Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili is filled with lots of vegetables, beans, and ground turkey. Perfect for cooler weather and makes great leftovers! Gluten free, low carb and keto options.

turkey chili

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Getting ready for a baby is a lot of work! I have still been cooking and photographing, so I have lots of posts to share. Plus, now that it’s fall (soooo exciting), I have so many recipes planned!

I made this turkey chili on one of the first chilly Saturdays of the season. Bob and my dad were working hard all day on some home improvement projects we were trying to squeeze in, so this was a nice game day chili to have for when they took a football break.

I didn’t really read the description for the chili or I would have noticed that this is a VERY spicy chili. They weren’t kidding – this was insane! I would definitely adjust the heat next time, as it was almost difficult to eat without a big glass of milk. It was very, very good though! UPDATE: I’ve adjusted the recipe to be much less spicy!

One ingredient I found interesting was the packet of hot chocolate mix! I didn’t notice it at all so I’m sure it just blends with the tomato and spice flavors…sort of similar to the concept of a mole sauce.

I made this chili in the morning and put it in the crockpot on low all day – it turned out great. I’ve included the original directions, as well as what I did using the crockpot. This is definitely going to be one of the freezer meals I make to have on hand for after our baby girl is born!  

Hope you’re all enjoying the cooler weather as much as I am – perfect for baking!!! 🙂

Recipe Details

turkey chili ingredients

This chili can be made on the stove and finished in a crockpot or from the start in an instant pot. I love using my instant pot for soups and chili because everything can be done in the same pot!

First, the vegetables and oil are sauteed, then the ground turkey is cooked through, then seasoned. The rest of the ingredients are then added to the pot and the chili cooks low and slow until the flavors meld and develop. My favorite way to make chili is to get it started in the morning or around lunchtime and then let it cook all afternoon.

This chili is so good, and it sort of reminds me of Panera Turkey Chili, although the chili from Panera has lima beans and a few different vegetables.

What Kind of Beans Go In Chili?

This recipe calls for kidney beans, but I prefer pinto beans because they have a thinner skin and are a bit smaller. Some people prefer to use black beans. They are considerably smaller than kidney beans, but the skin is a similar thickness. White Chicken Chili calls for Great Northern Beans. It’s really a matter of personal preference!

How to Make Chili Thicker?

The easiest way to make your chili thicker is to simmer it longer to reduce the liquid. I like to use the crockpot to let it cook low and slow for several hours. It’s almost magical the way the ingredients transform into chili over time! If your chili seems too thin, you can just turn up the heat and simmer off the excess liquid.

What to Serve with Chili?

Chili is hit or miss with my kids. Sometimes they love it and ask for more, and sometimes they just eat a little bit. I try to serve it with something I know they will eat, like Cornbread Muffins or Sweet Corn Tomalito {Chevy’s Copycat}. It’s also delicious with Pumpkin Cornbread or Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

Keto or Low Carb Turkey Chili

To make this chili lower carb, you can reduce or omit the beans. Instead of the hot chocolate mix, use 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Check your packages of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce to make sure they have no added sugars. You may use a low carb beer or just omit and use chicken broth in place of the beer.

Gluten Free Turkey Chili

This chili is naturally gluten free if you choose a gluten free beer or swap the beer for chicken broth.

turkey chili pin

Looking for More Chili Recipes?

Check out these other chili recipes:
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Fancy Turkey Chili

And chili side dishes:
Sweet Corn Tomalito – Chevy’s Copycat
Pumpkin Cornbread
Cornbread Muffins
Soft Garlic Knots
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Cheddar Dill Scones

turkey chili

Turkey Chili {Low Carb Option}

Turkey Chili is filled with lots of vegetables, beans, and ground turkey. Perfect for cooler weather; great leftover! Gluten free, low carb and keto options.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 bell peppers (seeded and chopped )
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ounce envelope instant hot chocolate mix (or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 30 ounces canned diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as three 10-ounce cans regular or mild Rotel, see note)
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces canned kidney or pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup beer or chicken broth


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat or in an instant pot on "saute." Add the onion, garlic, and peppers; cook and stir until the onion is transparent.
  • Add in the ground turkey and cook until turkey is no longer pink, stirring occasionally to break up turkey into smaller pieces. At this point, if using a crock pot, transfer the turkey and veggies to the crockpot and added the rest of the ingredients directly to it.
  • Season with chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, hot cocoa mix, brown sugar (if using), salt and pepper. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, and beans. Add the beer or broth, and stir to mix.
  • Partially cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using an instant pot or crockpot, cook on low for several hours or more until ready to serve.
  • Serve chili with your favorite chili toppings, such as chopped onion and shredded cheese.


Rotel Tomatoes: for very spicy chili, use regular Rotel. I prefer mild Rotel. It still has quite a bit of a kick but not overly spicy. If making for children or anyone sensitive to spice, you may substitute 1 or more of the cans of Rotel for diced tomatoes, although the resulting flavor will be slightly different.  
For low carb chili:  reduce or omit beans.  Substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for hot chocolate mix. To reduce sugar and make this keto friendly, consider using tomato paste and broth/water (or low sugar tomato sauce) in place of the canned tomato sauce.  
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword fall, main dish, soup, turkey

7 thoughts on “Turkey Chili”

  • Thanks for reminding me Lisa! I need a new header too!

    AS- yes I did eat the beans (although I picked some out!) The original recipe calls for added hot sauce at the end!!! My dad pulled it out of the pantry but then tasted the chili and put the hot sauce away!

  • 5 stars
    Thanks for another turkey recipe! Shawn and I are getting sick of boneless skinless chicken breast on our diet but still want to limit our red meat intake….this is perfect! Having been neighbors with a pregnant coworker (she gave birth 3 weeks ago) you better stock up on Tums if you are gonna keep cooking with Habeneros though!


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