by Olena

Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

by Olena

5 from 15 reviews

Warm up with a hot bowl of Turkey Chili on a cool fall day. Inspired by The Biggest Loser, this healthy chili is flavorful, high in protein, low in calories and the perfect comfort food!

While soups and stews are perfect for cooler days, we love eating chili all year round. Some of our family favorites include white chicken chili and buffalo chicken chili.

Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe in a crockpot

Healthy Chili Recipe

This turkey chili is inspired by The Biggest Loser show. I watched it every Monday night when I still had some post-baby weight to lose.

One episode featured a healthy chili recipe that quickly became a staple in our house. This turkey chili is healthier than a traditional beef chili.

It is made with low fat ground turkey, chock full of vegetables and low sodium beans, tomatoes and spices. It is so delicious!

Healthy Turkey Chili in a bowl garnished with cheese, onion and yogurt

Ingredients for Healthy Turkey Chili

Turkey chili ingredients are so full of flavor!

  • Ground meat: I use ground turkey, but ground chicken would work well too!
  • Veggies: Celery, bell peppers, onion and beans. I always cook my beans from dried without the need for soaking in my Instant Pot (see how here!). But feel free to use canned beans.
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, taco seasoning, and garlic. Oh, and canned chili in adobo sauce adds a wonderful flavor boost. If you don’t have it, skip it or use 1 tsp smoked paprika or liquid smoke.
  • Liquid: Tomato sauce and low sodium stock.

Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe ingredients include beans, ground turkey, veggies, tomato sauce and spices

How to Make Turkey Chili on the Stove

There is a full recipe card below.

Making turkey chili on the stove top is great for those last minute dinner ideas. I highly recommend using a quality dutch oven like Lodge or heavy bottom pot (second choice) to ensure even cooking.

  • Brown meat: If you incur any juices, just drain them. Turkey doesn’t have to be golden brown, but it adds a nice flavor when it is.
  • Sauté veggies: Saute onion and garlic first for maximum flavour. Then add celery and bell pepper.
  • Combine sauteed veggies, beans, tomato sauce, stock, spices and meat in a Dutch oven.
  • Cook: Bring to a boil and cook on low for 1 hour.

ground turkey in red skillet on the stove for Healthy Chili Recipebrowning ground turkey for Healthy Chili Recipe

diced bell peppers in red skillethow to make Healthy Chili Recipe in slow cooker

How to Make Turkey Chili in a Crockpot

Crockpot turkey chili comes in handy when you want to prep dinner in the morning.

  • Saute meat and veggies first: Saute these ingredients separately in a skillet and then transfer into the slow cooker.
  • Cooking time: Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.

How to Make Turkey Chili in an Instant Pot

For my Instant Pot Turkey Chili , all you have to do is to brown the ground turkey, throw everything into the pot and cook for 20 minutes! You don’t even have to saute the veggies first because pressure cooking results in the richest flavors!

How to Serve Turkey Chili

What would a great turkey chili be without all the traditional chili toppings, right?!

  • Shredded cheese: Tex Mex, Colby Jack etc.
  • Fresh herbs: Green onion, chopped red onion and cilantro
  • Diced avocado and lime to squeeze
  • Crushed tortilla chips and plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Canned diced green chiles

You can also serve chili as an appetizer with tortilla chips or over Instant Pot baked potatoes.

How to Store, Freeze and Reheat Turkey Chili

Store: Refrigerate chili for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Freeze: Make sure to cool the chili completely and then freeze in a glass container for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter during the day or in the fridge overnight and reheat.

Reheat: Reheat the desired amount of chili in small pot by simmering on low heat. Cover and stir occasionally until warmed through. It’s the best!

More Soup and Stew Recipes

turkey chili in white slow cooker


Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe {From The Biggest Loser}

5 from 15 reviews

Warm up with a hot bowl of Turkey Chili on a cool fall day. Inspired by The Biggest Loser, this healthy chili is flavorful, high in protein, low in calories and the perfect comfort food!

