Turkey Chili Recipe

When the weather starts to get chilly, nothing beats a comforting bowl of turkey chili.

Turkey chili sitting in a yellowish green bowl. You can see sour cream in the middle, and green onions on top. You can also see a cinnamon roll on the side of it.

This dish is not only delicious and filling but also healthy, offering a lighter alternative to traditional beef chili without sacrificing depth or richness.

Whether you’re feeding a crowd during game day or looking for a satisfying weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy, this turkey chili recipe is sure to become a go-to in your culinary repertoire.

turkey chili

What Makes This So Great?

Turkey chili is a fantastic dish for several reasons. Firstly, it’s packed with lean protein from the ground turkey, making it a great option for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. Additionally, the combination of kidney beans, vegetables, and a rich tomato base contributes to a hearty and nutritious meal that’s both fiber-rich and flavorful. The spices and seasonings bring warmth and complexity, making each spoonful a delightful experience. This chili is also incredibly versatile, easy to make, and can be customized to suit various dietary needs and preferences.


What Kitchen Items Do You Need To Make This?

To whip up this delicious turkey chili, you’ll need a few basic kitchen tools:

  • Large skillet or Dutch oven: This will be used to cook the turkey and vegetables before combining them with the beans and tomatoes.
  • Wooden spoon: Essential for stirring, ensuring that your ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For accurately measuring your ingredients, especially the seasonings, to get the perfect flavor balance.
  • Knife and cutting board: For chopping vegetables.
  • Can opener: Necessary for opening canned ingredients like kidney beans and crushed tomatoes.

What Ingredients Are Needed For This Recipe?

Here’s what you’ll need to gather to make this hearty turkey chili:

  • Olive oil: For sautéing the turkey and vegetables.
  • Ground turkey: The star of the dish, providing a lean protein base.
  • Onion: Adds sweetness and depth to the chili.
  • Green pepper: Brings a mild, sweet flavor and a bit of crunch.
  • Jalapeno: For a kick of heat; you can adjust the amount to your taste preference.
  • Garlic: Just a clove or two for a hint of pungency.
  • Kidney beans: Adds texture and fiber, making the chili more filling.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Create the rich, tomatoey base that’s essential for any good chili.
  • Salt and other seasonings: Such as cumin, chili powder, and black pepper to enhance and round out the flavors.

How To Make It

Let’s get into the steps to prepare this turkey chili:

  1. Start by heating oil in your pan over medium-high heat. This provides the base for sautéing.
  2. Add the ground turkey to the pan. Break it up with your spoon and let it cook until it’s no longer pink—this usually takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Mix in the onions, green pepper, and jalapeno. Season the mixture with salt to help the vegetables release their moisture and soften quicker.
  4. Once the vegetables are soft, stir in the garlic and let it cook for another minute until fragrant, ensuring not to let it burn.
  5. Add the kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and your choice of seasonings. Stir everything together until well combined.
  6. Bring your chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes to meld all the flavors together beautifully.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning, possibly adding more salt or spices depending on your preference.

What Is The History Behind This Recipe

Chili is a dish with deep roots in American cooking, particularly in the southwestern regions. While the classic chili con carne is typically made with beef, the adaptation using turkey as a base reflects modern preferences for leaner meats. The inclusion of ingredients like kidney beans and tomatoes along with a mix of spices showcases the melting pot of cultural influences typical of American cuisine. Turkey chili, as it stands today, is a testament to the evolution of this dish from hearty cowboy fare to a lighter dish that aligns with contemporary dietary trends.

What Can I Switch Up to Make This Different?

Turkey chili is remarkably adaptable. Here are a few variations to keep it exciting:

  • Swap the beans: Use black beans or white cannellini beans instead of kidney beans for a different texture and taste.
  • Change the meat: Although this recipe uses turkey, you could easily use ground chicken or even go vegetarian by bulking up on the beans and adding diced sweet potatoes.
  • Add more vegetables: Consider throwing in corn, diced zucchini, or carrots to increase the nutritional value and add new flavors.
  • Spice it up: If you love heat, add more jalapeno peppers or even a dash of cayenne pepper.

How Should I Store This?

Turkey chili stores wonderfully, making it a great make-ahead meal. Allow the chili to cool to room temperature before transferring it to airtight containers. It can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. If the chili has thickened too much upon reheating, just add a bit of water or broth to reach your desired consistency.

This turkey chili recipe is not just a meal; it’s a versatile, delicious, and comforting dish that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a casual party, this chili is sure to please.

Turkey chili sitting in a yellow bowl with a dallop of sour cream in the middle. There is also a spoon in the chili.

Turkey Chili

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
This Turkey Chili recipe is not only healthy and packed with flavor, but incredibly easy to make.
No ratings yet
Servings 8 servings
Calories 728 kcal


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16oz) can kidney beans
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste

Recipe Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add ground turkey. Once the turkey is almost done, add in your onion, green pepper, and jalapeno. Season with salt. Cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Next, add in the kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir until combined and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.


Calories: 728kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 110gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 278mgPotassium: 1791mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1532IUVitamin C: 77mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 6mg
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