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Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili

Pumpkin and Turkey Black Bean Chili is a great fall chili recipe with tons of flavor. Even better, it’s super easy to make!

Creating This Turkey Pumpkin Chili Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me talking about plans to make my Beefy Kidney Bean Chili for dinner last night. Well, that didn’t happen at all. But, something else really good happened instead.

As I often do in the kitchen, my good intentions for meal planning and dinner prep got side tracked, distracted, or altered. Honestly, the plans I make almost never stick, so I usually find myself wondering “what’s the point?”

If there is anything that the last couple of years, a failed marriage, and becoming a single mom has taught me it’s that sometimes it is just easier to take the days as the come. Because planning everything out, trying to predict how things might go, and then being frustrated or disappointed when whatever it is didn’t go how I wanted…sometimes, to me, feels a little bit like wasted energy.

So, my plans are a lot less rigid these days.

Anyway, I had a meal plan this week, but then I had pumpkin on the brain (because everything is pumpkin this and pumpkin that right now!) and started wondering if I could make a decent turkey pumpkin chili.

The answer is yes!

My distraction from my well-intentioned meal plan is to your benefit because this pumpkin and turkey black bean chili turned out totally delicious! If you’re looking for a pumpkin-y, pie-like flavored chili, this isn’t that.

Instead, this easy turkey chili is a thick, rich chili that is a little less on the tomato-y side. It has the bonus of being loaded with extra vegetables in the form of pureed pumpkin in addition to all the flavor that comes with the ground turkey, garlic, black beans, poblanos, and chili powders.

And really, that is what makes this chili successful. Not because it has pumpkin, but because it depends on the richness of flavors. The best chili recipes are all about layered flavors — from the carefully sautéed onions and garlic, the blend of chili seasonings, the browned meat, the tender beans, to the rich and thick tomato base.

pumpkin and turkey black bean chili in two white bowls with blue tortilla chips

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Turkey Black Bean Chili Ingredients

For this easy turkey chili, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Poblano pepper
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Herbs and spices
  • Ground turkey
  • Beef broth
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Fire roasted tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Black beans
  • Chili beans
  • Fresh cilantro

How to Make Turkey Black Bean Chili

To make this ground turkey chili, you’ll first need to sauté the veggies in a little olive oil until they’re softened and the onion is translucent. Then, add in the spices and cook until fragrant.

Next, add the ground turkey and herbs to the pot and cook until the meat is browned. Pour in the beef broth, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the pumpkin and turkey black bean chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for an hour before serving.

Can I Freeze Turkey Pumpkin Chili?

Yes, very easily! Let the chili cool completely before transferring it to freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. When you’re ready to eat the frozen chili, either reheat it on the stove or place it in your fridge first to thaw.

Can I Omit the Pumpkin?

Technically, yes. But I highly recommend leaving the pumpkin in this turkey black bean chili. It doesn’t add much flavor, but it makes the ground turkey chili super thick and hearty.

how to make turkey black bean chili

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Tips for Making Pumpkin and Turkey Black Bean Chili

In case you were wondering how NOT to cook your chili, I present to you my best do’s and do not’s of chili making.

Don’t Skip Sautéing the Veggies

I consider them the basics: onion, leeks, garlic, carrot, or celery. Cooking these ingredients for about 5 minutes over medium heat before adding the remaining chili ingredients will deepen the flavor of the soup.

When I was a young(er), inexperienced cook I made the mistake of thinking chili was all the ingredients dumped into a pot of broth. Honestly it just doesn’t taste as good made that way!

Don’t Season Just Before Serving

Want to really draw out the flavor from your ground spices? Add them directly to your veggies after you’ve sautéed them.

Heat and oil applied to the ground spices will give your chili a rich, bold flavor. Adding the seasonings to the completed chili just before serving will leave you with a much rawer taste.

Don’t Throw the Meat in Raw

Has your chili recipe got meat? Make sure you brown it first. The browned bits left in the bottom of the pan after browning the meat will build the flavor of the chili even more.

Don’t Serve Immediately

I like to allow my chili to simmer for a longer period of time rather than quickly boiling it to get the vegetables tender. Yet again, you’ll get more flavor development this way.

Extra tip: If your slow cooker cooks any speed but “slow,” as many often do these days, look for a model that has a “keep warm” feature. After bringing your chili to a simmer over low or high, turn the heat down to “keep warm,” this will give you a better low and slow simmer over the course of a couple of hours.

More Chili Recipes:

If you like a more traditional chili, you’ll like this Beefy Kidney Bean Chili.

And if you want a chili that is really rich and hearty, try this Braised Short Rib and Bacon Chili.

Or if you want a lighter and healthy chicken chili, then this White Bean Chicken Chili Verde will be perfect!

My family also loves this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili. It’s a delicious Tex-Mex dish that everyone always wants seconds of.

If you’re craving a vegetarian chili, make a batch of this Roasted Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili. It uses just 7 ingredients and takes very little effort to prepare.

But no matter what chili you make, you can’t go wrong serving it with these Honey Corn Bread Muffins. Seriously. Logan and Madeline say they are the best ever.

Looking for more Pumpkin Recipes?

Be sure to check out these 25 Pumpkin Recipes to Try this Fall – So, if like me, you have a pumpkin hoarding problem you now have a very good excuse. I’ve just shared my favorite Pumpkin Recipes for you to try this fall.

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Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili + Tips on How NOT to Make Chili

Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili

Yield: serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili is a great fall chili recipe with tons of flavor!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 - 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 - 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 - 15 ounce cans Bush's Black Chili Beans, undrained
  • 1 - 15 ounce can Bush's Black Beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh cilantro


  1. Add the oil to a large cast iron pot, such as a Le Creuset Round French Oven, and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for approximately 5-7 minutes, until they are translucent.
  3. Add the poblano, red bell pepper, and garlic and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add all of the seasonings (chili powder through smoked paprika) to the onion mixture. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the ground turkey, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook, breaking the meat using a spoon or spatula into small pieces.
  6. Cook until the meat is completely cooked through.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the beef broth, stir in the pumpkin puree, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all of the beans.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce the head to low.
  9. Simmer for at least an hour, stirring periodically so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  10. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in cilantro. Serve.


Top with things like: shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro, and/or tortilla chips.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 481Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 90mgSodium 1267mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 14gSugar 13gProtein 35g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it by leaving a comment below.

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Ellen McCammon

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi Katie, this looks so good! I'm making some right now. Question, although you wont see it in time, do you drain the beans? Thank you!


Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi Ellen, do not drain the black chili beans. The regular beans can be drained. I'll edit the recipe to clarify! Enjoy!


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

You seem to be doing a pretty good job at single parenting, living healthily and keeping your cool. And your chili looks yummy. Keep on NOT doing ;-) From France, Deby

Katie Goodman

Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate that! :)

Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

Thursday 8th of October 2015

So true! I also try to meal plan but some of my best recipes come from going "off menu." I let what's in season guide me. This looks like it would be full of flavor with the fire roasted tomatoes and pumpkin.

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