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup and Stew
  • Method: Stove, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 2 lbs ground turkey, extra lean
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large bell peppers, chopped
  • 14 oz can low sodium red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 14 oz can low sodium white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, low sodium
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt*
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Oil, for frying


Healthy Turkey Chili in a Slow Cooker

  1. Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on high heat and add ground turkey. Cook until brown or about 7 minutes, stirring and breaking into small pieces with spatula. Transfer to a large slow cooker.
  2. Return skillet to medium heat and swirl a bit of oil to coat. Add garlic and onion, sauté until translucent or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery and bell peppers, sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer to slow cooker along with beans, tomato sauce, broth, chipotle pepper, chili powder, taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and stir.
  4. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours. Serve warm.

Healthy Turkey Chili on the Stove: I recommend using a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot.

  1. Follow the same steps as for slow cooker, only once turkey is browned, transfer to a bowl.
  2. Then sauté vegetables and add pre-cooked ground turkey back in the dutch oven along with remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat for about 1 hour.

Healthy Turkey Chili in the Instant Pot: Here is the recipe.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.


*You might need to add less salt if using canned tomatoes and beans that are not low sodium.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

73 comments on “Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

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  1. Wow, best Chili ever! It is so tasty and satisfying. I didn’t have the canned chipotle peppers so used smoke paprika as you suggested, delicious.

    It’ll come back on our table regularly.

  2. This is the best turkey chili I have ever tasted. I didn’t have taco seasoning, so googled “what’s in taco seasoning’ and made some from spices I had like cumin, oregano, paprika, onion and garlic powder, etc. it worked and the chili was so delicious! It was a big hit with the family too so I’ll be making this again and again. Thank you!!

  3. Delicious! This is my go to chili recipe and my family likes the flavors and texture. Bowls are licked clean when I serve this dish. It is a great meal for large groups and I have served this to many with lots of compliments and requests for the recipe. Thanks Olena!

  4. Made this last night for today couldn’t wait so I had a bowl, so delicious, should be triple delicious since flavors had time to meld

  5. Like always you’ve shared another delicious healthy recipe…I’ve been planning to email a comment and have been delaying sending , first thank you for your excellent newsletter and sharing not only recipes but your precious family…I’m so happy for your new home and studio …the videos with your husband were so entertaining….I love the way you give traditional, crock pot and instant pot instructions to your recipes…I’ve purchased 2 duo 6 quart instant pots and use them everyday so they never leave my counter top! They are hooked to me Ha! I’m a big believer in freezing meals because it makes healthy eating and food preparation so much easier…so thank you and keep up the great work, your helping change people’s lives when they eat nutritious food…May God bless you and your lovely family

    1. That is so amazing to hear! Glad you enjoyed my recipe! I agree. I honestly start and end my day with IP recipe. Partially because my stove and oven suck until we reno. I love my IP to death even after I renovate.

  6. Thank goodness we have air-conditioning because I made this into a five-alarm chili on an 83 degree day and it is delicious!! I made a few modifications, but this is definitely going into my recipe notebook! My main modification was to omit the chicken broth ONLY because I didn’t have room in my crock pot for it. I have a tendency to double or triple recipes so our freezer is always stocked and this happened today (after dinner tonight I was able to freeze 4 lunch-size containers for my husband plus 2 large dinner-sized containers for later). I used 3 pounds of turkey and way more beans and crushed tomatoes than this recipe called for. I also added a lot of heat since my husband loves heat. I added a jalapeno (seeds and all) and way more chipotle in adobo sauce plus I used my husband’s homegrown hot chili powder (which is much hotter than store bought). The flavors from this chili remind me of my Granny’s bean soup recipe and that brings back happy memories and nostalgic feelings for me. We will be enjoying this chili all fall and winter thanks to this yummy recipe!

