This Turkey Chili is full of spice and flavor, and is ready to eat in 45 minutes. It’s one of the quickest chilis you can make, and leftovers keep beautifully! 

Even though I love a classic beef chili too, Turkey Chili is my favorite. Dark ground turkey has a fantastic texture that works really well in chili.

It doesn’t need a lot of simmering time, and yet it still manages to have a very tender texture.

Turkey Chili - In a Bowl Garnished with Sour Cream, Cheese, and Cilantro

This chili in particular has a nice level of spice, that I’d probably call a medium.

The ground chipotle in particular is quite spicy, so if you want a milder experience, swap it out for smoked paprika.

Another bonus to this recipe it it’s all done in one pot. My favorite recipes are the ones where it’s easy and delicious, dishwashing is minimal, and you end up with lots of leftovers, and this chili fits that to a tee.

Turkey Chili Recipe - Garnished with Sour Cream, Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend, and Fresh Cilantro Leaves

How to Make Turkey Chili:

Saute the Vegetables:

Start by cooking chopped onion and celery with olive oil, salt, and pepper, for about 10 minutes:

Onion and Celery, Sauteeing in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

The vegetables should be nice and soft.

Add the Turkey and Seasonings:

Turn the heat up and brown a couple pounds of dark ground turkey meat, then add cumin, chili powder, coriander, chipotle, and fresh garlic:

Ground Turkey in Pan With Spices and Garlic Added

Stir that around for a minute, until the spices smell fragrant.

Bulk It Up:

Next add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, cornmeal, and chicken stock:

Adding Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Cornmeal, and Black Beans to the Pot

Mix everything together, then bring the chili to a boil.

Easy Turkey Chili - Shown in a Big Pot Simmering

Simmer to Meld the Flavors and Thicken:

Reduce to a simmer, and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has thickened slightly:

Turkey Black Bean Chili - Fully Cooked in the Saucepan

The chili is now ready to serve with your favorite toppings or sides, like sour cream, cheese, cornbread, guacamole, and more!

And even better, this is a pretty big batch that should give you some leftovers. I always think chili tastes better on the 2nd day, after the flavors have melded more (but it’s still plenty delicious to eat right away).

Best Turkey Chili - Served in White Bowl with Sour Cream, Cilantro, and Cheese

Lettuce Wraps, Turkey Burgers, and Turkey Meatballs are some of my other favorite recipes using dark ground turkey.

Turkey Chili Tips and FAQ:

Can leftovers be frozen? Yes, it freezes well for up to 2 months in an airtight container.

How long will this keep in the fridge? Up to 1 week.

How to Make Turkey Chili in the Crockpot: This recipe would actually work better in an Instant Pot (affiliate), because it’s important to soften the vegetables and brown the turkey. If using a crockpot, I recommend softening the vegetables and browning the turkey first, then place all ingredients in the slow cooker on low for 2 hours.

Turkey Chili In a Bowl Garnished with Sour Cream, Cheese, and Cilantro

Turkey Chili

This Turkey Chili recipe is one of the quicker chilis you can make, and still manages to be delicious, well-spiced and full of flavor!

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For the Turkey Chili:

  • 1 cup chopped celery 
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lbs dark ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 28- ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3 cups chicken stock

Ideas for Serving:


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the celery, onion, one tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until softened.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the turkey to the pot and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Brown the turkey for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked through, breaking the turkey up into small pieces with your spatula.
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, chipotle, and garlic and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes, black beans, cornmeal, and chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes (the cornmeal has a tendency to settle at the bottom of the pan).
  • Taste the chili and add more salt if you'd like.
  • To serve, ladle the chili into bowls and top with grated cheese, sour cream, corn chips, or whatever toppings you'd like. Enjoy! 
  • Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week. I find chili taste the best on the 2nd day, after the flavors have melded a bit  more.


Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 712mg, Potassium: 656mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 830IU, Vitamin C: 3.5mg, Calcium: 69mg, Iron: 3.6mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in October 2018. Originally published February 2013.