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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

4.98 from 734 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 lean ground turkey
  • 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 lean 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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145 Comments

  1. I made this for our Halloween Truck or treat.
    I used turkey for my daughter-in-law who doesn’t eat beef, but my beef loving husband said it was the best one there. It is indeed Award Winning! Next time I will double the recipe.

  2. I usually don’t do this with a new-to-me recipe, but I made a GIGANTIC batch of this chili using 1lb bags of white, black and pinto beans. (Love that you can scale up the recipe before printing!). We used less turkey than called for and substituted a couple of cans of Rotel for the chilis. Oh, also, used no salt added tomatoes and Rotel. We had a great dinner and now I have a freezer full of chili for chilly fall nights coming up. Thank you!

  3. Love this recipe! Made it here in Michigan on a beautiful fall football Sunday  yesterday.

    Today I made a triple batch to freeze and send with my husband when he heads to Fort Myers later this week with our camper for his friends to live in while they rebuild. This was so easy and fast that it made the perfect dish to send with some supplies.l to friends in need. Thanks for helping me help others!! 

  4. This is the only chili recipe I use! We absolutely love it!  Only thing I do different is I use 2 cans of tri-beans and I omit the green chiles because of my kiddos. 

  5. How did you calculate the nutritional information? My calorie tracking app (Lose It!) calculated something MUCH different – and I’m worried about the high sodium content per serving (1220 mg) as that is half of the recommended daily sodium intake. It’s also calculating it as 305 calories compared to your 119. I set it as 5 servings made, and adjusted it to 6 to reduce it. I even used low sodium canned beans/tomatoes. My turkey was a 93% lean cut.

    1. The nutrition info is automatically calculated based on the ingredients. If you need accurate info for your personal use then definitely use your own preferred method for obtaining that.