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Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup (Paleo & Gluten Free)

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup – This easy paleo slow cooker soup recipe makes the BEST taco soup. We make it year round! (Gluten Free, Paleo & Whole30)

white crock of Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup topped with avocado

We are major pumpkin fans at this house, and honestly? We eat it all year long. Our pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are Milo’s favorite for packing school lunches, and we work in other pumpkin recipes on a regular basis, too.

Our Pumpkin Taco Soup recipe is a perfect example. This healthy taco soup recipe has been a family favorite for the last 5 years. We eat it all year-round and even my super picky kids ask for seconds. (When Milo was almost 2 he asked for seconds of soup instead of a birthday cupcake. For real.)

We’ve made it twice in the last few weeks (once to freeze), and it’s come out so great! It’s a cinch to throw together, and with the programmable options of the slow cooker, you can keep it warm all day long as soon as it’s finished. It’ll just gets better with time!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup from One Lovely Life Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup from One Lovely Life

WHAT MAKES THIS PUMPKIN TACO SOUP AMAZING:

AMAZING FLAVOR + VELVETY SMOOTH TEXTURE. In case you’re a bit nervous about pumpkin in your savory soup, it’s not a predominant flavor here. The pumpkin adds a great silkiness, beautiful color, and a heaping dose of vitamins to the soup. The other seasonings work together to give it just the taco soup flavor you’re looking for, with plenty of punch for the adults, but not too strong for little eaters. I think it’s just right.

IT’S GOOD FOR YOU! The broth is really incredible. I think it just gets such a great flavor, and fills you right up in your happy place. An extra dose of protein from that delicious, tender chicken, and you’ve got something special. It would also make a great quick dinner for Halloween–something light but substantial and NOT sugar-filled to fuel you up for the evening. It’s the best!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup from One Lovely LifeSlow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup from One Lovely Life

GOT PICKY EATERS? TRY THESE TIPS!

TRY IT AS A SMOOTH SOUP. Particularly when they were littler, my kids MUCH preferred smooth soups to those with lots of veggies in them. When they were little,, I’d pull out the chicken, puree some of the soup, then serve the chicken on the side or stir it back in. (Baby Milo loved chicken, but prefers smooth soup, so this way he’d eat both parts.) You can also use this trick if you prefer your soup on the thicker side. Puree up to half of the soup, then stir it into the rest of the soup.

TRY THESE MAGIC KID-FRIENDLY SPOONS. I’ve shared this a lot, but we swear by Asian soup spoons. Especially little kids often get frustrated eating soup (it spills and sloshes off the spoon). If your little one doesn’t eat much soup, it may be because they’re frustrated. Asian soup spoons are flat and easier to sip or slurp from, which is perfect for little ones just learning the motion of eating soup from a spoon.

ADD SOME CHIPS. Both my kids eat more soup when they get to dip chips in it. I’m not above adding some tortilla chips to dinner if it gets my kids eating soup! Purple or yellow corn chips (obviously not paleo) or grain free cassava chips (like Siete) work well here!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup from One Lovely Life

FAQ + TIPS FOR THE BEST SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN TACO SOUP

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PUMPKIN TACO SOUP. This soup stands on its own beautifully, but also plays well with a good side salad (like this or your favorite green salad), or some grain free cassava chips.

For gluten free (or non-paleo folks), we love these pumpkin cornbread muffins, tortilla chips.

NEED A SLOW COOKER? We love slow cookers and own two. This one is programmable and automatically switches to the WARM setting when it’s done cooking. This one is a little less expensive, super cute, and doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles.

CAN I MAKE THIS IN AN INSTANT POT? Yes! Pumpkin taco soup works beautifully in an Instant Pot! You can add everything, give it a stir, cook it on MANUAL for about 10 minutes, quick release the steam, then shred the chicken with two forks. Or, you can add about 1 Tbsp. olive oil and saute the onion till tender first (using the SAUTE function) before adding the other ingredients and cooking on MANUAL for 15 minutes + quick releasing steam.

CAN I FREEZE LEFTOVER SOUP? You bet! Pumpkin Taco Soup freezes like a dream (and I often make a double batch so I can freeze it). My favorite method is to put it into freezer-safe bags, press the air out of them, and lay them flat on a plate or pan so they freeze flat. Once frozen, they can then be stored upright or stacked in the freezer and thaw faster when you’re ready to use them!

