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Simple Turkey Chili Recipe

Simple turkey chili is made with ground turkey and plenty of vegetables for a fast and easy chili recipe perfect for weeknight cooking.
For a delicious slow cooker chili, try my Turkey Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili. It is creamy and just a little spicy.

This chili is a staple in our house during the fall and winter months. I make double batches to freeze for quick dinners when I need them. Chili always tastes even better the next day, so plan ahead if you can.

turkey chili with beans and cheese

Simple turkey chili

Chili is a great football food, you can make a huge batch the day before or the morning of the game and the longer it sits, the better it gets. I make it with ground turkey instead of ground beef so it is a bit lighter and a little easier on the waistline.

bowls of simple turkey chili with sour cream and cheese

Chili should be simple, it’s one of those uncomplicated bowl foods that I love. It should be easy to make, feed a crowd and (hopefully) provide you with leftovers for the next day.

Every football fan knows that food is an integral part of the game-watching experience. In our house we plan it out like a major holiday. If you have game day parties or tailgate parties, this is a great turkey chili. 

This turkey chili for a crowd is not spicy, so it is good for kids and those who don’t like spicy food. For those that do, a glug or two of hot sauce will do the trick.

process shot making turkey chili
making simple turkey chili

How to make Simple Turkey Chili

  1. Heat a bit of oil in stock pot and sauté ground turkey. Brown turkey meat, breaking up large pieces as it cooks.
  2. Add spices, then aromatics.  
  3. Add tomatoes and sugar (if using). Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add beans and simmer for another 20 minutes. Done!

It couldn’t be easier to make this healthy turkey chili. It is fast and so simple. It’s perfect for busy weeknights because it doesn’t have to be watched constantly. A bit of stirring as you pass by the pot is all it requires.

I cook the turkey meat first, then the vegetables. I’ve done this in reverse order before (cooking the onions and peppers first, then adding turkey), but I didn’t like the texture of the turkey meat. Because of the liquid in the vegetables, it doesn’t really brown properly and can get a little soft and mushy for my taste.

simple turkey chili with cheese and scallions

What do I need to make turkey chili?

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  • A large, heavy pot like this enameled cast iron dutch oven is perfect for making a big batch of turkey chili. This one holds 8 quarts.
  • If you need an extra large pot, this 12 quart stock pot is a great option.
  • These wooden utensils are great at breaking up the turkey and getting around the edges of the pot.
  • Chili bowls – these stackable bowls are the perfect size for a big bowl of turkey chili.
  • Need disposable containers for a party? These paper containers are great for soups and chili!

This chili is fantastic! Both my husband and I loved it. Will definitely make again.


Turkey Chili Recipe

As soon as the weather starts to cool, two things happen in our house: I make pot after pot of chili and there is football on most Saturdays.

bowl of simple turkey chili with cheese

Making a good pot of chili is much the same as making soup. You build layer upon layer of flavor as you add ingredients to the pot. This simple turkey chili is my go-to recipe because it is just that: simple.

This is also a fast turkey chili. It comes together very quickly, which is helpful if you are making it the night before. You can have this simple turkey chili made and ready to chill down for the refrigerator in about an hour.

As I said before, the flavor develops even more overnight, as it does with any chili, so making it the day before you want to serve it is ideal.

That being said, I have eaten this turkey chili for dinner the same night I made it on many occasions. It is delicious right out of the pot, if you don’t want to wait.

Toppings for Turkey Chili

Here are a few suggestions for toppings that you could serve with any chili. If you are having a few friends over, set up a toppings bar!

– shredded cheese
– sour cream
– jalapeños
– diced red onion
– chopped cilantro
– chopped scallions
– crackers

bowls of simple turkey chili with cheese

What can I serve with turkey chili?

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fast and easy chili recipe perfect for weeknight cooking

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simple turkey chili with cheese and scallions

Turkey Chili

Cheryl Bennett
A delicious and simple turkey chili - great for a crowd!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 217 kcal


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey organic if possible
  • 2 TB. canola oil
  • 2 cans diced tomato 14.5 oz can
  • 2 cans kidney beans 15.5 oz can
  • 2 medium yellow onions diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 TB. sugar optional
  • 4 TB. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock


  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add turkey, breaking up large pieces as it browns. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin.
  • Add onions, peppers, celery and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. (about 5 - 6 mins)
  • Add diced tomatoes and sugar, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • *At this point, if you like your chili with extra broth, add 2 cups of stock.
  • Add beans and continue to simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to an additional hour.


The sugar helps to cut the acidity in the tomatoes. If you prefer not to add it, you can certainly omit it.


Calories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 285mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day!


  1. This chili is fantastic! Both my husband and I loved it. I used ground chicken( because I had it in my freezer) instead of turkey. Will definitely make again.

    1. Thank you so much, Elaine!! I’m thrilled that you both loved it! I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a lovely comment!

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