Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash

Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash ~ fall is finally in the air and I’m celebrating with the perfect meal for a chilly (pun intended) night. I’m using acorn squash as healthy little edible bowls for my meaty chili recipe!

This is such a fun way to serve chili, and makes the dinner a lot healthier, too, because acorn squash is bursting with vitamins and fiber ~ and this will no doubt be the prettiest chili you’ve ever served!

Any chili recipe will do here, I’ve given you my basic formula, but you might want to try my EASY MEAT LOVERS CHILI,ย  or my FILET MIGNON CHILI instead. If you’re a chili head, you’ll want my HATCH PEPPER CHILE, and, of course, a vegetarian chili would be great, too. I’m working on a bean lovers chili, so stay tuned.

I bake the acorn squash halves for about 45 minutes, or until tender when I prick the flesh with the tip of a sharp knife. they’re soft enough so that when you eat, you can easily scoop bit of squash along with your chili. The combination is really delicious.

I’ll fill them with a big ladleful of hot chili, and then top with cheese before putting them back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and heat through. Note that you want a fairly thick chili for this dish.

4 ways to thicken chili ~

  • You can add masa harina (a finely ground corn dough) or fine cornmeal at the end of the cooking time. Sprinkle it directly into the chili and stir well. Masa harina is my preferred method, and the one I use in this recipe. I think it adds an authentic flavor to the chili.
  • Mix 1/4 cup water with 2 Tbsp flour and stir into the chili. You can also use cornstarch or arrowroot.
  • Mash up some of the beans, this will have a natural thickening effect. I like to add extra beans if I do this, since I love the texture of the whole beans.
  • Let the chili cook longer with the lid off to evaporate some of the liquid.

I top my chili stuffed acorn squash with minced red onion, black olives, sliced green onion, and some fresh cilantro.

Some other acorn squash recipes to check out ~

4 from 6 votes

Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash

Course entree
Yield 8 servings
Calories 193kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 acorn squash halved and seeds scooped out
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • salt and pepper to taste

chili (note: you will have leftover chili)

  • 1 pound ground beef of your choice
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces beer or beef stock
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder more to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 15 ounce can of pinto or white beans drained and rinsed
  • 4 ounce can of diced green chilis
  • 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or Worcestershire sauce for a umami boost
  • 2-3 Tbsp masa harina optional, for thickening the chili
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese use more if you like it extra cheesy


  • sliced olives
  • cilantro leaves
  • sliced green onion
  • minced red onion


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Brush the squash halves with one tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.
  • Brown the ground beef in a large heavy bottomed pot, and then remove to a plate.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and saute the onions and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beer to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute or two to reduce it down a bit, and then add the meat, tomatoes, and spices. Give everything a good stir and bring up to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the beans and chilies and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle the masa harina into the chili and stir well. Continue to simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Check the seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Ladle some chili into each acorn squash half and top with cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Top with garnishes and serve.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 193kcal
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • Stuff other smaller squash for this recipe, including delicata, spaghetti, or small pumpkins.
  • Another option is to add roasted cubed winter squash to the chili, instead of doing the stuffed bowls. That way you’ll still get that lovely combination of flavors and textures.


Don’t forget to pin this Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash

Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash ~ fall is finally in the air and I'm celebrating with the perfect meal for a chilly night. I'm using acorn squash as healthy little bowls for my best chili recipe! #chili #wintersquash #acornsquash #stuffedsquash #dinner #fall #healthychili #beef #groundbeef #falldinner #bestchili #glutenfree



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Robert LaFaye
    May 15, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    This was awesome. I too like masa harina as a thickening agent and for tortillas that were really good with this.
    Being a guy with a cast iron stomach I did add some more chile peppers. I’m also going to do this on my gas grill with some wood chips I grill veggies all the time so I think this would be good. Great dish

    • Reply
      May 16, 2019 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Robert! I have a cast iron stomach too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Melissa Griffiths
    October 28, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I love acorn squash and I’m loving the idea of serving chili in it! Looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    October 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

    OMGeee Sue ! I absolutely love winter squash and chili together. The way you’ve put it together is just gorgeous… and this way too, I’d eat more veggies ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m 100% with you on the masa harina! It takes chili to a whole new level! Gorgeous work my dear! xo

    • Reply
      October 27, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Traci ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I have a lonely acorn squash in my fridge and now I know exactly what to do with it! Thank you for the great idea.

    • Reply
      October 27, 2017 at 9:28 am


  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    October 27, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Such a great dinner idea! Perfect for this time of year and so much fun in the squash ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      October 27, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Jennifer ~ I’m always looking for ways to tie winter squash and beef together in recipes, I love the combination ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    October 27, 2017 at 8:28 am

    We love chilli and using squash as the serving bowl is just fun!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    October 27, 2017 at 4:47 am

    YUM! I bet all these flavors are wonderful together. Great idea – and so hearty too!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    October 27, 2017 at 4:16 am

    This is a wonderful idea Sue. I love chili WITH squash but never thought of eating it IN squash. Brilliant!

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