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Homemade Turkey Chili

Homemade Turkey Chili

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  • Prep 5min
  • Total35min
  • Servings4

Here's a quick, easy recipe that's been in my family for three generations. Like any chili recipe, add (or subtract) any ingredients to customize to your liking.MORE+LESS-

ByTBSP Geoff

Updated May 7, 2015



teaspoon cayenne pepper


teaspoon chili powder


can (15 oz) red kidney beans (or chili beans)


cans condensed tomato soup


Hide Images

  • 1

    Add olive oil to medium saucepan and brown ground turkey over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.

  • 2

    Add tomato soup, kidney beans, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

Turkey Chili (Mediterranean style recipe)

This is a healthy chili recipe with lean ground turkey breast, red kidney beans (feel free to use whichever beans you like best) and lots of vegetables. Hearing the word chili, immediately makes me think of Mexican cuisine but since many of the ingredients are also very popular in the Mediterranean area, I decided to give it a Mediterranean spin.

Adding some sliced Kalamata olives and parsley in the pot, as well as some Greek yogurt (or even feta) as topping makes this turkey chili absolutely delicious. Every time I’m having friends over for dinner, they request this recipe. It is hearty, wholesome and comforting and wins everyone’s heart. That’s probably the reason why my friends jokingly call it award winning chili.

As for the seasoning, though a store-bought chili powder will do, I prefer to make a homemade seasoning like the one I give you in the recipe box at the end of this post.

Whenever I make recipes like this (including my mom’s Bolognese sauce for pasta) I double the quantities and freeze the half for later use. It always makes me happy to know that a bag of delicious healthy turkey chili waits for me in the freezer and that I won’t have to spend any time in the kitchen cooking it from scratch. All I have to do is cook some rice or warm some homemade pita bread and I have myself the perfect, easy weeknight dinner.

But what is chili?

According to chili is a thick sauce of meat and chilies (peppers). For a lot of people meat is essential while for others beans should never exist in it. Many recipes include tomatoes, but there also a lot of chili recipes without.

Is Turkey Chili good for you? And is it healthier than beef chili?

Yes it is! Most dietary guidelines recommend reducing the amount of dark red meat since over-consumption is linked with heart and cardiovascular problems. White lean meat like chicken and turkey breast is considered to be healthier and also has fewer calories, so it’s perfect for anyone who’s watching his weight. In addition, turkey is a great source of selenium, an important antioxidant mineral that plays a key role in the metabolism. To sum up, this turkey chili is high in protein, very low in fat and has plenty of vegetables added so it’s definitely good for you!

Turkey chili ingredients

The ingredients for this Mediterranean style chili recipe may seem a lot but they offer depth and complexity that the lean turkey meat needs in order to become delicious. These ingredients are:

  • Ground turkey breast
  • olive oil
  • chili seasoning (can be homemade or store bought but I suggest homemade)
  • Onion (can be fresh or onion powder)
  • garlic clove (can be fresh or onion powder)
  • Chicken broth (or water with 1 chicken bouillon)
  • Pureed tomatoes
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Green pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Red kidney beans
  • Sweet corn
  • Parsley
  • Kalamata olives

The chili seasoning

If you can use a homemade chili seasoning mix, then I suggest the following spices and herbs:

  • Sweet paprika
  • Smoked paprika (can probably replace this with a few drops of liquid smoke but I’ve never dried it)
  • Cumin
  • Dried oregano (thyme will also work)
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • If you want your chili spicy 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or some Tabasco sauce will do
  • A pinch of grated cinnamon or cloves will add warmth

A lot of spices have stronger or weaker flavor depending the origin, their age and the storage conditions. Taste your chili halfway through cooking and add more seasoning if needed.

How to make Turkey chili from scratch

  1. Saute the ground turkey over high heat until well browned
  2. Add the chili powder, the onion, and the garlic and stir well
  3. Add the tomatoes, the broth, the peppers, the beans and the olives and simmer until thickened
  4. At the end, add the corn and the parsley and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Serve with rice, tortillas, homemade pita bread or Italian-style mashed potatoes

What is the best secret ingredient for chili?

