This slow cooker turkey chili is a hearty and easy meal that will get rave reviews! It’s full of lean ground turkey, beans, tomatoes and plenty of spices. Serve with cornbread for a complete meal.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase: this slow cooker turkey chili is the best chili I’ve ever made. The meat is tender, it’s thick and hearty, the heat level is perfect, and there’s a huge depth of flavor from all the different spices. It’s the perfect meal for a cold day with minimal prep work.
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
The first step in the process is to brown the ground turkey. I know that most people don’t like to pre-brown their meat before adding it to a slow cooker, but in this case it’s necessary because the meat needs to be broken up into smaller pieces before it hits the crockpot. For this recipe, you want the dark meat ground turkey which is typically labeled as 93% lean. Don’t use ground turkey breast here as it will dry out. The turkey is combined with tomatoes and lots of spices and then slow cooked to tender perfection. I add the beans at the end just to warm them though, since they’re pre-cooked, if you add them at the beginning they might get mushy. This recipe is written for a mild chili, but if you like a spicy chili, you can add some cayenne, crushed pepper flakes or use a hot chili powder.
How to Serve your Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
As much as I love this turkey chili as-is, it’s even better with lots of toppings. Some topping ideas are shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes and bacon. If you like crunch, add some tortilla strips or oyster crackers! This chili is hearty enough to serve as a complete meal, but I often serve it with a side of my famous honey cornbread for an extra special dinner.
Make Ahead Instructions
This recipe makes a lot of chili! I typically make the full batch and freeze half for another night by simply placing it in a resealable gallon sized freezer bag. This slow cooker turkey chili will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also make the chili up to 2 days before you plan to serve it; it actually gets more flavorful on the second day because the spices have had even more time to meld. The leftovers also make for a great lunch!
If you’re a chili fan, you’ll also want to check out my comprehensive list of the best 75 Slow Cooker Chili Recipes on the internet, with tons of different ideas for you to choose from!
More amazing slow cooker recipes
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 lbs ground turkey 93% lean
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt divided use
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the turkey and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until turkey is browned and cooked through.
- Place the turkey in the slow cooker along with the onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Stir to combine, then cook on LOW for 6 hours. Add the beans and cook for an additional 20 minutes until beans are warmed through. Serve immediately. Recipe can be made up to one day in advance.