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This hearty turkey chili recipe uses lean ground turkey, tender beans, tomatoes, and chili seasoning, all simmered into a saucy chili fit for any appetite.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Ground turkey chili is as flavorful and comforting as a classic beef chili.
- Uses simple, budget-friendly, ingredients.
- Easy recipe for any cooking level.
- Can be made using the stove, slow cooker, or Instant Pot.
- Easily customized with recipe variations.
- Freeze and reheat for convenience.
- Great for busy weeknights, family dinner, and game day.
Ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe below.
- olive oil - You can use your preferred cooking oil.
- onions - Use white, red, or yellow onions for this recipe.
- garlic - Fresh garlic cloves are a priority for any chili recipe. Use as much as your heart desires.
- ground turkey - I prefer 93% lean ground turkey, but any fat content will work for this recipe.
- chili seasoning - You can never go wrong with the ample amount of chili powder, cumin, and paprika in this recipe. Of course, feel free to customize!
- salt and pepper - These bring all of the flavors together, especially salt, so I recommend adjusting it to taste by adding more before serving.
- canned crushed tomatoes - Use any canned tomatoes such as whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes (keep juice and add it as the same time).
- tomato paste - This helps thicken the chili and adds a deep tomato flavor.
- chicken broth - Any cooking liquid can be used.
- 3 beans - Beans add volume, flavor, fiber, and nutrition. Use my three-bean combination or go with classic kidney beans. It's customizable!
How to make turkey chili
Enjoy these step-by-step stove method photos. You'll find Instant Pot and slow cooker instructions in the turkey chili recipe below.
Step 1. Sauté onions and garlic over medium-high heat until golden brown and tender, stirring as needed. Add ground turkey. Sauté until turkey is mostly cooked through, stirring as needed.
Step 2. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the ground turkey is well-coated and chili seasoning is fragrant, stirring as needed.
Step 3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and broth. Increase heat to HIGH and bring chili to a boil for a few minutes, stirring as needed. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer chili until it thickens to your liking, stirring as needed.
Serve turkey chili warm. Of course it's even better with homemade cornbread. Add your favorite toppings and devour!
Recipe testing notes
- The longer you saute onions, the more colorful and flavorful they'll become. This is one of my flavoring secrets for the best turkey chili.
- I find that cooked ground turkey yields very little excess grease, regardless of fat content, which makes for easy cleanup since you likely won't need to drain it off.
- The total cook time varies by cooking method. Stove and Instant Pot turkey chili take about 35 minutes whereas the slow cooker method takes 2 hours minimum.
Turkey chili recipe variations
- Add more volume, texture, and flavor to this chili by dicing and sauteing 2 celery ribs and 1 bell pepper with the onions.
- I love the combination of kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans in this recipe. Of course, any beans can be used in turkey chili.
- Using corn in turkey chili adds texture, volume, and a hint of sweetness. Add 1 ½ cups canned, fresh, or frozen corn at the same time beans are added.
- Create an even more complex chili flavor by adding 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder along with the other seasonings.
- Substitute ¾ cup of broth with a 12-ounce beer. Note: dark beer creates a beautiful, dark colored chili.
- Make this turkey chili spicy by adding 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper with the other chili seasonings. Of course, these can also be added to taste upon serving.
Can you freeze turkey chili?
Yes! In fact, freezing turkey chili is a great make-ahead strategies because it's so convenient to have homemade comfort food on hand at all times! To do so, allow chili to cool completely and freeze in airtight containers or ziptop freezer bags up to 90 days, or longer in vacuum sealer bags.
Recommended chili recipes
Chili lovers! Check out this scrumptious white chicken chili. It's so good, it appeared in a celebrity chili cookbook! If you're looking for a meatless alternative, this lentil chili and 3 bean vegan chili will satisfy the whole family, especially on busy weeknights!
Easy Turkey Chili Recipe
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 medium Onion diced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 pound Uncooked Lean Ground Turkey
- ¼ cup Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 (28-ounce can) Crushed Tomatoes or other canned tomatoes
- ½ (6-ounce can) Tomato Paste
- 3 (15-ounce cans) Beans (any kind) rinsed and drained
- 2 cups Chicken Broth or preferred cooking liquid
- 4-quart soup pot or 6 quart Instant Pot
Stove instructions (see footnotes for Instant Pot and Crockpot methods)
- Heat OLIVE OIL in pot on medium-high heat.
- Add ONIONS and sauté until tender. Stir in GARLIC and sauté until fragrant, stirring as needed.
- Add GROUND TURKEY and continue sauteing until turkey is mostly cooked through, stirring as needed.
- Stir in CHILI POWDER, CUMIN, PAPRIKA, SALT, and PEPPER. Saute a few minutes until ground turkey is coated and seasonings are fragrant.
- Add TOMATOES (with juice), TOMATO PASTE, BEANS, and BROTH. Stir everything to combine.
- Increase heat to HIGH long enough to bring chili to a boil for a few minutes, stirring as needed.
- Reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer until chili thickens to your liking, stirring as needed.
Storage and Reheat Instructions
- Store chili in an airtight container up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.To thaw, transfer frozen chili from freezer to refrigerator 24-48 hours before reheating and serving.Reheat chili via microwave in a heat-safe container, or on the stove. Add a little water to the chili if it's too thick.
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