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Easy Butternut Squash Chili

This easy Butternut Squash Chili is a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love. A ton of cubed butternut squash gives this chili a vitamin-packed boost. This tasty recipe also has Instant Pot, slow cooker, and meatless options.

a white bowl of butternut squash chili topped with shredded cheese and green onions

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I grew up, nay, I cut my teeth on canned chili. My parents would buy epic amounts of canned soups and chili when I was a kid, with the thinking that my sister and I could make our own lunches on weekends during the summer.

My friends, we’re kicking canned soup to the curb and making home cooking cool again.

Serve this awesome chili with our easy Air Fryer Cornbread or Air Fryer Biscuits. If you’re looking for chicken chili, you’ll love our easy Instant Pot Chicken Chili. If you need a paleo or Whole30 version, Chipotle Instant Pot Turkey Chili is the way to go.

If you are new or have any questions about pressure cooking, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

a bag of butternut squash, cans of beans and tomatoes, and other ingredients for making chili

Missing: garlic, the onion, and the can of tomato sauce. Whoops!

Make your prep even easier by learning how to freeze garlic and how to freeze onions.

How to Freeze Chili

I prefer to freeze soups and chili in pint canning jars as part of my easy healthy meal prep. You can freeze in wide mouth jars as long as: 1) the chili is fully cooled before you put the jars in the freezer and 2) you leave 1 inch of space at the top of the jar to allow for the soup to expand as it freezes.

Prior to serving, allow the contents to thaw before reheating. See my post on Canning Supplies for info on sizes, styles, and availability of various jar options.

5 steps showing how to make instant pot chili

Pro Tips/Recipes Notes

  • Once the meat is about halfway cooked, I use a pastry cutter to dice it up into really small pieces.
  • Try my Whole30 BBQ Sauce if you’re looking for something that is free of refined sugar and all the other junk you’ll find in bottled sauce.
  • You can easily make this chili vegetarian/vegan by eliminating the meat, using veggie stock, and doubling or tripling the beans. 
  • If you prefer a thicker chili, you can: 1) thicken the finished chili with a cornstarch slurry (see recipe card for details) 2) use an immersion blender to puree a bit of the chili after it has cooked or 3) add 4 oz of softened cream cheese (so good).
  • Instead of canned beans, you can make a batch in your instant Pot before cooking the chili. Add 3/4 cup (each) of dried pinto and kidney beans and 6 cups of water. Cook for 21 minutes at manual high pressure and allow for a full natural release.
  • Sub in stewed tomatoes for diced if you have any. Related: Canning Crushed Tomatoes

MORE DELICIOUS INSTANT POT SOUPS YOU’LL LOVE

Butternut Squash Chili WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

One serving has 0 WW Freestyle SmartPoints if using ground turkey, or 2 points if using turkey sausage.

a white bowl of butternut squash chili topped with shredded cheese and green onions
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Easy Butternut Squash Chili

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
This easy Butternut Squash Chili is a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground sausage {or ground beef, chicken, or turkey}
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup onion {diced}
  • 4 cloves garlic {minced or pressed}
  • 1 can tomato sauce {14 oz}
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, including juices {14 oz}
  • 1 tbsp chili powder {less for milder chili}
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp prepared BBQ sauce
  • 1 can pinto beans {15 oz can, drained}
  • 1 can kidney beans {15 oz can, drained}
  • 2 1/4 cups butternut squash {~10 oz}
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Press "Saute" on the Instant Pot and allow it to get hot. Add the ground sausage and cook until browned {~5 minutes}. Drain any grease.
  • Add beef broth and use a wooden spoon to deglaze (scrape) any browned sausage off the bottom of the Instant Pot insert.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>8 minutes.
  • When the chili has finished cooking, the Instant Pot will beep and switch to ”keep warm". Allow it to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes and then do a manual release with the nozzle set to venting.
  • {OPTIONAL} To thicken: combine 3 tbsp of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of broth from the instant pot in a small bowl (this creates a “slurry”). Whisk really well and stir into the chili. Press "saute" on the Instant Pot and allow it cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Top with shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or any of your favorite chili toppings.

Stovetop Instructions

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan (like a dutch oven), brown the meat.
  • Use a slotted spoon and transfer it to a bowl. Drain all but 1 tbsp of any fat that remains.
  • Add the diced onion in the pan and stirring often, cook them down until soft; about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the beans, and cook for 20 minutes. Mash up the butternut squash in the pot and let it thicken the chili. Some chunks remaining are totally fine!
  • Add the beans, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Butternut Squash Chili
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 192 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 350mg15%
Potassium 573mg16%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 3696IU74%
Vitamin C 16mg19%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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8 comments on “Easy Butternut Squash Chili”

  1. I have been making this chili since the recipe posted and it continues to be a family favorite! I love that it’s forgiving if I don’t have 100% of the right ingredients or the correct amount. I haven’t made it in the IP yet but the stovetop version is simple and comes together quickly! This also reheats exceptionally well so I can make it in advance if I need to. 

  2. Butternut squash anything, please! Another alternative to ground beef is Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground. There are other brands of veggie crumbles out there, too, if you can’t find the Gardein brand, but no one will be able to tell that it’s not actual beef. Believe me, I’ve tested it 😉

    Thank you for always having the best recipes, tips, and of course, humor!

    • I don’t mind ground beef, but I do like to stretch it! I wonder the price of Gardein? Probably cheaper to do the lentils + beef. Maybe?

      If you had told me 3 years ago I would be loving butternut squash, I’d like you’re crazy! But I find that I like it with spicy things and garlic. YUM

  3. Your suggestions always come at the right time. Just got back from holiday to find there a is butternut squash festering in the cellar. Should have put it in the fridge.

    Daughter wants bacon and I only have a masssive pack in the freezer, so was reminded that I can defrost, give some to her and cook the rest in the oven.

  4. packed full of flavor!