This Turkey Chili recipe is easy, healthy and hearty. It is sure to be a hit with your family on cold winter nights.
Easy HEALTHY Turkey Chili
This might have been a better title. But three words are easier to remember.
Why turkey and not beef?
I like to substitute turkey for beef because it's healthier.
We have all heard about how we should limit red meat, so ground turkey is an easy choice. It's lean and packed with protein.
Also, this recipe uses wholesome ingredients that further amps up the health factor. My family has commented that this chili tastes so good it's hard to believe it is good for you!
If you have picky eaters (e.g., children) who would hate the concept of turkey in their chili, don’t tell them. They won’t know the difference.
The texture of the two ground meats is similar. By the time you add all the spices, you won't notice any difference in flavor.
Do you prefer no bean turkey chili?
If your prefer your chili without beans, you'll need to increase the amount of ground turkey and vegetables. Adding pasta or rice is another great option to make it more filling.
Our family prefers beans because they make the chili more hearty and, over time, add thickness.
More importantly, beans are incredibly healthy because they're high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. This means that you'll be fuller longer and have less urge to eat.
What type of beans for chili?
You really can’t go wrong here. I have used all types and each produced great tasting chili.
I have also mixed 2-3 bean varieties at the same time (you know, the can with three types of beans?). Once again, the results are awesome.
It also added more character to the chili because of the color variation and subtle texture differences of each bean.
Can I use a slow cooker for turkey chili?
Absolutely. The reality is you still need to follow the first few steps in the directions below on the stove top, since slow cookers don’t brown meat. That's a critical step.
Where slow cookers shine is when you use them for parties.
Make the chili following the recipe below through step 2 (you can do this the night before!).
Then, about 3 hours before the party, transfer the meat and onion mixture and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker set on low.
Set out toppings buffet-style, and your guests will be able to dish up piping hot chili any time during your party without you having to lift a finger. WIN.
Can I use an instant pot for chili?
This is an even better option than the slow cooker. Since instant pots have a saute function, you can brown the ground turkey and saute the aromatics.
Just follow the same directions as you would on the stove top with the saute function on high. Then, after sauteing the aromatics and adding the additional ingredients, turn the instant pot to slow-cook (medium setting) for 3 hours.
The advantage of the instant pot is that you can set the it so that it switches to "keep warm" for an extended time after the slow-cooking period is over. This is ideal for parties!
Popular toppings for chili
Toppings can bring your chili to the next level. The best part is that each person can customize their bowl however they like. Below are some of our favorites:
- Hot sauce (tabasco, Cholula, etc)
- Cheddar cheese (grated)
- Sour cream
- Diced onion and/or tomato
- Sliced jalepeno
- Chopped cilantro and/or green onions (scallions)
- Crackers, tortilla chips and/or Fritos
- Beans (if you made no bean chili)
How to use leftover chili
Your leftover chili can be used so many ways. This is the main reason that Phil always reminds me to double and triple the recipe.
Some of our favorites are:
- Chili over baked potatoes
- Chili omelets or on scrambled eggs
- Chili breakfast burritos
- Chili on nachos
Again, you can re-use many of the same toppings that you used before.
This turkey chili will warm you up—and fill you up. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
I'm linking my Turkey Chili recipe up with #CookOnceEatTwice. Check it out for meals that produce leftovers that are just as yummy the next day as they are when you made them!
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 tbsp. olive or canola oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut into half-rings
- 1 28- oz. can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup Sri Racha ketchup , (or slightly less regular ketchup topped up with 1–2 tbsp sriracha)
- 16 oz canned red pinto beans, (see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 12- oz. beer or 1-½ cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. ancho or guajillo chili powder, or to taste
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp coarse salt , (or to taste)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- hot sauce
- sour cream
- grated cheddar cheese
- sliced jalapenos
- chopped tomatoes
- chopped onions
- Brown the meat in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Drain.
- Remove any excess grease from the pot. Add the oil and diced onion to the pot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin seeds. Sauté an additional minute. Add the cumin and chili powders and the bay leaf. Stir until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the tomatoes, ketchup, beer or broth, jalapeños, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir until well combined. Gently stir in the beans.
- Heat until bubbling gently, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Check your seasonings, adjusting as necessary. Serve with your family’s favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- You can also use kidney beans, drained OR chili beans in sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
My "junk food birthday" dinner for 2015. Ooey-gooey awesomeness on a paper plate.