Healthy Turkey Chili

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This turkey chili satisfies your cold-weather cravings in one big pot. It’s comforting, wildly flavorful, easy to make, and all sorts-of-healthy thanks to ground turkey, kidney beans, and loads of veggies.

Bowls of turkey chili with a spoon
Photo by: Gayle McLeod

A big pot of turkey chili is good for the soul. Chili is one of those meals that makes you feel cozy, nourished, and satisfied. That’s why I have recipes for beef chili, white chicken chili, and vegetarian chili. I’m all about options!

But if you favor ground turkey meat, this turkey chili can’t be beat! It’s hearty, perfectly spiced, and has a little kick of heat, without being overpowering. Just enough to warm you up on a cold fall or winter day.

Ingredients for turkey chili on a table

Turkey Chili Recipe Ingredients

Like my other chili recipes, the ingredients for this turkey chili are budget-friendly and pantry-friendly! Here’s what you will need:

  • Ground Turkey: Any type of ground turkey works here, whether it’s dark or white meat. Alternatively, you can use shredded turkey if you make this after Thanksgiving!
  • Vegetables & Beans: Onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and kidney beans are chili essentials for that deliciously chunky texture. Bonus – kidney beans are loaded with various minerals, vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants!
  • Liquid Base: The base requires a mix of diced tomatoes (I’m using fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor), tomato paste, and chicken broth.
  • Spices: The layers of chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano really amp up the flavor.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below

How To Make The Best Turkey Chili

The key here is to add layers of flavor, and then let the entire pot of chili slowly simmer so all of the flavors can meld together. Here’s how to make it:

Cook the veggies. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Then, add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.

Cooking veggie in a pot for turkey chili

Add the turkey. Add the ground turkey, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula, until it’s cooked through.

Cooking turkey in a pot for turkey chili

Pour in the spices and chili base. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt. Stir for another minute, until fragrant. Then add the canned tomatoes with juices, drained beans, and chicken broth, then stir together.

Making turkey chili in a large pot

Boil and simmer. Increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A large pot of turkey chili

Top Your Chili With Fresh Ingredients

Good news — you have lots to choose from when it comes to chili toppings.

  • Cheese. Choose from white cheddar, yellow cheddar, or even Cotija cheese. You could also dollop some sour cream for a cool and creamy touch.
  • Veggies: Sprinkle some sliced green onions, red onions, yellow onions, or radishes.
  • Fruits: Add a little heat with diced pickled or fresh jalapeños, or diced avocados for a creamy bite.
  • Herbs: Chopped parsley or cilantro always adds a fresh green pop.
Bowls of turkey chili with jalapenos

Storage And Meal Prep Tips

This is hands down one of the best recipes for meal prep — it freezes well and reheats beautifully!

  • Store in the fridge: Leftovers are always a delight to enjoy throughout the week. Pour into airtight containers and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freeze for later: Freeze the chili for up to 3 months in Souper Cubes or freezer-safe containers. Just make sure to let it cool before storing away.
  • To reheat: Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

More One-Pot Meals For Busy Weeknights

These flavorful, one-and-done meals will make your busy weeknights flow a lot smoother. You can never go wrong with stew and soup recipes!

If you make this turkey chili recipe, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. And if you’ve got leftover ground turkey, these delicious turkey burger patties should be next.

Turkey chili in a pot.

Healthy Turkey Chili

4.95 from 34 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This turkey chili is comforting, flavorful, and all sorts of healthy thanks to ground turkey, kidney beans, spices, and loads of veggies. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven My favorite large pot for chili recipes!

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.
    Sauteed veggies in a pot for turkey chili
  • Add the ground turkey, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula, until it's cooked through.
    Cooking ground turkey in a pot
  • Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt. Stir for another minute, until fragrant.
    Stirring in spices into a pot of turkey chili
  • Add the canned tomatoes with juices, drained beans, and chicken broth, then stir together.
    Pouring broth into a pot of turkey chili
  • Increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    A large pot of turkey chili with a ladel
  • To serve, ladle servings into individual bowls. Garnish with sour cream, avocado, green onion, cheese, cilantro, or any other toppings.
    White bowls of turkey chili and sour cream

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 1197mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1894IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 7mg
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili recipe, Turkey Chili
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published January 2023, but updated to include new photos and information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




79 Comments

  1. Hello Lisa
    I have a pretty large whole turkey breast, instead of ground turkey, shall I just shed it and add it to the pot?
    Thx Larry J. 4 stars

  2. I doubled this recipe for an impromptu family gathering. It came together fast, the seasonings were perfect. The smoky paprika makes the perfect difference. It’s our new family favorite.5 stars

  3. Thank you, Lisa for creating another easy recipe! The Healthy Turkey chili was much better than my husband’s! he felt his turkey chili was the best. Now your Healthy Turkey chili wins! now I need to make a double batch for a meal prep.5 stars

  4. I used this recipe with some left-over turkey from Thanksgiving. I have found all of Lisa’s recipes absolutely perfect, so expected nothing less. This one is way too tomatoey for me. When I dump in my ingredients for chili, I do not use tomato paste and only one can of petite cut tomatoes, and two cans of any kind of beans undrained. This recipe is also quite mild even with all the spices. I will now play with it, add beans and more spices to suit my taste. Hooray, I will have a freezer full of jars of chili beans for the winter.

    By the way, when you use 2 T of tomato paste (which is standard for most recipes), what do you do with the rest of it?

    1. about the tomato paste. I do two things. I try to buy it in the tubes so I can use what I want and then just keep it in the frig. I don;t use is often so this is perfect. If I do open a can, I cut up what I do not use into discs (about 1 T) and freeze the discs. When I need a T, I just take it out of the freezer and right into my dish.

  5. Hi Lisa: I have been a subscriber for quite some time and have enjoyed cooking many of your great recipes. I actually won a “chili cookoff” reward for your Chicken Chili recipe. So, thank you for that!! Because I’m now cooking for a family member who restricts using specific ingredients in her recipes, I’d like to know what kind of alterations would you make to your Chicken Chili recipe without using any beans (starch). I thought, in leaving that out, I could thicken the sauce a bit using arrowroot or cornstarch. What do you think? Thank you again for your innovative and delicious meals. Judith Dearborn5 stars

    1. Hi Judith – wow, that’s amazing to hear on the chili cookoff win! You can definitely leave the beans out and thicken with arrowroot or cornstarch. You could also add small diced potato or parsnips, then boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, if you’d like to keep some starch (just not beans) in the soup. Hope that helps!

    1. I made the chili for dinner and it is very tasty! I added the Smokey paprika and jalapeño and it is spicy but still love it! It will be on my rotation. Best turkey chili !
      Thanks

  6. I have made my own variation of turkey chili dozens of times, adding different vegetables, different beans, etc. I tried this recipe exactly as written a couple of weeks ago and for some reason it was truly the best I’ve ever had! Just the perfect combination of flavors. My husband loved it, too. I came back yesterday from vacation/ eating out for 10 days and I was dying to get home and make my own food. The first two items on my list were this chili and your cabbage soup! Thanks for all your great recipes.5 stars

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Michelle! I’m thrilled you love this recipe. And I hear you on wanting to get back into the kitchen and cook after vacation. Enjoy the turkey chili!

  7. Fabulous recipe. Will make it for the 2nd time tomorrow. When I am extra hungry in the mornings, I’ll make an omelette filled with some of this chili. So satisfying and keeps me going until lunch.
    Thank you Lisa!
    -Sandra

  8. My husband loves this recipe more than using ground beef. I make this at least once a month and always a double batch for the freezer. Yum! Especially on those cold, rainy days in the PNW.5 stars

  9. I’ve made this recipe three or four times now, it’s become our family’s go-to chili recipe! I grind chicken breasts with my food processor — purely for cost reasons — but that’s the only change I make. I love how Lisa’s recipes are clearly well-tested, delicious as written, super healthy, and easy to follow!5 stars

  10. Excellent chili recipe. I doubled it to have leftovers to freeze. I only needed one cup of broth for the double recipe as the turkey produced a good amount of water. it tasted awesome despite the change. I will be sharing this with my friends!!

  11. What is the serving size for the nutrition, please? 1.5 cups like your other chili recipe? I’m looking forward to making this, your other chili is my favorite. Thanks!

  12. I made this recipe tonight and it was AMAZING. My family did not realize it was turkey until I told them!!! Great flavours and super delicious. Perfect for these long, cold winter days!! Thank you once again Lisa!!!5 stars

  13. This Turkey Chili was delicious! I wondered if the jalapeno would make it too spicy, but no, it was just a lovely mellow warmth. In place of kidney beans I used black beans, because that’s what I had on hand. This was filling and will definitely go into my repeat recipes. Thanks, Lisa.5 stars

  14. Made this for dinner tonight. So good. Looking forward to having it again tomorrow night. Thank you for sharing such great recipes.5 stars

  15. Delicious! Very quick and easy chili. I did add a bit more chili powder and a touch of cayenne and black pepper, for a bit more “kick” but that’s my personal preference. I’ll be making this a lot more! Thank you Lisa for so many great recipes!5 stars

  16. I just made this tonight!  It is delicious!  I did add a small can of hatch peppers instead of jalapeños. Perfect.  I love your recipes Lisa. And your story, I’ve been using them for years now.  Your hummus and salsa are staples in my house. Along with others. I’ve shared your website with so many family and friends!  Just purchased your book for my 35 yr old daughter as she is going gluten and dairy free because of her Hashimotos and high cholesterol her new holistic provider recommended!   Thank you so much.
    Lisa. 

    1. Happy to hear you’ve been enjoying so many Downshiftology recipes, and now this turkey chili :) Thanks again for leaving a review and sharing with your friends and family as well.

  17. I made this over the weekend because I love the original beef chilli recipe.  It is wonderful.  The spice blend reminds me very much of the beef version but it’s a bit lighter feeling with turkey, and just as delicious.  This will definitely be added to our rotation.
    The only thing I did differently was 1 can of kidney beans and 1 of black beans (instead of 2x kidney beans), because that’s what I had in my cupboards.5 stars

  18. This turkey chili is so delicious!!!! I added some hot sauce for heat.  This is a keeper.  Love your recipes Lisa 5 stars

  19. Easy and delicious – another one to add to our family favourites! One question regarding the nutrients: 395kcal per 100g or portion (how big)? Thank you!5 stars

  20. This turkey chili is amazing!! I made it for my mom’s birthday and she really enjoyed it as well as the rest of the family. I topped it off with some red onions, cilantro, sour cream, and cheese. It was delicious. Thanks for the recipe Lisa!5 stars

  21. This guilt free healthy comfort meal was so delicious! I felt satisfied after I ate a serving and made a double batch to freeze. So good!!!

  22. This recipe was easy and delicious! The spice blend is on point and the chili was so comforting on a cool evening. Thank you Lisa for all your amazing work!5 stars

  23. Great recipe, as always. I noticed you do not drain the fat from the ground turkey after cooking. Do you feel this enhances the flavor or do you think it’s not necessary?5 stars

  24. So comforting and yummy. Even my 1 year old enjoyed it. Will make this again for sure. Thank you for all of your recipes. 5 stars

  25. I have dried red beans. What would be the equivalent of dried verses canned? Also, would love any tips you would have to make beans more digestible?

  26. Nutritious yet Yummiest Recipe I have ever gone through.
    Unique blend of vegetables and turkey was just awesome.

    Best part I can store it in the refregerator so no more worrying about the food plan list for a week.

    Good One:) Lisa you are always the best 5 stars

  27. I made the beef chili recipe using ground venison. The spices were perfect. Even my husband who doesn’t like beans said it was good.

  28. OMG, this is amazing. I love a good bowl of chilli, and making it with turkey is a winner for me. I added a little bit more chilli, as I love my chilli spicy.5 stars

  29. Another amazing recipe 😋 Very tasty
    and delicious. Quick to put together, a healthier versions then canned and store bought. There were no leftovers after I made this for my family, they even wanted to lick the pot.5 stars