Ground Turkey Chili

Ground turkey chili recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 105 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings

This easy chili is made with lean ground turkey, but ground beef may be used as well. Simmer this chili on the stovetop or use your slow cooker.

The recipe calls for storebought chili seasoning mix; if you don't have the seasoning, see the recipe tips for a homemade chili seasoning mix.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced, or about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup of beer (or chicken broth)
  • 3 tablespoons of honey (or to taste)
  • 2 (1 1/4-ounce) packets chili seasoning mix (enough for 2 pounds of meat)
  • Optional: a dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Optional toppings: shredded Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella, or mild cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, crackers, chopped onions (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for ground turkey chili
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the ground turkey, stirring and breaking up until the meat is no longer pink.

    Turkey in pan
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Stir in the chopped bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

    Stir in bell pepper and onion
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga 
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, beer or broth, honey or sugar, and chili mix. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pan, and then reduce the heat to low; simmer for 1 1/2 hours or longer.

    Add tomatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga 
  5. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

    Taste and add salt
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Top each serving with shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, or Monterey Jack), sour cream, crackers, chopped onions, and other garnishes.

    Top each with a garnish
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • Use your slow cooker to cook this chili. Brown the turkey and then combine it with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker; cook it on low for about 5 hours.
  • For the ground turkey, use part or all ground turkey thighs or a ratio of 85/15 to 90/10.
  • Make your own chili seasoning mix: combine 4 teaspoons of chili powder with 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Chili freezes beautifully. Scale the recipe up and freeze it in meal-size or individual portions for up to 3 months.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the kidney beans with black beans, pinto beans, or a combination.
  • Add one shredded or finely diced carrot to the onion and bell peppers for some natural sweetness.
  • Replace the honey with 3 tablespoons of light or dark brown sugar (or to taste).