    1. Sounds like you do like heat.:) I would love it but my kids wouldn’t haha. What size pot do you use or a few at time? Glad you had fun. I’m making my Instant Pot chili outside for now since we don’t have AC.

      1. My current crock pot is 8-quart. I used to have to use two crocks since I only had a 4-quart and a 3.5-quart. I thought 8 would be big enough but maybe we should have gotten an even bigger one? My husband bought me a giant 25-quart stock pot for Christmas one year. I LOVE making soup (we call it stoup because I make my soups so thick that they’re more like stew) and I love stocking our freezer with leftovers!! The only problem with my stock pot is that it’s so tall that it almost doesn’t fit under the microwave above the stove top and I have to stand on a step stool to see inside the pot and stir the ingredients. 🙂

        1. Haha. That’s huge. I bought huge stockpot at Costco and returned it because I ended up buying 8 quart Instant Pot. How many people in your family?

          1. Oddly enough my immediate family is only me, my husband and our 18 year old daughter who leaves for college in September and hardly ever eats what I cook, so I guess I cook for a village but usually only feed two people (over many, many days of enjoying leftovers). I think I get it from both of my grandmas – they always cooked for a crowd. Plus, I love being able to send my husband with home cooked food to work every day.

          2. You can always freeze, sure way to avoid pre-packaged freezer junk. Good for you. I should start doing the same because my 3 men will eat me alive soon. It’s harder for me because I test many recipes and cook for the website, so that size of a pot would be awkward. But re-makes once a week I should like triple the recipe!
            I hope you are holding up with your daughter leaving for college. I’m dreading that time but maybe by then I will be ready for new stage in my life – freedom and time with Alex one on one. We are never alone, NEVER!

  7. I know it’s supposed to be spring, but a sudden chill and rainy weather has me hungry for chili. This chili is cooking away in my crockpot right now, and it smell delicious in here! I didn’t have quite enough bell pepper, so I added grated carrot. Just another way to get the family to eat veggies, and I so appreciate this website!

    1. It’s so not spring on the West coast. So cold and rainy. Unusual. That’s very good sub. Enjoy yummy food all weekend cozying up! I should make Chili too.

  8. Making this chili right now although I can’t seem to figure out why I have SO much of it?! I have a 6 quart crock pot and couldn’t fit everything in so I only used 1/2 the veggies unfortunately 🙁
    If 1 serving is 1.5 cups and there’s 8 servings, I definitely have WAY more than 12 cups. Anyone else run into this?

  9. Can you freeze this ahead of time if you cook the meat first?? Trying to have freezer meals on hand ahead of time! I have cooked this recipe and loved it!

  10. As a very busy on the go mom, I’m a huge fan of anything that can be made in a crockpot. This was so delicious. The only thing I added was black beans (love black beans). I topped it off with some chopped green oinions, a dollop of Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt, and a few slices of avacado. The rest of my family had some grated cheese on top of theirs, but I am trying to be good. I will definitely be keeping this recipe and making many more times in the future. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Made this, with minimal alterations, I forgot the broth, doubled up on both beans, and used 3 different colored bell peppers – though I don’t think the last technically counts as an alteration. I too love left overs and had planned on using them for Chili baked potatoes later in the week. I let it cook all day while I was at work, Stopped by my home for 5 mins to declare dinner ready and left for about an hour on a walk. I was lucky to get a bowl, my family LOVED this dish! They want it again and soon. Still looking forward to Chili topped baked potatoes so they will probably get their wish soon! Thank you so much, I love having a healthy delicious meal to feed my family of 8 without having to spend all night in the kitchen! As soon as I am able I am going to invest in getting your cookbook! Looking forward to more delicious recipes! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Ruth. You are very welcome. It is not my recipe but I will take credit for delivering it to you LOL. Your life sounds very familiar to me. To feed 8, wow! I can barely feed 4 of us, constantly cooking. I Love taking walks too and big pot meals with leftovers which seem to disappear fast. Chili loaded baked potatoes sounds AMAZING. I should make them too! Take care.

