1-Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili (Freezer-Friendly!)

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Sliced cornbread next to a pot of pumpkin turkey chili topped with cilantro

If you don’t already keep homemade freezer meals stashed for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking, consider this your (cost-saving…thank yourself later) invitation! This 1-POT pumpkin turkey chili is a freezer meal we never go without.

Not only is it everything you want in a chili (hearty, thick, smoky, and spicy), but it’s nutrient-packed and a great way to use up almost any veggie you have around. Plus, it makes a BIG batch perfect for feeding a crowd or restocking the freezer! Let’s make chili!

Ground turkey, carrot, bell pepper, kale, garlic, red onion, jalapeño, fire roasted diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, water, spices, tomato paste, oil, salt, pepper, and pumpkin purée

How to Make Pumpkin Turkey Chili

This chili is one of those recipes that’s intended to be more of a guide than a rule. Why? It’s incredibly versatile! First, we sauté onions for a flavorful base and include carrots to sneak in an extra veggie. Don’t have carrots? Celery works, too, or you can skip it.

Bell pepper adds even more veggie goodness (plus sweetness!), but again, feel free to leave it out or sub another veggie. We’ve been known to successfully sneak in some finely chopped zucchini and think eggplant would be great, too.

Sautéing onions and carrots in a pot

Next, we add ground turkey to make it protein-rich and satisfying. Want to use a different type of meat? Lean ground beef, bison, or chicken would work well. Or for a vegan version, you can simply use more beans instead!

Pot with ground turkey, sautéed veggies, and spices

Then it’s on to the FLAVORS! Jalapeños add mild heat and smokiness, but if you don’t have them, you can sub more chipotle powder (or cayenne). Then add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper, and you’ve got chili with BIG smoky, spicy, rich flavor!

A couple more chili essentials: beans + tomatoes. We love a combination of black beans and kidney beans, but pinto beans are another option! Fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles add even more smoky + spicy flavor, but you can get away with diced tomatoes in a pinch.

We take the veggie-packed goodness even further with pumpkin and greens. Pumpkin purée gives it a smooth, rich, thick consistency and adds immune-supporting vitamin A. The final veggie is your choice of dark leafy greens — kale, beet greens, chard, and spinach all work! That gives you at least 8 VEGGIES in one bowl of chili (oh, yeah!).

Overhead shot of a pot of pumpkin turkey chili

We hope you LOVE this pumpkin turkey chili! It’s:

Smoky + spicy
Packed with veggies
& SO satisfying!

We love topping with avocado or dairy-free sour cream or yogurt, plus fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. This chili pairs well with everything from baked potatoes to rice, cornbread, and steamed green plantains.

More Delicious Chili Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Two bowls filled with pumpkin turkey chili and topped with cilantro, limes, and avocado

1-Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili (Freezer-Friendly!)

Thick, smoky, 1-pot pumpkin turkey chili made with lots of veggies! A hearty, freezer-friendly meal perfect for fall, winter, or feeding a crowd.
Author Minimalist Baker
Overheat shot of a pot of pumpkin turkey chili
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 (~1 ¾ cup servings)
Course Entrée
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Freezer Friendly 1 month (or longer)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (any color, but we prefer red)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (or sub ~1 cup or 100 g chopped celery)
  • 1 medium orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, diced (or sub ~1 cup or 124 g diced zucchini or eggplant)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (see notes if vegan*)
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium jalapeño peppers, seeds and stems removed, minced (omit for less heat)
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder blend (or store-bought // we like Simply Organic or Frontier Co-Op)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (or sub sweet paprika)
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional // for spiciness + extra smokiness // or sub cayenne or chipotle pepper in adobo sauce to taste)
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp sea salt (depending on preference and saltiness of beans/tomatoes)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 (15 oz.) cans beans of choice, drained (black, kidney, and/or pinto beans)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin purée (or ~1 ½ cups homemade)
  • 1-2 cups water (just enough to cover everything)
  • 4 cups chopped kale (or other dark leafy greens — beet greens, chard, spinach)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Avocado (or dairy-free sour cream or yogurt)
  • Freshly chopped cilantro and/or thinly sliced green onion
  • Lime wedges


  • Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven (~5 liters/quarts or larger) over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onions and carrots and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender — about 3-4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Scoot the veggies to the perimeter of the pan.
  • Add the turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink — about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, measure out your spices (chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and optional chipotle powder) to easily add them in later. Once the turkey is no longer pink, add the garlic, jalapeño, tomato paste, spices, salt, and pepper and stir to evenly coat the turkey.
  • Add all remaining ingredients (diced tomatoes, drained beans, pumpkin purée, water, and chopped kale or other greens). Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes to develop the flavors, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • Serve warm with optional garnishes of avocado (or dairy-free sour cream or yogurt), fresh cilantro (or green onion), and a squeeze of lime. It’s also delicious on a baked potato or with rice, cornbread, or steamed green plantains.
  • Transfer to smaller containers to let cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for 1 month (or longer). We like to freeze in leftover glass nut butter jars, leaving 1/2 – 1 inch of room at the top to allow for expansion. Let cool in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer (to prevent shattering).


*For a vegan version, omit the turkey and add 1-2 more cans of beans.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser ends of ranges where provided and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 (~1 ¾ cup) serving Calories: 362 Carbohydrates: 38.9 g Protein: 24.3 g Fat: 13.5 g Saturated Fat: 3.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g Trans Fat: 0.14 g Cholesterol: 60 mg Sodium: 704 mg Potassium: 1145 mg Fiber: 11.9 g Sugar: 9.4 g Vitamin A: 2505 IU Vitamin C: 40 mg Calcium: 206 mg Iron: 6.5 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Theresa says

    I loved this recipe, and followed it exactly as written. I only added one thing: a grated apple. The original taste was just too Smokey/spicy. The apple softened all the flavors. Delicious!

  2. Megan says

    Really filling, perfect cold weather hearty option. Also, easy to make. I made it using vegan meatballs, which worked out great.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Couldn’t agree more! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modification, Megan! xo

  3. Lynda says

    Looks great, I didn’t think about adding iré veggies to Chili. Does it make it taste like pumpkin? Partner doesn’t like pumpkin/squash AT ALL. I’m guessing I might be able to puree zucchini to hide hit from him.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lynda, the pumpkin really just thickens it and you can’t taste it! If concerned, you could use start with half the amount and add more if you think it’s noticeable. Zucchini purée probably won’t thicken it quite as well, but otherwise it should work!

  4. Andryea says

    Everything is chopped, measured and ready to go and I wonder about making it in my instant pot. Any idea how long I should set it once everything is sauteed and combined???

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Andryea, the Instant Pot can struggle a bit (with a burn warning) with a thick chili. Stovetop is best for this one! If you wanted to do it in the Instant Pot, you’d likely need more water and we’d recommend 15-20 minutes on high pressure. We hope you love the chili!

  5. Michelle says

    Looks so delicious. I don’t digest legumes very well. Any advice on how to reduce the amount of beans? If I just added one can (or none) do you think I would need to alter the other ingredients? Or maybe add quinoa or something?