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Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili is one of those meals that’s great to have cooking on a chilly winter day. The chipotle pepper, cinnamon, and classic chili flavorings make your house smell amazing. And it’s so easy! Just throw everything in the slow cooker and walk away.

This low-and-slow recipe is so warm and comforting! I love eating this chili on a cold winter day, especially when there’s snow on the ground. It also requires very little effort, which means it’s perfect for a busy day when you know you won’t have the energy to make dinner in the evening.

Plus, it’s delicious! Filled with butternut squash, black beans, pinto beans and spices. I actually add a whole cinnamon stick to the chili while it’s simmering in the slow cooker. Letting it cook with all the other ingredients adds this incredible depth of flavor that’s hard to replicate with ground spices.

How to Make this Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chili

Sometimes, I’m ready for any culinary adventure. But sometimes, not so much. You know? This chili takes about 15 minutes to prep, then your slow cooker does the rest of the work. In fact, this recipe is so simple there are only 3 steps.

A pan with caramelized onions and a wooden spoon.

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.

A slow cooker with diced butternut squash, beans and spices for vegetarian chili.

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.

A slow cooker with cooked butternut squash chili.

Serve. To serve this chili, discard the cinnamon stick and then serve with your favorite toppings.

Topping Ideas

There are so many great ways to top butternut squash chili. One of my personal favorites is crumbling cornbread into it. Other great ideas include:

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Corn or black bean chips – I know this may sound strange, but crumbled up chips taste amazing in chili.
  • Avocado – Thinly sliced or diced into little chunks
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Fresh Cilantro or Parsley – Roughly chopped.
  • Roasted red peppers or garlic
  • Maple Syrup – Yes, you read that right. Try a drizzle; you won’t be disappointed!

Honestly, the sky’s the limit. You can’t go wrong! In fact, I strongly recommend experimenting with a combination of all of the above to find your perfect topping combo.

A white bowl filled with vegetarian chili next to cinnamon sticks.

What Goes with Butternut Squash Chili?

  • Popovers: These rustic goodies go wonderfully with all things sweet and savory. So they’re perfect with this chili and its cinnamon-y flavor. If you’d like to try them, my Easy Mile High Popover recipe is very simple to follow!
  • Cornbread: This is a classic combo right? We usually make this cheddar cheese cornbread.
  • Sweet Potato Tortilla Pie: While the chili is certainly a meal in itself, it also makes a great complement to this hearty & savory pie. Serve both for a big, rustic dinner.
  • Dessert: Follow up with a sweet dessert like my Apple Coffeecake. It’s an easy treat that everyone will love.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To store in the refrigerator: Cover the chili tightly or pack into airtight food storage containers or jars. Then keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • To reheat the chili: Simply place the desired portion in a bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two until heated through. You can also place leftovers in a saucepan on the stove on medium heat, until heated through.

Can I Freeze Chili?

Yes, you can freeze this chili easily. It keeps well in the freezer for up to three months. If you like, separate it into portion sizes and freeze those individually. As always, try to leave a small amount of room in the freezer bag or container for expansion.


Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili Recipe

A hearty, slow-cooked vegan chili made with butternut squash, black beans, pinto beans, chili seasonings, and cinnamon.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • 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

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomato

  • 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium butternut squash)
  • 1 medium sized cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)


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, then transfer to your slow cooker.

Add the tomato, rinsed beans, squash and cinnamon stick to the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 6½ hours or on High for 3½ hours, until squash is tender.

Discard cinnamon stick, ladle into bowls and serve.

Last Step:

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  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 287
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 14g
  • Protein: 13g

Keywords: vegetarian chili, butternut squash chili

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