My favorite chili recipe updated with ground turkey! This easy, healthy Turkey Chili recipe will keep you full without weighing you down.
After eating turkey tacos exclusively for years now, I decided I would try making chili with turkey.
And I’m so glad I did! This is one of those miraculous instances where ground turkey is as good as, or even better than, ground beef.
How to Make Turkey Chili
You start by sweating out your veggies. Normally I use bell peppers in my chili, but I decided to use celery in this version.
Next, add spices (including ¼ cup chili powder). ¼ cup, yes. It’s not a typo. However, when I say chili powder, I mean the Americanized blend that has a variety of spices in it, NOT just straight ground red chilis.
I once bought “chili powder” from an international foods market, and it was just ground-up chilies. AKA cayenne pepper. If that’s what you have, NO, don’t use ¼ cup. Unless you love it. :)
Stir in the ground turkey and cook mostly through. Finally stir in beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree. Simmer 30 minutes! Done.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped (see note 1)
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (see note 2)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 (15.5 ounce) cans kidney beans drained and rinsed (see note 3)
- 2 (10 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles undrained (see note 4)
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée
- 1 bay leaf
- shredded cheese and sour cream and scallions, for serving
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and scallions.
- Bell peppers: Or add or substitute carrots, celery, corn, or zucchini.
- Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
- Kidney beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 1 can (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney.
- Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes are good, too.
- Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings, about 2 quarts chili.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
- Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Instant Pot: Sauté the onions, peppers, spices, garlic, and turkey in an Instant Pot until the turkey is browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf and mix well. Cook on manual or high pressure for 10 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done.
- Slow cooker: At the end of step 2, transfer the cooked turkey mixture to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 3, cover and cook the chili on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
- More toppings: Cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado, fresh cilantro, minced onion, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.