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Butternut Squash Chili

This Butternut Squash Chili is the perfect easy dinner for fall and winter nights. Gather the family around the table and warm up with a delicious bowl of this hearty and healthy meal.

butternut squash chili in a bowl.
Butternut Squash Chili makes the best of fall flavors; it will quickly become a family favorite.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

Nothing beats a piping hot bowl of chili at the end of a crisp, cold day. We especially love warming up with this Butternut Squash Chili. Here’s Why:

  • Butternut Squash: We love the subtle sweetness that the squash brings to this chili. It balances the spicy, savory flavors of the meal.
  • Healthy: This chili is both balanced and healthy. Protein, veggies, complex carbs, broth, vitamins: it’s got it all!
  • Comforting: This chili will warm you up instantly. It’s so cozy and comforting.
  • One Pot: Butternut Squash Chili is another one of our favorite one-pan (or pot) recipes, meaning super easy clean up.
  • Versatile: This recipe can easily be tweaked to fit a number of dietary needs or preferences. It’s part of our gluten-free recipes collection. It’s also in our healthy recipes collection.
  • Make Ahead: Chili is a great make-ahead meal for busy weeknights.

Key Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey – Ground turkey offers lean protein; you can use ground beef as well.
  • Butternut Squash – This vibrant squash brings a sweet, nutty flavor to the chili that balances the spices perfectly.
  • Spices – Chili powder, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin bring warm, earthy, and spicy flavors to this dish.
  • Broth – We recommend adding chicken or turkey broth to this chili for added flavor and amazing health benefits.
  • Garlic – We use 7 cloves of garlic in this chili! Sounds like a lot, but trust us when we say it makes all the difference.
  • Black Beans – Black beans make this chili even more nutritious and filling.

Substitutions And Variations

As we mentioned earlier, this chili is so versatile. Take a look at some of our best variation ideas for this recipe:

  • Vegetarian: Make this chili vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and chicken (or turkey) broth. Replace the chicken with extra beans and the broth with vegetable broth.
  • Squash: If you don’t have butternut squash on hand, this recipe also works amazingly with sweet potato, acorn squash, or even carrots.
  • Veggies: We use green peppers as our main veggie in this recipe, but feel free use any other vegetables, such as green beans, kale, or collard greens.
  • Beans: Not a fan of black beans? Try swapping them with kidney beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or even butter beans.
  • Toppings: Top Butternut Squash Chili with a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or even sliced avocado. Try crumbling corn chips on top for added crunch.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot (or Dutch oven). Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant. Then add sugar, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and coriander.
  2. Add turkey along with 1 tsp. salt and break up until cooked through. Then add tomato paste.
  1. Add bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, and broth. Bring chili to a simmer, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  2. Add beans and squash. Bring chili back to a simmer and simmer covered another 20 minutes or just until squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Serve with salt, pepper, and desired toppings.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

This chili itself is the perfect prep-ahead meal. Here are a few ways to make this chili in advance:

  • Spices: As always, spices for this recipe can be measured and mixed in advance to make things easier for cooking.
  • Veggies: The butternut squash and green bell peppers can be chopped in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Cooked Chili: Make the whole pot of chili in advance and either store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply reheat when you’re ready to enjoy!
butternut squash chili finished in a bowl.

What To Serve With Butternut Squash Chili

Commonly Asked Questions

What does Butternut Squash Chili taste like?

Butternut squash chili tastes like your classic bowl of chili with the slightest burst of sweetness and extra warmth from the squash and cinnamon. It’s amazing for those fall comfort food cravings!

Why is my butternut squash not getting softer?

If your butternut squash is taking forever to soften, you may need to chop it into smaller pieces. We shoot for 1/2 inch cubes. Otherwise, just keep cooking low and slow until it becomes fork tender.

Is butternut squash chili gluten free?

Yes! This butternut squash chili recipe is actually gluten and dairy free if you omit the cheese as a garnish.

Can I make this chili in the slow cooker?

Absolutely! This chili can be made in the slow cooker. We recommend looking at our Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe for cooking times and tips for this method.

How long does butternut squash chili keep?

This chili is good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It also freezes well. In the freezer, it will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

What other squash can I use in this chili?

