Turkey chili is wonderful stuff. It’s a healthier alternative to beef chili and is just as filling and flavorful.
I don’t think I could go through life without a few good bowls of chili to enjoy through the cold winter months. There’s just something about chili that is so homey, hearty and comforting. Paired with some Corn Bread, it’s the perfect dinner for a cold night in.
(Then all you have to do is follow that with a nice cup of Hot Chocolate for dessert!)
But I digress…
Turkey Chili Recipe
This recipe has been updated slightly from the original recipe I posted here back in December of 2010.
There isn’t a huge difference between the two, but the spices I use now are different and I made a few minor updates or changes that I like better these days.
Mostly, the changes are in the spices I used. They are spicier then the original version, but I give you the milder options as well, so you can still make the original, milder version if you prefer that.
Can You Freeze Ground Turkey Chili?
This is great for the freezer! It makes a relatively large batch, so this is really easy to freeze in portion-sized containers. It’s great for grabbing straight from the freezer and popping into your lunch bag/box and getting out the door fast!
Can You Pack Chili Warm?
Pack this in a thermos for school or work lunches. Or pack it cold (and keep it cold) until you can microwave it at work or school.
I don’t recommend taking hot chili with you that isn’t in a heat-preserving container like a thermos. If chili isn’t held at appropriate temperatures, it can become a health risk. So a good quality thermos is the way to go if you want to take warm chili with you somewhere.
Can You Substitute Turkey For Beef In Chili?
For you beef lovers out there, yes, you can substitute beef here and it will be just as good. It will have a slightly different flavor, but it will still be tasty. Give it a try!
Turkey Chili Ingredients
- Oil – These days, I used coconut oil. But any oil you typically use will work here. Grapeseed oil or avocado oil are both healthy choices.
- Red onion – Choose a large onion for this. The larger the better. Chop it coarsely or to a size you like. They will cook down in size when you sauté them.
- Red bell pepper – Chop these about the same size as your onions. The color pepper you use doesn’t matter much. Pick your favorite. Green onions will give this chili a bit more of that peppery tang, but either is tasty. I’ve made this with many different colored peppers and they were all good.
- Garlic cloves – It’s good to chop these pretty fine, or as fine as you can manage.
- Ground turkey – You can use any type you like. Ground turkey breast or the regular stuff. Either will work, but turkey breast will be a tad bit more “rubbery” when done due to lack of fat.
- Chicken broth – Make sure there is no sugar added and opt for low sodium if that’s a concern for you.
- Fresh chopped tomatoes – You can guestimate the measurement on this. It can be a bit more or a bit less than 2 cups, or you can omit them completely. I just happen to have 2 tomatoes handy and they happened to equal 2 cups once chopped. You have wiggle room here.
- Canned tomato paste – Get the paste that doesn’t have sugar added.
- Canned pinto beans – Look for beans that don’t have sugar added. It’s very common to find cans of beans that have sugar added.)
- Canned black beans – Again, look for no sugar added. You can use different beans if you prefer. I used a 15 oz. can to keep things simple. Or you can use 2 cans of the same beans if you prefer. The choice is yours and it’s a fun way to switch up the flavors on this chili.
- Canned tomato sauce – Tomato sauce commonly has sugar and lots of salt added. So look for varieties that don’t have sugar added and are low in sodium if that’s something you need. I like to use organic.
- Salt and pepper – I add these both taste after cooking. That way I don’t overdo it on either one.
I will often add these extras to further build out the flavors. They are optional and not included in the recipes below. But they are tasty if you need “more” in the flavor department.
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar – This deepens the flavor.
- A few drops of stevia – You can use any sweetener you are comfortable with. Just remember a little goes a long way. You won’t need much to further develop the flavors of chili.
Chili Topping Ideas:
We all love to top our chili with more deliciousness. Here are a few ideas:
- Fresh, chopped onions (yes! More onions!)
- Grated cheese (cheddar or parmesan would work well here)
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Sliced jalapeños
- Fresh chopped tomatoes
- Chopped herbs like Italian parsley or cilantro
- Sliced black olives
How To Make Turkey Chili
Make sure to check out the video just above the recipe. It shows this recipe in action.
Warm the oil in a medium to large pot. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent.
Add in the garlic and continue to cook and stir for about 1 minute.
Stir in the ground turkey and cook until mostly browned.
Add in all remaining ingredients, remembering to adjust the seasoning based on whether you want spicy or mild chili. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, if you wish.
More Healthy Chili Recipes
Recipes Used Here
Turkey Chili Recipe
CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!
- Medium to large pot
- 1 tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil)
- 1 large red onion (chopped)
- 1 large red bell pepper (chopped)
- 6 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 lb. ground turkey
- 1 cup chicken broth (no sugar added)
- 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 6 oz. can tomato paste (no sugar added)
- 15 oz. can pinto beans (do not drain – no sugar added)
- 15 oz. can black beans (do not drain – no sugar added)
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce (no sugar added)
- salt and pepper to taste after cooking
Seasoning For Spicy Chili:
- ½ cup chili seasoning (see link above for recipe)
Seasoning for Milder Chili:
- ¼ cup ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- Warm the oil in a medium to large pot. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add in the garlic and continue to cook and stir for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the ground turkey and cook until mostly browned.
- Add in all remaining ingredients, remembering to adjust the seasoning based on whether you want spicy or mild chili. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, if you wish.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 12/15/10.