Instant Pot Pumpkin Chicken Chili – a hearty and healthy meal made easy in the Instant Pot! The pumpkin gives a nutritional boost and is a great way to sneak more veggies into your diet. This simple and flavourful meal will warm you up on a chilly day!
Well, fall is officially here. While summer is definitely my favourite season (I love the warmth), I do have a love for the foods of this season. Cozy dishes like chilis, soups, hearty pastas… the comfort food is where its at. Especially considering we have had such a cold, wet September. I’ll be honest, last week when I was at home bundled up in a cozy sweater, sweat pants and warm socks I had to eventually give in and turn on our furnace for the first time. I had been hoping to wait until late October to do so but then again, I’m not one to want to feel uncomfortable in my own home! Those hearty meals, especially one with a bit of a spicy kick like this pumpkin chicken chili, also helps to warm a person up!
I tend to find that I am more tired around this time of year. I believe it has to do with the fewer hours of sunlight that are available. I mean, its now dark out still when I get up at 6 am! So often when I get home in the evening, especially after a crazy day at work I am just too tired to spend a ton of time cooking. Even though I absolutely love cooking (as evidenced by this blog), some days I just need something super easy.
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker – which to choose?
I’ve been loving my Instant Pot for those days. A lot of the things you can make with it are just so hands off, leaving you with more time to do other things – or just relax.
Now, what about the slow cooker? I’ll tell you I do love my slow cooker, using mine pretty often before getting my Instant Pot. In fact, I didn’t think I even wanted an Instant Pot at all until I received one as a gift! Depending on what exactly I am making, I do use both appliances, and find they both still have their place in the kitchen.
With the slow cooker, I can set it and forget it. Allowing something to simmer all day can just bring out some amazing flavours, and I love cooking a nice beef roast in mine. However, there are two distinct things about the Instant Pot that I love so much:
- I don’t have to prep the night or morning before. Not having to plan ahead means I can be a bit more spontaneous with what I make, and I can still have a quick dinner at my fingertips.
- I enjoy that the Instant Pot includes a saute setting. I know some slow cookers have this function as well, but mine was a lovely hand me done from my mama, and it did not have that. Having those multiple functions saves time and dishes!
Based off of these two things and the way my lifestyle is, I think I lean a bit more towards the Instant Pot lately, but still will never give up my slow cooker!
Pumpkin in chili – yes that’s right!
So with fall comes all of the pumpkin things. What can I say, I do love pumpkin around this time of year. It’s delicious, seasonal and just brings good feelings of happiness and comfort. Last year I made a few pumpkin recipes that were on the sweeter side – like this one and this one – but this time I wanted to start off pumpkin season with something on the more savory side.
Now to be honest, you don’t really taste the pumpkin in this recipe. Not your usual pumpkin spice type flavour anyhow. It does add a subtle sweetness and earthiness to the dish and not only does it help thicken up the chili it also adds a valuable nutritional boost to it! Did you know pumpkin is full of many health benefits, like that it is rich in fiber, nutrient dense and contains antioxidants?
I decided to use chicken in this recipe instead of beef just for a little something different. You place the raw chicken breasts in with all the other ingredients and they become perfectly tender as the chili cooks. Once the chili has completed cooking you remove the chicken, shred them and then return them to the pot. I’ve never found chicken easier to shred than after cooking it in the Instant Pot!
What do I love most about this Instant Pot Pumpkin Chicken Chili?
- It comes together really quickly. There are only a few ingredients you will need to chop/mince/shred – the rest are in cans and can just easily be dumped into the pot.
- The chicken is ridiculously tender. I love how easy meat is to shred once it has cooked in the Instant Pot! It practically falls apart, saving you time and effort.
- It’s very flavourful. Even though this only takes 45 minutes to make start to finish, the flavours are as if it has been simmering all day.
- You can adjust it to your desired level of spiciness. I don’t find chopped green chilies very spicy personally, but you can leave them out if you want a milder chili, or reduce the amount of chili powder and cayenne used. Prefer more heat? Add in more!
- You can freeze it. Don’t plan on eating this all right away? Store it in an air tight container in the freezer to enjoy later!
- Don’t have an Instant Pot? You can make this in the slow cooker! That’s right – just cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked and tender enough to shred.
You can bet that as the weather gets even chillier I’ll be experimenting with more hearty dishes like this. But in the meantime, we’ll be enjoying this chili in our dinner rotation – it’s just that good! When dinner is ready this easily there is almost no excuse to get take out!
If you make this Instant Pot pumpkin chicken chili please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it, post on the Zest & Simmer Facebook page or share photos on Instagram using the hashtag #zestandsimmer. I’d love to see it and I am always thrilled to hear from you!
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Instant Pot Pumpkin Chicken Chili
- 1 yellow onion , diced
- 1 green pepper , diced
- 5 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 19 oz can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 127 ml can chopped green chilies
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large chicken breasts
- Optional: shredded cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream, jalapenos for serving
- Stir together all ingredients, except for chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Gently place chicken breasts on top of chili mixture.
- Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, select "Manual" and set to cook for 15 minutes on medium pressure. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure and start the timer.
- When cook time is over, carefully turn the valve to venting for quick release of pressure. Wait until all the steam is released and the valve has dropped before removing the lid.
- Carefully remove chicken breasts from pot and shred them using two forks. Return shredded chicken to pot and stir.
- Serve with desired toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapenos or cilantro and enjoy!