Butternut Squash Chili

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Nutritious Butternut Squash Chili is packed with flavor and filled to the brim with good-for-you ingredients, including loads of veggies, tender shredded chicken, and a superfood — quinoa! Bonus: this chili is fairly hands-off to make, thanks to the slow cooker. Top your bowl with your favorite chili toppings and dig in!

Pair a bowl of this hearty chili with some homemade cornbread or cornbread muffins. This garden salad also makes a nice side dish if you’re craving a meal of soup and salad.

Overhead image of the Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Chili

The minute the weather starts to cool down, chili is on the menu at my house for weeks at a time! 🙂 Chilis are an easy way to pack in good ingredients like veggies, beans, and in this case, quinoa! They’re perfect for throwing together leftover odds and ends in the fridge and there are usually plenty of leftovers that only get tastier and tastier throughout the week! Chilis are easy to customize, simple to make, totally delicious, and the perfect canvas for dunking with copious amounts of cornbread. What’s not to love?!

Here are some of our favorite chili recipes we’ve created throughout the years: Turkey ChiliChicken ChiliSweet Potato Black Bean ChiliQuinoa Chili, Chicken Taco ChiliCrockpot ChiliCrockpot White Chicken Chili. Whew! Told you, we’re obsessed!

Why Sauté First?

This is a slow cooker chili so it’s aimed at being quick and easy, but we do sauté some of the ingredients first. This is because sautéing is integral for the flavor and texture of this chili. And I promise it doesn’t take too much extra time — especially if you have a slow cooker with a sauté function — you won’t even need to dirty another pot!

By sautéing the aromatics, spices, tomato paste, and tomatoes we’re bringing out their natural sweetness and deepening overall flavors in this Butternut Squash Chili. We’re adding layers of flavor complexity that only comes from sautéing before slow cooking.

It’s also important to sauté these ingredients to ensure the butternut squash, carrot, and onion will be fully tender when the chili is finished. Since this chili doesn’t cook for an especially long time, these three ingredients will be under-cooked (potentially crunchy) if not sautéed first.


Why sauté? The scientific term is called the Maillard reaction, and it describes what happens when foods are browned or seared. As foods are heated, the amino acids and carbohydrates change form and turn brown. The flavor, often described as umami, becomes more savory. The bottom line for most cooks is that it really increases the deliciousness and beauty of a recipe.

Process shots-- images of the squash, carrots, onions, garlic, tomato paste, and seasonings being added

Prepping Butternut Squash

With its odd shape, cutting a butternut squash can be an intimidating task, but with a few good kitchen tools, you might find it’s easier than it seems! Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Rinse the squash under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the entire squash. If you don’t have a peeler, cut the squash in half where the narrow section meets the wider round base. Use a pairing knife to vertically slice off the peels.
  3. Place the squash on a firm and heavy-duty cutting board. Using a very sharp chef’s knife (the sharper the knife, the easier it will cut!), cut off the top stem and about 1/4th an inch from the bottom.
  4. Cut the squash in half (crosswise) where the “neck” meets the wider, base-end section. Now cut each section in half again, right down the middle to get 4 pieces.
  5. Use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and stringy parts from the two insides of the base of the squash. You can save the seeds and roast them — more on this later!
  6. Lay each of the halves cut side down and then cut each half into 1/2-inch piecesCut these half-moon pieces into 1/2-inch cubes.
  7. Aim for even-sized pieces as much as possible, but it’s okay if not each of the cubes is in a perfect square, just be sure to chop the squash into small 1/2-inch pieces so they’ll be tender in time. 

    When picking a butternut squash: Look for a uniformly beige and matte color. Choose squash that feels heavy for its size and sounds hollow (if you give the squash a tap, it should sound hollow). If you aren’t using the squash right away, keep it at room temperature in a dark/cool place (left whole, raw, and unpeeled). If you have peeled and chopped it, keep the cubes in an airtight container in the fridge.


For a quicker prep time, use a bag of already cut butternut squash from the produce section of the store. If the pieces are overly large, cut them down a bit so they’ll cook in time for this recipe.

Process shots of Butternut Squash Chili-- images of the diced tomatoes being added, chicken being added, and remaining ingredients being added and mixed together

Homemade Chili Seasoning

While store-bought seasoning mixes make things easy, they also have a lot of additives and sometimes questionable ingredients. They can also vary quite a bit in the spice level and even in overall flavor.