  12. This was so delicious! I added 2 jalapeños and just a bit of coconut sugar. My husband cannot stop talking about how delicious it was (which is nice, because normally I get teased for being the worst cook in the family!)

  13. This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to make it tomorrow! My daughter is allergic to bell peppers 🙁 do you have any recommendations for a replacement? Thanks!

  14. I made your chilli tonight. I used half Italian sausage and the other half ground turkey, put in 2.5 jalepenos oh and a teaspoon of tobasco. Flavors taste great

  15. i made this chilli and my husband who never eats chilli asked me to make it again i added mushrooms and a can of corn to mine just because i wanted a little more veggies and it turned out perfect thanks for a great recipe i also used ground vegetarian meat because my daughter is vegetarian and turned out perfect definitely a great recipe

  16. Also made this one! Just yesterday. Had leftovers today for lunch and it was even better! Really really yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. THIS is my favorite chili ever!!! Fantastic. If you want to spice it up, put some drops of Frank Hot in your serving !!!

  18. I am cooking this now, waiting on the veggies to cook and then it’ll all go in the crock pot, I’m excited about this but hope it’s ready before I leave for work.

  19. Thank you! I just pre-chopped all my veggies and am about to pre-cook the ground turkey. Ill have enough time to quick saute the veggies and toss e everything in the crock pot on my lunch break. Excited to have this for dinner tomorrow 🙂

  20. Wondering if it completely messes up the entire chili if you don’t do the pre-cooking? Would you be able to throw the veggies and (raw, thawed) ground turkey into the crock pot? If not what about if I cooked the ground turkey the night before, refrigerated it, and threw that in the next morning?

    1. Don’t! I did it once and it was disgusting! My meal was like a baby food, yuk. It was disgusting!:) Pre-cooking the night before – yes, absolutely.

  21. Made this today, and the verdict from my picky 14 year old is that this is delicious. :). I haven’t tested it myself yet (it’s not quite dinner time yet) but it smells fantastic! I did notice that it’s very soupy, though, and I followed the recipe very carefully. Wondering if I should add less chicken broth next time… Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Sure, if you would like to. Mine wasn’t soupy. I wonder if a lot of condensation went into the crock pot off the lid once you took it off?! But still shouldn’t be that much. Feel free to adjust the liquid. I’m flattered my recipe impressed the teenager.:) Enjoy!

      1. Thanks for the reply. I finally got to eat some after I sent the first message, and it was fabulous! BOTH of my teenage girls enjoyed it, and as a matter of fact, my 14 year old daughter had 2 small bowls before she went to dance, and another one when she got home! I’m about to make it again, but this time I’m trying it with less broth. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the condensation from the lid, and I ended up cooking the extra liquid off on the stove, but it was otherwise awesome enough to serve it again so soon! 🙂

        1. You could also add some crushed healthy tortilla chips or masa flour to thicken it a bit. Cornmeal would work too. Glad all girls loved it!!!

          1. Thanks! I missed that reply, but that might work for next time, which is tomorrow. 🙂 One more question…Do you use red bell peppers, or green? 🙂

  22. Either I was really hungry or this turkey chili was amazing! It was probably both. I was never a big fan of chili but this was so good! Would def be making this again and again!

  23. I just cooked this for dinner tonight — delicious!! I had to make a few little modifications because I own the world’s smallest crockpot (literally) and couldn’t fit everything inside, so I made it in a pot on the stove and simmered it for an hour instead. My guy is really picky and doesn’t like cooked celery, so I added extra bell peppers. But he said it deserved a place in our dinner rotation! 🙂 I can’t wait to try your Buffalo Chicken Chili too!

    1. Oh, that’s awesome, Amy! Means a lot to hear a positive feedback from another food blogger. I get nervous (a bit) when other food bloggers make my recipes. It’s like when I entertain, I feel I gotta deliver – I am a food blogger.:)

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