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!
You can never go wrong with a bowl of soup on a cold day, whether it’s cheeseburger soup, alphabet soup, or this super flavorful turkey chili.
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.
More delicious soup recipes
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.
My kids are not fans of chunky tomatoes. Do you think it would be okay to leave them out? Would it be wise to add an additional can of tomato sauce as a substitute? Thanks so much!
I think it’s fine to use an extra can of sauce instead!
We like flavor and spice, we browned the ground turkey- added dash of soy sauce for a deeper beef flavor. Browned the onions, toasted 3T chili powder, 2T Pasilla ground chili, 3t ground cumin, 3t Mexican oregano- you have to brown/toast these spices to get aromatic. Add the remaining Ingreds and 1 Minced jalapeño, for a Southwestern twist you can add 1T corn masa. Serve with fresh avocado, cilantro on top
Have you ever done this in a crock pot? What would your recommendations be if I were to cook it that way?
Here is my crock pot version: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/slow-cooker-turkey-chili/
My husband says this is the best chili I’ve ever made (over 35 years of marriage). I haven’t told him it’s made with ground turkey instead of beef. I just added one can of drained and rinsed chili beans. Cornmeal muffins for a side dish and dinner is ready!
This turkey chili was absolutely delicious and really easy to put together. We loved it! I added a little spaghetti since it contains some Cincinnati chili spices and it was even better than Cincy’s best!
Yes this is the only recipe that is on point with the taste I enjoy. I add my Jasmine Rice and cornbread and I’m good.The spaghetti sauce sounds tempting ! Enjoy.
I make the all the time so decided time to let you know how much we love this recipe.
I’ve had lots of success with all of your other recipes I have tried so I decided to try this one. So glad I did! This is the BEST turkey chili recipe I have ever eaten. I tossed in a can of corn, and didn’t have any sugar on hand so I used honey for a replacement, you can’t even tell I used it. The seasoning combo is what makes it so good. I will be filing this recipe along with the rest of yours that we love. Thank you so much for sharing. 😁
We love this chili and its turned into a staple at our house. Absolutely delicious! I’m curious why the salt and pepper are split up and added at two different times in the recipe. What does that do for the recipe? Whatever it is, it works. Thanks.
Can I use 1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans?
Yes that should be fine!
The flavor on this chili was just perfect! bI served it with toppings and it was so much fun to ear!
This recipe was excellent the only differences were less salt and adding some adobe sauce and a little ground Chipotle pepper.It was delicious Thankyou
Excellent chili recipe,I used ground beef, bacon and turkey sausage! I made a low carb cornbread with it. Definitely a keeper!
How much is a serving size? A cup? 2 cups?
1 1/2 cups!
Thanks!! I made it and it was delicious!
I typically am not a fan of chili but my husband had a craving for it so I tried this chili recipe and now I love it! But probably will only ever like this recipe of chili. Not too spicy either which was great!