A bowl of easy turkey chili topped with shredded cheese and green onions.
Main courses

Easy turkey chili

9 comments

Easy turkey chili is a hearty, saucy and flavorful meal. The addition of a small diced jalapeno pepper gives it just the right amount of spice. Cooking lean ground turkey with a medley of vegetables, seasoning and saucy San Marzano tomatoes gives this turkey chili extra depth of flavor.

A bowl of easy turkey chili topped with shredded cheese and green onions.
Turkey chili, a family favorite

Easy turkey chili is a great fall meal. I usually rotate through different kinds of chili depending on my mood. It’s great to make a big pot of chili and have leftovers readily available to reheat for those times when you need a fast weeknight dinner. Turkey is a lean ground meat. It’s often considered more healthy for that reason. If you like beef, check out my sweet and spicy chili con carne. It’s one of my most popular recipes. If you like lots of stick-to-your-ribs beans, check out my 3 bean cowboy chili. It’s sweet and savory and can be made with ground turkey or ground beef.

What to serve with easy turkey chili?

We garnish this tasty turkey chili with freshly grated cheddar cheese and scallions. It adds a fresh flavor pop and creaminess that melds deliciously with the sauce. Serve turkey chili with slices of French baguette or you can never go wrong with homemade corn bread. A simple side salad is our go-to side dish for a healthy wholesome meal.

Close-up photo showing turkey chili with cannellini beans, celery and tomatoes
Saucy and spicy!

What ingredients do you need for turkey chili?

A tray containing all the ingredients for turkey chili. Cannellini beans, ground turkey, San Marzano tomatoes, chicken broth, yellow bell pepper, celery, garlic, onions and seasonings.
Turkey chili ingredients

You’ll need cannellini beans, ground turkey, San Marzano tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, bell pepper, garlic, onions, jalapeno, celery, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. I love cannellini beans which is why I use them. However, if you prefer to use a different style of beans such as kidney beans or black beans, feel free. Rinse the beans in a fine mesh strainer first. Why? Well, I use chicken broth as the liquid to cook down the chili in this recipe. So, the extra liquid in the can with the beans is not necessary. Also, rinsing the beans helps eliminate a metallic flavor that can sometimes be found in canned beans. It also helps you control the salt and starch content since these elements are in the canning liquid. I use a yellow bell pepper for the sweetness. If you prefer green, you can substitute.

An overhead picture of saucy and spicy turkey chili.
Warm yourself up with turkey chili

How to make turkey chili

Chili is definitely one of those family meals that is easy to make. Just about everything goes into the pot and it simply cooks down. But there are some tips for developing extra flavor which will make your turkey chili outstanding.

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  • Use a heavy-bottomed dutch oven like this Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven. I cook my turkey chili low and slow so that the vegetables have time to cook down and the sauce thickens developing lots of flavor.
  • Using high-quality ingredients like organic turkey, organic cannellini beans and San Marzano organic peeled tomatoes is also key. Higher quality in means higher quality out.
  • Turkey is a lean meat. This means adding in just a little fat will give your chili a boost of flavor and will help avoid burning. I use extra virgin olive oil and only one tablespoon of butter for this.
A collage of three images. First is sauteing the vegetables and ground turkey. The second adds in the seasonings. The third is turkey chili in the dutch oven all cooked to perfection.

Making the chili is quite straight-forward. First, brown the meat and cook the veggies. Since the veggies take a little longer to cook, I usually start with those. Push them aside when it’s time to add the ground turkey. Next, add the spices ~ garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and oregano. It’s fragrant and smells great. And finally, add all the liquid ingredients such as tomato paste, canned tomatoes and chicken broth. Don’t forget the beans. Bring it to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover it and cook for 50 minutes. (If you’re in a rush, this can be cooked on medium-high for 30 minutes.) More tips are provided in the recipe card below.

Turkey chili simmering in the dutch oven.

If you are in the mood for a heartwarming bowl of saucy turkey chili, look no more. I think you’ll love this recipe. It’s saucy, sweet and spicy. Let me know your thoughts on this turkey chili recipe in the comments below.

Happy cooking!
Michelle

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Turkey chili

This easy turkey chili is a hearty, saucy and flavorful meal. The addition of a small diced jalapeno pepper gives it just the right amount of spice. Cooking lean ground turkey with a medley of vegetables, seasoning and saucy San Marzano tomatoes gives this turkey chili extra depth of flavor.

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (diced, see notes)
  • 1 lb ground (preferably organic) turkey
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (see notes)
  • 1 28 oz can San Marzano style cut tomatoes (see notes)
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Swanson chicken broth ((equivalent of 4 cups))
  • 1 scallion (green onion) (chopped, for garnish)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (amount to taste) (for garnish)
  1. Use a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for several minutes until it begins to go translucent. Add the bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno. Cook for several more minutes.

  2. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan. Add 1 more tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add the ground turkey and saute. Season the turkey with the salt and ground pepper.

  3. Once the turkey begins to brown, combine everything together continuing to cook. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir the spices in.

  4. Next, add the cut tomatoes, beans and chicken broth. Increase the heat and bring the chili to a simmer. Then, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 50 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time. Slow cooking the chili allows for the flavors to meld together and the bell peppers to soften and cook down.

  5. Allow the chili to rest off heat for several minutes before serving. It will thicken up more as it rests. The chili is even better the next day.

  6. Garnish with scallions and cheddar cheese.

If you like your chili spicy, feel free to add more jalapeno pepper or use a hotter pepper. I use about 1 tbsp of jalapeno pepper because I am feeding kids. This adds a slight spice that mellows as it cooks.

You can use any kind of beans you prefer. If you prefer kidney beans or black beans they can be substituted. Rinse the beans first.

San Marzano style tomatoes are very flavorful. If you can’t find cut San Marzano style tomatoes, use whole plum San Marzano style. Break the tomatoes up with your hands or a knife into chunks. Use all the liquid in the can.

Yellow bell peppers are sweet and add a nice color to the chili. If you prefer green bell peppers, you may substitute.

Low and slow develops great flavor. However, you can cook this faster if need on medium-high heat for 30 minutes.

 

9 Comments

  1. Lesli Schwartz

    I’m obsessed with turkey chili and I’m all over the word “easy!” Will be trying out your recipe soon!

     
  2. It’s definitely chili weather here in NY! I love that you use ground turkey… healthier and much more flavorful (IMHO) than beef. This is going on my menu for next week!

     
  3. This can easily be one of my go-to recipes for when I have turkey leftovers after a big celebration. I have a feeling I may need it very soon, so I should better keep it on hand. BTW, great tip on rinsing the beans.

     
  4. It’s a while since I used ground turkey so this looks like a perfect new dish to try, especially for busy evenings.

     
  5. I love that I can use turkey which sometimes gets forgotten. I can’t wait to make it.

     
  6. I’m kinda obsessed with new chilli recipes at the moment, this one is glorious, really tasty and simple too.

     

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