The Best Healthy Turkey Chili You’ll Ever Eat

Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe — This turkey chili recipe is healthy, flavorful, and an all-around classic. Plus, there’s nothing more welcoming on a cool night than a warm pot of soup for dinner! And chili is a universal favorite, with endless topping and flavor options…

photo of turkey chili with a text graphic title

I know, I know, a lot of people claim theirs is the best, but this easy turkey chili recipe REALLY is the best! Not to mention, it’s also a healthy chili since it uses turkey for a lower fat option and is packed full of healthy veggies to boot.

I (Rebecca) have also included three methods of cooking your chili: in a pot on the stove, using a slow cooker, or with an InstantPot.

While I know the InstantPot is all the rage right now, I figured I’d give you additional options in case you prefer a more traditional method that doesn’t require extra kitchen equipment. 

All in all, this turkey chili is a great recipe to fit into your busy schedule, no matter what you have going on that day!

photo of ingredients for the Best Easy Turkey Chili recipe by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

What Goes Into This Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe?

Ground Turkey Meat

This is obviously the key ingredient for this healthy turkey chili! Because it’s a white meat, ground turkey is lower in fat than ground beef, which is traditionally used in chili.

I do recommend using a bit of olive oil (which is considered a healthier fat) when cooking the turkey to avoid it sticking and scorching in your pan.

They also make a vegan ground turkey if you’re hosting a party with a mixed meat crowd, or you can substitute turkey for the traditional beef chili option, too. 

Seasonings

Salt, chili powder, and ground cumin really deliver on the flavor in this recipe. Our version of this recipe is not particularly spicy which makes it a very family-friendly option in case you’re also feeding toddlers like we are!

That said, you can definitely bump up the chili powder cumin or add a ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper if you like a little more kick in your soup.

If you wish to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, you’ll want to add it along with these spices.

Vegetables

I recommend getting all of your veggies chopped before you start cooking. This makes the whole process a lot smoother. Also, make sure you don’t saute them for too long, since they’ll be cooking more as the soup simmers.

And add the garlic for just the last minute or two of the cook time– it burns easily, so only give it a little heat until it becomes aromatic and tender!

Canned Tomatoes & Chilis

As with the vegetables, it helps the cooking process go smoothly to have these ready to go before you turn the heat on. That’s pretty easy when it comes to the canned veggies though–just make sure you’ve got the lids off and they’re ready to pour in!

Beans

I used one can of dark kidney beans and one can of light. But you can substitute any kind of beans you like– pinto beans or black beans would give your chili a nice southwestern flair!

Just make sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the pot. Chili beans would also work well also.

photo of one way to cook Turkey Chili in an instant pot by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

Substituting the Turkey Chili Meat

Yes! You can substitute this for a classic beef chili if you prefer it. Honestly, this chili recipe has so much flavor that you don’t really notice the difference with the lighter meat!

Keep in mind that beef is heartier and heavier so therefore, packs extra calories.

Ground chicken is another lighter and healthy protein swap, or you can make a vegetarian option by using a vegetarian ground turkey as well.

Or you can nix the meat altogether for a homemade vegetable chili option add a few additional red bell peppers, carrots, and celery to thicken it up a bit. 

photo of one way to cook Turkey Chili in an instant pot by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

How to Cook Turkey Chili

As I mentioned before, you’ve got three options! They’re all equally delicious, just choose the method that works best for you and your schedule.

Cook Turkey Chili by Stovetop Method: This works great if you will be home to stir the chili occasionally as it cooks for a few hours, and will only dirty one pot! It also makes your house smell delicious for several hours, which is a definite bonus.

Cook Turkey Chili by Instant Pot: This is probably my favorite way to cook the turkey chili. It’s fast and easy, and is perfect for those days when 5 o’clock hits and you have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Like the stovetop version, you’ll only have one pot to clean in the end.

Cook Turkey Chili by Slow Cooker: Need to have dinner waiting when you walk in the door? This method is for you! You will have to brown the meat and saute the vegetables in a separate pan, but you can do 100% of the work ahead of time and have a bubbling pot of the best turkey chili waiting for you at the end of the day.

photo of the Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe garnished with avocado, cheese and sour cream by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

what toppings work well for best easy turkey chili recipe by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

Toppings To Put on Turkey Chili

While chili is really known for its base of chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salt pepper, one of the best parts of chili is the toppings!

You can go all out, or you can just use what you’ve got in your fridge.

