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The Best Turkey Chili Recipe

by Capri Lilly
Published: Last Updated on

This Turkey Chili Recipe is a hearty comfort meal of lean ground turkey, bold spices, veggies, peppers, and beans. In less than an hour, you’ll have a pot full of delicious chili to serve for a cozy dinner or football festivity! (This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free)

If you need more gluten-free chili recipes to help you get through the cooler months, try our Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili and White Bean Quinoa Chili.

overhead view of a bowl of turkey chili with a spoon inserted

During the fall and winter, nothing hits the spot quite like chili; it’s like a warm hug in a bowl! This turkey chili recipe is especially good because it’s tasty and nourishing. It’s a flavorful comfort meal that tastes even better the next day! Load up your bowl with chili and serve it with sweet potato cornbread or homemade honey cornbread!

a spoon in a bowl of chili with tortilla chips and a skillet of cornbread in the background

This is the Best Turkey Chili Recipe! It’s:

  • Quick & Easy: Chili usually slow cooks in a crockpot but this foolproof turkey chili recipe is cooked on the stovetop in under an hour. The prep is simple; just add ingredients to a pot and let it simmer.
  • Healthy: This meal is packed with fiber and protein. Fibrous beans help reduce inflammation. And swapping beef chili for leaner meat like turkey is more nourishing.
  • Versatile: Add whatever you want to this totally customizable chili; from the meat and vegetables used to the toppings!
  • Delicious: Bold, flavorful, with the perfect amount of spice! You’ll be thinking about having seconds after your first spoonful!
  • Enhanced with the best ingredients! The secret to this incredible turkey chili recipe is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Most people add barbecue sauce or mustard to their chili. We don’t do that. Instead, we add a couple of chipotle peppers, which give the chili a delicious, smokey flavor!
two bowls of chili, side by side with a spoon inserted in one

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Ground turkey: It’s a healthier alternative to ground beef but you can use ground chicken if you prefer.
  • Cooking oil and Aromatics: Garlic, Onion, and Avocado Oil (or cooking oil of choice)
  • Peppers: I love spicy chili and this turkey chili recipe has a nice kick without being overwhelmingly spicy. I included jalapeño, red peppers, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and adobo liquid.
  • Spices and Seasoning: To get a flavorful chili you need to use seasonings and use them generously. DO NOT skimp on the seasonings. It may sound like a lot when making the chili, but the flavors balance out and come together perfectly. I use smoked paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, salt, ground black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper.
  • Brown sugar: Balance out the spice with a little sweetness.
  • Tomatoes: You’ll need a bit of tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes. I prefer to use canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • Chicken broth: This adds a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t get if you just used water.
  • Beans: I use red kidney beans andpinto beans but you can use any mix or variety you prefer. Just make sure you drain and rinse them! (Black Beans and Garbanzo Beans are a great option)
  • Sweet corn: This provides a pop of color and adds some texture to the chili.
overhead view of all the ingredients needed to make turkey chili

How to Make Turkey Chili

Making turkey chili is super easy! You’ll start by sauteing the onions and garlic. Then, saute the ground turkey with the spices. Stir in tomato paste, then add the remaining ingredients. Give it a stir and simmer the chili uncovered for 40 minutes. The delicious aromas will fill your home and when you are ready, you can pour the chili into your favorite bowl and load it up with as many toppings as you’d like!

Tips and Customizations for Making The Best Turkey Chili

  • The key to making the best chili is to generously season it. Don’t skimp on the spices. The flavor will be well worth it! Start by mixing the spices in a small bowl. This will make it easier to add to the recipe when instructed.
  • You can use leftover turkey to make this recipe. Use shredded turkey breast or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Just be sure to shred it with a fork before adding it to the chili. You will skip the step for cooking the ground turkey and add the cooked, shredded turkey when adding the beans. 
  • To make it spicier, add more chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It will give the chili even more flavor and heat. 
  • Make it meatier: This recipe works for up to 2 pounds of ground turkey.
overhead view of a bowl of chili on a wooden cutting board with sliced jalapeños on the side

What is the secret to making the best chili?

