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A helping of turkey chili being ladled into a dark blue bowl next to a piece of cornbread.

The Best-Ever Turkey Chili

Course: Appetizer or Soup, Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy chili, how to make turkey chili
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 262kcal
This truly is the best-ever turkey chili. So flavorful, chock full of pure deliciousness. It really will warm you to the bone. And it's healthy, too! The best-ever turkey chili.
Print Recipe


  • 5 quart pot or Dutch oven
  • Skillet/saucepan


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 red bell peppers cored and chopped
  • 2 green red bell peppers cored and chopped
  • 4 jalapenos 1 cored, seeded, and chopped, the others left whole for simmering
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 lbs ground turkey 93% lean
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 28 oz cans tomatoes whole, with juices
  • 1 4 oz can green chilies chopped
  • cups chicken stock or vegetable
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste or 2 smaller cans
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce ie, Tobasco or Crystals
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Grated cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
  • sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • jalapenos sliced, pickled or fresh


  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, preferably a cast iron pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the smoked paprika.
  • Meanwhile, cook the ground turkey in a large skillet until fully cooked. Drain excess grease. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp of salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked turkey to the sautéed veggies. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes into the pot, adding all the juice, as well.
  • Stir in the chopped chilies, chicken (or vegetable) broth, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, Adobo seasoning, garlic powder, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir until fully mixed.
  • Use a small sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 slits down the sides of the remaining 3 jalapenos. Place them on top of the chili.
  • Simmer the chili for 2 hours stirring occasionally. If simmering for more than 2 hours, you may need to add a little more broth if too much liquid cooks out.
  • Serve with cheese, onions, sliced jalapenos, and sour cream (if desired)



We use 93% lean ground turkey for our chili.  It will render a little grease which adds some flavor, however, since we want this chili to be low-calorie and low-fat, we drain the grease off.  For a healthier option, you could use 99% lean ground turkey. It won't be as juicy or flavorful, but will still be very good.
Chili powders vary in spice level, depending on the brand and type of peppers that are utilized.  For standard chili powder, we use 5 tablespoons.  However, this can be adjusted according to your taste.  If you are concerned about the spice level, then start off with a couple of tablespoons of chili powder, and taste after about an hour of simmering.  Add more if desired.  Our version is definitely on the mild side. 
For a completely vegetarian version, omit the chili, and add in other ingredients such as canned red kidney beans and corn kernels.  Use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth/stock.
This recipe can easily be cut in half or doubled, if desired. 
This chili will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.  It freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. 
As with most good chili recipes, this is even better the following days after the initial preparation.  


Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 1118mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4047IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 5mg