Best Ground Turkey Chili Recipe, a favorite hearty one-pot meal made with beans, tomatoes and peppers
When it comes to comfort food, chili recipes are some of the most popular dishes out there. They are hearty, filling, and perfect for a cold day.
One of the great things about ground turkey chili is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can customize it to your liking by adding different vegetables, spices, and toppings. Whether you prefer it mild or spicy, with beans or without, there’s a ground turkey chili recipe out there that’s perfect for you.
Make it on the stovetop or in your slow cooker for an easy, delicious weeknight dinner.
Ingredients in the Best Turkey Chili Recipe
To make the best turkey chili, you’ll need a variety of ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need:
- Veggies: Red bell pepper, yellow onion, garlic and canned or frozen sweet corn.
- Ground turkey: Lean protein using ground turkey or ground chicken instead of traditional ground beef.
- Herbs and spices: Mild chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, ground coriander and plenty of salt.
- Beans: Red kidney beans rinsed and drained
Other key ingredients that can be added to the recipe include garlic, black beans, pinto beans, celery, bay leaves, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cinnamon, and ground cumin, chicken broth. By using a combination of these ingredients, you can create a hearty and flavorful turkey chili that is sure to be a hit with everyone.
How to Make Easy Turkey Chili Recipe
Begin by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the ground turkey until it’s fully cooked. If necessary, drain any excess fat. Transfer the cooked turkey to a bowl and set it aside.
In the same Dutch oven, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onions until they begin to turn translucent, which should take about 2-3 minutes.
Next, add the green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and minced garlic to the Dutch oven. Sauté them until fragrant, which will take an additional 2-3 minutes.
Return the cooked ground turkey to the pot and incorporate the diced tomatoes and green chilies, along with your choice of seasonings and water. Stir everything together.
Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook uncovered for approximately 2 hours, remembering to stir periodically.
After the initial 2 hours, introduce the drained kidney beans and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
You can taste the chili and adjust the seasonings at this point if necessary. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can add an extra ½ cup of water. For a thicker chili, you can create a cornstarch slurry, mix it in, and continue to simmer until it thickens.
Finally, your chili is ready to be served. You can enjoy it on its own or pair it with rice, tortilla chips, or additional toppings like cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Bon appétit!
Slow Cooker Method
If you’re using a slow cooker to make your turkey chili, the prep process is pretty straightforward. Here’s what I do:
- Brown the turkey: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until it’s browned and no longer pink.
- Add the veggies: Once the turkey is browned, add your chopped onions, garlic, and any other veggies you’re using (like bell peppers, carrots, or celery). Cook for a few minutes until the veggies are softened.
- Add the spices: Now it’s time to add your chili powder, cumin, and any other spices you’re using. Cook for a minute or two until the spices are fragrant.
- Transfer to slow cooker: Transfer the turkey mixture to your slow cooker. Add your canned tomatoes, beans, and any other ingredients (like corn or diced green chilies).
- Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
When it comes to customizing hearty turkey chili recipe, the possibilities are endless. Here are some of my favorite ways to make it my own:
- Favorite chili toppings: I love adding fresh avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, and sliced jalapeños to my bowl for some extra flavor and texture.
- Spice it up: If you like your chili with a kick, make the perfect blend of spice (as per recipe ingredients) and/or top your bowl with sliced jalapeños.
- Make it mild: Alternatively, if you prefer a milder flavor, simply omit the cayenne pepper. Keep in mind that the chili powder used in this recipe is McCormick, which is very mild. If your chili powder is spicy, you may want to reduce the amount used.
What to Serve with This Turkey Chili
When it comes to serving this delicious turkey chili, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
- Top with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, and diced green onions for extra flavor and texture.
- Serve with a side of warm cornbread or tortilla chips for a satisfying crunch.
- For a healthier option, try pairing with Greek yogurt and fresh veggies.
- If you’re hosting a party or game day, consider adding some crowd-pleasing appetizers like guacamole, jalapeño poppers, or queso dip to your table.
- For a more substantial side dish, try roasted carrots with a spicy cilantro yogurt sauce or a chopped Brussels sprouts salad.
No matter what you choose, this homemade turkey chili is sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Storing & Freezing Tips
When it comes to storing your healthy turkey chili, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if you plan on eating it within the week, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator without any additional toppings. When you’re ready to reheat it, simply do so in the microwave or on the stovetop and add your toppings.
If you want to make your turkey chili ahead of time, it’s freezer-friendly! Follow the same instructions as above, but instead of placing it in the refrigerator, put it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, simply thaw it overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
It’s important to note that if you’re planning on freezing your turkey chili, it’s best to do so without any toppings. This will help ensure that the texture and flavor of your chili stay intact. So, whether you’re meal prepping for the week or stocking up your freezer, your healthy turkey chili is sure to be a hit!
Tips and Tricks for the Best Chili
As someone who has made countless batches of chili, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a great pot of chili. Here are some of my top tips and tricks for making the best ground turkey chili:
Make Your Own Chili Seasoning
While pre-made chili seasoning can be convenient, I’ve found that making your own blend of spices can really take your chili to the next level. Try mixing together chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a flavorful seasoning blend.
Don’t Overcook the Meat
When cooking ground turkey for chili, it’s important not to overcook the meat. Overcooking can result in dry, tough meat that doesn’t add much flavor to your chili. Cook the meat just until it’s browned and no longer pink, then add it to your chili and let it simmer until it’s fully cooked through.
Add Some Texture
Texture is an important aspect of any dish, and chili is no exception. To add some texture to your ground turkey chili, try adding some canned beans or diced vegetables like bell peppers or corn. These ingredients will not only add texture, but also flavor and nutrition to your chili.
FAQ about Ground Turkey Chili
Can I make turkey chili healthy?
Yes, you can definitely make turkey chili healthy. In fact, ground turkey is a leaner protein than ground beef, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to cut down on calories and fat. To make your turkey chili even healthier, try adding more vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or carrots. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream as a topping, and reduce the amount of cheese you use.
Is turkey chili spicy?
Whether or not turkey chili is spicy depends on the recipe you use. Some recipes call for mild spices like cumin and cinnamon, while others use hotter spices like ground cayenne pepper. If you’re someone who doesn’t like spicy food, you can always adjust the recipe to your taste by using less of the spicy ingredients.
Can I use ground beef or chicken instead of turkey?
Yes, you can use ground beef or chicken instead of ground turkey in a chili recipe. However, keep in mind that beef has more fat than turkey, so it may make your chili a bit greasier. Chicken is a leaner protein than beef, but it can be a bit blander than turkey. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and your personal preferences.
Can I make vegetarian chili?
Yes, you can make a vegetarian version of turkey chili by using a meat substitute like soy crumbles or lentils instead of the ground turkey. You can also add more vegetables like beans, corn, and tomatoes to make up for the lack of meat.
How many servings does a batch of turkey chili yield?
The number of servings that a batch of turkey chili yields depends on the recipe you use and the size of your portions. However, a typical recipe should yield around 6-8 servings. If you’re cooking for a larger group, you can always double the recipe.