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This butternut squash chili is one of those meals that’s great to have cooking on a chilly day. Tender squash, two kinds of beans and classic chili spices make a hearty dinner that’s super satisfying.
Why You’ll Love This Butternut Squash Chili
- Easy. This slow cooker recipe requires very little effort. This means it’s perfect for a busy day when you know you won’t have the energy to make dinner in the evening.
- Flavorful & satisfying. We’ll add a whole cinnamon stick to the chili along with oregano, cumin and all the other ingredients. The end result is a flavorful chili full of tender squash and hearty beans. It really hits the spot. Add some cornbread on the side to up the cozy factor!
Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this recipe along with my notes about substitutions. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for ingredient amounts.
- Olive oil – You could also use avocado oil.
- Yellow onions – Or a white onion, if you prefer.
- Spices – Chili powder, dried oregano, dried cumin.
- Chipotle chili – The canned kind in adobo sauce.
- Kosher salt
- Crushed tomatoes – One 28-oz can
- Beans – We’ll use one can of black beans and one can of pinto beans. You could also use only black beans or only pinto beans, just keep the total amount of beans the same.
- Butternut squash – 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes. If you want to buy pre-cut squash at the store, you’ll need 4 cups total.
- Cinnamon sticks – We are going to add a whole cinnamon stick to the chili that’s removed at the end, just before serving. Don’t substitute this for ground cinnamon as it will significantly alter the flavors.
How to Make Butternut Squash Chili
This chili recipe is so simple there are only 3 steps:
- Cook the aromatic ingredients. First heat the olive oil. Add in your diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to caramelize. Then, add the garlic, salt, and spices (except the cinnamon stick) and cook for just another minute. Transfer all of that into your slow cooker.
- Get that slow cooker going. From there, you simply dump in the other ingredients. I know, I know, that sounds so chef-like. But seriously, all you have to do is rinse and drain the beans, peel and cube the squash, and then add all of that to the slow cooker along with the crushed tomatoes. Cook it on low for about 6 1/2 hours (or on high for 3 1/2 hours). The chili is done when the squash is nice and tender.
- Serve. To serve this chili, discard the cinnamon stick and then serve with your favorite toppings.
Topping Ideas & Serving Suggestions
Honestly, the sky’s the limit. You can’t go wrong! Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this butternut squash chili:
- Cornbread. Serve it on the side or crumble it into the chili (my personal favorite method). I have a few cornbread recipes to choose from, but if I had to choose one it would be this cornbread with cheese. I also have an upcoming recipe for sweet potato cornbread that’s amazing with chili.
- Sour cream – Add a dollop on top, or stir a small amount into your bowl. You could also use Mexican crema this way.
- Shredded cheese – My personal preference is cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese.
- Chips – I know this may sound strange, but crumbled up chips taste amazing in chili. Fritos and corn chips are my go-to options.
- Avocado – Thinly sliced or diced into little chunks
- Thinly sliced scallions – Sprinkle them on top.
- Fresh Cilantro or Parsley – Roughly chopped.
- Roasted peppers – Blistered red bell peppers or poblano peppers.
- Maple Syrup – Yes, you read that right. Try a drizzle; you won’t be disappointed!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Fridge. Let the chili cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer. Spoon cooled chili into single serving containers that are airtight and freezer safe. Leave at least one inch of room at the top so that the chili can expand as it freezes. Add the date to your container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
- To reheat the chili: Place the desired portion in a bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two until heated through. You can also place some chili in a small pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches your desired temperature.
More Chili and Soup Recipes
Butternut Squash Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 small chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 28 oz can crushed tomato
- 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups butternut squash, cubed, about 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 medium sized cinnamon stick, about 3 inches
- Cook the onions, garlic and spices. In a medium sized pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they have softened and have a bit of color, about 5 min. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, oregano, cumin and salt. Cook 1 minute longer.
- Add everything to your slow cooker. Transfer onion mixture to your slow cooker. Add the tomato, rinsed beans, squash and cinnamon stick to the slow cooker.
- Cook your chili. Cook on Low for 6½ hours or on High for 3½ hours, until squash is tender.
- Serve. Discard cinnamon stick, ladle into bowls and serve.