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Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili

4.81 from 431 community reviews

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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 darn tasty.

“I love this recipe!! Made it for my whole family for a family weekend and it was a huge hit! !”

~ Heather

Ingredients for turkey pumpkin chili

Like traditional 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. We all need a delicious and easy weeknight recipe, right?

  • 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: Creamy-textured cannellini beans are my first choice. They have a plump shape and pleasing tenderness that 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 creamy butternut squash soup or smooth coconut sweet potato soup. 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 cozy comfort food recipes:

Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili with White Beans

Karen Tedesco
Creamy Turkey Pumpkin Chili is fall comfort food at its best. This hearty creamy turkey chili cooks in about 30 minutes, with canned pumpkin puree, pantry spices and white cannellini beans. 
Print Pin
4.81 from 431 community reviews
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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 or breast
  • 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 cans (850 g) cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chicken 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.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

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

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4546IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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79 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hearty, healthy and delicious, I plan on making this often.

  2. Anastasia B. says:

    5 stars
    So yummy. I have been making this at least once a month since September. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe. As does my husband! It is a “forever” recipe in our home. I have made it several times and the flavors are just wonderful. If we are in the mood, sometimes I add a little heat, like chopped green chiles, adobo, or just a pinch of cayenne. It is easy to reheat when leftover, and also freezes well.
    Even if you think you don’t like pumpkin, try it! It is healthy too!

  4. As soon as there’s a slight breeze in the air I start cooking this chili! Its been a family favorite of our for a few years now! Thanks!

  5. This is delicious. Used 1 tbsp fresh rosemary then half sage, half thyme, both dried, for the second tbsp. Definitely would use all three. Will be adding to my favorite recipe list!

  6. 5 stars
    This is excellent. Loved the medley of textures, flavors and colors. It’s my 2nd recipe but like the cannellini beans and heavy cream.
    I’ll be making this several times!

  7. 5 stars
    This is a new favorite! I followed the recipe exactly (my own pumpkin puree and cooked beans,) and I used sage for the herb. I made it in the crockpot, and it was perfect.

    1. 5 stars
      Made this recipie with some modifications per your viewers.Won 1st place in a chilie contest.Used fresh pumpkin puree with 70 to 30 turkey toground beef.

        1. Alexandra says:

          Have you had success with using black beans as well? Thanks!!

          1. I haven’t added them to this specific dish, but you certainly can! Keep in mind they’re not as creamy textured as white cannellini beans. Pinto beans would also work!

  8. Naikey Todorov says:

    5 stars
    I love it. Did some modifications myself, switched the beans with kidney beans, used 70\20 turkey to beef ground meat and i made the pumpkin puree myself, because they don’t sell it in my country. The recipe is 10\10 absolutely beautiful and tasty

  9. 5 stars
    This was great. I took quite a few liberties with this recipe. I used smoked paprika instead of regular, and I added a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon. In addition to dried sage and thyme, I added freshly grated nutmeg. I used Better Than Bouillon beef stock paste. I then added two cups of homemade veggie stock along with a teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce and two bay leaves. YUMMY!!! SO MUCH FLAVOR and so filling!

  10. Have you used unsweetened Coconut Milk instead of cream?