Okay, this is not an ingredient, but a long and slow simmer will blend all the tastes and aromas together and will result in a perfectly delicious chili. If I had to chose just one ingredient that should never be omitted then that would be smoked paprika. I’m not the type that especially loves smokey foods but in this certain recipe smoked paprika gives character and transforms the dish giving it a subtle smoky flavor you will adore.

I don’t mention corn starch in the ingredients because if you slowly cook the chili for a long time it will thicken naturally and all the flavors will blend and mature. However, if you’re in a hurry or if you used a bit more liquid than necessary, mix two tablespoons of corn starch in 2-3 tablespoons of cold water and add it to the pot. It will help to thicken the chili and will give it a luscious, rich consistency.

Honey or maple syrup will add some sweetness, which will definitely complement the spiciness and the smokiness of the dish.

How do you thicken turkey chili?

The best way to thicken chili is to let it simmer over low heat until some of the liquid is evaporated. If you want it extra thick, all you have to do is mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with a bit of cold water and add this mixture to the chili while it is still simmering. Stir well until the corn starch coagulates and forms a thick sauce.


This turkey chili is delicious as is, served plain with some bread or over Basmati or Jasmin rice. Toppings are optional for me, but my usual go-tos are:

Delicious Turkey Chili Recipe (Healthy!) | Chef Saz

Here’s my delicious turkey chili recipe that is healthy and so easy to make! I mixed a few recipes that I found online to create my own version. When I’m having busy days (or want a cozy meal!) I just whip this meal up in less than an hour. I hope you will give this a try!

UPDATED November 2018: Went back into this post to edit the ingredients since I’ve mastered the true taste of what I like to call my famous chili! Since sharing this recipe with you guys on my blog, I’ve been making it atleast once a month – it’s that good that I crave it all year round. Enjoy!

Enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your stock pot for cooking
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 pound extra lean ground turkey
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (u can skip this is you don’t want any hint of spicy)
1 tablespoon salt (I use himalayan), plus more to taste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1-2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I do 1 cup and 1/4)
1 (12-ounce) jar of salsa (I love the Green Mountain MILD salsa it just adds extra flavor)
1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained (so delicious but I stopped putting corn in mine because it hurts my tummy)
Optional toppings: shredded cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, fritos, or what I love is the SIETE grain-free seal salt brand of chips, cilantro, sour cream (Redwood Hill Farm Green Valley brand has a lactose-free one we use and it is delicious)

Place oil in a large pot to cover/coat the base and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add in ground turkey and break up the meat cooking until no longer pink. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt stir for about 20 seconds.
Next add in tomatoes, chicken broth, entire salsa jar, and corn. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Garnish with fun toppings mentioned above if you’d like!

*Makes about 6-8 servings (unless you’re my husband and portion a big bowl for yourself lol!)

Roughly chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the vegetables are finely chopped. Do not over-process the vegetables should not be puréed. (Alternatively, finely chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic by hand.)

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

Add about 1-1/4 pounds of the turkey to the pot.

Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes and their juice, crushed tomatoes, broth, and salt and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the chili has begun to thicken, about 1 hour.

Pat the remaining 3/4 pound turkey together into a ball, then pinch off teaspoon-size pieces of meat and stir into the chili.

Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until turkey is tender and chili is slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. (If the chili begins to stick to the bottom of the pot or looks too thick, stir in extra broth as needed.)

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve with your favorite chili toppings.

