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With protein-rich turkey, sweet potatoes, peppers, and just the right amount of spice, this is hands-down the BEST Turkey Chili! It develops incredible flavor as it simmers on the stovetop and tastes even better leftover.

Healthy turkey chili served in a bowl with tortilla chips, avocado, and jalapenos

Why You’ll Love This Easy Turkey Chili Recipe

  • Seriously, the Best Turkey Chili Ever. Rich and meaty, thick in texture, and deeply flavored with a mix of smoky and sweet elements makes this chili award-worthy. It will be your go-to chili!
  • Perfect for a Crowd. This big batch chili is ready for crowd (same with my Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes). Set out an array of chili toppings, pile bowls high, and watch as your guests happily fill their spoons with this hearty chili.
  • Leftovers are the Bestovers. Chili is one of those magic recipes that tastes even better the next day. Save this scrumptious chili for yourself and enjoy a week’s worth (or longer if frozen) of nutritious meals.
  • It’s Good For You. Not only is it delicious, but this turkey chili is healthy too (as is my Instant Pot Chili). The turkey adds filling protein, and the vegetables contribute fiber, vitamins, and more.
  • It’s Relatively Quick and Easy. I owe this healthy turkey chili recipe to my friend Lexi, but I made some tweaks to shorten the cooking time and make it more accessible for busy weeknights. In a total time of just over an hour, you can make a gloriously thick, aromatic pot of turkey chili. (This White Chicken Chili is ready in 40 minutes if you need something faster! It could even be made into a white turkey chili.)
Easy turkey chili served in a white bowl

5 Star Review

“Prepare to be blown away by this turkey chili – it is the best I have ever tasted.”

— Anne Marie —

How to Make the Best Turkey Chili Recipe

The Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey. Lean ground turkey is excellent for chili. It adds wonderful flavor to the chili and helps make it more satisfying. Turkey is low in calories and rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Substitution Tip

If you prefer a beef chili, you can swap the turkey for lean ground beef.

  • Garlic + Onion. Building blocks for a deeply flavorful chili.
  • Vegetables. Bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, and celery help make this chili incredibly nutritious and flavorful. The varying textures of these veggies also create a wonderful chili consistency.
  • Tomato Sauce + Diced Tomatoes. The tomato sauce adds liquid, and both provide rich tomato flavor.
  • Spices. We’re using chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. This mix of spices is what gives chili its distinct flavor. They add warmth, earthiness, a touch of sweetness, and spice.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. Just a pinch adds the right amount of heat.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the Vegetables. Cook until soft.
  2. Brown the Turkey. Stir frequently to break up any big chunks.
  3. Cook the Chili. Add the remaining ingredients, bring the mixture to a boil, then allow it to simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve. Adjust seasonings as desired and ENJOY!
The best turkey chili recipe served in a white bowl

Turkey Chili Toppings

  • Avocado. One of our favorite chili toppings! Creamy avocado slices pair incredibly well with the chili. Homemade Guacamole is delish too.
  • Jalapeño. For those who enjoy their chili with a kick. For heat with less spice, use Pickled Jalapeños.
  • Shredded Cheese. This one is a crowd-pleaser! Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, or cheddar cheese would be tasty.
  • Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream for something cool and creamy.
  • Cilantro. Looks beautiful on top and adds freshness.
  • Tortilla Chips or Strips. Having something crunchy on top is delicious! (I especially love this topping for my Green Chili Recipe.)
  • Green Onion. For freshness and crunch.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Turkey chili will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. Add a splash of water or chicken broth to help loosen it if needed.
  • To Freeze. Turkey chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Chop all the vegetables up to 1 day in advance, storing them in separate airtight storage containers in the refrigerator.

Leftover Ideas

Take inspiration from my Chili Mac and Cheese, and stir leftover chili into a bowl of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese for a hearty, cozy meal.

Ways to Serve Turkey Chili

A bowl of healthy turkey chili with sweet potatoes
  • Dutch Oven. The perfect large pot for making chili on the stove top.
  • Measuring Spoons. I love how easy it is to store these.
  • Ladle. My preferred tool for serving chili.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Bring on the Beans. If you can’t imagine a bowl of chili without beans, have no fear! You can easily incorporate beans into this recipe. Black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans would be great.
  • Make it Thick. For those who like a thicker chili (me!), don’t add any water in Step 2. You can even simmer your chili a little bit longer if needed.
  • Build Big Flavor. Each step of making this chili is vitally important to creating exceptional flavor. Browning some of the ingredients first (vegetables and turkey) is the secret to amazing chili. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts!

Healthy Turkey Chili

4.91 from 132 votes
The BEST turkey chili! A thick, rich healthy turkey chili with just the right amount of spice. Award winning recipe that will be your new favorite!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 8 servings (16 cups of very thick chili)


For the Healthy Turkey Chili:

Optional Turkey Chili Toppings:

  • Sliced fresh avocado
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño
  • Shredded cheese
  • Plain non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Freshly chopped cilantro


  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and sweet potato. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft.
  • Add the turkey and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often to break up the chunks.
  • Once the meat is browned, add 1 1/2 cups water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes in their juices, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a moderate bubble. Let cook, uncovered, until the chili thickens, about 45 minutes, stirring every so often so that the chili does not stick to the bottom. If the chili becomes too thick, add a little water to reach your desired consistency.
  • Toward the end of the cooking time, taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Add more cayenne pepper for an extra kick and more salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with desired toppings.



