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Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

This spiced pumpkin and ground beef chili didn’t last long in my house. It was gone by the second day and of course, that’s when I think chili tastes best.

This chili is slightly spiced with cinnamon and smoked paprika, flavored with fresh aromatics, vegetables, grass-fed ground beef and of course, a good beer. It’s rich in flavor and hearty in texture and it tastes like Autumn in a bowl!

Adding pumpkin or squash to chili during the fall season adds a festive quality to this dish.  Each year I experiment using different spices in my pumpkin and ground beef chili and I have to say my favorite combination is a bit of Korinje cinnamon and smoked paprika – along with my traditional chili spice blend.

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili perfect for the Autumn table // Karista's Kitchen

In addition to my lovely Karista’s Kitchen spices, which you can currently find in the Karista’s Kitchen store, I love adding beer to my chili. A flavorful pilsner, which is what I use, light red ale or cream stout are excellent beer choices for chili.

Using beer in chili adds another layer of flavor and compliments the vegetables and spices as well as the ground beef. I don’t recommend using beer that is high in IBU (International Bitterness Units), like an IPA, because it’ll make your chili taste bitter. I adore sipping IPA’s but I don’t recommend using an IPA in chili.

I also prepare a vegetarian version of this chili using only the roasted pumpkin and beans. Although my crew enjoys the ground beef version, they also adore this cozy vegetarian version as well. 

Must I wrestle the pumpkin you might ask? No need. I cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with a little oil and place flesh side down in a baking dish. Then I fill the baking dish with about an inch of water and roast at 350F. until just slightly under cooked. Once the pumpkin has cooled, the skin is easily removed and you can dice the pumpkin for the chili. Don’t worry about uniform diced pumpkin, just dice it up however you like and once it’s in the chili it’ll look fabulous.

This pumpkin and ground beef chili is flavorful and satisfying and I know it will add a flair of festivity to your fall and holiday season.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Pumpkin Love!


Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili

Serving Size: 4-6

Pumpkin and Ground Beef Chili


  • 1 3-4lb sugar pie pumpkin(you will need 2 cups cubed cooked pumpkin)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup corn flour or 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Korinje Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Karista's Kitchen Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of pilsner beer (or red ale/cream stout)
  • 1-2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans or chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onions and cheddar cheese


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Cut the sugar pie pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then place the pumpkin halves flesh side down in a baking dish. Add about 1 inch of water in the baking dish and then place it in the oven. You want to slightly under bake the pumpkin so that you can cube it for the chili. Bake the pumpkin for about 20 minutes and then check for tenderness. If it's still a bit hard, bake the pumpkin for another 10 minutes or until it's tender but still firm. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  • In a large pot over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté just until it's tender. Then add the garlic and the ground beef. While you're cooking the ground beef, mix in the 1/4 cup of corn flour or corn starch. Stir in the cinnamon, smoked paprika, chili powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar and pinch of cayenne.
  • Once the ground beef is mostly cooked, don't over cook, add the tomato paste and beer. Stir until incorporated. Then add the 2 cans of beans, dried bay leaf and at least one cup of broth. Reserve the second cup of broth and use it as needed.
  • Let the chili simmer on low for about 30 minutes to develop all the lush flavors.
  • While your simmering the chili, peel and cube the cooled pumpkin.
  • Gently stir the 2 cups pumpkin cubes into the chili and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional broth if needed.
  • Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, green onion and cheddar cheese if desired. This chili will keep for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. But I honestly don't think it'll be there in three days 🙂 .
  • Notes

    Ack! I completely forgot the brown sugar in the recipe so I've just updated.

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  • Reply
    October 6, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I can’t wait to make this! Perfect fall/winter food.

    • Reply
      October 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you! I forgot the brown sugar in the recipe and I just updated it! So Sorry! It should have 1/4 cup brown sugar, adding it with the spices. Sorry!

      • Reply
        October 7, 2016 at 6:28 am

        No worries!

  • Reply
    October 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I am a sucker for pumpkin season! And this looks like the most delicious and comforting bowlful.

    • Reply
      October 8, 2016 at 8:03 am

      thanks Ksenia!! It’s so wonderfully fall in a bowl. 🙂 Happy Weekend to you! xoxo

  • Reply
    Bam's Kitchen
    October 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I am planning on making this tomorrow for dinner. Love your spices and complex flavors in this recipe. Looks so cozy!!! Thinking about using the slowcooker too.

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