Turkey Butternut Squash Chili

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You know Thanksgiving is near when you taste this warm hearty chili packed with fall fresh butternut squash, kale, and turkey patties. This delicious chili is filling but also packed with healthy greens and lean protein.

creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme, kale, and peppers in a white bowl on a table

Bright Fall Fresh Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili 

Chili is one of my family’s favorite fall and winter dinners. As much as I love beef chili, I created this recipe out of a desire to incorporate fresh seasonal produce from my local farmer’s market and pay tribute to the Thanksgiving turkey. 

This butternut squash and turkey chili has become a family favorite and is a great way to repurpose leftover turkey into a lighter meal that will help you get back on your feet (and your diet) after turkey day.

creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme, kale, and peppers in a white bowl on a table

How to Make Turkey Butternut Squash Chili

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil – Olive oil helps the vegetables brown without burning or sticking to the pot. Feel free to use your favorite cooking oil. 
  • Onion, Carrot, Celery – these three create what is known as the “holy trinity” in cooking. I love the savory richness this classic mirepoix adds to soups but feel free to use as many or as little vegetables as you like.
  • Garlic – garlic has a sweet aromatic flavor when cooked which makes it an ideal base for soups especially chili. 
  • Thyme – thyme has a sharp, earthy, and spicy intense flavor, fresh is best. 
  • Butternut Squash – butternut squash is the star of the show here. It has a rich, creamy, sweet flavor that is ideal for soups and stews. Peel it and remove the seeds before cutting it up. See FAQs for alternatives. 
  • Great northern beans – great northern beans make the soup extra hearty. Feel free to use whatever beans you have on hand as long as they are precooked (not dry). 
  • Turkey sausage patties – fully cooked crumbled turkey sausage patties add a rich protein to this chili and some fat that will enhance the chicken broth. You can also use any ground turkey, just make sure you cook it before adding it to the chili. 
  • Chicken broth –  I use chicken broth here to thin the chili, if you want to adjust the consistency do so with chicken broth, not the heavy cream. 
  • Heavy cream – heavy cream adds a critical creaminess and richness to the soup. 
  • Kale – kale adds a bit of freshness and crunch. I’m using traditional kale but tuscan would also be delicious– just make sure to remove the stems before you chop it. 

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:

  • Step 1 – Heat a pot on the stove on medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pot and saute until softened. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes until they are fragrant, stirring occasionally. 
  • Step 2 – Add the butternut squash, chicken broth, turkey patties, and beans. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. You should be able to put a fork easily through the butternut squash. 
  • Step 3 – Stir in the heavy cream and kale and cook until the kale is wilted, about 2 minutes. 
  • Step 4 – Top your chili with your favorite garnishes and enjoy! 
creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme, kale, and peppers in a white bowl on a table

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili:

See these tips and tricks for ways to enhance your butternut squash and turkey chili.

Deglaze the pan with dry white wine. If you want to level up your chili, add a few tablespoons of any dry white wine to the pot after you have browned the vegetables, before you add the stock, and wait a few minutes stirring occasionally until it has absorbed into the vegetables. 

Spice it up. If you want to make this chili spicy I recommend adding a few squirts of Sriracha or any hot sauce before serving. 


What does the butternut squash add to the chili?

Butternut squash adds a sweet and nutty flavor to the chili, and it also adds a nice texture.

Can I substitute ground beef for the turkey?

Yes, you can substitute ground beef for the turkey if you prefer.

How long does the chili need to simmer?

The chili should simmer for about 30-40 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Can I make this chili ahead of time?

Yes, this chili can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. It also reheats well.

What can I serve with butternut squash and turkey chili?

You can serve this chili with toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and diced avocado. It also goes well with cornbread or crusty bread.

What can I substitute for the butternut squash? – If you don’t have butternut squash on hand you can substitute an equal amount of diced sweet potato for a similar result. 

What’s the best way to keep leftovers? Leftover chili will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme, kale, and peppers in a white bowl on a table

What to serve with Turkey Butternut Squash Chili?

I love this chili served with Easy Jalapeno Cheddar Bread (sweetcsdesigns.com) Crunchy Lemon Parmesan Salad – Sweet Cs Designs Easy Sour Cream Cornbread Recipe – Sweet Cs Designs

If you like this butternut squash and turkey chili you will also love, The Best Slow Cooker Chili Recipe – Sweet Cs Designs Slow Cooker Olive Chicken Recipe – Sweet Cs Designs Creamy Keto White Chicken Chili Recipe – Sweet Cs Designs

 creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme, kale, and peppers in a white bowl on a table

Turkey Butternut Squash Chili Recipe 

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creamy turkey and butternut squash chili with carrots, thyme,, kale and peppers in a white bowl on a table

Turkey Butternut Squash Chili

Creamy rich turkey chili with squash is a delicious herb infused dinner for a cozy night in.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Keyword #chili, hearty soup, leftover turkey, turkey soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 320kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
  • 2 cups butternut squash diced
  • 1 can great northern beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 package 10 ounces fully cooked turkey sausage patties, crumbled
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped kale


  • Add the olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven set over medium heat. 
  • Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 
  • Next add the garlic and thyme and cook for an additional minute. 
  • Add the butternut squash, great northern beans, turkey sausage, and chicken both. 
  • Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Add the heavy cream and chopped kale and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or unil the kale is wilted. 
  • Serve the chili topped with your favorite garnishes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 910mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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