For these reasons, we prefer to whip up our own seasoning blend for this chili, but either works — making your own or using a packet. You can’t beat the convenience of a seasoning packet, that’s for sure! Why not make up a big batch of this homemade seasoning blend and divide it into packets so homemade will be just as convenient as packaged.

Here’s our favorite homemade chili seasoning blend: 

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or omit for less heat, increase for more heat!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Process shots-- images of the chicken being removed and shredded and then returned back to the crockpot with cilantro and lime

Butternut Squash Chili Notes

  • Rinse the quinoa: Quinoa has a bitter saponin coating that needs to be rinsed off before use. Place it in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well before adding to the slow cooker.
  • Use a big enough cooker to fit everything: I recommend a 6-quart slow cooker to fit everything — this chili yields a lot!
  • Cook on high. Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. 
  • Cut the chicken into thin/small chunks. Otherwise, it won’t be done at the same time as everything else. You don’t need to spend much time cutting the chicken; just quickly cut 2-inch (1-inch thick) pieces.
  • Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes. The tomatoes make a big difference flavor-wise, so I recommend good-quality fire-roasted tomatoes. This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor; essentially, you’re getting more flavor without any extra work. Muir Glen® is my personal favorite brand (not sponsored).

Chili Spiciness

We rate this chili as mild, especially if adding toppings like cheese, sour cream, and avocado, these additions will mute the spiciness quite a bit. 

If you don’t plan on adding some of these toppings and are sensitive to spice, leave out any cayenne pepper and slightly reduce the chili powder. You will be missing out on some flavor, but the soup will be overall milder. Or if using a chili packet seasoning, be sure to use a mild one.

Up-close overhead image of a bowl of butternut squash soup



  • Want more heat? Add in some diced jalapeños, a can of fire-roasted diced green chilies, and/or increase the cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • Thicker chili. While the quinoa does continue to absorb liquid and thicken this chili as it sits, it’s not super thick. For an ultra-thick chili, use 4 cups chicken stock.

Butternut Squash Chili Toppings

The toppings add so much to this Butternut Squash Chili, so you definitely don’t want to leave them out! 

  • Sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese: We like to grate the cheese right on top of each bowl and let it melt for a minute before stirring it throughout the chili.
  • Sour cream: Fat-free or lite works great; you could even use a scoop of plain Greek yogurt. 
  • Fresh lime juice: A few squeezes of fresh lime heighten all the flavors and add a burst of brightness.
  • Ripe avocado: For an additional element of creaminess, we love a ripe avocado sliced on top.
  • Fresh cilantro: If you’re a cilantro fan, you’ll love what this herb does to this chili. It adds a nice citrusy flavor and contrasting freshness. And if you’re in the anti-cilantro crowd, substitute a bit of chopped fresh parsley or chives.

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Butternut Squash Chili

4.89 from 34 votes
This nutritious Butternut Squash Chili is packed with flavor and filled to the brim with good-for-you ingredients, including loads of veggies, tender shredded chicken, and a superfood: quinoa! Bonus: this chili is fairly hands-off to make, thanks to the slow cooker. Top your bowl with your favorite chili toppings and dig in!
Print Recipe

Butternut Squash Chili

4.89 from 34 votes
This nutritious Butternut Squash Chili is packed with flavor and filled to the brim with good-for-you ingredients, including loads of veggies, tender shredded chicken, and a superfood: quinoa! Bonus: this chili is fairly hands-off to make, thanks to the slow cooker. Top your bowl with your favorite chili toppings and dig in!
Course Dinner, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Butternut Squash and Quinoa Soup, Butternut Squash Chili
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Chelsea Lords
Calories 711kcal
Cost $7.24


  • 6-quart slow cooker & nonstick cooking spray


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion ~1 onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot 3 large carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 2 cups butternut squash peeled & chopped Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 packet mild chili seasoning mix Note 2
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16 oz.) Kidney or chili beans in mild chili sauce
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) corn, undrained (or 1-1/2 cups frozen)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/4th lb. chicken thighs (or breasts) Note 3
  • 3/4 cup quinoa tri-color or white
  • 5 cups chicken stock Note 4
  • Optional finishing touches: 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, sharp Cheddar cheese, diced avocado, cilantro or chives, lime Note 5


