours will turn out fine whatever you do. You can do more meat if you like it that way or no meat at all. You can do several different kinds of beans. (I’ve done that when I have 3 different small bags in the freezer.) When I’m out of squash I substitute corn.

About the pumpkin

We love to grow pumpkins so we have plenty to cook and freeze. But the years we didn’t have a garden I would buy them at the store and then cook them. It’s way cheaper than buying canned pumpkin. One year the day after Thanksgiving I was walking in a fancy neighborhood and saw that lots of people set them on their curb for the trash guy. I grabbed 2 or 3, stuffed them in the double stroller, and I had free pumpkin for a year! With all the cheap pumpkins at the store or people are throwing away, you should never have to buy canned pumpkin. Find how to cook them here.

About the veggies

As I bring in veggies from the garden I cut them up and put them in sandwich sized bags, label them, and put them in the freezer. See more pictures about it here. Then I have them ready to use all winter long. Thaw them (still in their bags) in a big bowl overnight in the fridge and they’re ready to add the next afternoon when you’re making the chili.

Pictures of making pumpkin chili:

The top row shows the veggies right after picking. The bottom row shows how all winter I just grab all the ingredients out of the freezer and plop them in the crockpot. Any questions? Let me know!

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Carol March 9, 2023 - 5:17 pm

This recipe looks fantastic! I just may have to try it soon! I bet it would be great with spaghetti squash!

Carol March 9, 2023 - 5:18 pm

Ignore that…I mean it might be good with squash but…I don’t knw why my first thought was sauce not chili- too many recipes in the last few minutes but this really looks good!


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