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This award winning Turkey Chili is thick and hearty and bursting with flavor.  This healthier chili recipe is loaded with tender beans, lean ground turkey, and the perfect blend of spice.

Bowl filled with turkey chili, topped with sour cream, onion and cheese.


 

All about this healthy Turkey Chili..

This is my all time favorite recipe when it comes to chili. I love the ease of my 20 minute Texas Chili, but I think I love the combination of flavors and textures in this chili even more.

It’s the same recipe that I use in my Easy Chili Recipe, except in that version I use ground beef. It’s the same recipe, except here, we’re using ground Turkey to make it lighter!

Ingredients Needed:

Ingredients needed to make turkey chili laid out on the counter.

Notes on some ingredients:

  • Ground Turkey: this can be substituted for ground chicken or beef if needed.
  • Green chiles: these add a very mild flavor. If you would prefer more heat in your chili you can use a jalapeno instead.
  • Black beans & kidney beans: canned beans work great in this recipe. You can always swap out the beans for another kind if you would prefer.

How to make (step-by-step)

How to make turkey chili, dutch oven showing ground turkey and onion cooked, then additional ingredients being added.

On the Stovetop:

  • Step 1: Add the meat to a large pot or dutch oven. As the turkey is cooking, add the chopped onion to cook also. Once the meat is cooked and the onion is softened, drain any excess moisture. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Step 2: Add all the other ingredients. Bring the chili to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Serve and top with all your favorite toppings!
How to make turkey chili in a slow cooker, cooking the meat in the skillet, then adding the ingredients to the slow cooker.

In the slow cooker:

  1. Step 1: Cook the meat: even though this is a slow cooker recipe we want to cook the meat first in a skillet. Along with the onions to soften them. Then we can add that to the slow cooker.
  2. Step 2: Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker. Then we can let this cook together for the rest of the day.

Expert Tips:

  • Cut the sugar: You can leave out the brown sugar if desired, to cut out sugars of course. I do like adding the sugar because it helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Another option would be to use honey instead, or substitute with a coconut sugar. 
  • Sneak in some Vegetables: add in some additional veggies if you want! Some great options are corn, peppers, diced zucchini, diced sweet potato, or butternut squash. If adding in fresh veggies, add them in the last 30 minutes of cooking in the slow cooker, that way they don’t get too mushy. 
Pot filled with cooked turkey chili, topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.

FAQ’s:

Can I substitute ground beef or another meat for Turkey?

Yes, absolutely. You can substitute the turkey for a ground beef, pork, or chicken.

Can I use leftover chopped turkey?

Yes! In this case the meat would already be cooked, so you would just need to sauté the onion and start from there. Add the shredded or cubed meat in with all the other remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

Favorite topping ideas:

One of the best parts about any chili recipe is being able to customize with your favorite toppings! When serving a large pot of chili for dinner for the family, or if you’re expecting company, creating a topping bar is a great idea. This way everyone can top their bowl with what they enjoy. Some ideas are:

  • Cheese: of course, shredded cheese is a must when having chili! Some mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, pepperjack, or Monterey Jack are all great options. 
  • Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt: the cold creamy tang of either of these options contrasts with the warm heat of the chili and is typically welcomed! 
  • Onions: chop up some white onion or slice some green onion to go on top for a fresh flavor. 
  • Cilantro: always a win with Tex Mex lovers. 
  • Chips: some fresh homemade tortilla chips, or Fritos pair perfectly with this thick chili. 
  • Tortillas: I personally love having a fresh stack of flour tortillas with my chili. 
  • Avocado: another creamy option that helps take off some of the heat of the chili 
  • Hot sauce: for those that need even more heat! 
Up close look at turkey chili, showing chunks of ground turkey and beans

Serve this chili with:

More Chili and Soup Recipes:

Award Winning Turkey Chili

4.99 from 663 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 hours 25 minutes
Total: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Author: Serene
This healthy turkey chili recipe is thick and hearty and bursting with flavor. Loaded with lean ground turkey, tender beans and the perfect spice blend.
Serving of turkey chili in a white bowl.

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound turkey ground
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 (15 ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce can) diced tomato
  • 1 (7 ounce can) diced green chiles
  • 1 (15 ounce can) kidney beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce can) black beans drained, rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Toppings

  • sour cream
  • cheese shredded
  • green onion sliced

Instructions 

Slow Cooker

  • Add the ground turkey, and onion to a medium size skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the turkey is completely cooked. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Remove from heat and add to the crockpot.
  • Add in all the other ingredients, stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 4-6 hours.

Stovetop

  • Add the meat to a large pot or dutch oven. As the turkey is cooking, add the chopped onion to cook and soften.
  • Once the meat is cooked and the onion is softened, drain any excess moistureAdd the garlic and allow it to cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add all the other ingredients. Bring the chili to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Serve and top with all your favorite toppings!

Video

Notes

Chili Powder: Start with 1 tbsp and add more to taste. 
Storage:
  • How to Freeze this turkey chili: let the chili cool to room temperature. Add to a freezer safe container. Store in the freezer for 3-4 months. To reheat, thaw the chili in the refrigerator overnight, pour into a large pot and heat over medium heat for 20 minutes, until warmed through. 
  • Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 995IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first posted November 21, 2014. Updated on February 27 with new photos and video. Recipe is unchanged, but instructions for stovetop were added.


Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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120 Comments

  1. Big hit with the wife and teens. I added some white corn (good but could have done without) and also about 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (highly recommend). If you don’t have that you can use apple pie spice or allspice.
    Made a “chili bar” on our kitchen island with about 6 or 7 toppings to choose from: (Freshly shredded cheddar, fine chopped white onion, cubed avocado, green onion, Fritos, sour cream, Texas pete).
    Also served with warm Jiffy cornbread muffins and butter.

    1. This chili is a hit in our house, easy to make in the slow cooker and tastes delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Making for the first time tomorrow but I know it’s great as it’s from a friend and I am making it for her and her family tomorrow 😊

    Is it okay if doubling that I don’t have things exactly doubled in measurement such as the diced tomatoes and green chilies? I’ll have a little less; could I add a can of tomato paste? Do you think adding chicken broth would taste good? I made a beef chili usually that has chicken broth in it but I’m nervous to deviate too much from your recipe. If I added chicken broth and/or a can of tomato paste, would I add more spices to make up for there being less green chilies?

    1. You just want to make sure you have enough liquid for the chili, you could do a mixture of some chicken broth with a little bit of tomato paste to make up for any missing tomato sauce. To make up for the green chiles, you could add a fresh bell pepper or jalapeno if you would prefer. But you don’t need to add any additional spices, the green chiles don’t add enough heat or spice that it will be missed.

    1. I would add the sweet potatoes with the other ingredients after the turkey has been cooked. You may possibly need to add a little bit of broth for extra moisture, and simmer for at least 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

  3. This is my go to chili recipe. I add frozen corn and diced green peppers and fresh red pepper, swap out some of the black beans for garbanzo and use chipotle chili powder. It’s a hit in my house!!

  4. This recipe was amazingly delicious! Even my wife enjoyed it, and she is not a huge chili fan. We added, corn, jalapeños for spice, and left out the sugar and it came out great. This is getting added to our meal rotation for sure; thank you so much!