  • Spices: There is no need to buy prepacked chili seasoning. You’ll simply need a few spices to make the perfect blend for chili. And, it gives you control over what exactly goes into your chili. 
  • Peppers: My secret to the best chili is the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce. It takes the chili to the next level. Some people add barbecue sauce, but I think adobo sauce is way better!

What to eat with Turkey Chili

So you made this turkey chili recipe and now you need something to go with it. Consider one of these additions for a super filling, tasty meal!

  • TOPPINGS: Definitely the most important part. Top your chili with shredded cheese, green onions, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, a dollop of sour cream, avocado, or other favorite toppings.
  • RICE: Go for flavorful rice options, like Mexican rice or this Cilantro-Lime Rice.
  • CORNBREAD: Chili and cornbread is a timeless classic. Pair this chili with our Pumpkin Cornbread, Sweet Potato Cornbread or Honey Cornbread
  • CRACKERS OR CHIPS: Some people like added crunch on top and do this by adding things like Fritos Scoops or tortilla chips.
a bowl of turkey chili with assorted toppings

STORING AND REHEATING

Luckily, turkey chili makes for delicious leftovers. After the chili has cooled, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze the chili, store it in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Let frozen chili thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it in a pot or microwave.

overhead view of a bowl of chili topped with sliced avocados, lime, sour cream and cheese

I Hope You Enjoy This Turkey Chili Recipe!

If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram and Pinterest! I love seeing my recipes come to life in your kitchen.

More Turkey Recipes!

overhead view of a bowl of chili topped with sliced avocados, lime, sour cream and cheese

The Best Turkey Chili Recipe

This Turkey Chili Recipe is a healthy, hearty comfort meal of lean ground turkey, bold spices, veggies, peppers, and beans. In less than an hour, you'll have a pot full of delicious chili to serve for a cozy fall dinner or football festivity! And of course, this recipe is gluten-free!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Capri Lilly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil
  • 1 Medium onion diced
  • 5 Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Jalapeño seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Red pepper seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 ¼ cups Chicken broth
  • 2 (15 oz) Cans of petite diced tomatoes (liquid included)
  • 2 (15 oz) Cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) Can of sweet corn drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) Can of pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 4 tbsp adobo liquid  plus more to taste

Spices

  • 2 ½ tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper or to taste
  • ½ tsp Ground cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, add cooking oil. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the ground turkey to the pot and half of the seasoning mixture. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the ground turkey, is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add remaining spices and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
  • Add the drained beans, diced tomatoes (with their juice), chopped peppers, brown sugar, drained corn, chipotle peppers, adobo liquid, and broth. Stir until combined.
  • Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, a dollop of sour cream, avocado, or other favorite toppings.

Notes

Tips and Customizations for Making The Best Turkey Chili

  • The key to making the best chili is to generously season it. Don’t skimp on the spices. The flavor will be well worth it! Start by mixing the spices in a small bowl. This will make it easier to add to the recipe when instructed.
  • You can use leftover turkey to make this recipe. Use shredded turkey breast or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Just be sure to shred it with a fork before adding it to the chili. You will skip the step for cooking the ground turkey and add the cooked, shredded turkey when adding the beans. 
  • To make it spicier, add more chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It will give the chili even more flavor and heat. 
  • Make it meatier: This recipe works for up to 2 pounds of ground turkey.
Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze the chili, store it in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Let frozen chili thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it in a pot or microwave.
goodfoodbaddie.com offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you used to make the recipe. For more information read our Nutritional Disclaimer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.8g | Protein: 26.8g | Fat: 10.4g | Saturated Fat: 1.6g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1396mg | Potassium: 942mg | Fiber: 12.5g | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 6mg

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4 comments

Jamie October 21, 2022 - 4:36 pm

5 stars
The perfect meal for the chilly weather!

Reply
Capri Lilly October 22, 2022 - 10:23 am

Hi Jamie, I totally agree! 🙂

Reply
Amy Liu Dong October 21, 2022 - 8:56 pm

5 stars
My husband and I love this chili recipe.
It is so delicious and so easy to make. Yum!

Reply
Capri Lilly October 22, 2022 - 10:23 am

Hi Amy! I am glad you like! Thanks for leaving a review 🙂

Reply

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