by Olena

Turkey Chili

Olena Osipov
5 from 40 votes

Warm up with a hot bowl of Turkey Chili made with juicy turkey, hearty red kidney beans, lots of veggies and simple flavorful spices. Inspired by popular TV show, this healthy chili recipe is high in protein, low in calories and big on flavor!

Love chili? Some of our family favorites include white chicken chili and vegetarian chili.

Turkey Chili

Healthy Turkey 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 a bit more healthy than 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!

Turkey Chili in white pot with wooden spoon

Ingredients for 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, green and/or colour bell peppers, onion and garlic. I personally love the taste green bell pepper adds. You can also use equivalent amount of chopped green beans, cauliflower or okra.
  • Beans: Variety of beans creates most flavorful and hearty chili. We use red kidney beans that are big, thick and starchy and smaller white beans like navy beans, cannellini or Great Northern beans. Lima beans or even black beans work too.
  • Seasonings: Chili powder, taco seasoning and canned chili in adobo sauce.
  • Liquids: Low sodium tomato sauce and low sodium stock.

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

How to Make Turkey Chili

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 to use quality dutch oven like Lodge or heavy bottom pot (second choice) to ensure even cooking.

  • Cook ground turkey: Saute meat until small pieces form. Ground turkey doesn’t have to be cooked through. Transfer to a bowl (stove recipe) or slow cooker, and return pot/skillet to the stove to saute veggies. sauteed ground turkey in white pot
  • Cook veggies: Saute onion and garlic first to allow flavors develop. Then add celery and juicy bell pepper, and now cook for 5 more minutes. Do not stir often, so veggies get browned. More flavor! sauteed onion, bell pepper and celery in white pot
  • Combine: In Dutch oven or crockpot, combine cooked turkey and veggies, drained and rinsed beans, tomato sauce, stock, chipotle in adobo, taco seasoning, chili powder and pepper. Stir. sauteed veggies, beans, turkey, spices and tomato sauce in white pot
  • Cook: Bring chili to a boil while covered, then reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour. If making slow cooker turkey chili, cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours. Turkey Chili in white pot

Instant Pot Tip: Want to make chili in a pressure cooker? Check out my Instant Pot turkey chili recipe.

Tips and Variations

  • Cook your own beans: Buying and cooking dried beans saves money and is more healthy. You will consume less sodium, avoid BPA and possibly will eat organic. I always cook beans in my Instant Pot.
  • Leftover turkey: If you have leftover turkey, shred or slice it, skip sauteing and add to the pot. Cook time doesn’t change because the longer meat cooks, more flavorful turkey chili will be.
  • Chipotle in adobo: It adds a wonderful flavor boost to otherwise bland turkey. Substitute with 2 tsp smoked paprika and more chili powder to taste, for heat.
  • Poblano pepper: If you seed poblanos, they become very mild and are similar to green pepper but different. You can use them in place of regular bell pepper.

Turkey Chili Recipe in white pot

Serving Turkey Chili

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

  • With cheese: Hard shredded cheese like Tex Mex, Colby Jack or aged cheddar that melts into delicious swirls of flavor. Or crumbled cotija or feta cheese for more salty experience.
  • Add fresh herbs: Green onion, chopped red onion and/or cilantro. Fresh herbs always add another layer of flavor to any main meal or salad.
  • Go traditional: Diced avocado and lime to squeeze into each bowl. Do not add lime to chili while it’s cooking. Crushed tortilla chips and plain yogurt or sour cream.
  • Leftovers ideas: You can also serve chili as an appetizer with tortilla chips or over Instant Pot baked potatoes.

How to Store, Freeze and Reheat

Store: Refrigerate chili for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Like borscht and wine, it gets better each day.

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

Reheat: Reheat 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 Recipe

turkey chili recipe

Turkey Chili {Healthy Stove or Slow Cooker Recipe}

Warm up with a hot bowl of Turkey Chili made with juicy turkey, hearty red kidney beans, lots of veggies and simple flavorful spices. Inspired by popular TV show, this healthy chili recipe is high in protein, low in calories and big on flavor!
5 from 40 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 288kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey extra lean
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks chopped
  • 2 medium 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
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth low sodium
  • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder low sodium
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning low sodium
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Lime, cilantro, cheese, yogurt, chips etc. for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat large 5-6 quart Dutch oven, heavy bottom pot or ceramic non-stick skillet on high heat and add ground turkey. Cook until small pieces form or about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking into small pieces with spatula constantly. Transfer to a bowl or large slow cooker, and set aside.
  • Return skillet or pot 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. If using slow cooker, transfer there, or leave in a dutch oven.
  • Then to either add red kidney and white beans, tomato sauce, broth, chipotle pepper, chili powder, taco seasoning and pepper.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. In slow cooker, cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.
  • Stir and adjust salt to taste, if necessary. Serve warm with your favorite toppings!

