This vibrant and nutritious Pumpkin Chicken Chili is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with a velvety smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Kid friendly, gluten free, and ready in just one hour, there are so many reasons to make this for dinner – tonight!
Oh hi. Hello. Hey there. I’d like to bring your currently scheduled programming to a screeching halt and introduce you to this vibrant, veggie packed pumpkin chicken chili. Hello yummy!
There ain’t no chili like pumpkin chili. Velvety smooth, subtlety sweet, earthy and aromatic, this chili recipe needs only one thing – YOU. Eating it. By a crackling fire. Or at your messy dinner table strewn with mail and school-day detritus. Totally your choice.
How to Make Pumpkin Chicken Chili
Pumpkin brings sweetness and adds a velvety, melt-in-your-mouth texture to traditional chicken chili. This recipe can be made in about an hour, but a longer, slower simmer session will maximize both flavor and tenderness. Save this for the weekends, and savor the mouth-watering aroma for hours.
As with most great soups and stews, this recipe for pumpkin chicken chili starts with a basic mirepoix – that’s just a fancy way of saying diced onions, carrots, and celery. Keep the dice on the small side for best finished texture.
Sautee the mirepoix until the onion is soft and translucent, then add in garlic and spices to bring heat, sweet, and savoriness – chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and oregano. Allow the spices to toast in the hot pot for a minute or two, until they’re incredibly aromatic.
Nestle boneless skinless chicken thighs into the vegetables, then top with just enough broth to barely cover the chicken. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. If desired you can use chicken breast in this recipe, but I really prefer the gaminess of dark meat for chili. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and set aside onto a cutting board to cool slightly.
To the veggies, add two tablespoons of tomato paste, a full can of pumpkin puree, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of white beans (rinse first). Toss in a diced green pepper too.
Then dice or shred your cooked chicken and add that back to the pot. Stir it up, and add a bit more broth if it feels too thick. Then let it simmer for at least 15 minutes, and up to a few hours (covered, stirring occasionally).
And voila – pumpkin chicken chili. Earthy, sweet, and spicy. This recipe is kid friendly, mom approved, freezes well, and keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days. Honestly, what more could you want?
Top this with your favorite chili toppings – sour cream, sharp cheddar, cilantro, avocado, red onion…the garnishing world is your oyster. Go to town!
Dietary Accommodations and Variations
- Naturally gluten free and grain free
- Make it dairy free: garnish with cilantro, avocado, and diced red onion
- Make it paleo and Whole30: skip the white beans; substitute with a diced sweet potato OR increase the chicken to 3 pounds
- Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse! Each serving delivers over 100% of standard Vitamin A and C requirements
- Relatively low carb – estimated 20g net carbs per serving
More Fall Dinner Recipes
- Grilled Apple Cider Chicken
- White Bean and Butternut Squash Ragout
- Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork
- Butternut Squash Minestrone Soup
- Pork Chops with Apple Jicama Slaw
Did you make this Pumpkin Chicken Chili? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced to ½″
- 2 medium carrots, diced to ½″
- 2 ribs celery, diced to ½″
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp chili powder, depending on preference for spice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh
- 2-3 c chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 green bell pepper, diced to ½″
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans
- 1 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper, more or less to taste
- sour cream, to taste for garnish
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese, to taste for garnish
- chopped cilantro, to taste for garnish
- diced avocado, to taste for garnish
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and toss to coat the vegetables in the fat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Make a space in the middle of the pot, add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon to the vegetables and stir until they are coated in the spices, and the spices are toasted and very fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add a splash of broth to the pot to deglaze, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Nestle the whole chicken thighs into the vegetables, then add enough additional broth to just barely cover the chicken. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken using tongs, set onto a plate and allow to slightly cool, then shred or dice.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir into the vegetables and broth until smooth. Then add the bell pepper, diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, cannellini beans, and cooked shredded chicken. Stir until all ingredients are throughly incorporated. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft, 20 minutes.
- For a longer simmer that will result in more complex flavor, proceed through step 5, but do not add the beans. Instead, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so and checking on liquid content (you may need to add a bit more broth). Add the beans in last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Ladle the chili in soup bowls and garnish as desired. This recipe keeps in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for five days, or in an airtight container in the freezer for three months.
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