The Best Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili

by From Scratch Farmstead
easy butternut squash chili slow cooker recipe

There are hundreds of different variations on making a mean chili. But, in our opinion, this butternut squash chili in the slow cooker trumps all. The thick and creamy texture that comes with pureed butternut squash paired with traditional chili ingredients makes it a hearty, sweet yet savory chili that can’t be beat!

Why Butternut Squash in Chili?

If you search around our website for any time at all, you will quickly learn that we are big fans of winter squash. They are easy to grow, they store well for many months, and they are nutrient dense while still being energy packed to fill you up. With some of our other favorites being our butternut squash lasagna, enchilada casserole, and baked goods like butternut squash muffins, it’s clearly a staple ingredient in our home.

Most recipes out there call for peeling and cubing the butternut squash to add to chili. We actually prefer to add pureed butternut squash (or you could substitute pumpkin). We talk all about how to puree butternut squash in our post How to Roast Butternut Squash Two Ways. The pureed butternut squash gives chili a thick and creamy texture that is hard to get from anything else.

how to roast butternut squash and make puree

Pureeing the butternut squash before adding it to your slow cooker chili also greatly enhances the flavor. This provides a subtle sweetness that perfectly complements the spice and salty flavors of the chili seasonings.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili – Hearty and Nutritious

When it comes to a filling and nutritious meal, it’s hard to beat this butternut squash chili in the slow cooker. Brimming with nutritious and hearty vegetables, fiber rich beans, and protein filled meat and broth, this recipe has a little bit of everything.

We like to serve it with diced avocado, some shredded farmhouse cheddar, and a dollop of cultured cream. These add to both the deliciousness and the nutrition in this chili. Alongside a slice of cornbread, this meal is great for a quick and easy make-ahead lunch or dinner. Or, double it to serve a large crowd!

butternut squash chili in the slow cooker

What’s in Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili?

When it comes to cooking, our style is pretty straightforward – simple and nutrient dense ingredients, easy to make for a busy family, and great taste! This butternut squash chili in the slow cooker fits the bill perfectly.

Between keeping up with the homestead, homeschooling and raising little ones, and keeping up with our business, simple meals that are ready to go and relatively hands off are my jam! I love getting up early while everyone is still asleep and getting a meal going in the slow cooker. That way, when lunch or dinner rolls around, everything is ready to go without even having to think about it!

The beauty of this recipe is that there are plenty of options and flexibility depending on your preferences and what you have on hand.

butternut squash chili ingredients

The staples are onion, garlic, beans, ground beef (or other ground meat), tomato sauce, pureed butternut squash or pumpkin, and spices.

There are many optional ingredients that can be added if desired, like additional veggies (carrots, zucchini, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, etc), spices, and more or less broth or water depending on how thick you like your chili.

How to Prepare Garlic to Maximize Nutrition

Garlic is a must in almost all of our entrees. In this slow cooker butternut squash chili, that is no exception. Garlic is that it is extremely beneficial for health but those benefits are only present when one very important step is followed.

veggies, garlic, and spices for chili

Garlic is praised for being high in antioxidants, as well as being anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. However, the main compound, allicin, that is responsible for these health benefits, is destroyed when heating, unless one rule is followed. 

The garlic must first be chopped, smashed, or chewed and then either eaten raw or allowed to sit for at least ten minutes before cooking. Leaving the garlic for at least 10 minutes, allows that allicin content to be fully created. Then it will not be destroyed, even when cooked, allowing you to get the maximum health benefits that garlic is known for.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Onion, chopped
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped or smashed
2 cups pureed butternut squash (or pumpkin)
1 cup soaked, dried beans (or 2 cups of cooked beans or one can)
3 cups of tomato sauce
1.5 cups broth or water (omit for a very thick chili)
1 tbsp fat/oil for cooking
1 pound of ground beef
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp salt
Optional Add In’s: carrots, peppers, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, or other veggies.

butternut squash chili in dutch oven

Directions:

1. Chop garlic, onion, and any other veggies you want to add to your chili.

2. Heat oil in cast iron pan, Dutch oven, or large skillet.

3. Sauté onion then add garlic after onion is beginning to soften. Add ground beef and brown with onions and garlic.

4. Once browned, transfer garlic, onion, and ground beef to your slow cooker. Add the rest of ingredients: pureed butternut squash, beans, tomato sauce, broth/water, and spices.

5. Once everything is mixed together, let cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

slow cooker butternut squash chili

Notes:

If you’d prefer not to cook in a slow cooker or crock pot, after cooking onion, garlic and group beef, add the rest of your ingredients directly into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Mix everything together, bring to a boil and let simmer until all of the veggies and beans are soft and fully cooked.

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Like other soups or stews, this slow cooker butternut squash chili only gets better with age. We often like to make it a day or two before serving and then reheat for the most flavorful chili.

The chili will last in the fridge for up to five days and reheats well. For long term storage, this chili freezes very well.

For more of our favorite entrees with butternut squash, you might also like our butternut squash enchilada casserole or butternut squash lasagna.

easy butternut squash chili slow cooker recipe

The Best Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes

There are hundreds of different variations on making a mean chili. But, in our opinion, this butternut squash chili in the slow cooker trumps all. The thick and creamy texture that comes with pureed butternut squash paired with traditional chili ingredients makes it a hearty, sweet yet savory chili that can’t be beat!

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped or smashed
  • 
2 cups pureed butternut squash (or pumpkin)
  • 
1 cup soaked, dried beans (or 2 cups of cooked beans or one can)

  • 3 cups of tomato sauce
  • 
1.5 cups broth or water (omit for a very thick chili)
  • 
1 tbsp fat/oil for cooking
  • 
1 pound of ground beef

  • 2 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 
1 tsp oregano
  • 
1-2 tsp salt
  • 
Optional Add In’s: carrots, peppers, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, or other veggies.

Instructions

    1. Chop garlic, onion, and any other veggies you want to add to your chili.
    2. Heat oil in cast iron pan, Dutch oven, or large skillet.
    3. Sauté onion then add garlic after onion is beginning to soften. Add ground beef and brown with onions and garlic.
    4. Once browned, transfer garlic, onion, and ground beef to your slow cooker. Add the rest of ingredients: pureed butternut squash, beans, tomato sauce, broth/water, and spices.
    5. Once everything is mixed together, let cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Notes

If you’d prefer not to cook in a slow cooker or crock pot, after cooking onion, garlic and group beef, add the rest of your ingredients directly into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Mix everything together, bring to a boil and let simmer until all of the veggies and beans are soft and fully cooked.f

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