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This vegetarian pumpkin chili is filled with flavor, texture, and just enough spice. (It’s actually vegan and gluten free, too!) Combining easy canned ingredients with a few fresh components, this quick one pan meal will warm you up during colder months. Meat eaters, myself included, enjoy it too!

pumpkin chili

I’m not a professional cook and I’m not vegetarian. But I’m REALLY good at pumpkin recipes and can say with 100% certainty that this pumpkin chili is absolute dynamite. My assistant, Hilari, doesn’t eat meat and loved it. And my husband, who does eat meat (but doesn’t really like pumpkin) had seconds.

This meatless chili is one of the best dinners I’ve made all year. Regardless of how you eat (vegetarian, vegan, meat, pumpkin, non-pumpkin, spicy, non-spicy), I’m confident you’ll enjoy this one pot meal.

pumpkin chili in pumpkin bowl

This is an everything-into-1-pot chili. There’s wiggle room with the ingredients, which I discuss below, but I recommend sticking to the base of this recipe including the delicious spices, herbs, and other key ingredients. This is excellent served with biscuits, cheese scones, or whole wheat rolls.

Key Ingredients in Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  1. Onion & Garlic: This duo creates a flavorful base for the pumpkin chili.
  2. Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Cumin, & Chili Powder: You can play around with the amounts, but don’t be afraid to use a lot of each. This is a big batch of chili. And pumpkin, a main ingredient, is pretty bland without a lot of added flavorings. For best taste, stick with the amounts I recommend below.
  3. Cinnamon (I forgot it in the picture!): Where there’s pumpkin, there must be a pumpkin spice. Even though this is a savory pumpkin recipe, cinnamon is most welcome. Cinnamon is actually pretty common in chili recipes.
  4. Vegetable Broth: If you’re not vegetarian, you can use chicken or beef broth instead.
  5. Diced Tomatoes: I ended up using 3 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes. The juicy bursts of tomato pair wonderfully with the beans, pumpkin, and bold flavors. Do not drain the canned diced tomatoes before adding.
  6. Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine.
2 images of ingredients for vegetarian pumpkin chili

Swap Your Add-Ins

I had a lot of fun testing this recipe because there are SO many add-ins to play with. Instead of pinto beans, feel free to use chick peas. In place of kidney beans, use more black beans. Instead of sweet potato, use butternut squash. If you only have 1 bell pepper, that’s cool! As long as you stick with the base of this chili including the spices, onion, garlic, broth, pumpkin, and diced tomatoes– you can really play around with the extras.

How Spicy Is This?

The vegetarian pumpkin chili as written is mildly spicy. In fact, as I ate my first bowl, I added another pinch of chili powder. (And I can’t tolerate super spicy food!) Feel free to adjust the chili powder based on your spice tolerance and you can leave out the jalapeño if desired. If removing some spice, however, keep in mind that some flavor will be lost. You can add a little more cumin, garlic, or onion powder in its place.

pumpkin chili in pink pot

(This is Le Creuset Dutch Oven in the pretty Berry color and the orange pumpkin bowl above is from Pier 1!)

How to Make Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

Put everything in the pot and cook it. It’s that easy. But if we’re getting technical here, sauté the onion and peppers first, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Does this work in an Instant Pot? I don’t know, I don’t own one! Let me know if you try it.

pumpkin chili in a pot

If you eat meat, you’ll love my slow cooker chicken chili too!

More Meatless Dinner Recipes

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pumpkin chili in pumpkin bowl

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1012 (1 heaping cup serving) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Combining easy canned ingredients with a few fresh components, this vegetarian pumpkin chili is an easy and convenient one pan meal that will warm you up during colder months. Feel free to make substitutions based on what you enjoy.


  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs)*
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups (480ml) vegetable broth
  • 3 (14 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree*
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 heaping cup)*
  • optional: 1/2 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed*

Optional For Serving:

  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped red onion
  • sliced avocado


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 5 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño. Stir and cook for 5 minutes as the onion softens. Add garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and onion powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients including black beans, if using.
  2. Place the lid on top, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with any optional toppings. I strongly suggest cilantro for a little fresh kick. Yum!


  1. Freezing Instructions: Chili freezes wonderfully for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then heat in a large pot on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Spiciness: This chili, as written, is mildly spicy. Feel free to adjust the chili powder based on your spice tolerance. You can leave out the jalapeño if desired. If removing some spice, however, keep in mind that some flavor will be lost. You can add a little more cumin, garlic, or onion powder in its place.
  3. Beans: You can use any beans you enjoy. I found the textures of pinto, kidney, and black beans perfect for this chili. You can use light or dark kidney beans, whichever you prefer. I added 1/2 of a can of black beans at the last minute. They’re optional, but very tasty in this dish. Chick peas would be great here, so feel free to make a swap.
  4. Pumpkin: I recommend using canned pumpkin puree over homemade in this recipe, though 2 cups of homemade would be fine in a pinch.
  5. Sweet Potato: Feel free to substitute peeled and diced butternut squash.
  6. Slow Cooker Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Keywords: chili, vegetarian

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Perfect for a chilly fall day. Delicious and easy to make-thanks, Sally! We served it with garlic bread. Yum!