Turkey Chili

  • red-meat-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • fish-free
  • peanut-free
  • soy-free
  • shellfish-free
  • pork-free
  • Calories 293
  • Fat 9.7 g (15.0%)
  • Saturated 2.3 g (11.5%)
  • Carbs 26.3 g (8.8%)
  • Fiber 6.9 g (27.5%)
  • Sugars 7.8 g
  • Protein 27.0 g (53.9%)
  • Sodium 600.4 mg (25.0%)


large red bell pepper, diced

low-sodium chicken broth, beer, or water

Topping options:

Sour cream or Greek yogurt


Chef's knife and cutting board


Brown the ground turkey. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the turkey and use a spatula to break it up into large pieces. Season with the salt and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Break the meat up into smaller pieces with the spatula and continue to cook until the beef is evenly browned with no visible pink, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add the vegetables and aromatics. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until the onions have softened and are starting to become translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the cooking liquid and spices and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the drained beans, tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, chili seasoning, oregano, cumin, and 1 1/2 cups of the broth or cooking liquid and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes and beans are tender and the chili is thickened, about 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust the liquid and seasoning as needed. After simmering, the turkey may have absorbed most of the cooking liquid. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup more broth or beer until chili reaches desired consistency. Taste and add more chili seasoning or salt if desired.

Serve with toppings. Serve bowls of chili with desired toppings. For kids, cheese crackers are the perfect crunchy, cheesy topping that they love.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Meghan is the Food Editor for Kitchn's Skills content. She's a master of everyday baking, family cooking, and harnessing good light. Meghan approaches food with an eye towards budgeting — both time and money — and having fun. Meghan has a baking and pastry degree, and spent the first 10 years of her career as part of Alton Brown's culinary team. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about food and family called Didn't I Just Feed You.

Crockpot Turkey Chili Tips and Tricks

  • You can brown your turkey with your onions the night before then literally dump and cook the next day. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
  • I do find that turkey chili gets thicker on the stove, so if you like thicker chili then remove the lid from the crockpot the last hour or so to let some of the moisture evaporate.
  • Use a 6-quart slow cooker so the contents fit comfortably.
  • If you don’t have a 6-quart slow cooker or simply want to make less chili, then half the recipe.

How to make the best turkey chili!

While this is not a difficult recipe, it does require some planning, as it will simmer low and slow for at least 45 minutes. I like to simmer mine for an hour, so it gets thick and rich, just how my family likes it!

Since the chili will be cooked uncovered, keep an eye on it, stirring every now and then, to prevent it from burning. You can also add more broth as needed and cover it if the liquid is evaporating too fast.

I like cooking my chili in my Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are great for slow-cooking, as their thick walls are designed for braising recipes, like chili.

This is how I make turkey chili:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot and brown the ground turkey, just until is not pink anymore. Avoid overcooking the turkey or it can get dry after simmering for such a long time. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic, adding more olive oil if needed.
  3. Add the bell peppers and sauté until softened.
  4. Add the turkey back to the pot and all the remaining ingredients: black beans, pinto beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth plus spices and condiments.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes, or until nice and thick! If it’s too thick for your liking, you can add a little more broth to get the desired consistency.

How to make Turkey Chili

Crockpot Turkey Chili:

  1. Cook the meat: even though this is a slow cooker recipe we want to cook the meat first in a skillet. Along with the onions to soften them. Then we can add that to the slow cooker.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker. Then we can let this cook together for the rest of the day.

Turkey Chili on the Stovetop:

The great thing about this recipe is that it can also be made in a large pot on the stovetop. As a 30 minute, one pot meal. Meaning it’s quick, easy and less dishes.

  1. Add the meat to a large pot or dutch oven. As the turkey is cooking, add the chopped onion to cook also.
  2. Once the meat is cooked and the onion is softened, drain any excess moisture.Add the garlic and allow it to cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Add all the other ingredients. Bring the chili to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Serve and top with all your favorite toppings!

The Best No Bean Turkey Chili

This healthy turkey chili is the very best! It’s loaded with ground turkey, tomatoes, green chiles, garlic, onion, and lots of seasonings. So hearty and easy to make – ready in only 30 minutes! Dairy-free, gluten-free, Whole30, Paleo, and Keto too!

When I say this is The Best No Bean Turkey Chili I am not messing around. It really is! It has some heat, can be thrown together quickly, and tastes like everything you’d want an incredible chili to taste like.

