This slow cooker turkey chili is a blend of ground turkey, beans and spices, all simmered together in a crockpot to make a hearty meal. The perfect easy dinner option that’s great for feeding a crowd!
When it’s cold outside, I turn to soup for dinner. Some of my favorite recipes include alphabet soup, chicken and wild rice soup, and this thick, rich turkey chili with the perfect amount of spice.
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
First, start by cooking ground turkey, onions and garlic in a pan. Place the turkey in a crockpot along with tomatoes, chicken broth and spices. Let the chili simmer over low heat for 6 hours. Add the beans, and cook the chili for an additional 20 minutes or until the beans are warmed through. Serve the chili with your favorite toppings and watch the rave reviews come in!
Tips for the perfect crockpot turkey chili
- I recommend using 93% lean ground turkey which is a blend of both breast and thigh meat. I find that the 99% lean ground turkey breast dries out quickly and is not as flavorful.
- This is a mild chili without much heat. If you prefer a spicy chili, you can use hot chili powder, or add in spice in another form such as a tablespoon of hot sauce or 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Chili stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, which makes this dish great for meal prep.
- I like to offer a variety of toppings with chili including shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes, tortilla strips and avocado.
- Not a fan of beans in your chili? Omit the beans and add another 1/2 pound of ground turkey instead.
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!
SLOW COOKER TURKEY CHILI VARIATIONS
This recipe is delicious as written, but you can absolutely add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: This recipe can be made with lean ground beef, ground chicken or Italian sausage. You can also use diced or shredded chicken breast, or even cubes of beef stew meat.
- Vegetables: You can add some veggies to the mix such as bell peppers, corn, diced roasted green chilies or diced zucchini.
- Beans: While kidney beans are a common ingredient in chili, you can use other types of beans such as pinto beans or Great Northern beans for a different flavor.
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
- Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken
- Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Slow cooker turkey chili video
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
- assorted toppings such as sour cream and cheese
- 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.
- Add the onion to the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Place the turkey in the slow cooker along with the 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. Add toppings if desired, then serve immediately. Recipe can be made up to two days in advance.
This post was originally published on October 29, 2017 and was updated on June 17, 2020 with new content.
What is the cook time if you split the recipe in half?
You can cook on low for 4-5 hours!
How would you modify to lower salt content?
Use low sodium tomato products, low sodium chicken broth and reduce the salt by half.
Should we use dry minced garlic or fresh minced garlic? Can’t wait to make this! Love your recipes!
Fresh minced garlic!
Can I make this recipe with frozen ground turkey or do I need to thaw it first?!
I’d thaw it if possible, otherwise it would be difficult to break it up in the pan!
Do I drain the tomatoes??
You do not need to drain them!
How many calories in a serving size? And what is a serving size?
A serving is 1 1/2 cups, the nutritional information is listed at the bottom of the recipe!
What happens if you accidentally put the beans in at the same time and cook for 6 hours on low?😬
It’ll be ok the beans will just be very soft!