2 Bean Turkey Chili Recipe

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This is a delicious and healthy 2 bean turkey chili made with two types of beans, vegetables, and spices. It’s quick to make, and pairs well with a green salad and some crusty garlic bread.

With plenty of beans, ground turkey, and corn, this hearty chili is sure to warm up even the chilliest of nights. It also makes a fantastic summertime chili!

An overhead view looking down into a small crock of 2 Bean Turkey Chili.

Can You Make Chili With Turkey?

Absolutely! Most often, it’s made with ground turkey. But you could potentially shred cooked turkey and make a white chili with it (Similar to White Chicken Chili).

What Other Meat Can You Make Chili With?

The sky is the limit. You can make chili with ground pork, beef, or even chicken. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use TVP, chopped portobello mushrooms, or simply make a beach or veggie chili.

Chili Vs. Chili Con Carne

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is, Chili Con Carne is made with meat. “Con Carne” means “with meat”. Typically, this will reference beef. But not always.

Regular chili can be made with just about anything. You can make chili with anything from sweet potatoes to lentils!

What Beans Are Best For Chili?

While chili can be made with any type of bean, I have found that the three best beans to use in chili are:

  1. Pinto beans
  2. Black beans
  3. Kidney beans
A side view of a light, mint green crock filled with 2 Bean Turkey Chili. The crock sits on a cutting board against a white background.

Is Chili Supposed To Have Beans?

While beans in chili are fairly traditional, that doesn’t mean you have to use them. If beans aren’t your thing, you can certainly make chili without them. Simply substitute with more of the other ingredients such as veggies.

What Makes Great Chili?

There are a few tips for making great chili.

  1. Sweetness – Most truly great chili has a hint of sweetness to it. And while many will add some sort of sweetener, wine, or other sauce to achieve that, you don’t have to. As long as your chili has a tomato base, a small pinch of baking soda will mellow out the acid in the tomatoes and enhance the natural sweetness of the dish without ever adding any sugar. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon. But never go over 1 teaspoon because doing so will make your chili taste pretty darn salty.
  2. Spices – A properly spiced chili is critical. Salting the onions and garlic in the beginning while they sauté will begin developing their flavors. But beyond that, you can certainly add your spices during this step as well. This will give the spices more time to develop. And for those who are very serious about developing the flavors of the spices, you can dry roast them first. Simply place them in a dry pan and stir constantly over medium heat until they become fragrant.
  3. Beans – Make sure you drain and rinse your beans. Don’t include the liquid that is in the can with them. Doing so will put too much liquid into your chili.
  4. Toppings – Make sure you have some great toppings! (That goes without saying). Toppings can really make the dish. See below for suggestions.

What Is The Secret To The Best Chili?

While this recipe doesn’t use it, adding just a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder to your chili can really help deepen the flavors. I have found that this trick works best with beef-based chili. But you can experiment with using it with different meats if you like.

What Can I Add To My 2 Bean Turkey Chili To Give It More Flavor?

While I find that this chili has wonderful flavor, your tastes may be different than mine. So if you end up with a pot of chili that seems to fall flat in the flavor department, there are a few things you can do.

  1. Stir in (more) salsa. Salsa is fantastic in chili. Use your favorite to get the best flavors for your own tastebuds.
  2. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. This will bring nuance to flat flavors.
  3. Add a tablespoon or more of coffee. The stronger the better. This will give you a richer, deeper flavor.
  4. Add a square or two of dark chocolate. This can also be unsweetened cocoa powder as mentioned above. A little chocolate goes a long way to adding both sweet notes and depth of flavor to your chili.
  5. Soy sauce, or coconut aminos. This will add depth of flavor to your chili by adding umami.
  6. Balsamic vinegar works similarly to soy sauce. It adds umami for more depth.
A close up of a light, mint green crock filled with 2 Bean Turkey Chili. Fresh herbs lay just behind the crock.

Topping Ideas For 2 Bean Turkey Chili

  • Sour cream or plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works great!)
  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Corn chips
  • Fresh onions
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Lime wedges
  • Grated cheese (cheddar cheese works great)
  • Prepared guacamole
  • Olives
  • Chipotle peppers
  • Adobo sauce
  • Jalapenos – Chop jalapeno peppers with seeds for extra spice, and without for less spicy.
  • Celery
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Green bell pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Fresh oregano

About The Ingredients

1½ lb. ground turkey

5 medium garlic cloves – chopped fine.

1½ cups chopped yellow onion

1 tbsp. olive oil

28 oz. can diced tomatoes – not drained.

15 oz. can black beans – no sugar added, drained, and rinsed.

15 oz. can kidney beans – no sugar added, drained, and rinsed.

1 lb. frozen corn – optional.

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

12 oz. jarred salsa – no sugar added and your favorite level of heat.

How To Make 2 Bean Turkey Chili

Onions and garlic sautéing in a large stock pot.

In a large pot, heat oil, then sauté the onions. In the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic. Sauté for a full minute, then continue with the recipe.

Browned ground turkey meat in a large stock pot.

Stir in the meat and brown, breaking it up as you stir.

Corn, beans, spices and salsa added to ground turkey in a large stock pot.

Stir in all the remaining ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until the meat is cooked through. Stir frequently to avoid any burning on the bottom of your pot. If you need extra liquid, you can stir in 1 cup of chicken broth to get the consistency you like. But I found that the salsa was enough. It will also depend on how much water comes out of your ground turkey during cooking.

A lid placed on a stockpot filled with 2 Bean Turkey Chili.

Place the lid on the pot and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked.

A wooden spoon lifts some 2 Bean Turkey Chili towards the camera out of a stock pot.

Serve.

How To Store Leftovers

Keep any leftovers in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the fridge for up to three days.

How To Freeze Leftovers

It’s best to freeze this in single servings unless you will be feeding a number of people at one time. If packed well, this will last in the freezer for up to 4 months.

How To Serve 2 Bean Turkey Chili

This is best served with a green side salad and some crusty garlic bread. You can also:

  • Serve this over rice.
  • Mix this into pasta
  • Mix with quinoa for a quinoa salad
  • Use as a dip with corn chips or whole-grain pita chips

Recipe Supplies For 2 Bean Turkey Chili

For this recipe, you’ll need a good stockpot, a long wooden spoon, and a ladle.

Click the image to be taken to the product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)

Stockpot sold on Amazon (Affiliate link)
Wooden spoon sold on Amazon. (affiliate link)
Stainless steel ladle sold on Amazon. (affiliate link)

More Chili Recipes

2 Bean Turkey Chili Recipe Card + Video

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
A close up of a light, mint green crock filled with 2 Bean Turkey Chili. Fresh herbs lay just behind the crock.

2 Bean Turkey Chili

A delicious chili that tastes even better the next day! (A great make-ahead dish!)
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 124kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • 1 large stockpot

Ingredients

  • lb. ground turkey
  • 5 medium garlic cloves (chopped fine)
  • cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 15 oz. can black beans (no sugar added, drained and rinsed)
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans (no sugar added, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 lb. frozen corn (optional)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 12 oz. jarred salsa (no sugar added and your favorite level of heat)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (optional for consistency)

Instructions

Saute

  • In a large pot, sauté the onions in oil. In the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic. Sauté for a full minute, then continue with the recipe.
    Onions and garlic sautéing in a large stock pot.

Brown

  • Stir in the meat and brown, breaking it up as you stir.
    Browned ground turkey meat in a large stock pot.

Mix

  • Stir in all the remaining ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until the meat is cooked through. Stir frequently to avoid any burning on the bottom of your pot. If you need extra liquid, you can stir in 1 cup of chicken broth to get the consistency you like. But I found that the salsa was enough. It will also depend on how much water comes out of your ground turkey during cooking.
    Corn, beans, spices and salsa added to ground turkey in a large stock pot.

Cook

  • Place the lid on the pot and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked.
    A lid placed on a stockpot filled with 2 Bean Turkey Chili.

Serve

  • Serve with your favorite toppings.
    A wooden spoon lifts some 2 Bean Turkey Chili towards the camera out of a stock pot.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data does not include optional broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 7.3mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, posted 1/12/12.

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18 Comments

  1. Hilliary Wolfe says:

    Delicious! I am making a bit pot of lentil soup tonight, Minnesota has finally gotten snow

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hilliary – Fabulous! Being a California girl, I can’t say much about snow. But I do wish we would get some rain!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It has become a family favorite. The other day, I had an extra sweet potato, so I diced it and added it to the chili (in the slow cooker) along with some smoked paprika. Now we have another delicious way to enjoy it!

  3. Hi im new to clean eating, and are canned beans and tomatoes clean?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Depends on what gets added to them. You have to read the ingredient list.

  4. i wanted to cook this in the crock pot, how long should i cook it for and should i do it on low or on high.. also i couldn’t find clean canned beans so i soaked my own last night 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Felicia – I’ve never cooked it that way, but you will definitely have to brown the meat first. I would cook it on low for about 4-6 hours.

  5. Autumn Burgess says:

    5 stars
    Just found your blog this week and this is the first recipe I’ve tried on here and it’s so delish!! This is my new chili recipe from here on out!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Autumn – Fantastic! Glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  6. 5 stars
    Saw this on Pinterest today, and made it tonight. I made a double batch and did the big ‘no no’ of taking new, untested recipe to our neighbors. Everyone loved it! (My husband is already on his third bowl) This will be a new go-to in our house. Thanks for the great recipe! I can always count on you to have recipes that an amateur like me can actually make that taste great too! Thanks Tiffany, saved dinner again.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Beth – Thank you so much! It’s my pleasure! 🙂

  7. Found this recipe on Pinterest today looking for a quick turkey chili recipe. This recipe is simple and the ingredients are things I already have on hand. Thanks, I can’t wait to try it tonight for dinner.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Natalie – My pleasure! Let me know how you like it!

  8. 5 stars
    Just made this a little earlier…yes, I made it early since there is an early baseball practice tonight. I, of course had to have a bowl(I had not had lunch yet) because it smelled so good and let me tell you it was delicious!!! My husband had some too and he really liked it. 🙂 Thank you for all your hard work and sharing your recipes! I have loved every recipe I have tried from this blog! THANKS!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Julie – My pleasure! I’m so happy you both enjoyed it! 🙂

  9. Delicious! You say it makes 20 servings. How much would you say is a serving? I calculated the calories using MyFitnessPal for 20 servings and trying to determine how much a serving is. I’m assuming a cup? Thanks for a reply.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Diane – It’s been a while since I’ve made this recipe, but I’m going to guess it was for 1/2 cup.

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