Since my husband was diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome (which means he can’t have red meat) I’ve been working to create more recipes utilizing ground turkey. This is the latest and, friend, it’s a tasty one.

My original chili recipe, No Bean 30 Minute Chili, is dang delicious. In fact it’s the most popular recipe on my website! I know many of you already make it with ground turkey instead of beef and that’s great! If it’s your favorite stick with it! But I wanted to make a version that was specially designed for ground turkey. This one has more seasoning and a can of green chiles to really make that ground turkey work splendidly. I know you’re going to be oh so happy with the end result!

You’ll start by sautéing onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Then brown your ground turkey. Once done, add in all other ingredients and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

The combination of garlic, onion, green chiles, and lots of seasoning give this chili a very rich spicy flavor. We can’t get enough of it!

And don’t forget, this chili is ready in just 30 minutes so it’s fast enough to enjoy on a busy weeknight.

In the mood for more ground turkey recipe ideas? One of our favorites is the recipe for Cilantro Turkey Burgers. I swear those burgers are every bit as tasty as beef burgers. You’ll find that my Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in Marinara are another weeknight meal win too!

Related Video

Note that if using dry beans, that you need to prepare them for an hour or so. Do not add dry beans to the recipe.

This was lacking flavor. All of the spices could have been doubled. Also, the turkey provides no flavor at all. You may as well use bulgar or some other meat substitute if you're looking to be health conscious. Back to the chili drawing board.

This was amazing!! I added 1 jalapeño pepper and 4 chipotle chilies in adobo to really add some kick. I didn't need to add any extra broth, as a matter of fact I only used 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth instead of 3. This is def going to be "game day" chili.

I didn't have any chocolate or bell pepper so I used a can of diced green chilies and added extra chopped fresh tomato and ground white pepper.

Really tasty and easy. To add MORE flavor: add 3 jalapenos chopped, 4T chili powder, 1T chipotle chili pepper powder (or minced chipotle chili in adobo), 2T cumin, 1 bay leaf, pinch of cinnamon. For the chili consistency that I enjoy, I used 2 1/2 lbs ground turkey, 2 cans pinto beans, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 bottle lager beer and 1T corn meal. I also enjoy chopped green onions along with cheese and sour cream as toppings. Good comfort food on a cold winter day.

This is one of my go-to chili recipes. It is hearty and flavorful. I typically add one jalepeno and chipotles in adobe because my family likes spicy chili. The red bell peppers balance the spiciness well with sweetness.

Whole family loved this! Substituted 1/2 of the ground turkey for ground pork chorizo as some reviewers suggested. Completely forgot about adding in the chocolate, didn't miss it, but will try it next time.

Delicious, but not quite special enough for 4 forks. Nothing to complain about.

Really good chili. Be careful with spices if making ahead - the heat intensifies. I agreed with other reviewers substituting 1/2 the ground turkey for turkey sausage or chorizo is an improvement. The addition of 1 bottle of lager is great as well.

made this a couple of times now and it is soooooooo good. I usually make it in my slow cooker and my husband can smell it from the garage when he comes home! TASTY

I agreed with other reviewers that this was much better with turkey sausage or chorizo and I also added some chipotle pepper in adobo and used a little mroe tomato than called for. I used 100% cacao and a little mascobado sugar since I don't have semisweet chocolate. Tiny changes, excellent chili.

This is an excellent chili! I have made it on more than several occasions. I add a bit extra chili powder to the meat right as it is cooked to give it that deep flavor and color. I also add a hot pepper such as habenero for a little more kick! I taught my teenage son to make this! The ingredients are inexpensive and it is easy to make and serves many!

This is one of the best chili recipes I've ever had. Everyone was amazed that there was chocolate in it. The aroma of the chili cooking reminded me of Christmas time.

Very good - I was looking for a healthier chili that my family would still eat, and this did the trick. It wasn't spicy enough for my husband, but nothing is! I did use more beer for liquid, and had to use chocolate chips.