Store: Refrigerate chili for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Like borscht and wine, it gets better each day.

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

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

        Video

        Notes

        • Cooking vessel: I highly recommend to use quality dutch oven like Lodge or heavy bottom pot (second choice) to ensure even cooking.
        • Ground chicken: I use ground turkey, but ground chicken would work well too.
        • Leftover turkey: If you have leftover turkey, shred or slice it, skip sauteing and add to the pot. Cook time doesn't change because the longer meat cooks, more flavorful turkey chili will be.
        • Bell pepper color: Red, yellow and orange peppers are sweet. I personally love a bit of bitterness green bell pepper adds.
        • Poblano pepper: If you seed poblanos, they become very mild and are similar to green pepper but different. You can use them in place of regular bell pepper.
        • Other veggies: Use equivalent amount of chopped green beans, cauliflower or okra in place of celery and some bell pepper.
        • Beans: Variety of beans creates most flavorful and hearty chili. We use red kidney beans that are big, thick and starchy and smaller white beans like navy beans, cannellini or Great Northern beans. Lima beans or even black beans work too.
        • Cook your own beans: Buying and cooking dried beans saves money and is more healthy. You will consume less sodium, avoid BPA and possibly will eat organic. I always cook beans in my Instant Pot.
        • Chipotle in adobo: It adds a wonderful flavor boost to otherwise bland turkey. Substitute with 2 tsp smoked paprika and more chili powder to taste, for heat.
        • Not low sodium liquids: If your tomato sauce and broth are regular, you might find your chili overly salty. Unless you use no salt tomato sauce or home cooked beans. Something has to give.
        • Want to cook this recipe in Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot turkey chili.
        Serving Turkey Chili
        What would a great turkey chili be without all the traditional chili toppings, right?!
        • With cheese: Hard shredded cheese like Tex Mex, Colby Jack or aged cheddar that melts into delicious swirls of flavor. Or crumbled cotija or feta cheese for more salty experience.
        • Add fresh herbs: Green onion, chopped red onion and/or cilantro. Fresh herbs always add another layer of flavor to any main meal or salad.
        • Go traditional: Diced avocado and lime to squeeze into each bowl. Do not add lime to chili while it's cooking. Crushed tortilla chips and plain yogurt or sour cream.
        • Leftovers ideas: You can also serve chili as an appetizer with tortilla chips or over Instant Pot baked potatoes.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 444mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1910IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
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        olena osipov in the studio

        Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

        My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

        77 comments on “Turkey Chili

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        1. Hi there and thank you for your wonderful website full of amazing recipes. For the turkey chili, if I make your taco seasoning mix vs. package how much should I add to the recipe. 1 tablespoon?
          thank you

        2. 5 stars
          I made this today and it was fabulous. I added black beans instead of black eyed peas, I was worried about spiciness so I cut the chili pepper amount in half (definitely needs all of it). I also added large elbow noodles, cooked on the stove top and added at the end. Topped with cheese and oyster crackers. Soooooo good and filling. Next time the full amount of chili powder and a bit more broth. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

        3. 5 stars
          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.

        4. 5 stars
          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!!

        5. 5 stars
          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!

        6. 5 stars
          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

        7. 5 stars
          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.

        8. 5 stars
          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!

        9. 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.

        10. 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?

        11. 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!

        12. 5 stars
          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.

        13. 5 stars
          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.

        14. 5 stars
          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!)

        15. 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!

        16. 5 stars
          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

        17. 5 stars
          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

          1. WOW! I know it’s hard to cook when you are dealing with different tastes and diets. Sometimes I wanna shoot myself too! Glad everyone liked it.

        18. 5 stars
          Also made this one! Just yesterday. Had leftovers today for lunch and it was even better! Really really yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

        19. 5 stars
          THIS is my favorite chili ever!!! Fantastic. If you want to spice it up, put some drops of Frank Hot in your serving !!!

        20. 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.

        21. 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 🙂

        22. 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.

        23. 5 stars
          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? 🙂

                2. I use whatever kind I have on hand and is cheaper at that time. For this chili I used red, yellow and orange.

        24. 5 stars
          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!

          1. Awesome! You can also freeze the leftovers. I know my recipes make many servings but I like leftovers and I have 3 men to feed. Enjoy!

        25. 5 stars
          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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