You can try acorn squash, cut-up fresh pumpkin cubes, or even cut-up spaghetti squash.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

butternut squash chili in a bowl

Butternut Squash Chili

4.49 from 81 ratings
This Butternut Squash Chili is the perfect easy dinner for brisk fall and winter nights. Gather the family around the table and warm up with a delicious bowl of this hearty and healthy meal.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

Instructions

  • In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil until hot. Add onion and garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sugar, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and coriander. Stir to combine, 10 seconds.
  • Add ground turkey to pot and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over it; cook/stir to break up into small pieces. When turkey is cooked through, add tomato paste and stir 30 seconds.
  • Add bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, and broth. Scrape bottom of pan while stirring. Bring chili to a simmer; simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • Add beans and squash. Bring chili back to a simmer and simmer covered another 20 minutes or just until squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Add additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm, with shredded cheddar if desired.

Notes

  • Chili keeps well; simply cover and chill in fridge. Reheat by bringing back to simmer on stovetop.
  • Make it meatless by using veggie broth and omitting turkey.
  • This butternut chili goes beautifully with Honey Cornbread Muffins (No Refined Sugar)
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you. 

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 385mg | Potassium: 1736mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 8741IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Dinner, Main
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Lactose
Method: Slow Cooker, Stovetop

More To Make And Eat

  • The Best Vegetarian Chili – Whether you choose to make this on the stovetop or in the slow-cooker, this is the best vegetarian chili you’ll ever taste! You won’t miss the meat with these big, bold flavors.
  • Crockpot White Bean Chicken Chili – Throw all these delicious ingredients in the crockpot and come home to the most flavorful, comforting meal. We can’t get enough of this white chili, especially with cornbread!
  • Stovetop Chili – This classic stovetop chili is bursting with flavor due to the perfect combo of bold spices. Chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and a dash of tabasco sauce bring those bold flavors that we love.
  • Healthy Chicken Chili – This chili is healthy, delicious, perfect for meal prep, and comes together in only 30-minutes. It’s a quick weeknight dinner that the whole family will devour.
4.49 from 81 votes (48 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




101 comments

    • Chica VT
    • 5 stars

    I made this chili last winter 2016 and couldn’t wait for a cold day again to make it! Sept. 2nd 2017 I did so and still love it! Not often I make the same recipe twice but this is one I will continue to make year after year! Thanks!!!

      • chewoutloud

      Sooo happy to hear it, Chica! It is one of our fall faves also

    • Kristina Gordon
    • 5 stars

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was scrumptious! My new favorite chili recipe to say the least; even my 3 yr old ate her entire bowl!! I was a little leary of the cinnamon ingredient but man, it made the dish!! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe : ) We added fresh cilantro as a garnish with a dab of sour cream, yumm!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, so happy to hear all about it, Kristina! When my kiddos eat their whole bowl, it’s a big deal so I totally get it 🙂

        • Jamila
        • 5 stars

        Seriously the best chili ever! Thank you so much for this recipe! I add all the color peppers and I throw it in a crockpot after I sauté the meat with spices. So easy and one of my favorite parts of fall:) I’ll have to try some more of your recipes. Only thing I hate is peeling that darn butternut squash! It’s a workout!

        • chewoutloud

        So glad that you guys liked this, Jamila! Yay …now we just need to invent an automatic squash cutter

    • Teresa
    • 5 stars

    I bought 30 pounds of butternut squash before the farm stand closed and needed recipes. This was delicious and perfect for fall/winter in New England. Made a batch and froze some. One change I made, I only used one large green bell pepper and added two Serrano peppers.

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you guys enjoyed this, Teresa! Smart to stash up on the butternuts before they go 🙂 Happy New year!

    • Rebecca Knapp Hauser
    • 5 stars

    This was one of the best chili recipes I have tried. I used one pound of ground turkey but halved everything else as it is just my husband and myself. The mixture of the spices, squash, and fire roasted tomatoes was perfect. I cooked it all together for a bit and then put cornbread mixture on top and baked for 20 minutes. It worked well. Thank you for this recipe.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Rebecca! So glad you guys loved it. Thanks for coming over today. Have a wonderful winter season!

      • Lori

      Just checking, the squash is not precooked in any way. We cube cube it raw? Can I use ground beef?
      Can’t wait to start cooking it!

        • chewoutloud

        You can cube it raw or buy the pre-cubed bags. Yes on ground beef, just season it the same way. Hope you absolutely love it!

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