Hearty and comforting Healthy Turkey Chili is bursting with flavor thanks to lean ground turkey, kidney beans, and the perfect blend of spices. Prepare on the stovetop or slow cooker for the best game day meal or an easy dinner!
We also adore this turkey pumpkin chili.
Table of contents
Fall is the perfect season for enjoying warming soups and stews like this ground turkey chili recipe. Inspired by The Biggest Loser TV show, it’s hearty comfort food to the max and satisfies any cool weather cravings.
Plus, it just happens to be easy to make and filled with better for you ingredients! That is what makes it the best healthy turkey chili recipe if you ask me.
While we love making award winning Instant Pot chili with ground beef, this homemade turkey version is a low fat, healthier alternative packed with flavor and lean protein! Each bowl will practically be licked clean.
This healthy chili recipe is thick in texture, full of classic flavors, and just begging to be topped cheese, avocado, or crushed tortilla chips. Save some for leftovers, as it tastes even better the next day!
Ingredients and Notes
This simple turkey chili recipe uses whole food ingredients including pantry staples and fresh vegetables.
- Ground turkey: Lean ground turkey makes this a healthier chili. Ground chicken could be used as your type of ground meat, too.
- Vegetables: You’ll need garlic cloves, white or yellow onions, celery and bell peppers. I used one red bell pepper and one green pepper. You could add 1 1/2 cups corn if desired.
- Beans: Canned beans save time, although you could cook beans from scratch. I used red kidney beans and white beans, although any variety works like black beans, cannellini beans or pinto beans. Avoid chili beans as they have added seasoning.
- Chicken broth: Vegetable broth or chicken stock also could be used.
- Tomato sauce: Or crushed tomatoes.
- Olive oil
- Chili seasoning and spices: You’ll need chili powder, taco seasoning, salt, black pepper, and chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. If you love lots of spices, add some cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, too.
- Optional toppings: Avocado, plain Greek yogurt (or a dollop of sour cream), shredded cheese, cilantro, jalapeno slices, chopped green onions, tortilla chips etc. Note that any toppings added will alter the low calorie chili nutritional information.
Add a pinch of brown sugar or maple syrup to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, if needed.
How to Make Turkey Chili
This easy turkey chili recipe is a simple one-pot meal. Add your ingredients to a stove top pan and let them cook to develop amazing flavors.
- Brown the meat: Preheat a large 5–6-quart Dutch oven, heavy bottom large pot, or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground turkey and cook until it crumbled into small pieces (around 5 minutes), stirring and breaking it up constantly.
- Sauté onion and garlic: Add the chopped onion and garlic and reduce stove to medium heat. Allow them to sauté for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
- Brown remaining vegetables: Then add the finely chopped celery and bell pepper and cook for a further five minutes. Stir only occasionally to allow the veggies to brown (which will provide tons of flavor to the ground turkey chili).
- Simmer: Add the ground turkey and all the remaining ingredients back into the Dutch oven/pot, stir, and cover with a lid. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
How to thin chili? If you prefer a thinner soup recipes, you could substitute your tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes) for a can of diced tomatoes.
Can I Make This Chili in Crockpot?
Yes. You can also make this into a slow cooker turkey chili and leave it to simmer all day. A warm bowl of chili is a perfect meal for cold days and busy weeknights!
- Sauté ingredients: First, brown lean turkey, onion, garlic and vegetables in pan (as written above for stovetop version).
- Transfer to slow cooker: Along with the meat and veggies, add the beans, tomato sauce, broth, chipotle pepper, and seasonings to the crockpot. Then, mix, cover, and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Finally, adjust to taste preference, and serve with your favorite toppings!
Can I Make It in the Instant Pot?
Sure! First saute your ground turkey for about 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients adding tomato products last. Do not stir. Pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. After Quick Release, stir and enjoy.
Also be sure to check out this Instant Pot turkey chili.
How to Serve Chili
The best part of a bowl of chili is that it’s a healthy meal on it’s own! That being said, I live with hungry boys and they enjoy when it’s served with almond flour cornbread.
My preference is to serve it with a fresh green salad or something light like simple avocado salad.
Of course the best turkey chili recipe is served with toppings! In my opinion, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, yogurt, and diced red onion are not to be missed.
How to Store Leftovers
After the chili cools slightly, place in an airtight container and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 5 days.
To store longer, cool completely to room temperature and transfer to the freezer up to 3 months. We are a huge fan of leftovers and it’s great for easy meal prep!
More Chili Recipes to Try
- Instant Pot white chicken chili
- Healthy white chicken chili
- Crock pot buffalo chicken chili
- Ground chicken chili recipe
- Keto chili recipe
Browse all healthy chili recipes!
Healthy Turkey Chili
- 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
- 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. Reheat desired amount of chili in small pot by simmering on low heat. Cover and stir occasionally until warmed through.
- Freeze: Make sure to cool chili completely and then freeze in a glass container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.