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Pumpkin Chili, made with pumpkin ale, pumpkin puree, ground beef, black beans and cinnamon was inspired by my popular beer chili recipe.

This recipe is the best fall comfort food.

pumpkin beer chili with cheese and cornbread in the background
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What does pumpkin chili taste like?

There are a few good tricks, in my opinion to damn good chili. For this particular version, I wanted something fall inspired. I had heard of pumpkin chili before, and it just sounded weird to me.

If you’re doubtful like I was, have no fear – the end result does not taste like pumpkin pie. It tastes like fall. There’s really no other way to describe it other than spicy savory delicious fall chili.

What kind of beans are best when making pumpkin chili?

I normally stick with red and white kidney beans, but for this version I swapped out the red kidney beans for black beans. Not just any black beans, but Trader Joe’s Cuban Style Black Beans because they’re really tasty.

A bowl of pumpkin beer chili

Pumpkin beer is the secret ingredient in this pumpkin chili.

I started putting beer in my chili quite some time ago. Instead of a traditional amber ale for this version of my pumpkin chili recipe, I used pumpkin ale. Pumpkin beer, or pumpkin ale, tastes like fall and not only tenderizes the ground beef, but it adds to the fall flavor of the pumpkin chili.

I added that entire can of pumpkin puree. You can also make pumpkin chili with fresh pumpkin that you roast and puree yourself. I also added a teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon to really bring out the fall flavor.

How to make homemade slow cooker pumpkin chili:

To make this mouthwatering pumpkin chili, you will brown the ground beef with the chopped onion and bell pepper until the meat is slightly browned and crumbly. Add some garlic and continue cooking for a bit longer.

Next you will add the pumpkin ale to the meat mixture and stir it with a wooden spoon to allow any browned bits at the bottom of the pan to release. You’ll see that the pumpkin beer not only adds great flavor, but it helps release all that delicious food that stuck to the bottom. Finally, you will transfer this mixture to the slow cooker.

Everything cooks on low in your slow cooker for six to ten hours. Pumpkin chili is the perfect meal to make on a busy weekday morning before rushing everyone off to work and school. This slow cooker dinner recipe is also perfect tailgating food because you can make it the night before, let it slow cook while you sleep, and then you reheat it before the game starts.

Besides the beer, my trick to making this chili really quite wonderful is to mash it up with a potato masher before serving. I don’t know about you, but there are only so many whole kidney beans I like to eat in one sitting. By mashing half of them up, you not only thicken up your chili, but all that wonderful fall flavor mixes in so much better. Enjoy!

A close up of pumpkin beer chili

Pumpkin Beer Chili

Prep30 minutes
Cook8 hours
Total8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Pumpkin Beer Chili, made with pumpkin ale, pumpkin puree, ground beef, black beans and cinnamon was inspired by my popular beer chili recipe.



  • In large skillet over medium high heat, brown ground beef with chopped onion and bell pepper until meat is slightly browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic, stir, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add pumpkin ale to meat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to allow any browned bits at the bottom of the pan to release. Add mixture to large slow cooker.
  • Add remaining ingredients to crockpot. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
  • Before serving, use a potato masher to mash up some of the beans and continue to mash until your chili is as thick as you like. Garnish with freshly grated sharp cheddar and cornbread.


Calories: 537kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 1710mg, Potassium: 1843mg, Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 12510IU, Vitamin C: 47.5mg, Calcium: 211mg, Iron: 10.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally created in October 2015 and has been updated with more fun facts and tidbits for your reading pleasure.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    My wife and I really like this recipe. I entered it into a chili contest at work. It didn’t win, unfortunately. But this is a win in my book! I will make it again.

  2. 5 stars
    Great fall flavor. Spicy! The cinnamon is strong, which we liked. Pair it with an apple bread for a different taste than typical corn bread.

  3. 5 stars
    I am making this for a crowd tomorrow and love the pumpkin idea in it! I have put it all together and its currently cooking in the crock pot, smells good already. My only comment is to fix the amount of Crushed tomatoes. Although the recipe calls for 48 oz Crushed tomato, and next to it says 2-28 oz can crushed tomato. Note: 28 plus 28 is 56 oz. Which is way more than 48 oz. I put the 2 cans in and its almost “soupy” so I ended up adding more meat to it to make it chunkier! 🙂 I can’t wait to taste it when its all said and done! Thank you for sharing this fabulous recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh, this sounds amazing!! I love the pumpkin in it and using pumpkin beer is just genius! I also like the mashing tip!

  5. 5 stars
    This Pumpkin Beer Chili absolutely fantastic! So YUMMY! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST! Great recipe. I like all the ingredients in it. This is perfect for me. thank you.