The BEST Healthy Turkey Chili — This easy turkey chili recipe comes together in just 30 minutes! It’s packed with flavor and is perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Easy Turkey Chili Recipe
Most of the country is in a deep freeze this time of year. Lucky for me I live in San Diego, but we do have ‘winter.’ Meaning it’s in the low 50s at night. I know, frigid. So how about a big bowl of turkey chili to warm you up? This ground turkey chili is easy, hearty comfort food that’s healthy.
Instead of simmering away for hours in a slow cooker or on the stove, this chili is ready in 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
This healthy turkey chili has rich flavor with a tiny amount of kick, but I wouldn’t say it’s spicy. Add the spices to your taste preferences and you can add more chili powder, add cayenne powder, or use hot green chilis if you want to kick it up.
This chili recipe is adapted from my Slow Cooker Beef Chili. Rather than using ground beef, I used ground turkey. You can substitute ground beef and make a 30-minute beef chili if you prefer.
Healthy Turkey Chili Ingredients
To make this ground turkey chili, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Ground turkey
- Sweet Vidalia onion
- Red bell pepper
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Water or chicken broth
- Diced green chilis
How to Make Turkey Chili
Brown the ground turkey in a large Dutch oven, then stir in the bell pepper and onion. Cook until the veggies have softened. Add the garlic and salt and cook for another minute or so before adding the remaining turkey chili ingredients to the pot.
Bring the simple turkey chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for roughly 15 minutes, or until thickened. Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings.
My Go-To Turkey Chili Toppings
This ground turkey chili recipe pairs nicely with a variety of chili toppings. A few of my favorites to have on hand are:
- Sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
- Green onions
- Shredded cheese
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Oyster crackers
- Diced avocado
How Long Does Homemade Turkey Chili Last?
Keep this healthy turkey chili in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Turkey Chili?
Yes, turkey chili with beans freezes incredibly well. To freeze this chili, let it cool to room temperature before ladling it into freezer-safe bags or containers. When you’re ready to eat the frozen chili, either reheat it on the stove or place it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
How to Reheat Ground Turkey Chili
One of the many reasons I love this simple turkey chili is because it reheats so well! In fact, I actually think it tastes better after it’s had time to marinate in its flavors for a day or two. To reheat chili, warm for 30-second intervals in the microwave or heat over medium heat on the stove.
Tips for the Best Turkey Chili
Wherever possible, I selected low-salt or no-salt added or canned goods. If using traditional versions, add less salt in the beginning and salt to taste at the end. I prefer to control the salt level in my food rather than buying traditional versions of canned goods, which are usually very high in sodium and in this recipe would unnecessarily pile salt upon more salt.
As I mentioned before, you’re welcome to use another type of ground meat in this homemade chili recipe. Ground beef or pork would work here. And if you’re vegetarian, you could try adding an extra can of beans in place of the turkey.
Lastly, although this simple turkey chili recipe is delicious after just 30 minutes, you’re welcome to leave it simmering away for as long as you’d like. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor will be. Just note that you’ll want to put the lid back on the chili after the first 15 to 20 minutes, otherwise too much liquid will evaporate.
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- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds ground turkey (I used extra lean)
- 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 1 medium/large red bell pepper, diced small
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves, finely pressed or minced
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste* (see Note below)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- one 15.5-ounce can red kidney beans (I used low-salt), drained and rinsed if desired
- one 15-ounce can black beans (I used no-salt added), drained and rinsed if desired
- one 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes (I used no-salt added)
- one 8-ounce can tomato sauce, plus 8 ounces water used to rinse out can (I used no-salt added)
- about 8 ounces water, chicken or vegetable broth, optional (see step 5 below)
- two 4-ounce cans diced green chilis (I used fire-roasted)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
- 2 to 4 bay leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips or crackers
- To a large Dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, turkey, and cook over medium-high heat to brown, crumbling it with a spatula as it cooks and tossing it to ensure even cooking. Cook through, about 5 minutes or as necessary.
- Add the onions, red pepper, drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons over the top, stir, and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables have softened, stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic, salt (Note because I used all low-salt or no-salt added products I use 3 teaspoons salt total; if you’re using salted versions of the other ingredients reduce salt level to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to start with and add more if necessary), pepper, and cook for about 1 minute, stir intermittently.
- Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, rinse can out with 8 ounces water and add the water, green chilis, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, bay leaves, and stir.
- Depending on how thick you like your chili and if you prefer more broth, you may wish to add up to 8 additional ounces water, chicken or vegetable broth.
- Bring to boil and cook for about 10 to 15 or until chili has reduced and thickened some.
- Stir, taste, optionally add sugar to taste (I added 2 teaspoons because the sugar balances the acid from the tomatoes and peppers), and add more salt, pepper, or seasonings to taste.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Ladle into bowls and optionally garnish with sour cream, green onions, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips or crackers.
Storage: Chili will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. The flavors meld and marry and I think it tastes even better a day or two later.
Recipe adapted from my Slow Cooker Beef Chili.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 601Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1570mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 11gSugar: 11gProtein: 44g
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Originally posted February 20, 2017 and reposted January 20, 2021 with updated text.