  2. This was delicious. I used my IP for this too. I cooked the kidney and black beans from scratch and added 1/2″ cut raw pumpkin and followed Tara’s tips. I served it with jalapeno corn bread. So filling. So yummy. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  3. Wow! I didnt have any canned tomatoes so I just chopped up some fresh ones and added in 1/4 cup of tomato paste. Also used less chilli powder and added in some pumpkin spice seasoning. Amazing!

  4. I made this for Halloween dinner. I forgot to buy pinto beans so I subbed a cup of red lentils. I served it with avocado and queso fresco. It was so delish. My family loved it.

  5. I have made this every week for the past three weeks… I make it in my pressure cooker, adding the beans in after it’s done. I use sweet potato and add in some ground beef for the carnivores.This is by far the most flavorful chili I have ever made and have been sharing the recipe with all my friends.
    The pumpkin is a must!

  6. Great recipe! I did it all in my Instant Pot with dry beans, with much success.

    Saute the veg same as the recipe, and then instead of slow cooking I did 32 minutes high pressure with a 10 minute quick release. Did 1 cup dry black beans and 1 cup dry kidney beans, no soak for either, and increased water/broth to 4.5 cups. Did not drain any of the canned tomatoes, to provide extra liquid for beans. Also, increased spices to almost double, as otherwise the flavor is lost to the beans when absorbing all the liquids.

    Hope this helps any other IP folx! Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  7. Made this today after a bike ride (25 degrees and gorgeous out)-excellent with your Artisan Bread. Thank you for another winner!

  8. I loved it, husband loved it, and daughters loved it. One child isn’t a fan of the mild spicy kick so she added sour cream. I tried hers and it was still delicious. Everyone thought it looked beautiful and “fall like” too. Winner.

  9. This has been the perfect clean eating dish to eat so far during Thanksgiving week. It’s so delicious, has been loved by my neighbors and through the magic of a taco shell is kid approved!

  10. I love this recipe. So so sooo much! I’ve made it more than once; it comes together so quickly, and if you’re on top of things and prep the veggies in advance, it would be ready in a snap! One of my new favorite fall/winter recipes.

  11. I made This recipe the first time a few months ago and have been making it at least once a week. We absolutely love it here and our family. We don’t change anything except to add some meat for the meat lovers and I use white beans and light kidney beans.

  12. What a delicious vegan chili recipe! Added extra yellow and orange bell peppers and served it over brown rice. I just discovered your recipes this week, and 2 out of 2 are amazing so far. Thank you, Sally! : )

  13. What an absolutely stunning recipe. It tastes amazing and takes zero effort.
    I used my own homemade pumpkin purée and it turned out fantastic!

  14. We had this for the first time and it was delicious. I froze the leftovers .

  15. This recipe is amazing!! My whole family liked it (including some of my little sisters who can be picky eaters). And it can be as spicy or mild as you want to make it.

  16. These recipes look fantastic will definitely make most of them. Thank you

  17. This was really good but thinner than I prefer. Any recommendations for thickening the chili?

    1. Hi Amanda! I like to use my immersion blender to blend soups a bit in the pot which leads to a thicker texture. You could use the same method by carefully transferring some of the soup to a blender, blending, then returning to the pot. Or you could always try reducing the vegetable broth a bit. Let us know what you try!

  18. do you think the 2 bell peppers could be replaced with 1 c of corn? or does the bell pepper add some dimension to the recipe that would be missing if replaced?


    1. Hi Lou, that substitution should work just fine. Hope you love it!

    1. Hi Janet, you can if you’d like, but they’ll cook in the slow cooker if not. Really whichever way you prefer is fine!

  19. Excellent recipe. Nice and savory, with a little sweetness from the pumpkin. I always like to put pumpkin in a vegetarian chili, it makes it feel more complete. Definitely serve it with cilantro, and if you’re vegetarian rather than vegan, I also recommend melting cheddar over it.

    My only issue is that despite adding extra chili powder, I couldn’t taste any spiciness at all. I’m not someone with a mouth of steel, I’m quite sensitive to heat, but despite that, I got absolutely no kick whatsoever from this, which is disappointing. Next time, I’ll probably add an extra jalapeno or two.

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