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Instant Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili

This Instant Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili has amazing smoky flavour and a thick, hearty texture from the pumpkin purée. It’s the ultimate fall comfort food! Make it for meal prep or serve it with corn chips and lots of garnish for a fun family meal.

If you’re looking for more Instant Pot chili recipes, check out my Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili!

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Pumpkin Turkey Chili in two white bowls garnished with green onion, grated cheese, sour cream and corn chips

As soon as the evenings start to get chilly, it’s time for chili at my house (pun intended, ha!). This Instant Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili is a great way to kick off chili season with its fall-inspired flavour. If you’d rather make it on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, I’ve provided instructions for those in the post too!

Pumpkin is so great in savoury foods; it gives a thick, creamy texture, but also a bit of sweetness. I use it in a similar way in my Thai Pumpkin Curry. You can’t really taste the pumpkin, because it blends so well with all the other flavours in the dish.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make pumpkin turkey chili. See the recipe card below for exact amounts and detailed instructions!

  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Ground turkey – ground chicken or very lean ground beef will work too, if that’s what you have on hand!
  • Onion – for depth of flavour
  • Garlic – ditto for flavour!
  • Jalapeño – for some heat
  • Green pepper – for colour, texture and good old vitamin C!
  • Chicken broth – this recipe calls for 2 cups, which means you can make this recipe without adjustments in either a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot model.
  • Spices – chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder (optional, but recommended) and cinnamon. The smoked paprika and chipotle chili are what give the smoky flavour.
  • Sea salt – be sure to taste after cooking and add more if needed. Broth can vary in salt content, so it’s better to add less to start and adjust later!
  • Cooked beans – both red and white kidney beans (aka cannellini beans). This recipe won’t work with dried beans as the cook time isn’t long enough.
  • Pumpkin puréeplain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling!
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes – plain diced tomatoes will work too, in a pinch.
  • Tomato paste – for richer tomato flavour and helps to thicken the chili
  • Apple cider vinegar – to brighten the flavour

How to make it

Step one: Sauté

Turn on the Sauté function on the Instant Pot. Heat the olive oil then add the turkey. Cook the turkey, breaking it up into smaller pieces as it browns.

Once almost all the pink is gone, add the diced onion and continue to sauté another couple minutes until the onion starts to soften and the turkey fully cooks through. Add the minced garlic, green pepper and jalapeño and sauté another minute until fragrant. Turn off the Sauté function.

Step two: Deglaze

Add a small amount of the chicken broth (about 1/4 cup) and use a flat-bottomed turner to scrape up any food that is stuck to the bottom of the insert. This will help to prevent a burn warning.

Deglazing the bottom of an Instant Pot that is filled with ground turkey, green peppers and onion.

Step three: Layer in the remaining ingredients

Add the remaining broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt, chipotle chili powder and cinnamon. Place the beans on top in an even layer, then layer on the pumpkin purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste (in that order). Do not stir.

Pumpkin purée, tomatoes and tomato paste layered on top of kidney beans in an Instant Pot.

Step four: Pressure cook

Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on Manual High pressure for 10 minutes. For the best flavour, allow for a full natural pressure release (NPR) at the end of cooking time.

Step five: Season and serve

Taste and add salt, if necessary. Add the apple cider vinegar, set the lid askew on the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the flavours blend. Serve immediately with your chosen garnishes.

A ladle full of pumpkin turkey chili held over an Instant Pot.

Tips for Success

Allow for a full natural pressure release (NPR). This will help the flavours blend together and better mimic slow cooking or hours of simmering.

Deglaze the pot. After sautéing, it’s important to scrape up any bits of food that are stuck to the bottom of the insert. This will help prevent a burn warning.

Layer and do not stir. This is another way to prevent a burn warning. Layering thick (pumpkin) and tomato-based ingredients on top keeps them away from the heating element.

How to make it on the stovetop

Heat a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic and sauté another minute until fragrant.

Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, while breaking it up into smaller pieces.

