This easy turkey chili makes it to the table in just less than an hour and tastes fantastic. It’s healthy, too. Jump to the Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
How to Make the Best Turkey Chili
It’s tough to mess up this turkey chili — pretty much any combination of browned meat, some chili powder (more on that later), a vegetable or two and something tomato based will result in an utterly delicious pot of chili.
You can adjust the recipe below as much as you like — change the turkey to chicken or even beef. Or if you’re looking for ways to use leftover roasted turkey from Thanksgiving, shred it and use it here. There are lots of adaptations you can do.
Then when you have your turkey chili made, we highly recommend serving it with a slice of our favorite cornbread.
We start with sweet onions and savory mushrooms.
Not a mushroom fan? Don’t worry, we cut them really, really small and use them to add depth and a savory taste. We’ve done this before, in fact mushrooms are the secret ingredient to our Turkey Meatloaf. People love it!
Once the onions and mushrooms are tender and gently browned, we add lean ground turkey and cook, gently breaking the meat apart with a spoon until crumbly and golden brown.
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: hand-crushed tomatoes, a little water, and beans. After 20 minutes of simmering the turkey chili is ready.
One of the best things about this chili — if not most chili recipes — is that it gets better and better over time.
What is ancho chili powder?
We love Ancho chili powder (ground dried ground ancho peppers). 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, which we found in our local grocery store.
Feel free to substitute other chili powders in this recipe and make it your own. Chipotle chili powder would be a great option. If you do switch things up a bit, add the chili powder slowly and taste for how spicy it makes the chili. Amounts might vary.
We use ancho chili powder when making our favorite homemade beef chili. That recipe is just as tasty!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Utterly Delicious Bean Chili or this Delightful Vegetarian Chili with Black Beans and Quinoa
- Easy Turkey Meatballs
- Our Favorite Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- Easy Weeknight Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Recipe updated, originally posted October 2014. Since posting this in 2014, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Irresistible Turkey Chili
This turkey chili is a win-win. It makes it to the table in just less than an hour and tastes fantastic. Lean turkey is browned for flavor then simmered with savory mushrooms, onion, and ancho chili powder. The chili is great straight away but gets even better over the next couple of days.
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 lean ground turkey
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
3/4 cup water or stock
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook, frequently stirring, until they are tender and some of the edges are brown, about 7 minutes. Add the turkey, season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat into crumbles, until most of it has browned, about 10 minutes.
2Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and the cinnamon. Cook until the garlic and spices begin to toast, about 2 minutes.
3Meanwhile, open the can of tomatoes, pour them into a bowl and use kitchen shears or your hand to break the tomatoes apart into smaller pieces — the size is up to you, we like a variety.
4Pour tomatoes into the skillet along with the water and rinsed beans. Stir then bring to a simmer. Taste the chili then adjust with additional salt, pepper, and chili powder. Reduce 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 do switch things up a bit, add the chili powder slowly and taste for how spicy it makes the chili. Amounts might vary.
- Optional ingredients: 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 Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.