  • PREP: Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Trim the chicken of fat and cut each piece into 2-inch chunks. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
  • SOUP FLAVOR BASE: If you have the option to sauté in your slow cooker base, use that; otherwise, grab out a pot. Add olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add in onion and sauté until turning golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the tomato paste and the seasoning packet (or homemade seasoning blend). Season with salt & pepper (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to personal preference). Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant. Pour the entire can (don't drain) of diced tomatoes and mix, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of this mixture into the base of the slow cooker.
  • COOK: Add the remaining ingredients (except for the finishing touches and toppings) to the slow cooker. Stir well, submerge chicken below the liquid and cook on high for 3 up to 4 hours or until chicken easily shreds. (See Note 6.) Remove the chicken and transfer to a bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Optional: Mash some of the squash for a heartier texture.
  • FINISHING: Add in the cilantro and lime juice if using. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt/pepper if desired. (I typically add another 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt here; the flavors should sing!) Ladle into bowls. Add desired toppings and enjoy immediately!
  • STORAGE: This chili continues to thicken as the quinoa expands. We still think it tastes great, but it does get thicker and thicker as it stands. This chili is best eaten within 3-4 days. Reheat over low heat on the stovetop and add a splash of chicken stock as needed. It does not freeze well; the soup continues to absorb liquid and quinoa becomes bloated.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Squash: This recipe needs about 1/2 of a medium-sized squash. Be sure to chop the squash into small 1/2-inch pieces so they'll be tender in time. Check out the pictures or video on this roasted butternut squash post for how to cut a squash.
Note 2: Homemade seasoning blend: we love using our own spices, but I totally understand that using a packaged packet is easy.  Go with what works for your preferences and schedule. Homemade: 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
Note 3: Chicken: While chicken breasts will work, we highly recommend chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the slow cooker and shreds quickly and easily. It’s also more forgiving if it is cooked for longer, since chicken breasts tend to dry out if they’re cooked too long.
Note 4: Chicken stock: A high-quality, flavorful stock adds loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson ® chicken stock. Use only 4 cups for a thicker chili!
Note 5: Toppings: While this chili is tasty straight out of the slow cooker, the toppings truly seal the deal, delivering an unforgettable meal so don't skimp on these!
Note 6: Cooking time: Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. Each slow cooker is a little different so the cooking time can vary. Look for chicken that shreds easily, fully cooked quinoa, and tender veggies. The longer this soup cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs. For a heartier soup, that’s great, but if you want it to remain more broth-y, stop cooking as soon as the quinoa has “popped.”

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 711kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1079mg | Potassium: 1855mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 17071IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 9mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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Dump it and forget it!! A super simple slow cooker butternut squash, chicken, and quinoa soup. The crockpot does all the work!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I would have to substitute the chicken for something else (or take it out altogether), but i DEFINITELY am pinning this to make later. I love butternut squash and adding kidney beans to chili for protein. Delicious 🙂

  2. I’m so happy that it is finally soup season again (well, almost!) and this one looks awesome!! I love the quinoa and the squash in here – makes it such a hearty but healthy dinner!!

  3. 5 stars
    I love this soup. I made it tonight. I put a can of rotel in the place of diced tomatoes, it was delish. I will be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. If your chicken breasts are small you don’t need to cut them up, but I generally will cut up the breasts into 2-4 large pieces to help it cook quicker and in time with the other ingredients 🙂 Hope you love this!!

    1. I recommend just doing the high setting. At a low setting the quinoa ends up absorbing tons more liquid and becomes less “firm.” If you don’t mind having more of a stew and a slightly different textured quinoa, the low setting will be fine.

      1. 5 stars
        I did it on low for about 7-8 hours. It definitely turned out more stew like. I put the quinoa in right away in the morning, but you could also throw it in towards the end if you wanted it firmer/less stew like. I also think that if we had eaten it about 6 hours in it would’ve been more soup like, based on what I saw when I shredded the chicken. The chicken turned out so tender this way though! The soup (or stew!) was delicious.