Once the turkey is cooked, turn the heat down to medium and sprinkle in all the spices. Stir until the turkey is evenly covered in spice.

Add the beans, pumpkin purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, then add the broth and mix until well combined. Bring the chili to a strong simmer, then cover and turn the heat down to low.

Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more broth as needed if you find it’s too thick for your taste (you lose more liquid to steam on the stovetop vs. the Instant Pot). Simmer longer if you have time – the longer the simmer, the better the flavours will blend.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the apple cider vinegar and season with additional salt, if desired.

How to make it in a slow cooker

In a large non-stick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, bell pepper and jalapeño until the onion starts to soften. Then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Transfer to the slow cooker.

In the same pan, sauté the ground turkey until fully cooked and no longer pink (add a little more oil to the pan before adding the turkey, if you think it’s needed). Sprinkle the spices over the turkey and stir until the turkey is evenly seasoned. Transfer to the slow cooker.

To the slow cooker, add the broth, beans, pumpkin purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste. Give it a stir until everything is well combined. Slow cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 6 to 7 hours.

At the end of cooking time, add the apple cider vinegar and let it rest covered for 5 minutes. Season to taste with more salt, if needed, then serve.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili in an Instant Pot being stirred with a wooden spoon.

More Instant Pot comfort food recipes

Pumpkin Turkey Chili in two white bowls garnished with green onion, grated cheese, sour cream and corn chips

Instant Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Laura Lawless, BASc
This Instant Pot Pumpkin Turkey Chili has amazing smoky flavour and a thick, creamy texture from the pumpkin purée. It's the ultimate fall comfort food! Make it for meal prep or serve it with corn chips and lots of garnish for a fun family meal.
Servings 6
Calories 348
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Inactive time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 18 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt (plus more to taste after cooking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 19 ounces canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 19 ounces canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces canned plain pumpkin purée
  • 15 ounces canned fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • To garnish: grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onion, sour cream/Greek yogurt, diced avocado

Instructions
 

  • Turn on the Sauté function on the Instant Pot. Heat the olive oil, then add the ground turkey and cook until almost all the pink is gone, breaking it into smaller pieces as you cook. Add the onion and continue to sauté another 2 minutes until starting to soften. Add the minced garlic, green pepper and jalapeño and sauté another minute or so. Turn off the sauté function.
  • Add a small amount of broth and use a flat-bottomed turner to deglaze the bottom of the insert. Scrape up every bit of food stuck to the bottom (this helps to prevent a burn warning).
  • Add the remaining broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt, chipotle chili powder (if using), and cinnamon. Evenly layer both kinds of beans on top, then layer the pumpkin purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste (in this order). Do not stir.
  • Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on Manual High pressure for 10 minutes. It will take 15-20 minutes to come to pressure. At the end of cooking time, allow for a full Natural Pressure Release (NPR). A natural release will take about 25 minutes (see note 1).
  • Open the lid, taste and add salt if needed. Add the apple cider vinegar and stir it in. Set the lid askew on the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the flavours blend.
  • Serve immediately with your favourite garnishes. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in a sealed container (be sure to cool completely before covering and transferring to the fridge). Eat within 4 days.

Notes

  1. If you’re short on time, you could quick release the pressure after 10-15 minutes of natural release. I recommend allowing for as much natural release as possible to allow the flavours to blend.
  2. Nutrition estimate does not include garnishes.
  3. Inactive time indicates the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, release pressure and rest after adding the final seasoning.
  4. Can be frozen for up to 3 months in a sealed container (leave some room at the top of the container because liquid expands when frozen). Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop until the chili reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.
  5. This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot model, but should work without adjustments in an 8-quart as it has more than the minimum amount of liquid required. 
  6. See post for slow cooker and stovetop instructions.

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Equipment

Instant Pot (8 qt)
Wooden Turner
Chef’s Knife
Measuring Spoons

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1042mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 12335IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 8mg
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Hey, I’m Laura!

Creator of The Recipe Well


I love food and cooking, but hate doing the dishes. I use my nutrition degree to create easy, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.

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