Black Bean & Squash Chili

It’s uber cozy and full of spice-filled goodness! No, it’s not a cookie or cake. It’s my black bean and squash chili loaded with chunks of chicken.

The best and worst recipe to write is one for chili. Let me explain why: no matter what, nothing will ever live up to the memory of your favorite chili. For me, the best chili recipe is the ground beef variety my mom still makes. It’s nothing fancy, with hardly any spice, just pure Midwestern goodness.

It always seems to occur that the best recipe for chili is the next one I read. I could pick up one cookbook, find a brand new recipe, and think that I’ve stumbled upon the epitome of chili. Set that cookbook down, pick up another, and boom! Say hello to an even better chili!

White ceramic bowl filled with red color chili with pieces of butternut squash and chicken with slices of avocado on top with more soup in background

I cook from my garden, which means I cook by the seasons. If it’s popping up in the garden, it’s also popping up on my plate. Fall on the farm brings an abundance of squash. I grow all types: butternut, kabocha, acorn, delicata, and Canadian crookneck. Each has subtle differences in flavor, but each can easily be used in place of the other.

Why is there squash in this chili?

Since squash is plentiful, it’s super satisfying to work it into as many dishes as possible, including this chili. The squash acts as a quasi-meat, adding a heartiness that marries well with the dish’s actual protein – chicken. And since squash has such a versatile flavor profile, their sweetness complements the more complex aspects of the soup.

Red Dutch oven filled with chili containing black beans and chicken all on wood table

There are unending chili varieties out there (including my own vegetarian variety), and since I’m always in the mood for this soup, the world is my (chili) oyster. It always comes down to what to put in the chili.

Spoon scooping bite full of chili with squash and chicken sitting in a half-eaten white bowl

Ask ten different people how they make chili and you’ll get ten different answers. While there are innumerable recipes, thankfully a few components are always constant:

  • chili powder
  • tomato base
  • beans.

Constant one: chili powder

Any jarred variety of chili powder will do. You can get caught up in the nuances of private label varieties or make your own from dried chilis. Instead, I just like any jarred variety.

Constant two: tomato base

Is it even considered a chili without any tomato? I often use my home canned tomato purée. Whether purchased or home-canned, tomato purée adds that rich tomato base that’s crucial.

Constant three: beans

Growing up, my mom used canned chili beans. While they can work in a pinch, dried beans add so much more texture and flavor. Instead of soft and tasteless beans, cooking dried beans will produce a bean that stands out and is a star.

Spoon holding bite full of chili containing black beans and squash with bowl in background

This may not be the everyday chili you’re used to, but I think you’ll enjoy adding this to your rotation!

Watch how to make this squash chili recipe:

Top down view of white bowl filled with red colored chili with slices of avocado on top with extra avocado and soup sitting on wood table
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5 from 4 votes

Black Bean & Squash Chili

This version of chili is not a normal run-of-the-mill chili. Instead, it's a black bean and squash chili that's packed with warm spices and big, hearty pieces of chicken. It's cozy and perfectly fall!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: autumn, chili, cozy, fall, soup
Difficulty: Intermediate
Method: Cooking
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Kaleb


  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups diced carrots
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup chopped poblano pepper (or pepper of choice)
  • 2 cups diced winter squash
  • 3 cups tomato purée
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  • In a 5-quart stockpot, soak the dried beans in water, covering by 2 inches. Soak for 8-12 hours. After the beans are soaked, drain them.
  • To the beans, add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beans are tender and creamy, about 30-45 minutes.
  • While the beans are cooking, in an 8-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and salt. Saute until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add cumin, Mexican oregano, and chili powder. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped pepper, tomato purée, and squash. If the mixture seems thick, add ½ cup water. Bring it to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken breasts by nestling them into the soup. Cover and cook.
  • While the chicken is cooking, check the beans. When they're tender, add the beans and their cooking liquid to the chili with the chicken. Stir and continue to cook until the squash is easily pierced with a knife, and the chicken registers 160°F.
  • When the chicken is done, remove it from the chili, and shred it with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the chili.
  • Serve the chili hot with sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or anything else desired.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 259 kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 27.4 g (9%)Protein: 22.8 g (46%)Fat: 7.2 g (11%)Saturated Fat: 1.1 g (7%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.8 gTrans Fat: 0 gCholesterol: 53.2 mg (18%)Sodium: 828.4 mg (36%)Potassium: 1143.8 mg (33%)Fiber: 6.3 g (26%)Sugar: 9.8 g (11%)Vitamin A: 436.9 IU (9%)Vitamin C: 36.2 mg (44%)Calcium: 73 mg (7%)Iron: 3.5 mg (19%)

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  • We’re trying this tonight. Used a mix of jalapeño and poblano peppers. And I apparently didn’t have chili powder so I used cayenne and I realized that might be a bit spicer than I wanted but hey at least it will keep me warm!

  • 5 stars
    My husband and I have chili wars. We make all different types of chili. However, I personally (of course) think mine are the best;-) This recipe was, I’ve gotta say…fantastic!!! I was a little skeptical at first, because I usually use a lot more than 1 TBSP of chili powder. But I decided to trust you, Wyse Guide and we loved it:-) ❤️❤️❤️ Even my husband did who normally doesn’t like squash (he’s from England, what can I say). I served it with cornbread with poblano chilis and that really topped it off. Thank you so much for this – it’s a keeper!!

  • I made this last night for dinner along with sourdough bread and applesauce, (both also made by me!). I just want to say, this recipe is awesome! Served with a dollop of sour cream and oh my goodness!! Definitely a keeper! Completely wonderful autumn dinner!