Chili is a beloved dish that warms the soul and satisfies the tastebuds.
And ground turkey chili is one of the best varieties of chili there is. It’s super flavorful and wonderfully lean.
Substituting turkey for ground beef has a ton of benefits. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also low in fat, more nutritious, and less greasy.
Ground turkey chili lets you enjoy the hearty warmth of chili without all the calories and fat.
It’s also packed with protein and a decent amount of fiber from the beans.
It’s hard to beat this delicious recipe if you want a comforting fall or winter meal.
Ground Turkey Chili
The moment the weather turns cool, everyone craves spicy, flavorful chili. And this ground turkey chili recipe is hard to beat.
It has everything!
There’s juicy, succulent meat, robust spices, and hearty, stick-to-your-ribs beans. It’s an incredible recipe that’s perfect for the cooler months of the year.
It’s easy to make, too. I’ve included the stovetop recipe here, but that’s not the only way to cook it. You can make it in a Crockpot or Instant Pot.
It’s a great make-ahead meal as well. So if you need a filling dish to feed a crowd, whip this up! It’s delicious, nutritious, and convenient!
Here’s what you need for this turkey chili recipe:
- Olive oil. You need just a little in the pot to help you brown your meat.
- Ground turkey. Of course, you can use ground beef or chicken if you prefer. However, turkey is an excellent lean protein with plenty of flavor.
- Veggies. For this recipe, add onions, tomatoes, kidney beans, and minced garlic. If you want to add extra veggies, like corn or bell peppers, that’s fine, too!
- Chicken broth. Along with the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth acts as the chili’s base. It provides a better, richer taste than plain water alone.
- Seasonings. Round out the flavor with chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper.
How to Make Ground Turkey Chili
Here’s how to make this chili on the stovetop:
1. Brown the meat. Add oil to a large pot and heat it over medium heat. Then, add the turkey and cook it for 6 to 8 minutes until it browns.
2. Add the other ingredients. Next, add the onions, cooking and stirring them frequently until they’re tender. After that’s done, you can dump in everything else. Give it a good stir, then bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Cover and simmer. Once the chili reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes until everything warms through.
4. Add the toppings, serve, and enjoy! Finally, transfer the chili to serving bowls and add your favorite chili toppings. Enjoy!
For the complete list of ingredients and directions, see the recipe card below.
Can You Make This Turkey Chili in the Slow Cooker?
You absolutely can make this chili in a slow cooker. Simply mix all the ingredients* and let the slow cooker do its thing.
It’ll take about 7 hours to cook on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.
*Note: Some people like to brown their meat before adding it to the slow cooker. That’s fine! Personally, I always brown my meat first. It gives the final dish a bolder, richer flavor.
Tips for the Best Chili
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Add more beans. For a chunkier, heartier chili, add more beans. The recipe calls for kidney beans, but you don’t have to stop there. You can also add more veggies if you like.
- Use fresh garlic cloves. You can buy minced garlic in a jar but, it’s not the same. Fresh garlic will give your chili the best possible taste.
- Make it thicker. Wondering how to thicken chili? Just let it simmer uncovered for longer. You can also cut back slightly on the chicken broth or partially drain the tomatoes.
- Make it thinner. If your chili is too thick, add more broth.
- Save time with pre-cut veggies. Buy pre-cut onions at the grocery store. If you want to add peppers and other veggies, look for those in the pre-cut sections, too. They taste just as fresh but will save you loads of time.
- Don’t forget the toppings. Although toppings are optional, the chili really benefits from them. I like to add cheese and green onions to mine.
Let’s look at a few variations, as well:
- Make it beanless. Are you in the “chili shouldn’t have beans” camp? Leave them out and add another half-pound of ground turkey. (Extra veggies will also make up the difference.)
- Use a different type of meat. This recipe works just as well with ground chicken or beef.
- Add some sweetness. Adding a dash or two of brown sugar and cinnamon makes the chili slightly sweet. It’s not sweet enough to make it taste odd, it’s just sweet enough to notice.
- Make it creamy. When the chili is ready, mix in some sour cream or your favorite cheese. Lots of people use these ingredients as toppings. But not everyone mixes them into the chili itself. Give it a try! It adds the same amount of flavor but gives the chili a creamier consistency.
- Make it spicy. Add a little extra cayenne, or dice up a jalapeno for more heat.
- Make it vegetarian. Prefer your chili to be meatless? Simply leave out the meat and double down on the veggies and beans.
What to Serve With Turkey Chili
If none of those sound good to you, try some of these sides instead:
- Avocado slices
- Light bread
- Pimento cheese sandwiches
- A leafy green salad
- Brussels sprouts or a Brussels sprouts salad
- Tortilla chips (with or without guacamole)
- Jalapeno poppers
Don’t forget to put out all the topping options, too! Cheese, sour cream, chives, green onions, and tortilla strips are just a few choices.
You can store leftover chili in the refrigerator or the freezer. It’ll last in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freezer storage will keep it fresh for up to 3 months.
To reheat cold chili, use the microwave on high power. Start with 1 minute, then keep heating in 30-second intervals until you get it just right. You can also heat it on the stove over medium-low heat.
Remember to let frozen chili thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating it.
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