This chili gets better the longer it reduces and its even better the next day. Made some modifications as well based on what I had on hand. 1 - used 4 tablespoons of chili powder and one tablespoon of chipotle chili powder. 2 - one green, one red bell pepper. 3 - a bottle of beer and 2.5 cups of chicken broth (the other reviewer who said the original recipe doesn't call for enough liquid is right). I used a stout but I may use a lager next time. 4 - I roasted whole cumin seed and then ground it myself in the spice grinder mainly because this is how I prefer my cumin in recipes. It has a stronger, smokier quality to it. Then I let reduce for a little over 2 hours and served with shredded cheese and sour cream. An outstanding chili recipe that's healthy and tastes better the next day.

Delicious and rather spicy! Made many modifications based on user comments, and my own hunches: 1) Used olive oil instead of cooking spray. 2) Doubled amount of spices, and used 3 TBSP of chipotle chili powder in place of regular chili powder. 3) We had extra ground turkey so used 1.5 lbs. 4) Added 1/2 can of chipotle chiles with adobe. (Great suggestion!) 5) Used a can of black beans, a can of pinto beans, and a can of kidney beans. 6) Used 2/3 bottle of beer in place of chicken broth. 7) Added some decaf espresso. It turned out extremely spicy, but we like it that way.

The first time I made this I used homemade turkey broth left over from the TG turkey carcass and it was incredible. I've made it several times since and it isn't quite as flavorful with chicken broth but still a good, easy, adaptable chili recipe. I use chipotle chili powder to give it that hint of smokiness.

Nice one! I used bacon drippings instead of oil and added some tomato paste, about 2T. Didn't change anything else, although the chipotles in adobo sauce are sitting on my counter still. but I think it's spicy enough without: my 9 year old may not approve if it's any spicier. Good stuff!

I love love this recipe! I have made this chili 4 times in the last month due to it's popularity among my friends and family! I did tweek the recipe a little to add a kick of spice and flavor. I took the suggestion of a previous review and added chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (adds a great smoke and spice), also added 1 1/2 tsp of cayenne, used crushed tomatoes instead of diced and added 2 more cups of broth and allowed to reduce for an extra hour!

This is indeed a good starting point for a mild poultry chili. When I make this for my family, I stick close to the recipe. For my taste I use a great deal more chili (several green chilis and some habaneros) to make it spicier. Also, i find that the recipe does not call for enough liquid. I use at least two or three more cups of broth. Finally, if you want to do something special this is wonderful with dried tart cherrys added to it.

The thing I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile. good base for chili but you can do so much with it depending on your mood and what is on hand in your pantry. Have made this no less than twenty times and it's never the same twice b/c I have stopped measuring the spices. Usually use 1 red and 1 green or yellow pepper. More garlic. More chili powder [probably close to 5 T]. One can each of pinto, kidney and garbanzo beans. More chocolate. Once used a adobo salsa in place of the diced tomatoes. It was smoky and amazing! Will make over and over and over again.

Excellent chili! It is a very classic chili flavor, and absolutely delicious. It isn't too spicy, so we added a little cayenne to kick it up, but the flavor was wonderful if you don't want it too spicy. One member of my household demanded I make it every week.

Up-date to my review on 3/4. Used chipotle chili in adobo sauce not ancho. Also used 3 tbs of olive oil instead of nonstick spray.

This chili is exceptional! MY great friend francpantz from Napa gave a serving and it was straight up DELICIOUS hands down!!

This is truly an exceptional recipe. I doubled the spices for the whole thing and then divided it in half and followed other reviewer's suggestions to add some ancho chile from the can. Both tasted great. The ancho chile added a smokey flavor, more depth and more heat. The other batch was good for the less spice inclined. A definite keeper. YUM! Also easy to make.

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 232
Protein: 23 g
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 34 g
Fiber: 12 g

It's important to pay attention to serving size. Everyone's dietary needs and restrictions are unique. Check with your diabetes care team about specific questions or concerns.

This is an official Page of the University of Massachusetts Medical School

Diabetes Center of Excellence &bull 368 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01655


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