This turkey chili is a blend of ground turkey, tomatoes, spices and beans, all simmered together to make a delicious and hearty meal. A lighter version of the classic chili that’s easy to make and always gets rave reviews!
I love a piping hot bowl of chili during the cold weather months, and this turkey chili is one of my all time favorites. It’s got the perfect amount of flavorings, yet won’t weigh you down. Best of all, the prep time is minimal!
How do you make turkey chili?
Start by cooking ground turkey and onions in a pot until the meat is cooked through and the onions are softened. Add the garlic to the pot, along with tomatoes, chicken broth and a variety of spices. Let the mixture come to a simmer, and cook until just thickened. Stir in the beans, then simmer the chili for a few more minutes. Serve the chili and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect chili
- I recommend using 93% lean ground turkey which is a blend of both white and dark meat. I find that the 99% lean turkey breast dries out quickly and is not as flavorful.
- This is a mild chili. If you prefer a spicy chili, you can use hot chili powder, or add in spice in another form such as hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes.
- Chili stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, which makes this recipe perfect for meal prep.
- I like to offer a variety of toppings with chili, such as 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.
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 also works with ground beef, ground chicken or sausage. You can also use diced or shredded chicken breast, or even steak.
- Vegetables: You can add some veggies to the mix such as bell peppers, corn, roasted green chilies or zucchini.
- Beans: While kidney beans are a common addition to chili, you can use other types of beans such as pinto beans or Great Northern beans.
What do you serve with turkey chili?
This chili is hearty enough to stand on its own as main course. The most common accompaniment to chili is cornbread. I recommend serving my honey cornbread, or you can buy some at the store if you’re short on time. Other great options include buttermilk biscuits or garlic bread. I also typically serve a simple green salad for a little freshness and nutrition. Of course, you’ll also want to offer up plenty of toppings for your chili.
How can you make chili more flavorful?
There are a variety of ingredients you can add to turkey chili to amp up the flavor.
- Espresso powder
- Dried chilies such as ancho, chipotle, cascabel or guajillo
Can you freeze chili?
This turkey chili is a great candidate for the freezer. Freeze your chili in an airtight container or gallon sized bag for up to 3 months. Thaw the bag overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat the chili on the stove top until warmed through.
Slow cooker chili
You can easily adapt this recipe to make it slow cooker friendly. Brown the turkey and onions on the stove, then place them in a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans, and reduce the chicken broth to 3/4 cup. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Add the beans, then cook for another 20 minutes before serving.
Once you try this turkey chili, you’ll find that it becomes part of your regular meal rotation. It’s mild enough for the kids, yet flavorful enough for the adults, and it will please even the biggest appetites.
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Turkey Chili Video
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lbs ground turkey 93% lean
- 3/4 cup onion finely diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt divided use
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper divided use
- 2 15 ounce cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- Toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and tortilla strips
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot 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, for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chili has thickened.
- Add the kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice.