This turkey chili recipe is great for anytime of the year but especially during the cool weather. Our recipe shows you how to make it with both ground turkey and leftover holiday turkey and it's loaded with vegetables, beans, chickpeas, corn, and spices. Try this chili with our cheesy loaded potato bread or crispy smashed potatoes!
We are huge fans of chili! It just goes well with so many things and it's super hearty, flavorful, and best of all - comforting. As you probably already know, we are suckers for comfort food, like dwaeji galbijjim (Korean braised pork ribs) and century egg and pork congee, to name a couple.
So, it was no brainers that we would share our favorite turkey chili recipe! Plus, this cool weather makes chilis tastes even better. And my absolute favorite thing about this turkey chili recipe is that I can make extra chili with our holiday leftover turkeys!
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
- Turkey - Feel free to use either ground turkey or leftover turkey from your holiday cooking! If using ground turkey, we recommend getting ones that has at least 5 percent fat. For leftover turkey, it's best to use classic flavor turkeys or ones with seasoning that matches well with chili.
- Chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper - These are the spices, herb, and seasonings that gives our turkey chili the classic chili flavor and makes it super flavorful.
- Onion, garlic, carrots, and celery - These vegetables and aromatic are the basis of good soups and stews and will give the turkey chili more flavor.
- Poblano pepper - Turkey chili tastes amazing with some green pepper! It adds another depth of flavor not provided by the other vegetables. Also, the poblano seeds can add some heat the chili if you enjoy spice.
- Unsalted chicken stock - We always recommend that you use unsalted stocks so that you can better control the seasoning of whatever you're cooking. Of course, if you use your own homemade chicken stock, the turkey chili will be even more flavorful!
- Can diced tomato - The tomato adds some acidity and layers another flavor into the chili, which intensifies the overall flavor.
- Can red kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo), and sweet corn - These are the "filler" ingredients for our turkey chili. They add substance, texture, and flavor. But how can a good chili not have at least some beans?!
How to make the best turkey chili
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Brown the turkey. Sauté the ground turkey in some oil until no longer pink and season with the spices, oregano, salt and pepper.
2. Sauté the onion and garlic. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
3. Sauté the vegetables. Add the vegetables and saute briefly to evenly combine.
🌟 If using leftover turkey:
Instead of browning the turkey, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until fragrant first. Next, add the vegetables and sauté briefly. Then, add the leftover turkey (we recommend shredding it or cutting it into small bite size pieces) and the spices, herbs, and seasonings. Sauté until well combined and fragrant.
4. Simmer the turkey chili base. Add the chicken stock and diced tomato and let the turkey chili base simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. If you prefer a thicker turkey chili, you can simmer the base 5 to 10 minutes longer. We also recommend holding back on the salt, as the liquid will reduce.
5. Finish. After simmering, add the can kidney beans, chickpeas, and corn. Let everything simmer and stew for another 10 to 15 minutes to marry all the flavors. Taste and season as needed.
6. Serve. Portion and garnish the turkey chili with grated cheddar, sour cream, green onions, avocado, and/or bread.
- If using leftover turkey, we recommend classic oven roasted turkey so the the flavor of the turkey won't be be drastically changed. However, if you leftover turkey is seasoned with flavors not suited for chili, you can trim away the heavily seasoned part of the turkey before using.
- Make sure to use chili powder! Do not confuse it with spicy ground chili peppers. The chili powder used to give the turkey chili the iconic chili flavor. It is mild in terms of spiciness.
- If you like your chili spicier, you can use some or all of the poblano pepper seeds. You could also add spicier peppers like jalapeño.
Storage and reheating
This turkey chili, just like any good chili and stews, stores really well and tastes even better the next day. So if you have leftovers or made a large batch, feel free to refrigerate it up to 4 days. If you can't finish all the chili within 4 days, portion and freeze the chili for up to 3 to 4 months.
To reheat, simply microwave the chili in a microwave safe container or on the stovetop until hot. For either reheating methods, the chili can be from frozen or thawed.
Yes! We absolutely love making our turkey chili recipe after the holidays to repurpose our leftover turkey. We do recommend classic oven roasted turkey over other flavors so that the chili's flavor won't be drastically altered. If your turkey is seasoned with flavors that doesn't pair well with chili, you can trim away the heavily seasoned areas.
Besides the can diced tomatoes, feel free to substitute the beans, chickpeas, and corn for what you have on hand or prefer. Although, we highly recommend keeping the corn because it adds a nice element of sweetness in each bite.
Absolutely! Turkey chili freezes just as well as another other chili and stews. Please refer to the "Storage and reheating" topic for more details.
If you’ve made this recipe or any recipes from our blog, please tag us on Instagram using #twoplaidaprons! You can also tag us in your Instagram stories using @two_plaid_aprons. We would love to see your creations! It absolutely makes our day! 🥰
Turkey Chili Recipe
For the turkey chili:
- 16 ounces ground turkey (or leftover oven roasted turkey torn into b)
- 2 tablespoons oil any neutral oil will do
- 2½ tablespoons chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons dry oregano
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt or to taste (use a little less if using fine salt)
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced (about 4 cloves)
- 1 medium carrot peeled and diced
- 1 rib celery trimmed and diced
- 1 poblano pepper deseeded and diced (if you want some heat, keep some or all of the seeds)
- 32 fluid ounces unsalted chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomato (14.5 oz / 411g can)
- 1 can red kidney bean drained (15.5 oz / 439g can)
- 1 can chickpeas drained (15.5 oz / 439g can)
- 1 can sweet corn drained (8.75 oz / 248g can)
Optional toppings and sides:
- Shredded cheddar
- Avocado sliced or diced
- Sour cream
- Green onion
If using ground turkey:
- Heat a pot over medium high heat with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey and cook until it is no longer pink. Make sure to break up the ground turkey as you're cooking.
- Season the turkey with chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute until the seasonings are well combined and aromatic.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onion looks translucent, about a minute.
- Add the diced carrot, celery, and poblano pepper and cook for a minute or two, until the vegetables are well combined.
If using leftover oven roasted turkey:
- Heat a pot over medium high heat with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant and the onions starts to look translucent.
- Then, add the diced carrot, celery, and poblano pepper and sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the leftover roasted turkey (shredded or cut into small bite size pieces), along with the chili powder, ground cumin, dry oregano, salt, and pepper. Sauté everything for about a minute, until everything is well combined and the spices fragrant.
Continuing the rest of the chili:
- Add the chicken stock and can diced tomato and stir to combine. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low, constant simmer. Let the chili base slowly simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes uncovered.
- After 15 to 20 minutes, add the drained kidney beans, chickpeas, and sweet corn. Stir to combine and let the chili simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- After the final simmering, taste the chili and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Portion and serve the chili while hot and enjoy with cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions, and/or bread.
- Chili powder - Make sure to use regular chili powder like this McCormick's brand. It's mild and gives the chili its iconic chili flavor.
- If you prefer a thicker chili with less liquid, increase the initial simmering time up to 30 minutes so that the stock can become more reduced. You may also want to hold back on the salt a little and adjust the seasoning towards the end, since the stock will be more reduced.