Our Best Homemade Turkey Chili

We love this turkey chili recipe! It is delicious, easy to make, and features juicy ground turkey, black beans, and a smoky, savory blend of spices that add so much flavor. Plus, it’s ready in under an hour. It’s one of my favorite healthy ground turkey recipes!

Easy Turkey Chili

Related: Try our seriously good vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes and beans.

Turkey Chili Recipe Ingredients

To make this turkey chili recipe, you’ll need these main ingredients:

  • Ground turkey – This chili is one of my favorite ways to use ground turkey (I also love these turkey burgers). I like to buy ground turkey with a bit of fat since it’s more flavorful, tender, and juicy. Look for 7% to 10% fat. You can also use shredded cooked turkey, so if you’re looking for ways to use leftover roasted turkey, shred it and use it in this recipe. Other ground meats like beef and chicken work, too.
  • Black beans – Unless it’s Texas chili, we always add beans to our chili recipes. I love how they bulk up the chili and make it extra satisfying. For this turkey chili, we use black beans, but other beans like pinto or kidney beans are excellent. Since this is a quicker recipe, use cooked or canned beans.
  • Onions, mushrooms, and garlic – Onions and garlic are pretty standard, but the mushrooms are a game-changer in this recipe. Turkey can be a bit bland, but throw some umami-packed mushrooms in there, and you’ve really bumped up the flavor. We chop the mushrooms small, so if you aren’t a fan of them, you won’t notice them in the chili once it’s all cooked.
  • Spices – We use ancho chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon in our recipe for turkey chili. Ancho chili powder tastes more sweet and rich than plain chili powder. That said, you can substitute other chili powders in this recipe (just watch for chipotle chili powder, which is spicy).
  • Tomatoes and broth (or water) – One can of tomatoes and some extra liquid does a great job adding moisture and creating a gravy for this chili. I use whole peeled tomatoes and break them up with my spoon right in the pan. If you have broth on hand, use it; otherwise, water works fine.
Turkey Chili with black beans

How to Make the Best Turkey Chili

To make the chili, start with sweet onions and savory mushrooms. Once the onions and mushrooms are soft and lightly browned, we add ground turkey and cook, gently breaking the meat apart with a spoon until crumbly and golden brown.

Cooking ground turkey with mushroom, onions, and salt.

Next, add a hefty dusting of ancho chili powder, cumin, a dash of cinnamon, and garlic. Everything toasts for a minute or two — the kitchen smells fantastic — and we add the last few ingredients: tomatoes, a little broth or water, and black beans. After 20 minutes of simmering, your turkey chili is ready.

Adding black beans to the turkey in the pot

I love (repeat LOVE) serving chili with cornbread. Here’s our favorite cornbread recipe so you can take a look.

A pot of Turkey Chili

Storing Tips

One of the best things about this chili — if not most chili recipes — is that it gets better and better over time. So this recipe is also excellent for making in advance. Refrigerate homemade turkey chili for up to 4 days or freeze for up to six months.

More Recipes with Ground Turkey

Our Best Homemade Turkey Chili

  • PREP
  • COOK

This healthy turkey chili is a win-win. It makes it to the table in less than an hour and tastes fantastic. Ground turkey is browned for flavor and then simmered with savory mushrooms, onion, and ancho chili powder. The chili is excellent immediately but gets even better over the next few days.

Makes 4 generous servings

You Will Need

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 ounces crimini or baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped (15 to 20 medium mushrooms)

1 pound ground turkey, 7% to 10% fat

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tablespoons ancho chili powder or this homemade chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

3/4 cup water or chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 &frac12 cups cooked black beans

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper, optional for heat


    1Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and some edges brown, about 7 minutes.

    2Add the ground turkey and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat into crumbles until most of it has browned, about 10 minutes.

    3Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and the cinnamon. Cook until the garlic and spices begin to toast, about 2 minutes.

    4Meanwhile, open the can of tomatoes, pour them into a bowl, and use kitchen shears or your hand to break them apart into smaller pieces — the size is up to you; we like leaving some chunky bits.

    5Add the tomatoes with all the juice, water (or broth), and the rinsed beans to the pot. Stir, then bring to a simmer. Taste the chili, then add salt, pepper, and chili powder to your taste. If you enjoy spicy chili, consider adding a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.

    6Reduce to a low simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced and chili has thickened; about 20 minutes.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Ancho chili powder is dried, ground ancho peppers, while generic “chili powder” is usually a blend of ground chilies and other spices. Ancho chili powder is on the milder, sweet side. It’s incredibly rich in flavor and works beautifully in this chili, dusted onto meats or tossed with vegetables and roasted. There are a variety of options for buying. For this recipe, we used ancho chili powder from McCormick. Feel free to substitute other chili powders in this recipe. If you switch things up a bit, add the chili powder slowly and taste how spicy it makes the chili. Amounts might vary.
  • Spicy chili: Add hot sauce, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo puree to taste.
  • Optional toppings: Avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sliced green onion
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Calories 360 / Protein 38 g / Carbohydrate 40 g / Dietary Fiber 15 g / Total Sugars 8 g / Total Fat 7 g / Saturated Fat 1 g / Cholesterol 56 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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10 comments… Leave a Review
  • Francine January 29, 2019, 8:05 pm

    This was a simple yet delicious chili. The only change I made was to use regular chili powder. Thank you!

  • STACEY February 3, 2018, 5:06 pm

    The recipe says 3/4 Water or stock but doesn’t specify what kind of stock. Please clarify

    • Joanne May 4, 2018, 12:31 pm

      Hi Stacey, It is up to you. Chicken, turkey or vegetable stock will all work nicely.

  • Lucy May 22, 2017, 7:22 pm

    Great recipe!!! I tried this recipe today. I used crushed tomato with basil instead. I also replaced the ancho chili powder for regular chili powder, added 1/2 tsp of pepper, 1 tbsp of kosher salt, 2/8 cayenne pepper, 1/2 packet of sazon, and tried 1/2 of a whole ancho pepper and it came out so delicious. I never ate so much mushrooms in my life. This recipe is another keeper.

  • Andrea January 26, 2015, 6:51 pm

    Made this with half the mushrooms and onions as it calls for (my pan was too small), used regular chili powder (my grocery store was out of ancho) and in the last 2 minutes of cook time, added a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of Simple Truth Organic Jalapeno hot sauce. It was amazing! My husband said he could eat this every day!

  • Kelley @ Chef Savvy October 23, 2014, 8:13 pm

    This looks so good! I love using turkey versus ground beef. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Joanne October 24, 2014, 12:02 pm

      We do, too. We both love beef chili, but find ourselves making turkey chili more often.

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche October 18, 2014, 4:59 am

    I love making and eating chili but have never made a turkey version before! Definitely a delicious recipe that I need to make. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Ann October 17, 2014, 7:13 pm

    Just made this and it is another winner! I added black olives, but otherwise did not make any changes to your delicious and easy meal!

    • Joanne October 23, 2014, 11:21 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Ann!


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