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Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili

Fall squash, veggies, and hints of chipotle powder and cinnamon make this vegan Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili a hearty and warm autumn chili!

top down view of black bean and butternut squash chili in a serving bowl with spoon.

The BEST Butternut Squash Chili with black beans is loaded with hearty veggies that soak up the flavorful spices of chili, cinnamon, and cumin. This delicious chili will please all types of eaters!

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s made in one pot. Butternut squash chili is a fantastic one-pot meal that comes together easily and is ready in about one hour from start to finish!
  • Healthy and nutritious. Made with wholesome ingredients, this hearty vegan chili is full of fiber and protein. Plus, it’s low-fat with an option to be oil-free! See the nutrition in the recipe card below.
  • This is an easy meal prep idea. Leftovers taste even better, and this recipe can easily be doubled for later meals.

It’s the perfect warm and comforting weekend dinner on cold and rainy days. And is especially amazing when paired with homemade jalapeno cornbread muffins!

top down view of ingredients needed to make vegan butternut squash chili with black beans.

Ingredient Notes

In this recipe, onion and garlic are sauteed and then simmered with butternut squash, beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, and spices, creating a warm and wonderful fall-flavored chili.

Here’s everything you’ll need (measurements are in the recipe card below):

  • Butternut Squash – Rich in beta carotene and vitamins, this golden squash simmers up soft and tender.
  • Black Beans – Full of protein and fiber, black beans are perfect in this butternut squash chili. If you prefer, use kidney, pinto, or tri-blend beans.
  • Red Bell Pepper – Adds a punch of color and heartiness. Feel free to use any color bell pepper you like.
  • Onion – Any color will work, use your favorite or what you have on hand.
  • Garlic – Use fresh or powdered.
  • Spices – We’ll use a flavorful mix of chili powder, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. It’s a marvelous combination, and I know you’ll love it!
  • Tomatoes – Canned tomatoes are easy and convenient (I used fire-roasted), or feel free to use 2 – 3 diced roma tomatoes instead.
  • Broth – I typically use broth concentrate like Better Than Bouillon Veg Concentrate (affiliate link), 1/2 teaspoon is more than enough for the 2 cups of water called for. Feel free to use water or your favorite vegetable broth.
  • Cocoa – One of my favorite secret ingredients when making chili is adding a little cocoa, whether 2 – 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder or a few small chunks of dark chocolate. It adds a nice depth of flavor and is perfect with the cinnamon, chili powder, and butternut squash!
top down view showing the process of making butternut squash chili with black beans on the stovetop.

How To Make Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili

Making butternut squash chili on the stovetop is super easy and only requires a few simple steps. The hardest part is prepping; the rest is sauteing and simmering.

  • Start with a large heavy-based pot (or casserole pot) and saute the onions and bell peppers, until fragrant.
  • Stir in your seasonings and spices, then add the butternut squash, beans, diced tomatoes, and liquids. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I make this chili in a slow cooker? Yes, and it’s even easier – just set it and forget it! Crockpot instructions are in the recipe card below.

Serving Suggestions

Take your black bean and butternut squash chili over the top with any of these toppings and sides:

top down view of a freshly made pot of vegan butternut squash with black beans.

How Long Will Leftovers Keep?

Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container. Simply re-warm on the stovetop or the microwave. Leftovers are even better and are perfect for weekly meal prep!

Can You Freeze Butternut Squash Chili?

Yes, it’s freezer-friendly and stores beautifully in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months! One of my favorite ways to freeze chili is in individual serving size, freezer-safe containers (affiliate link). You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags or containers. Let thaw before reheating on the stovetop or microwave.

More Easy Chili Recipes!

side angle view of black bean and butternut squash chili in a serving bowl with spoon.

If you try this vegan chili recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 17 reviews

Full of fall squash, veggies and hints of chipotle powder and cinnamon, this vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili makes a really wonderful warm autumn chili!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: simmer
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water, for water saute
  • 1 medium onion (any color), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, or to taste
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon cinnamon, start small
  • 1 small (1 1/2 – 2lb.) butternut squash (about 45 cups), peeled, seeded & diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups home cooked black beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes + juice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 23 teaspoons cocoa powder or 1 oz of dark chocolate, optional
  • himalayan salt, to taste

garnish options


Stovetop: In a large 5 – 6 quart pot, heat oil/water over medium high heat, saute the onion for 5 – 7 minutes. Add the spices, saute for 1 minute more. Add the butternut squash, bell peppers, beans, tomatoes and vegetable broth and optional cocoa, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Will be done when the butternut squash is tender. Taste for flavor. Chili will thick upon cooling.

Slow Cooker: Place ingredients into your slow-cooker, finishing with the vegetable broth and give a good stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours, or on high for 3 – 4 hours. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper or seasonings as needed.

Serve with garnish of choice. Pairs great with my favorite vegan cornbread or jalapeno cornbread muffins!

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. For longer storage, store in the freezer in freezer safe containers for up to 2 – 3 months.



  • Add 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • Use 2 small sweet potatoes in place of butternut squash
  • Use your favorite color bell peppers

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  1. Saisarita says:

    I love the taste of this chili!! My problem is that it didn’t thicken even when cooked overnight. Help!!!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      You can try reducing the water/broth to 1 and 1/2 cups, instead of 2 cups, to see if that helps. Also, you might mash 1 cup of the chili, or puree it, to help thicken it up a bit. I hope that helps!

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