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Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili

4.66 from 249 votes

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Fall comfort food to love! Creamy pumpkin turkey chili simmers with ground turkey, canned pumpkin, spices and tender white cannellini beans. This easy recipe makes an incredibly tasty soul-warming bowl. Stovetop or pressure cooker variations included.

An overhead image showing a gray pottery bowl filled with pumpkin white bean chili with ground turkey, along with a napkin and spoon on the side.

Turkey, pumpkin, chili.

Maybe it’s a lucky coincidence those three ingredients go together so perfectly!

Those separate words instantly conjure up a scene from the season called “Fall”. Especially if you were to throw in a chunky sweater, your favorite latte and a dash of cinnamon spice.

Putting the actual things together turns out pretty damn tasty.

Ingredients for Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Like typical chili recipes, the ingredient list looks long. The spices! The vegetables! The proteins! But once you get everything together in the pot, I promise this dish is a one-dish deal that cooks in less than 30 minutes.

  • Ground turkey: I usually choose dark (thigh) meat because it’s fattier (and therefore tastier), but of course you can use ground turkey breast if you prefer.
  • More options: Instead of turkey, try ground chicken, pork or even a vegetarian sausage.
  • Vegetables: Carrot, celery and onion. You can often buy these prepped and pre-chopped to save time.
  • Canned white beans: Cannellini beans are my first choice. They have a plump shape and creamy texture I love. You can substitute with any small white bean such as navy beans or even pinto beans.
  • Canned pumpkin puree: Make sure it’s unsweetened puree, not the pie filling.
  • Spices: You need ground coriander, cumin and paprika along with a large pinch of red chili flakes.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs make a huge difference. If you can find the classic Thanksgiving trio of fresh rosemary, sage and thyme, use all three! Dry herbs are fine to use, too, but use half the amount listed in the recipe — 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  • Chicken broth: Go for a low-sodium broth or use vegetable broth instead if you want to make this a vegetarian meal.
  • Heavy cream: I’m gonna be honest. You don’t need heavy cream. The cooked chili has a beautiful creamy texture already from the pumpkin puree and the white beans. But just a few tablespoons to finish the dish makes this even more silky and comforting! If dairy isn’t your thing, try a full-fat oat milk or other unsweetened dairy substitute.

Adding pumpkin to chili

Pumpkin gets along really well with white beans, chili spices and turkey. Are you surprised?

And no, adding pumpkin to turkey chili does NOT make it taste like dessert. Pumpkin in chili is surprisingly subtle tasting. Think butternut squash or sweet potato.

Pumpkin puree also turns this chili a vibrant (gorgeous) shade of orange.

I’m in love with the combination of velvety winter squash and savory flavors —  Pumpkin Pasta in Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce is an example what I’m talking about.

In this dish, canned pumpkin puree adds subtle sweetness, creamy texture and deep color to the base of a hearty soup.

A photo of a white Dutch oven with a serving spoon, full of a chili made with pumpkin puree, turkey and white beans.

Recipes using pumpkin tend to veer toward the sweet side of the menu, but it’s just as great (if not better) in savory dishes, too.

As a side note, did you know that most canned pumpkin is actually produced from a variety of hard winter squash that looks nothing like the perky orange ones decorating front stoops?

Classic decorative jack o’ lanterns are often watery, stringy and not very delicious to eat, it turns out.

That’s fine, though. This recipe, at the very least, is fantastic way to use up those cans of pumpkin puree.

In my experience, if you root around long enough in dark, forgotten regions of your kitchen cabinets you’re likely to emerge with a few containers of the stuff.

An overhead photo showing a gray pottery bowl filled with pumpkin white bean chili with ground turkey, along with a napkin and spoon on the side.

Serving and storing chili

Lucky you, now you’re a few pantry staples away from dinner!

  • You’ll find this chili makes a hearty, satisfying bowl. It’s perfect to serve for a hearty supper, with a big salad on the side.
  • If you’re a meal planner who loves something warm for lunch during the week, make a pot of this chili and enjoy the even tastier leftovers for up to five days.
  • To freeze, cool the chili and pack into freezer containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost function of your microwave. Enjoy within 1 month.

More Fall comfort food recipes:

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Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili with White Beans

Karen Tedesco
Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili is fall comfort food at its best.  A hearty creamy turkey chili that cooks in 30 minutes, with canned pumpkin puree and white cannellini beans. 
Print Pin
4.66 from 249 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, chopped (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds (675 g) ground turkey thigh
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or sage (or a mixture of one or more)
  • 1 15-ounce (285 g) can unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 2 15-ounce (850 g) cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 cups (500 ml) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup (125 ml) heavy whipping cream, optional

Instructions 

  • Pour the oil into a 4 or 5 quart soup pot or Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic and all the spices through the black pepper, stirring to coat in the oil. Add the turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink, stirring and breaking the meat up with a spoon, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the herbs, pumpkin, beans, broth and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook 20 minutes, adjusting the heat so it doesn't boil.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve warm in bowls.

