Recipe: Turkey Chili Recipe

Dinner Recipes, Poultry Recipes, Soups + Stew Recipes

By: Deborah Murphy, MS, RD, LDN

Great for game day or a weeknight dinner on a chilly fall evening, this turkey chili recipe is definitely a winner. It is chock full of protein from the turkey and beans and you’ll feel good about filling up on lots of veggies.

Our absolute favorite dinner recipes always have a few things in common: delicious, healthy, and easy to make! You may have already guessed, this veggie loaded healthy turkey chili checks all of those boxes. 

You can easily make this healthy turkey chili recipe on the stovetop in 30 minutes, but you can also let the crock pot do all the work if you want to let this cook while you are at work. This hearty turkey chili recipe is sure to become a go-to weeknight dinner during the winter months that the whole family will love.


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    Ingredients You’ll Need

    This veggie loaded turkey chili is full of fresh, vibrant ingredients that will nourish and satisfy.

    • Ground Turkey: we love making our chili with ground turkey to lighten it up a bit and reduce the overall calories and saturated fat. You can also use ground chicken if you prefer.
    • Black Beans: add beans to your chili to add heartiness as well as fiber. We use black beans, but you can also use pinto beans or red kidney beans. 
    • Fresh Veggies (onion, red bell pepper, zucchini): for those who don’t particularly like veggies, adding them to mixed dishes like this turkey chili is a great way to sneak them in. 
    • Canned Tomatoes: we like to use fire roasted canned tomatoes if you can find them. For added flavor, you can also use pre-seasoned canned tomatoes like one with green chile peppers, adobe, or chipotle peppers added. 
    • Seasoning (chili powder, cumin, paprika): this blend of seasonings adds tons of flavor to this turkey chili. You could also add about ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder if you want even more flavor. If you like spicy food, feel free to add some cayenne pepper or chopped jalapeno.

    How to Make Turkey Chili with Black Beans

    browned turkey and vegetables in dutch oven with wooden spoon on white countertop
    • Brown the Turkey: add your olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add in the ground turkey, onion, and bell pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the ground turkey into small pieces as it cooks. 
    • Simmer with all the Ingredients: once the turkey is browned, add the seasoning (chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika) and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, broth, and corn. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 15 minutes or until thickened to your liking. (A longer simmer time will make a thicker chili.)

    Meal Prep and Storage

    • Meal Prep: you can pre-cook the ground turkey in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days until you are ready to use. To reduce prep-time on the night you make this easy turkey chili recipe, you can buy pre-chopped vegetables or chop them in advance and store in the fridge for up to 3 days until ready to use. 
    • Storage: allow any leftover homemade turkey chili to cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container and storing the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze this chili for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
    two individual servings of healthy turkey chili with spoon on white counter with topping sides

    What to serve with Healthy Turkey Chili

    This ground turkey chili recipe is the perfect comfort food for a chilly weeknight dinner, but is also great to serve to any crowd that is over to watch Sunday football. Our favorite toppings for this chili include: chopped avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, fresh cilantro, and shredded cheddar cheese. Other toppings options include: hot sauce, chopped tomatoes, green onions, and red onion.

    On the side, here are some delicious things to serve with chili: homemade cornbread, salad, or tortilla chips. You can even serve this chili over a baked potato or make nachos by adding it to a pile of tortilla chips with some extra cheese.

    Is ground turkey a good substitute for ground beef in chili?

    Yes! For those looking to reduce their saturated fat intake for heart health, ground turkey can be a great substitute for ground beef in dishes like this chili. We love this article which provides a full nutrition breakdown of the differences between ground turkey and ground beef.

    More Hearty Soup and Stew Recipes You’ll Love

    Total Time: 35 minutes


    • 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
    • 1 lb lean ground turkey
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
    • 2 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (24 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup water/broth
    • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
    • Dash of cayenne
    • Salt, to taste


    1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add ground turkey, onion, bell pepper, zucchini or yellow squash, and sauté for 7-9 minutes or until meat is cooked and no longer pink.
    2. Add seasonings, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, corn, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes to thicken. Serve with toppings of choice.
    3. ~Slow Cooker Directions~
    4. Follow directions for the Stovetop version through Step 1.
    5. Add turkey and vegetable mixture to a slow cooker.
    6. Add remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and stir to combine.
    7. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. Taste and add salt.

    Nutrition Information Per Serving

    Serving Size: 6

    Calories: 280

    Protein: 28 gram(s)

    Fat: 6 gram(s)

    Carbohydrates: 35 gram(s)

    Fiber: 11 gram(s)

    Sugar: 8 gram(s)

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