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.

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A bowl of slow cooker turkey chili topped with sour cream and cheese.

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.

Ground turkey and onions in a slow cooker.

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.

Turkey, tomatoes and spices in a crockpot.

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!

Kidney beans and chili in a slow cooker.


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.

A ladle serving up a portion of slow cooker turkey chili.

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 turkey chili video

5 from 35 votes

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of slow cooker turkey chili topped with sour cream and cheese.
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!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 15 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 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.


Adapted from Cooking Classy.


Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 614mg | Potassium: 575mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1165IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2.4mg

This post was originally published on October 29, 2017 and was updated on June 17, 2020 with new content.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Question about meal prep. Can all the ingredients be prepped in a freezer bag the night before and then put in slow cooker the next day? Wasn’t sure about the cooked meat being put in the fridge and then cooked again in the slower cooker, however, I’d have a hard time finding time to cook the meat in the morning to put in the slow cooker on on a weeknight.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi is it ok to use unsweetened cocoa and also I started late can i cook the recipe on high as well and if so how long? Thanks so much can’t wait to eat this

  3. 5 stars
    I could eat this every night of the week, it’s THAT good! I made a toppings bar for my family to load up on when serving. It was a hit!

  4. 5 stars
    Such a delicious recipe. I left out the cocoa and the sugar and served it over rice. Highly recommended for even a novice home cook.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe, but I think you may need to adjust your portion yield for the nutrition facts provided. 2pounds of turkey for 6 servings is over 200kcal alone. The calorie tracker I personally use (lose it) estimates the total calories at roughly 435kcal/serving if dividing it into 6 portions. Hopefully you get it corrected so all that enjoy this recipe will be able to accurately estimate calories/ nutrients consumed. I really liked the flavors, and plan to make it again. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Made it and family loved it! My son, 18, prefers minced beef but enjoy the thought of having leaner meat. So, yes, would make it again !

  7. 5 stars
    This looks like a delicious lower calorie chili recipe . I’d never think to use cocoa powder! I’ll have to try that. I put some honey in mine to add a tad of sweetness.