  4. 5 stars
    Soup looks stunning, but I hate kidney beans. Any other suggestion?
    Thank you for sharing
    Kind regards

      1. I would def. use black beans. I think this recipe begs for them. To the writer who thought it was bland,, maybe addin a spicy salsa instead of the tomatoes might help in addition to adjusting spiced to taste. Just a thought. I’m planning to make this tomorrow. Would ground beef or sausage, pre-cooked work in this recipe as well?

        1. We’ve actually made this with black beans too and it was awesome!! Definitely add in a can if you like them 🙂 And yes, I think ground beef would be delicious in this! Not sure about ground sausage from a flavor perspective, but it may work!

  5. Nutrition facts about these recipes would be very helpful. Needed for health reasons in fact. Please. Thank you.

    1. Sodium can very a lot by brand or if use no salt added beans, corn ,tomatoes or broth. I’m trying it tonight with no salt added beans and broth .

    1. So great to hear!! Thank you Julia! I’ve actually never frozen this soup, but I haven’t had great success with freezing and then thawing cooked quinoa in a soup so I’m not sure how it would work out. Sorry to not be of more help.

        1. You are so awesome!!! Thanks for coming back and telling your results — it helps so many people!! I appreciate it 🙂

  6. Soup was delicious! However, mine came out a little mushy in terms of the squash. I think 8 hours on low was a little too long.

    1. Glad to hear you liked it! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Yeah I’ve never had great success cooking these kinds of soups on low for long periods of time so that’s why I suggest high for a shorter period 🙂

  7. So you don’t cook the chicken or squash before you put it in? I’ve never made a slow cooker soup/chili recipe that doesn’t use already cooked and shredded chicken.

    1. Right! The chicken and squash will cook in the slow cooker which is what makes this recipe so easy!! 🙂

  8. I’m looking forward to trying this out this weekend! Just wanted to ask, I assume this recipe is for a 4qt Crockpot? I’ve got a smaller 3qt and will have to adjust it.

  9. Oh my goodness, I made this soup this week, and it is SO YUMMY! Like, honestly my new favorite soup! 🙂 So easy, so delicious, and will definitely be going on the dinner rotation over at my house!

  10. This looks so good & I love that it’s crock pot friendly! Definitely trying. I totally related to your comment about your husband – last time I made soup I ADDED meat to it but my husband said it needed more meat and sometimes he thought I was a “partial vegetarian” – after adding meat! haha. I do love how hearty the soups are with squash.

  11. I just wanted to let you know that I tried this tonight and it was excellent! I don’t like corn, so I omitted that, and I didn’t have any fajita mix, so I used a few different spices. I am not a big chili fan, so I dumbed down the “hotness” that’s really in fajita mix. I used lentils instead of rice, and I used tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes. It was really good! We have too much, so I am going to share it with the family. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. LOVE hearing all the creative ways you changed up this soup — I need to try it with lentils 🙂 Sounds awesome! Thanks for the comment!!

  12. 5 stars
    Gotta tell ya… As a hard-working single lady that spends 2-3 hours commuting for a 9+ hour work day, I love having “Crockpot Sundays” in order to keep the cooking to a minimum during the week, but I will easily get tired of eating the same thing after 4 meals…. BUT NOT THIS! SUPER YUM and SATISFYING!! Made it a few weeks ago and already planning to make it again for the short week before the holiday. Thanks for sharing!!!

  13. I tried this after finding it on Pinterest… I left out the chicken and it was still delicious! Absolutely love this flavorful, healthy, unique recipe. Delicious 🙂

  14. 5 stars
    This soup was fabulous!! I added medium salsa instead of canned tomatoes and used a blend of Tex Mex seasoning and chili powder. It had amazing flavour. Even my two and four year old boys ate it! I pureed three quarters of the squash which made it nice and creamy. I don’t think it needs any toppings. It’s great the way it is! I’ll definitely make it again. I might try sweet potatoes next time for fun. This is a good hearty winter soup. I wonder… Has anyone tried freezing it? Wondering if it would be ok? (although I’m ok with having it for leftovers for the next couple days too 😉 Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Yeah!! So great to hear 🙂 Thank you so much Krystel! 🙂 It’s the best when those little kiddos will eat it up too 🙂 I haven’t tried freezing it, so I’m not sure, but hopefully another reader can comment to that!