Notes

To make this chili in a Crockpot or slow cooker:
  1. Follow step 1 and 2. Transfer the mixture to your slow cooker and add the herbs, beans, pumpkin, 1 1/2 cups broth and salt.
  2. Set to cook on low for 6 hours or 3 hours on high.
  3. Stir in the cream and serve.
To make in a pressure cooker:
  1. Set your pot to Saute. Follow the steps in step 1 and 2.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the cream to the pot as in step 3.
  3. Cover and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes, allowing pressure to release naturally.
  4. Stir in the cream and serve warm.
Tips:
  • Instead of turkey, try ground chicken, pork or even a vegetarian sausage.
  • Fresh herbs make a huge difference. If you can find the classic Thanksgiving trio of fresh rosemary, sage and thyme, use all three! Dry herbs are fine to use, too, but use half the amount listed in the recipe — 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  • To freeze, cool the chili and pack into freezer containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost function of your microwave. Enjoy within 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4546IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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44 Comments

  1. Lenora Davis says:

    5 stars
    This soup is excellent. I used Beyond sausage and flax milk (about 1 cup) and 3 cups of broth and it was rich and creamy. I plan on making it for Halloween dinner with the grandkids.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe! Next time, as one reviewer suggested, I may try thickening the liquid by adding puréed beans. The seasonings are perfect! I will definitely make this again. Thank you Karen.

    1. Great idea to add some pureed beans! You can also let the cream reduce a bit by simmering a few minutes until thickened.

  3. 5 stars
    This is now our favorite stand by. Do you know if it freezes well?

    1. Happy you enjoy it! Yes, it should freeze just fine. To avoid condensation, be sure to let it cool to room temp (or in the refrigerator) before placing in the freezer.

  4. 5 stars
    I wanted a WW points friendly chili, so I used fat free greek yogurt instead of the cream. With this substitution, the recipe comes to 2 points per serving (on blue plan) basically for the olive oil. I think if you used cooking spray, it could even get down to 0.
    Other substitutions: Instead of the carrots, I used some bell peppers. And I used cilantro instead of the herbs you’ve listed. These are just ingredients I happened to have on hand… THIS WAS AMAZING and this is going to be a go-to for me and my husband!!
    THANK YOU!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made a double batch (so 4 cans of beans) and puréed one of the cans of beans before adding it to the chili. It made it thicker and more creamy. Delish recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious! Will definitely make again.

  7. This was really yummy and perfect for Halloween. I made half with turkey then up’d the veggies and added rutabaga for my veggie friends. Everyone loved it!

  8. Tammi DiMartino says:

    I was wondering if the nutritional facts are correct – 1g = 290 calories? I hesitate to make this recipe (which sounds amazing) the nutrition is correct.

    1. Yes, 290 calories is how it’s calculated. It should say “1 serving” not “1g” I use a third party nutrition calculator so it might vary from one that you use.

      1. I plugged this into My Fitness Pal and the calories were a lot higher! 420 per serving. I left out the coconut milk, which is what I was going to use and it brought the calories down to 350.

  9. Love love loved it. The only thing different I did was add a can of green chilies. Thank you for this recipe, it really was fabulous.

  10. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. My entire family loves it! It’ll be added to our Fall/Winter rotation.

  11. Hi! Was wondering for cooking this in a crockpot, when should I add the beans?

    1. Hi Callie – You would add the beans along with the pumpkin I just corrected that-sorry that step wasn’t clear

  12. Can I opt for Almond Milk instead of whipping cream? (Dairy Free)

    1. Yes, you can substitute with plain almond milk. You might want to simmer for a few extra minutes after adding it so it will reduce and thicken a bit. You could also use coconut milk or omit all milk completely.

  13. Rachel Soule says:

    5 stars
    This is one of the best chili recipes i’ve ever made!!!

  14. So I realized afternoon putting the canned pumpkin into the pot that I mistakenly used canned pumpkin pie filling. It tasted amazing! Good mistake.

  15. I’ve made this twice now and it’s definitely a wonderful cozy soup! I did add in a small diced sweet potato along with a little extra broth, and cooked in slow cooker and the recipe came out excellent . Thank you for incorporating such a lovely fall/winter ingredient list along with several cooking options. It’s now added to my deck of recipe cards 🙂

  16. This was great. I used Italian sausage instead of turkey, and I’ve made it twice, and both times it was well received. Also made a double batch the first time and took the extra to work. Everyone asked for the recipe. Love it!!

  17. This looks so good! What a great lunch meal prep for the fall!

  18. Do you think ground beef would work in this as well as turkey?

    1. Hi Amber – yes you can swap beef for the turkey. You might want to drain some of the fat before simmering though because it’s not as lean as turkey – up to you!

  19. Could this be made in the pressure cooker? Also, could coconut milk be used as a substitute for the heavy cream?

    1. Hi Nicole – I think the chili will taste really good with coconut milk instead of cream – go for it! I added directions to the recipe card for making this in a pressure cooker.

      1. I used coconut milk, and it turned out great. I cannot eat dairy, tomatoes, or peppers, and therefore haven’t been able to eat chili for years. Thank you for bringing chili back into my life!

  20. Hello. Just curious. What size onion, celery & what size carrot? They all come in various sizes & I don’t want to add too much or too little of any of the ingredients. (Maybe you can give me cup size of those ingredients) Also want to know, if I can’t find crushed chili, if I can sub it for red pepper flakes? I looked it up, & maybe a place or two have the chili flakes, but red pepper flakes seem to be what is showing up (was wondering if it’s really just the same thing) & I keep that in the house so I’m hoping it can be used.

    1. Hi Daniele – Great questions! One medium onion should do it, which is usually about 1 cup chopped. Two medium-large carrots, also about 1-1 1/2 cups chopped and 2 whole celery ribs with the top and bottom trimmed. Yes – crushed red chili is exactly the same as red pepper flakes.

  21. Would this stay well if frozen?? Looks great!

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks for asking this. I was just about to ask the same thing! Great minds think alike.

  22. Carmela Riley says:

    Hi! Can this be made in the crockpot???

  23. Lisa Louton says:

    Had this tonight for dinner with some crusty French bread. DH and I both loved it! Flavor was outstanding. Would also be great in the slow cooker. Will be adding this one to our regular rotation!

  24. This looks absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to try it! XO