Holla if you are a chili lover! We absolutely love it in our house and it’s really great any time of the year, not just when it’s cold outside! It’s a wonderful comfort food, but with the addition of pumpkin and greens you get a delicious healthy version of chili, still with ALL the comfort!! When I think of chili I think of the kind packed full of beans, that’s what I grew up with and I’m sure most of you grew up with some sort of bean version of it….but we all know that beans are the magical fruit. So I ventured to make a beanless version that tastes just as good, if not better, than that beany one! Meat is the new bean. Wait what?!!!

pumpkin and beef chili

I finally got myself an Instant Pot, so the recipe has been updated  for both stovetop and Instant Pot methods.  This chili freezes extremely well and is also great stuffed into bell peppers! Also, if you are not a fan of pumpkin, try it in this chili. It is a game changer and will make you a pumpkin lover instead of hater!



Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2-3 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 small cans of diced green chilis
  • 1 small fresh pumpkin, roasted OR 1 (14.5 oz) can of pumpkin (READ NOTES)
  • 1 1/2 tbl garlic powder
  • 2 tbl cumin
  • 2 tbl cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • handful of spinach or chopped kale
  • 1 green onion diced
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • OPTIONAL: cilantro


  1. Saute your diced onion in your Instant Pot.
  2. Add in the ground beef, seasonings, tomatoes, and green chilis. Stir to combine.
  3. Close lid and set for 20 minutes (25 if meat is frozen)
  4. Release pressure and add in pumpkin.
  5. Stir in spinach or kale until wilty.
  6. Mix, and top with green onion, avocado, and cilantro.
  8. In a large pot, heat up a bit of oil. Add your diced onion and cook 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
  9. Add in ground beef and cook until almost done.
  10. Add in pumpkin, diced tomatoes (do not drain can), diced chilis and seasonings. Mix to combine.
  11. Bring to a boil. You may need to add a little chicken broth or water. Don't let it look like soup though.
  12. Reduce heat to low, cover and let all the flavors mesh together for 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so.
  13. Once 40 minutes are up stir in your spinach or kale
  14. Once done top with fresh green onion, avocado, and cilantro


If cooking fresh pumpkin, slice in half and drizzle a little oil over in. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with fork. Remove, let cool, then scoop into the chili.

You can also use frozen butternut squash!

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pumpkin and beef chili


Whole30: yes

Paleo: yes


  1. janet says:

    Made this on Saturday… rainy, stormy day in SF. It was SO good. Didn’t tell my husband it had pumpkin and cinnamon till he was done, and he loved it!

    Found your blog through the Whole30 IG, which has been a lifesaver for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Julie says:

    Hey, this is bubbling away on my stove as we speak. It Smells soooooooo good. Would you mind if I published an adaption for one or two of this chili on my blog? I would, of course, credit you anyway you like. Julie

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      absolutely! Thank you for asking. Just as long as you write “adapted from Jenn over at Pretend its a Donut” or something like that you’re good!! Hope you enjoy it! It’s one of our favorites and is so good the next day!

  3. Katie says:

    I’m up in the North Bay! Approximately how many servings does it make? I doubled checked and do not see it anywhere in the recipe. Sorry if I missed it! Thanks!

  4. Jenna says:

    This might be a stupid question but I followed this recipe and got the burn notice on my instant pot. I’m brand new to the instant pot so I googled it and it said I needed more liquid on the bottom. What order do you put the ingredients in to avoid that?

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      yes, that is usually the reason. Did it say burn before you closed it up? Usually the tomatoes give enough liquid, but next time throw in a cup of broth or water to it and you should be good to go!

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