  15. I know I’m a little late to the original post and most comments but I just found this soup and I believe I am going to make it this weekend. I just wanted to know if it will throw off the texture if I omit beans altogether? My husband hates beans of any kind so switching them out won’t work. Is there something else I could substitute in or should I forego beans? Thanks!

    1. You can absolutely forgo them, just knowing they do add a nice texture and taste to the soup so it may seem like it’s missing something, but I’m not sure what to suggest in its place..maybe increase the quinoa by a little? Wish I could be of more help!!

  16. 5 stars
    I just made this and substituted curry for the fajita mix. Wow, fantastic! Thank you so much for posting this!! This may be my new favorite meal. I bought a big container of precut butternut squash at Costco and a quick look at Pinterest to find this recipe made a match made in heaven. Mmm.

    1. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! And precut squash sounds perfect and makes for such a simple dinner! 🙂 And YUM on the curry — I am definitely going to have to try that the next time we make this!

  17. This soup sounds delicious. Just curious if I didn’t want the squash mushy could I add it in later so it won’t cook so long? Maybe the last hour?

    1. If you put it in the last hour I believe it will still be pretty hard. It takes the squash quite a bit of time in the slow cooker to get tender enough to eat.

  18. Haven’t tried this yet but would like to know if anyone has used chicken thighs instead of breasts. Like the flavor of thighs. Thanks

  19. 5 stars
    I LOVE this soup. I made it a couple of weeks ago and I’m dying to try it again already! I was thinking about adding in some kale towards the end to switch it up and get a little more leafy greens in my diet. Any thoughts on this addition, Chelsea?

    1. SO glad to hear that! 🙂 Thank you so much for the comment! I think kale would be wonderful in it! I’d add it just the last 15-20 minutes until wilted 🙂 Enjoy!

  20. I’ve made this recipe twice now and I just love it!! I was just wondering if the nutritional facts are per serving or for the entire batch? Really hearty soup. Im obsessed!!

    1. So, so glad to hear that! Thank you so much for the comment and trying this soup Megan! 🙂 Nutrition is per serving 🙂

  21. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Just curious, in order to calculate how many weight watchers points it would be, is the nutritional facts pertaining to the whole batch or is that just one serving?

  22. Chelsea, this soup was absolutely delicious and so easy to put together! I followed the recipe as is with a tiny modification – I added a squeeze of lime along with the salt and pepper to add a nice and bright citrus note to the flavor. I will definitely be making this again! 🙂

  23. This sounds delicious! Do you think it would be ok to use chicken and squash that’s frozen. Or do you recommend dethawing first?

  24. What spices or flavors would u recommend if I didn’t want it Mexican or chili flavoring? I’m so bored of chili lately and want to make this but swap out fajita or chili spices

  25. 5 stars
    This is the best soup I’ve had in a while. I used black beans instead of kidney and loved it! The butternut squash cooked so wonderfully that the smaller pieces mashed themselves up as I stirred in the shredded chicken. Will make again, especially for my mother. Thanks so much for a great recipe!!!

    1. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed this soup Kendra! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and leave a review 🙂

  26. Just curious about your thoughts on using pre-cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken, or even canned shredded chicken? Would it change the flavor?

    1. I haven’t had success with rice cooking evenly in the crockpot, but if you cooked it separately and stirred it in I think it would be great!

      1. This is what I was coming to see! Thanks! We like quinoa but when our youngest was a child she had an anaphylactic reaction to it that ended in the hospital so we avoid quinoa 🙁

  27. 5 stars
    Love it!! Made this today as I wanted to eat something lighter and healthier after a couple days of the flu, and it was a perfect meal. My fiancé, who rarely eats soup, asked for seconds (for that alone, Thank You)! I did substitute the spices for a pinch of chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Also, I did mash some squash cubes at the end, and it was that much more scrumptious!

    Thank you!

  28. Do you think this could be cooked in the Instant Pot? I received one for Christmas and have been wanting to try it out, and this seems like the ideal recipe. Just not sure how the timing would be in the IP compared to the crockpot. Thoughts?

