Roasted Butternut Squash Beef Chili

This roasted butternut squash beef chili is a time-tested crowdpleaser! It is full of black beans, ground beef, roasted butternut squash, and classic chili seasonings.

Two bowls filled with roasted Butternut Squash Beef chili with butternut squash and a napkin on the side

This Roasted Butternut Squash Beef Chili incorporates two things Midwesterners care about: it has meat and it’s comforting. It also checks the box for health conscious who haven’t quite yet surrendered to the holiday season treats and bitterly cold weather that is upon us. It is just October after all.

The key to an excellent butternut squash chili is roasting the butternut squash before putting it into the chili. Before we get into how much of a pain it is the cut, peel, and cube the butternut squash and then roast it in the oven, let me say this butternut squash beef chili is worth it.

Two bowls filled with roasted Butternut Squash Beef chili with butternut squash and a pot of butternut squash chili on the side

It has never failed to be a stand-out crowd pleaser at potlucks and Halloween parties. It successfully competes with the meat-laden chili in chili cook-offs, and it is a chili we should all have in our back pocket as we seek out meals fit for the holiday season.

ingredients for butternut squash chili in different size bowls and a pot filled with cooked beef

The butternut squash transforms in the oven as the outside edges caramelize and the interior becomes smooth and buttery. The sweetness from the roasted butternut squash complements the classic chili seasonings, black beans, and crushed tomatoes. Adding meat satisfies any meat-lover, though it can easily be substituted to make this vegetarian.

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash Beef Chili

  1. Preheat the oven and peel, seed, and cut the butternut squash into 3/4″ cubes.

  2. Divide the cubed butternut squash between two baking sheets, evenly spaced to allow room for browning.

    cubed butternut squash spread across two baking sheets

  3. Roast the butternut squash until all the edges are golden brown and the interior is fork-tender.

    Deeply browned roasted butternut squash on a baking sheet

  4. Brown the beef and onions in a large pot. Add the spices and finely grated garlic.

    cooked ground beef and onions with spices in a large pot with a wooden spoon on the side

  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, black beans, and roasted butternut squash to the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes.

    Dutch oven filled with all the chili ingredients except butternut squash with a ladle

  6. Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, and/or cornbread.

Possible Substitutions

MEAT. Add another 15 ounce can of black beans instead the meat to make this vegetarian.

ANCHO CHILE POWDER. I love the smokiness the Ancho Chile Powder brings to this chili and sweet or smoked paprika also work great!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH. Sweet potatoes are an excellent substitute for butternut squash.

BLACK BEANS. Small red beans also work.

Roasted Butternut Squash Beef Chili: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to roast the butternut squash?

Yes. As part of my due diligence, I’ve tried skipping this step and cooking the butternut squash directly in the soup. The butternut squash became mealy and fell apart in the soup from lack of structure. There is no choice but to roast it.

Do I have to peel the butternut squash?

Yes. The skin texture is still very noticeable even after roasting the butternut squash. A serrated vegetable peeler makes this task a lot easier.

Can I make this chili ahead of time?

Absolutely! Like most chili and soups, this chili tastes better the next day. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I make this butternut squash chili in a slow cooker?

Unfortunately, no. To serve this at a potluck or party, make the chili as directed and then transfer the hot chili to a slow cooker and set the temperature to warm. If you made the chili ahead of time, transfer the cold chili to a slow cooker and set the temperature to low to warm-up the chili in the slow cooker before serving.

Can I freeze this butternut squash chili?

Yes! To freeze, cool the chili to room temperature and place it in a freezer zip-lock bag (or two, if needed). Spread the chili mixture evenly in the bag so it lays flat. Seal the bag, making sure there are no air pockets in the bag. Place the bag flat in the freezer. Alternatively, freeze the chili in a freezer-safe container with a lid, such as a glass food storage container. Keep frozen up to 1 month. 

Roasted butternut squash beef chili in a bowl with butternut squash in the background

More Meaty Dinner Recipes to Try


Roasted Butternut Squash Beef Chili

This roasted butternut squash beef chili is a time-tested crowdpleaser! It is full of black beans, ground beef, roasted butternut squash, and classic chili seasonings.

  • Author: Kim
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1, 2 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15 once can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth*
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho Chile powder or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinse and drained


  1. Prep the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Discard the seeds and pulp. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the butternut squash. Cut the butternut squash into 3/4″ cubes (see pictures in “how-to” section for additional instructions). The butternut squash cubes will be slightly uneven because butternut squash are uneven shapes. 
  2. Roast the squash. Arrange the cubes on two baking sheets. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until underside is deeply browned, about 15 minutes. Turn the slices over to roast until the edges are deeply browned and the squash cubes are fork-tender, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Sauté the ground turkey (or beef) and onions. Heat a large 3.5 or 5-quart heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Break up the ground beef into small pieces and add it along with the onions and salt to the pan. Cook, stirring often until the meat is no longer pink and nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pan. 
  4. Add the seasonings and chopped vegetables. Add the finely chopped garlic, chili powder, ancho Chile powder, and oregano. Stir the mixture until the garlic and spices smell fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  5. Add the wet ingredients. Add the broth, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and black beans. Stir the mixture and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck at the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the roasted butternut squash. Add the roasted butternut squash to the chili mixture and bring the mixture back to a boil. Once the chili is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer the chili for 40 minutes. Adjust salt to taste. 
  7. Serve. Serve the chili with cornbread, sour cream, tortilla chips, or alone. 


BROTH. If using ground beef, use beef broth. If using ground turkey, use chicken broth. 


  • Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
  • Calories: 530 calories
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Sodium: 1070mg
  • Fat: 15.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 65.5g
  • Fiber: 15.5g
  • Protein: 36.9g
  • Cholesterol: 77mg

Did you make this recipe?

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