Here are my favorite chili toppings:

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Or any kind you like, but cheddar really pairs well with the acidity of the tomatoes. 
  • Jalapenos: If you want to add a little more kick to your meal, add a couple of slices of jalapenos to your chili.
  • Avocado and Green Onions: Have some extras in your fridge? Slice and dice them for a great, healthy topping!
  • Sour Cream: Cools down the heat a little, and makes your turkey chili a little bit creamy.
  • Corn or Tortilla chips: They add a little crunch. It’s a good thing.

photo of the Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe cooking in an Instant Pot by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

How to Store Turkey Chili

Homemade turkey chili can be stored in the refrigerator up to four days if stored and covered in a container. This best and easy turkey chili recipe yields 6 quarts.

However, if you made a big batch, you can definitely freeze any leftovers. To reheat, thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove or microwave. Easy right? It’s called the best and easy turkey chili recipe for a reason!

Is Turkey Chili Better Than Beef Chili?

Despite their similar nutritional profiles, turkey and beef have different flavors. Most people Beef has a stronger flavor than turkey. As long as there are a lot of other ingredients and seasonings in the dish, you won’t notice the difference in taste if the turkey is substituted for beef

Photo of the Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe & garnish ideas by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

We can’t wait to hear what your guests think of our turkey chili recipe! And in case you’re looking for additional healthy dinner pairing ideas, here are a few of our favorites below —

Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe

main photo of the Best Easy Turkey Chili by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

The Best Easy Turkey Chili Recipe

Print Recipe
4.5 from 10 votes
This turkey chili recipe is healthy, flavorful, and an all-around classic. Plus, there’s nothing more welcoming on a cool night than a warm pot of soup for dinner! And chili is a universal favorite, with endless topping and flavor options...
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Instant pot (optional)
  • Slow cooker (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey meat
  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 ½-2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion roughly diced
  • 1 bell pepper chopped into ½” pieces
  • 1 cup corn frozen, canned, or fresh
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced, or 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder 2-3 cloves
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 7.oz can diced green chilis
  • 2 cans kidney beans dark or light

Toppings --

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • green onions
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced jalapeños
  • corn or tortilla chips

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1357mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 833IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 159kcal

Notes

How to Store Turkey Chili

Homemade turkey chili can be stored in the refrigerator up to four days if stored and covered in a container. This best and easy turkey chili recipe yields 6 quarts.
However, if you made a big batch, you can definitely freeze any leftovers. To reheat, thaw the chili overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove or microwave. Easy right? It's called the best and easy turkey chili recipe for a reason!

Instructions

Stovetop Directions --

  • In a large pot, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat until it is simmering and runs quickly across the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook for 10 minutes, stirring and chopping it with a wooden or metal spoon, until it is cooked through. Remove from pot and strain off any excess fat.
  • Set the pot back on the stove, and heat the rest of the olive oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onion, pepper, and corn to the pot. Saute it for about five minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften and look translucent.
  • Push the veggies to one side, then add the minced garlic on the bottom of the pot and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the turkey back in with the vegetables and stir together with the spices and salt. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir together. Allow it to all heat up, then reduce the heat to low and bring the turkey chili to a gentle simmer.
  • Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Before serving, taste the chili to see if you wish to make add any salt.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice. 

Instant Pot Directions --

  • Chop all of the vegetables, mix together the spices, and open all of the cans to have everything ready as you need it.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on to the saute setting and heat half of the olive oil. Add the ground turkey and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring and chopping it with a wooden or metal spoon, until it is cooked through. Remove from pot and strain off any excess fat.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil on the saute setting and add the onion, pepper, and corn to the pot. Saute it for about five minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften and look transluscent.
  • Push the veggies to one side, then add the minced garlic on the bottom of the pot and cook until frangrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the turkey back in with the vegetables and stir together with the spices and salt. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir together.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure that the valve is set to sealing. Turn on the pressure cook setting on high and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is over, you can either vent the steam valve manually or allow it to release naturally. Before serving, taste the chili to see if you wish to make add any salt.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice. 

Slow Cooker Directions --

  • In a large pot, heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering and runs quickly across the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook for 10 minutes, stirring and chopping it with a wooden or metal spoon, until it is cooked through. Remove from pot and strain off any excess fat.
  • Set the pot back on the stove, and heat the rest of the olive oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onion, pepper, and corn to the pot. Saute it for about five minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften and look translucent.
  • Push the veggies to one side, then add the minced garlic on the bottom of the pot and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the seasonings.
  • Add all of the meat and veggies to a large slow cooker, then add in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cook it on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Before serving, taste the chili to see if you wish to make add any pepper and salt.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice.
KEYWORD: ashley rose, chili, crockpot, healthy dinners, instant pot, slow cooker, sugar and cloth, turkey chili

Don’t forget to share your best easy turkey chili  with us on Instagram using the hashtag #sugarandclothloves. We always love seeing all of your creations! And if you’re looking for more quick and delicious recipes you can find them all right here with a few dessert to go along with them!

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