HELPFUL FOR THIS RECIPE: 

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White crock of Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup topped with avocado and cilantro

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Taco Soup


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10 minutes hands-on, plus 3-4 hours cook time.
  • Yield: about 6 servings 1x

Description

I don’t dice up my chicken here, since I like to shred it right into the soup. You can dice it if you like, but know that it’ll cook a little quicker.

PS – See the notes for Instant Pot instructions! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs
  • 1 (28oz) can (or two 14oz cans) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or you could use chicken broth/bone broth)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more to serve

Instructions

  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, pumpkin, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and broth in the slow cooker and stir to combine. (You don’t want a big lump of pumpkin to burn on the bottom of the slow cooker.)
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken into the soup (I use two forks to pull it apart and shred it) and serve with extra cilantro to garnish.

Notes

INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:

DUMP-AND-GO METHOD: Add all ingredients to your Instant Pot and stir to combine. Cover, making sure valve is turned to SEALED setting. Cook on MANUAL pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release steam by carefully turning valve to VENT setting (or simply naturally release steam), then shred the chicken and return to soup. Garnish with additional cilantro.

SAUTE METHOD. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to your Instant Pot and press SAUTE. Add onion and saute 4-5 minutes, or until onion is tender. Press CANCEL and add all other remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine. Make sure valve is sealed, then cook on MANUAL for 15 minutes. Quick-release steam or naturally release steam, before shredding chicken and returning to soup. Garnish with additional cilantro.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3-4 Hours
  • Category: Soup,
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex

Keywords: Taco soup, slow cooker taco soup, paleo taco soup, gluten free taco soup, pumpkin soup, pumpkin taco soup, slow cooker pumpkin taco soup, crock pot pumpkin taco soup

25 Comments

  1. Hi, Emily: I’m making your soup right now. The smells are incredible. Cannot wait for it to be done. I must say I was hesitant about the pumpkin, since it’s not my favorite flavor. But, oh my! It adds such a nice texture and the spices hide the taste. Thanks so much for posting, and have a great week.

  2. LOVED THIS! So simple, so easy, but so much flavor! Doesn’t taste pumpkin-y, just delicious! And my 3 year old loved it too!

  3. I plan to make this tomorrow (oh how I love bonus-day weekends!) and was thinking about adding rice or chopped butternut squash to this. Do you think either option would work with this recipe? The rave reviews make me hesitant to mess with it!!

    1. I love it as is, but you could probably get away with chopped butternut squash, if you wanted to try it! I think rice would get over cooked unless you added it much later in the cooking process. I’d love to know what you think if you add the squash!

      1. I made this with the squash on Monday with mixed results. I set it for 8 hours on low, and the squash ended up overly soft, and added extra moisture to the soup that seemed to water down the flavor (but nothing some extra spices couldn’t fix!). Next time, I’ll add the squash in the final few hours.

  4. One of our new favorites! So incredibly easy, but so yummy! Our whole family loves it! For my non-meat eating husband, I have done black beans instead of chicken and he loves it too. We love it with avocado and crushed tortilla chips on top.

  5. After the hiccup with the butter chicken, I made this yesterday. I was tickled that I only had to buy two things to get it going! This is the first time I’ve had pumpkin in a savory food, and I totally agree that it doesn’t lend much flavor (except in deliciously pumpkiny burps) even while it adds a lot of weight to the broth. I served it over brown rice (I put anything with a thicker broth on rice), and it was so filling and satisfying! My boyfriend really liked it. It has a very clean, fresh taste. Very light and definitely satisfying. One batch made some decent leftovers that’ll hopefully keep us going through at least some of the week. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Betsy – Yes, though I typically do it with cooked chicken when I make it on the stovetop. Saute the onion, add the spices, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer till everything is tender and delicious!

  6. I made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit with my whole family, all the kids included! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. It works just fine without chicken! You may want to add an extra cup or two of veggies, so that it doesn’t feel to broth-y, but if you like plenty of broth, you don’t need to change a thing.

    1. You can absolutely use regular diced tomatoes. The fire-roasted ones just have a slight smoky taste. You could add a pinch of something like smoked paprika, but there are no extra spices in fire-roasted tomatoes. Hope that helps!

  7. This was delicious and so easy!! We loved it! Big hit with my chicken loving 5 year old. I added chopped mushrooms and a diced sugar pie pumpkin I had on hand. We topped with shredded cheese. So yummy!

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