    1. I’m sure it could do okay in the instant pot, but I’ve never tried quinoa in one so I really have no idea on the timing or how it would work. I wish I could be of more help

  29. 4 stars
    I thought the soup was delicious but I felt like the quinoa wasn’t substantial enough…maybe ditalini pasta or hearty barley would suit me better. Also I added fresh kale in to give it a green veggie and freshness.

  30. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I roasted a chicken yesterday and just used pulled pieces of that in the soup at the very end. My quinoa soaked up most of the liquid on the high setting for 4hrs, making it more of a stew, so I just added hot chicken broth to the bowls to turn it back into a soup.

  31. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe – I made it yesterday and it’s so delicious!! So good that my husband and I stood over the slow cooker eating straight from it with spoons!

  32. 5 stars
    Outstanding flavor. I did not have corn and used pinto beans as well as leftover grilled chicken breasts cubed that I added 1/2 way through. Toco chips as a garnish was nice.

  33. 5 stars
    Love this soup! I’ve made it multiple times this fall already. It’s great with a taco seasoning packet. I also like adding 1/2 c mild salsa

  34. 5 stars
    I rarely cook but i’ve started to try and cook more, I tried this recipe and it was SO easy and tasted amazing!

    I’m wondering – has anyone tried adding more veggies into it, like carrots? I’m thinking of experimenting like that a little. Thanks!

  35. 5 stars
    Made this in the instant pot and came out great! Manual setting for 25 min. Left the quinoa out and added it at the end and reset for 3 min. Perfect!

  36. 5 stars
    We love this recipe. It’s hearty with great flavor and incredible for cold days in the Midwest. My question is have you ever made it in the instant pot, recommendations for cooking time?

    1. So happy to hear that!! Thanks Laura 🙂 I haven’t personally made it in the instant pot; hopefully some other readers can chime in!

  37. 5 stars
    I made this tonight! Very good! Thank you for a great recipe. I’ve been looking for something different and healthy and this fit the bill. One change I made was to puree the squash in a blender with the broth first then add it to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. I’m not a huge fan of squash (or vegetables in general… gasp!) but I know I’ve gotta eat more of them and this was a great way to sneak them in (for everyone in the house) 🙂

    Also, I started making the soup and thought I had an entire bag of chicken in the freezer… open up the freezer and I have NONE. Oops. I had some tenderized steaks I had no idea what to do with so I threw them in instead. Chicken would have been better I think, but it worked!

  38. 5 stars
    First: I’ve made this recipe multiple times and love it. But…
    After multiple attempts, I came to grips with the reality that using my slow cooker setting on my instantpot just isn’t a good crockpot substitute- at least with this recipe (I think it’s most likely b/c the recipe has a lot of ingredients with different densities and compositions).
    SO – Not to be discouraged, tonight I tried this recipe in my instantpot, pressure cooker setting this time, and it worked great! Here’s what I did:
    1. Made sure to put the butternut squash in first, since it’s the densest.
    2. I mixed the fajita seasoning into the chicken broth so that the seasonings would be evenly distributed throughout the broth
    3. Added the rest of the ingredients in per the instructions.
    4. Set the instant pot on manual cooking setting, on high for 23 minutes.
    5. Voila! All done in about 40 minutes (accounting for the IP to come to pressure)
    (This method does overcook the quinoa a bit, but not so much that it’s significantly different than my results with the slow cooker)

    1. Thank you so much for sharing all this!! Appreciate it and I’m sure this will help so many people trying to use an instant pot instead of a crockpot 🙂

  39. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve made it so many times and still love it. I prefer white beans so I usually use those instead and I add a diced onion, but otherwise it’s perfect! Would recommend adding sour cream, makes it nice and creamy!

  40. 5 stars
    Love love LOVE! If anyone has a smaller crockpot like me, I reduced the quinoa down to 1/2 cup and 3 cups of broth – turned out perfectly 🙂

  41. This looks fabulous! Read the comment about the quinoa and thickening the soup as it stands. Could it be made without the quinoa in the crockpot? Would you reduce liquid? Do the quinoa on the stove top and add to the bowl at time of serving?


    1. Sorry Kristin, I haven’t tested this recipe any other way so I can’t say for sure how to make it. It definitely would require less liquid in the crockpot, I’m just not sure how much less, sorry to not be of more help! But overall, your idea is great, you can certainly prepare the quinoa separately and spoon into bowls later.

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