  • Lexi’s original version of the chili calls for slowly simmering it (in lieu of my “moderate bubble”) on the stove for 3 hours, adding more water as needed. Since I started cooking the chili later in the day (ahem, I was running late), I cooked it more quickly, which you will see reflected in the recipe directions.
  • TO ADD BEANS: Add 1 (15-ounce) can black beans and/or 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chili in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze chili in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 


Serving: 1(of 8), about 2 cupsCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 24gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 91mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are There No Beans in This Turkey Chili?

I’m typically in camp “beans” (reference: Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili, and Crockpot White Chicken Chili), but for this particular turkey chili recipe, I decided to take a walk on the no-bean chili side and omit them. It’s plenty thick, rich, and filling on its own, and I felt that the no-bean route allowed the savoriness of the meat and the depth of the spices to shine. That said, if you are a firm believer that chili should have beans and want to toss in a can of pintos or red kidneys, your healthy turkey chili will still be fabulous.

Can I Make This Recipe Vegetarian?

I haven’t tested the recipe without meat, and I’m afraid it wouldn’t be as flavorful without it. However, my Vegetarian Chili and Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili are great options for those who want meat-free chili.

Is Ground Turkey a Good Substitute for Ground Beef in Chili?

Yes! We love using ground turkey in our chili recipes, as it’s a great source of lean protein and still adds hearty flavor. If you prefer using ground beef in your chili, you can certainly swap it.

Can I Make Turkey Chili in the Crock Pot?

While I haven’t tried it myself, other readers have reported success with it. If you’d like to experiment, I’d suggest following the recipe through step 2 and then transferring over to the slow cooker and adding the remaining ingredients. Similar chili recipes cook for 3–4 hours on low and 4–6 hours on high, but since that depends on the slow cooker, you’ll want to check for doneness earlier than that. The liquid level may need to be adjusted too, as it won’t evaporate as much as it would on the stove.

More Hearty Chili Recipes

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Prepare to be blown away by this turkey chili – it is the best I have ever tasted. I simmered it for the full 3 hours for a rich, thick dish with a nice little kick. I took it to a girl’s weekend for the Friday night dinner and we ended up eating it for Saturday’s dinner also with the host gladly keeping the leftovers for a last solo feast after we left!5 stars

  2. I can’t cook and this recipe is the only one I feel confident making because it turns out awesome all the time and everyone loves it. I have made this chili at least 20 times and it’s always a hit. I can’t wait to get a big bowl tonight!5 stars

  3. Very yummy. We halved the spices as our family doesn’t like foods that are very spicy. As good as any beef chili we’ve had! Great with the Greek yogurt and cheese.5 stars

  4. Absolutely delicious!!!! I dropped the celery, added the sweet potato and a can of low sodium black beans, and simmered for the 3 hours. So good!!!!5 stars

  5. My husband and I recently found the low fat canned Turkey chili and added it to our calorie deficit routine as an easy meal enhancer. The price is crazy! I must’ve picked it up on sale previously, because wow! I thought I’d try this, to fit our calorie and pocketbook budgets. My husband is super picky, hates all veg except broccoli. So I was pretty sure this was going to be my personal pot of chili. He loves it. Mentioned how good it will be once the flavors have married overnight.. I’d be shocked if I hadn’t had some myself. This recipe is perfection!5 stars

    1. Hi Chris! The Greek yogurt is a optional topping. You would be adding it after it is done cooking, to your bowl. Enjoy!

  6. It wasn’t quite soup weather but this was amazing. Hearty and full of veggies. It paired really well with the sweet potato cornbread. This will be on repeat.5 stars

  7. Made the recipe and cut it in half. Added the beans because I like beans in chili but may leave them off next time. Only used the cumin because I don’t do spicy but may be more adventurous next time. It was delicious. I ate it three days and froze half. Couple of days were smaller servings. Topped with avocado which my favorite. So yummy and so easy to add. No cooking needed. Thank you.5 stars

  8. WOW! BEST. CHILI. EVER! I shared with neighbors and they could not believe how yummy it was after telling them some of the ingredients, like the sweet potato. The only thing I did differently was no celery, I’m kinda weird about celery, only like it in some soups and with tuna, and used 3 cans diff kinds of beans as suggested if I didn’t have dried. ALL of the ingredients go so well with each other. I did cook it for 2 1/2 hours, I had the time for once :). I used the avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips. I am freezing a couple of servings. I actually made it a day before, anything of this nature, some soups and pasta dishes as well, are so much better the next day.
    Thank you for such a delicious and healthy recipe!
    NOTE: I also made the Ham & Bean soup, 5 stars! But I can’t seem to post a review.5 stars

  9. Oh, my, goodness- Best chilli recipe ever!! Seriously one of the best meals I’ve eaten in a good while! I stopped consuming red meats a while back due to IBS related issues and have been missing a good bowl of chilli, but this one’s spot on! Even my father, who’s a chilli “connoisseur“ enjoyed it!(though he said it would have been better with beef, but I disagree 🥲) Great work!5 stars

  10. This is our go to chili recipe! The veggies always come out soft and it is so good everytime!! We definitely let simmer longer but it’s worth the little bit of extra time. I just gave some to my grandma last week and she absolutely loved it!5 stars

    1. Hi Kristen! I haven’t tested it out myself but it likely could work. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

    1. Hi Kristen! Yes, it includes the sweet potato, it doesn’t not the include the optional toppings at the end of the list. Hope this helps!

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