This Turkey Chili is healthy, hearty, and so comforting! This veggie packed chili is so easy to make and is ready in under an hour.
Chili is so underrated and deserves more attention, don’t you think?! This turkey chili is no exception. It’s loaded with lean protein and tons of veggies, and is absolutely packed with flavor.
- Turkey Bacon – I love the flavor bacon adds to chili, but wanted to keep things on the lighter side.
- Ground Turkey – use lean ground turkey to avoid a greasy chili.
- Yellow Onion, Green Bell Pepper, Celery, and Carrot – our veggie blend that adds so much texture, flavor, and nutrients.
- Garlic – provides that classic nutty flavor.
- Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Salt, and Pepper – super simple but super effective spice blend. Really helps create that classic chili flavor!
- Chicken Broth, Tomato Sauce, and Tomato Paste – work together to form a delicious base for the soup.
- Worcestershire Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar – add a slightly sweet and tangy taste to the soup.
- Maple Syrup – adds just a touch of sweetness to balance out the smokiness of the spices.
- Diced Green Chiles – gives the chili a bit of heat.
- Cornmeal – helps absorb the liquid of the broth to thicken the soup.
- Dark Red Kidney Beans and Pinto Beans – use canned beans for easy prep.
- Cilantro, Green Onions, Red Onion, Sour Cream, Cheese, Jalapenos, Chips, Crackers, and Cornbread – all optional, but highly recommended, for serving!
How to make
This one pot wonder couldn’t be any easier.
- Place your turkey bacon into a large stockpot and cook. Remove the bacon then dice and set aside.
- In the same stockpot, add ground turkey, onion, pepper, celery, carrot, garlic, and spices then cook until the turkey is cooked through and the carrots are softened.
- Stir in chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and green chiles then simmer.
- Add in cornmeal and beans and simmer for another 5 minutes before mixing in balsamic vinegar and the already cooked turkey bacon. Serve and enjoy!
How to thicken
The cornmeal (yes cornmeal NOT cornstarch) in this chili recipe helps soak up the liquid for a thicker stew. As the soup simmers, it will thicken so give it a chance to do that before taking any steps to make it thicker.
If you’ve added cornmeal and let the soup simmer and it’s still not thickened to your liking, you can try making a cornstarch slurry. Do this by whisking together equal parts cold water and cornstarch then add little bits at a time until the soup is your desired texture.
Can you use other meats?
Absolutely! If turkey isn’t your thing, feel free to use ground beef, ground chicken, ground sausage, shredded chicken, steak, or even a meat substitute for a vegetarian option!
Is turkey chili healthy?
Yes! Turkey chili is packed with lean protein and nutrients from the veggies. It’s a super delicious, filling, and healthy meal!
One bowl contains about 400 calories, 6 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbs, and 42 grams of protein.
Is turkey chili gluten-free?
Mostly—and super easy to make gluten-free if desired. Just use a brand of Worcestershire sauce that is certified GF and, as always, double check the rest of your ingredients as well!
- Use a different meat. If turkey isn’t your thing, feel free to use ground beef, ground chicken, ground sausage, shredded chicken, or even steak!
- Add other veggies. Bulk it up even more by other veggies like corn, zucchini, potato (regular or sweet), broccoli, etc.
- Try different beans. Black beans would also be delicious!
- Make it vegetarian/vegan. Swap the turkey out for more beans or a meatless “meat”. Feel free to also check out my crockpot vegetarian chili or my instant pot vegetarian chili.
- Spice it up. Add red pepper flakes for a little heat or mix in some taco seasoning for a flavor twist (try my healthy turkey taco chili recipe.)
What to serve with turkey chili
I love a generous helping of turkey chili topped with cilantro, green onions, red onion, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese, a handful of tortilla chips, and some jalapeno slices for extra heat!
I also love to serve it with one or two yummy side dishes!
How to store
Store your leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Can you freeze turkey chili?
Yes! Turkey chili freezes beautifully so I love to make extra and store it in the freezer for easy dinners later on. It will keep for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in the microwave or on the stove.
Equipment for this recipe
- 4 strips turkey bacon
- 2 pounds lean ground turkey
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste (I added way more)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal NOT cornstarch
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Cilantro, green onions, red onion, sour cream, cheese, jalapeños, chips, crackers, cornbread optional for serving
- Place turkey bacon into a large stockpot.
- Cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove, dice, and set aside.
- In the hot stockpot, add in turkey, onion, bell pepper, celery, carrot, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the meat as you go, until the turkey is no longer pink and the carrots start to soften, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced green chiles.
- Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered until the carrots are tender and the chili has started to thickened, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Stir in cornmeal, kidney beans, and pinto beans, and continue simmering for 5 minutes or until the chili has thickened to your liking.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and cooked turkey bacon.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary.
- Serve with all your favorite chili fixings!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.