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Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash Recipe

You’re going to fall in love with this easy Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash! Hearty ground turkey and black beans give the chili plenty of protein, while the medley of squash, bell peppers, and tomatoes add tons of flavor and nutrition! A one-pot meal everyone will love!

close up shot of a bowl with turkey chili, studded with cubed butternut squash, tomatoes, and a garnish of sour cream.

A Healthy and Festive Fall Chili Recipe

It’s chili weather, you guys! And while I love no-beans chili, vegetarian chili, and classic chili, I’m so excited to share this particular recipe because it includes butternut squash! That’s basically the epitome of Fall, right?

Along with butternut squash chunks, this turkey chili is flavored with cumin, chili powder, and ground coriander. Coriander is a heavenly spice that works perfectly in chili, but also has a fragrant, fruity, floral quality, like good tea. I know it sounds different, but trust me – it’s amazing in this hearty and healthy chili. 


This recipe comes together on the stovetop, and will make your house smell absolutely wonderful while it cooks. Plus, the leftovers taste even better the next day! In fact, that’s a great reason to go ahead and double the recipe. You’re welcome! ☺️

overhead shot of two white soup bowls filled with turkey chili and garnished with a dollop of sour cream.

What You’ll Need

This chili is full of bold flavor, thanks to this lineup of amazing ingredients! From a colorful blend of spices to black beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes, it’s a Southwest-style masterpiece! Let’s take a closer look. (Note: for the recipe card with amounts and nutrition info, scroll to the bottom of the post!)


  • Olive Oil: For sauteing. You can also use avocado oil or even butter.
  • Onion: I use yellow onion, but you could also substitute red or white onion.
  • Bell Pepper: Any color is fine! Finely dice your bell pepper, and feel free to add extra if you prefer.
  • Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is my go-to, but you could also use garlic powder.
  • Turkey: Lean ground turkey is fine, but if you can find a less lean ground turkey, your chili will be more flavorful.
  • Spices: Chili powder and cumin give the dish that classic chili taste, while ground coriander adds just a hint of sweetness and a pleasantly complex fragrance.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Tomato Paste: Be sure to use paste, and not sauce, which is less concentrated.
  • Butternut Squash: Peel and cube two medium butternut squash, or just use frozen butternut squash instead! 
  • Diced Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes help make this recipe quick and easy.
  • Chicken Broth: Homemade or store-bought is fine. I usually go with low-sodium broth so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Beans: My favorite beans are canned black beans, but you could use pinto beans, great northern, cannellini, kidney beans… whatever you like. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: I think this recipe benefits from a splash of apple cider vinegar, but this is optional! You could also use white vinegar or even rice vinegar.
  • Garnishes: Sour cream and chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro top the chili perfectly!

Is turkey better for you than beef?

  • You sometimes hear that turkey is better for you than ground beef, and that may be true depending on your personal health situation. However, pound for pound, turkey and beef, with the same lean-to-fat ratios, tend to have similar nutritional profiles. So, feel free to use whichever you prefer, or is good for you.
cooking ground turkey meat in a white dutch oven.

How to Make Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

This recipe is super simple to pull together, even on a busy weeknight. Essentially, all you need to do is prep the ingredients and then saute, simmer, and serve!

  1. Saute the Aromatics. Heat the olive oil (or whatever oil you’re using) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and peppers in the hot oil for a couple of minutes, and then add the garlic and cook for about 15 seconds.
  2. Brown the Ground Turkey. Add the turkey to the veggies, and cook it for about 5 minutes, gently breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it browns.
  3. Add the Seasonings and Tomato Paste. Season the mixture with the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds to bring out the aroma of the spices. Follow this with the tomato paste, stirring it in until well-combined with the meat and vegetables. 
  4. Add the Squash, Tomatoes, and Broth. Dump the squash cubes into the pot, followed by the canned tomatoes. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth. While the broth heats up, scrape the bottom of the pot carefully (a wooden spoon is good for this) to incorporate any browned bits into the broth. 
  5. Simmer. Increase the heat to high, and bring the chili to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until the chili has thickened and the squash is tender.
  6. Add the Beans and Optional Vinegar. At this point, you can stir in the canned beans along with the apple cider vinegar, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Taste the chili for salt, and adjust accordingly. Ladle the chili into bowls, and garnish each portion with sour cream and parsley or cilantro.
stirring through cubed butternut squash and diced tomatoes in a dutch oven.

Tips for Success

As you’re looking over the recipe, keep in mind that it’s very customizable! Here are some of my favorite tips and tweaks for making a delicious bowl of turkey chili.

  • Rinse the Beans: When using canned items, sometimes it’s good to leave the cooking liquid (with tomatoes, this is usually the case). Other times, draining and rinsing is the better option – it removes some of that “canned” taste. I like to drain and rinse canned beans for the best flavor.
  • Sweeten the Chili: If you like a sweeter chili, try mixing a small amount of maple syrup into this recipe! You’ll love the sweet-and-savory autumn touch.
  • Omit the Beans: For a no-bean version of Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash, I recommend increasing the amount of ground turkey, or adding another veggie like potatoes, mushrooms, or zucchini.
overhead shot of cooked turkey chili with butternut squash in a tomato based broth.

What to Serve with Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

When it comes to serving chili, I am all about having some great sides to soak up all of the spicy, saucy goodness. Here are a few easy options:

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Leftover chili should be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
  • To reheat, place the desired portion in a saucepan over low heat and cook until hot all the way through, stirring occasionally.
  • To freeze, place cooled chili in freezer bags and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
up close shot of turkey chili in a soup bowl.

ENJOY!

Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Total Time1 hr 10 mins

Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash is a seasonal recipe that includes ground turkey, cubed butternut squash, black beans, onions, and bell peppers.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, American/Southwest

Servings: 10

Calories: 212

Instructions 

  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.

  • Add diced onions and diced peppers; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Stir in garlic and cook for 15 seconds.

  • Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes, or until browned.

  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper; cook for 30 seconds.

  • Stir in the tomato paste; continue to stir until well combined.

  • Add the cubed squash and diced tomatoes; stir and cook for 30 seconds.

  • Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

  • Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a simmer; lower heat to a steady simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the chili has thickened and squash is tender.

  • Stir in the beans and apple cider vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

  • Ladle chili into bowls.

  • Garnish with sour cream and parsley or cilantro.

  • Serve.

Nutrition Facts

Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash

Amount Per Serving

Calories 212
Calories from Fat 45

% Daily Value*

Fat 5g8%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 25mg8%

Sodium 739mg31%

Potassium 827mg24%

Carbohydrates 26g9%

Fiber 8g32%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 19g38%

Vitamin A 5110IU102%

Vitamin C 23mg28%

Calcium 84mg8%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Keywords: chili with butternut squash, healthy chili recipe, turkey chili

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