Turkey Chili

$11.55 recipe / $1.78 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.80 from 5 votes
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I make chili at least every other week during the fall and winter months, so naturally I’ve come up with quite a few variations of our classic chili recipe over the years. This Turkey Chili is a little bit lighter and is chock full of colorful vegetables. It’s the perfect chili recipe for the transition season when the leaves are just starting to fall but the air is still a little on the warm side. ;)

Overhead view of a pot full of turkey chili with ingredients on the sides.

What’s in Turkey Chili?

Turkey chili starts with a similar base as a classic chili recipe: ground meat cooked in a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce, and seasoned with tons of warm spices. Because ground turkey has a lighter flavor, we went with a lighter, zestier flavor profile and added a ton of colorful vegetables and beans.

Ingredients for Turkey Chili

Here’s what you’ll need to make turkey chili:

  • Ground Turkey: Opt for dark meat turkey or ground turkey with at least a little fat. Extra-lean ground turkey breast can get a little dry and tough when simmered in chili.
  • Onion and Garlic: Every good chili starts with onion and garlic to create a deeply savory flavor base! I went with four cloves of garlic for this recipe, but feel free to measure with your heart. ;)
  • Poblano Pepper & Corn: A diced poblano pepper and some frozen corn kernels add a lot of flavor and color to this chili, making it extra festive. Poblanos can be spicy, though, so if you need a mild heat, skip the pepper or substitute with a green bell pepper.
  • Beans: A combination of kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans adds even more color, texture, and flavor to this chili. The beans are very flexible, so if you only want black beans or kidney beans, you can certainly substitute them to fit your needs.
  • Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes add texture to our chili while tomato paste helps thicken the sauce and adds a really rich tomatoey flavor.
  • Herbs & Spices: The secret to the sauce! We use our homemade chili seasoning, which is a mix of chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, to season our turkey chili.

Make it Vegetarian

This turkey chili is super easy to make vegetarian. Simply swap the ground turkey with an extra can of beans (kidney, black beans, or even pinto beans), or your favorite meat substitute, like soy crumbles.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Chili is a great slow cooker recipe. To make this turkey chili in your slow cooker, first brown the ground turkey in a skillet, then add it to the slow cooker with all of the other ingredients (reduce the water to 1 cup). Cook the chili on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.

How to Store Leftovers

After cooking the turkey chili, divide it into single-serving containers and store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Once chilled in the refrigerator, you can transfer some to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months).

To reheat the chili, either microwave on high, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Or add to a sauce pot and cook over medium-low, stirring often, until heated through.

What to Serve with Turkey Chili

Chili and cornbread were made for each other, so try pairing this turkey chili with our Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread or Sweet Potato Cornbread. And don’t forget the toppings for your chili! Try adding a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, or cilantro. Or maybe a dollop of sour cream, some corn chips, or pickled jalapeños.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili with toppings and a spoon dipping into the center.
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Turkey Chili

4.80 from 5 votes
This flavorful turkey chili features ground turkey, colorful beans and vegetables, and plenty of herbs and spices to keep you full and happy!
Overhead view of a bowl full of chili with toppings.
Servings 6 (1.3 cups each)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.22)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey ($4.49)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.36)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1 poblano pepper ($0.75)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained ($0.79)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained ($0.79)
  • 1 15oz. can pinto beans, drained ($0.79)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.47)
  • 1 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes ($0.99)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste ($0.99)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 cups water ($0.00)
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Instructions 

  • Add the olive oil and ground turkey to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the turkey is cooked through. Break the ground turkey up into pieces as it cooks.
  • While the turkey is cooking, dice the onion and poblano pepper, and mince the garlic. Add the onion, poblano, and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the canned beans (drained), frozen corn (no need to thaw), diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and water. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 30 minutes (or longer, if preferred), stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, then serve.

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Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1.3cupsCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 29gFat: 7gSodium: 1138mgFiber: 13g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Overhead view of a pot of turkey chili.

How to Make Turkey Chili

Browned turkey in a large pot.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and one pound of ground turkey to a large pot. Cook over medium heat until the ground turkey is cooked through.

Onion, poblano pepper, and garlic added to the pot.

While the turkey is browning, mince four cloves of garlic, dice one yellow onion, and dice one poblano pepper. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper to the pot and continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the onions have softened.

Beans, tomatoes, and spices added to the pot, water being poured in the side.

Next, add one 15oz. can of kidney beans (drained), one 15oz. can of black beans (drained), one 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained), one 15oz. can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (with juices), one 6oz. can of tomato paste, 1 cup frozen corn kernels, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 2 cups water to the pot.

Stirred chili before simmering.

Stir everything to combine, then place a lid on the pot and allow it to come up to a simmer.

Simmered chili in the pot being stirred.

Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a taste, adjust the seasoning to your liking, and serve!

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili with toppings.

And don’t forget to pile it high with your favorite chili toppings!

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  1. Good flavor, very easy to make
    Maybe it’s because I used bell peppers instead of poblano but it was very tomato forward. Not necessarily bad, but next time I probably won’t use the full tomato paste can

  2. Added one green bell pepper and used low sodium chicken broth instead of water. I’m thinking of adding a can of diced green chilies next time just to give it a small kick 🔥

  3. My daughter and I made this together and it was a hit! We added 1 green bell pepper diced and used low sodium chicken broth instead of water. Very full of flavor, which is what you need when using turkey. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 🌟 🌟

  4. Made this for a crowd of 60+ on a camping trip.
    It was a huge hit, great complex flavors…but not too hot for “chili light weights”.

    My picky-eater son has already asked me to make another batch for my “meal prep” stockpile in the freezer.

  5. Beth I made this exactly as written because I wanted to see what you think tastes good. The chili was delicious!! For my buddies and me it served 3 😉 while we watched baseball.

    Very nice job Beth! Also, I’ll try not to say it every time but including the cost per ingredient is so awesome. Less money on food, more money for fun. Thanks again!!

    1. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it, Frank. :) Thanks for the compliments!

  6. Made this (without the poblano pepper, also added some cheese on top) and it was SO good! 👏 will be making this again for sure

  7. If you add squash (delicata and yellow summer squash are our favorites), this is basically my spouse’s “three sisters chili”! We love it with sour cream/yogurt, shredded cheddar, or avocado slices. We’ll have to try using poblano peppers next time we cook it, I bet that’d be scrumptious. Thank you for this recipe.

    1. Ooh, I love the idea of adding delicata to this! Thanks for the inspo!