Butternut Squash Chili is a surprisingly delicious, easy vegetarian chili recipe that is packed full of nutrients and bold flavors! The addition of butternut squash adds a sweet, earthy flavor to the chili, giving this recipe the perfect balance between sweet and spicy and making it irresistibly good.
Why You Will Love Butternut Squash Chili
- Perfect Balance of Flavor. The sweetness from the butternut squash, the heat from the chipotle peppers and fire-roasted tomatoes, the creaminess from the white beans, and the tang from the beer all combine together to give this chili layered, nuanced flavor that will make you want to go back for seconds!
- Healthy Chili Recipe. Filled with fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and plant-based protein, you will feel good about
- Inexpensive & Satisfying Dinner Recipe. This recipe uses pantry staples, an award-winning blend of dried seasonings, and butternut squash to create a chili recipe that is flavorful and filling, yet easy on your wallet.
- Versatile Recipe. You can prepare this Butternut Squash Chili using the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or on the stove-top.
- Carnivore-Approved. While this Butternut Squash Chili recipe is a perfect dish for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy, even the meat-eaters love this recipe. Just ask my meat-loving husband and son!
Notes on Key Ingredients
- Butternut Squash: You will need 1 medium butternut squash or about 3 cups.
- Beans: I recommend using Great Northern beans for this chili recipe. They hold up well and add a nice creamy flavor that pairs well with the butternut squash.
- Diced Tomatoes: I love to use fire-roasted tomatoes for an extra kick of flavor, but regular diced tomatoes work.
- Chipotle Peppers: Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a secret to adding a layer of deep, rich, spicy undertones to this chili. You only need a small amount to add incredible flavor. (Freeze the rest in ice cube trays to pull out as needed to add flavor to soups and chili in the future.)
- Beer: Use a light lager beer, such as Corona or Coors. It will add an amazing dimension to this chili recipe. By all means, use vegetable broth stock in place of beer if you don't care to cook with alcohol.
- Chili Seasoning: My homemade blend of chili seasoning is better than any packaged blend out there, so be sure to use that for the best results.
- Broth: To keep this a vegetarian chili recipe, use low-sodium store-bought or homemade vegetable broth.
- Speed Up the Prep-Work: Purchase cubed butternut squash in the produce section. Not only will it make this Butternut Squash Chili come together insanely fast, but it is often CHEAPER than purchasing a whole butternut squash.
- Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Chili: Use gluten-free beer or additional vegetable broth.
- Control the Spice: Omit or reduce the chipotle peppers for sensitive palates OR increase for spicer chili.
- Hate Diced Tomatoes? If you are serving this chili to picky eaters who despise the texture of diced tomatoes, use tomato sauce in its place.
- Using Frozen Butternut Squash: In place of fresh butternut squash, feel free to use frozen cubed butternut squash, not butternut squash puree. Add the frozen squash directly to the chili. The cooking time will need to be reduced since the squash is already cooked through. Reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes if using the instant pot, simmer for only 15-20 minutes on the stove, and cook for 2-3 hours on high in the slow cooker.
Three Cooking Methods for Butternut Squash Chili
Butternut Squash Chili can be prepared on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot, making this recipe incredibly versatile. I find the results to be equally good, so select the cooking method that works best for you and your day!
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili
Using the crockpot to prepare this butternut squash chili is the best option when you will be gone all day and want to come home to dinner waiting on you. It is as simple as dumping, stirring, and slow cooking. Easy-peasy!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Chili
I love making butternut squash chili using the Instant Pot when I have limited time to whip up dinner AND I don't have the margin to babysit the chili as it simmers on the stove. Using the Instant Pot is a super simple, super fast, hands-off method for preparing Butternut Squash Chili.
Stove Top Directions
If you don't have an electric pressure cooker and still want to deliver a hearty, healthy chili recipe in less than an hour, turn to your stove and a large heavy-duty saucepan. This cooking method is still easy and yields a delicious butternut squash chili.
Top Butternut Squash Chili with shredded cheese, crumbled feta, chips, cilantro, or pico for added flavor and a contrast of texture. I also love pairing this chili recipe with homemade cornbread.
- Refrigerate: Allow the chili to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Store leftover butternut squash chili for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: You can also place the cooled chili into a freezer-safe container, being sure to leave 1 inch of space for expansion, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: If needed, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through or in individual servings in a heat-safe bowl for 30-second intervals until heated through. Keep in mind you may need to add a splash of broth or water to thin the chili out, as it will thicken when cooled.
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
- Vegetarian Lentil Chili
- Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili
- Instant Pot Chili
- Crockpot Chicken Chili
If you enjoyed this Butternut Squash Chili, please leave a comment and review below. I love hearing how much you enjoy my recipes!
Butternut Squash Chili
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and give it a stir to combine. Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or for 4-5 hours on low heat, or until the squash is tender.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Place the squash, diced onion, garlic, chili seasoning, chipotle pepper, broth, beer, and beans together in the inner pot. Pour the tomatoes on top and do not stir. Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. Hit manual/pressure cook and then adjust the cooking time using the +/- buttons for 8 minutes. Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes. Open, stir, and serve.
Stove Top Instructions
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large stock pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to become translucent. Add in the garlic and toast for another minute or two.
- Add the cubed squash, broth, beer, tomatoes, white beans, chipotle pepper, and chili seasoning and stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once the chili has come to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender, being sure to stir every few minutes.