Forget the calendar. For me the true start of fall is when the first batch of Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes hits my crock pot.

A white bowl of easy slow cooker turkey chili with sweet potatoes

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Making the first chili of the season always feels a bit ceremonious to me.

I equate chili with, well, chilly.

Until the air rouses me to utter at least a mild “brrrrrr,” I feel it is my duty to summer to postpone the chili-making until I am in need of something hearty to fill my tummy and warm my bones.

My ideal chili recipe is low on maintenance, high on flavor, and reasonably healthy. This chili nails all three.

Other than browning the turkey before adding it to the slow cooker and chopping the sweet potatoes, the prep work is non-existent for this easy turkey chili recipe.

Simply dump the ingredients into your crock pot, and in a few hours, your home will be filled with the aroma of warm spices and robust tomatoes. You don’t even need to precook the quinoa!

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes in a white bowl next to fresh avocado

I’m also of the mind that chili should be nice and thick, all the better for filling bellies and standing up to a hefty array of toppings.

Between the quinoa, black beans, and big chunks of sweet potato, this chili has plenty of body.

The ingredients play well with each other, and the sweet potato is especially lovely intermixed with the sultry spices. (This Vegetarian Chili is another wonderful option with similar chipotle flavors and black beans.)

I’m of the belief that no two pots of chili are exactly the same, and even though I’ve made this turkey quinoa chili recipe dozens of times, each time I do, I’m freshly surprised by the richness of its flavor.

5 Star Review

“This is the best chili recipe! The sweet potatoes and quinoa really add a new dimension and also help make a thicker chili which I prefer.”

— Karen —

How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

This healthy slow cooker turkey chili recipe is as easy as it is delicious.

It uses simple ingredients, but they come together to create something truly special.

Plus, this recipe makes a big batch, so it’s the best turkey chili recipe for meal prep, game day, or a party.


The Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey. Lean, protein-packed ground turkey adds wonderful flavor to the chili and will help keep you full for hours.
  • Sweet Potatoes. I love adding sweet potatoes to chili recipes for their sweetness, texture, and health beneits. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamins.
  • Quinoa. Quinoa’s nuttiness and high protein content helps make the chili extra satisfying and flavorful.
  • Crushed Tomatoes. For liquid and must-have tomato flavor.
  • Black Beans. Creamy and nutritious. Black beans are a great source of fiber and antioxidants. (For those who prefer a slow cooker turkey chili no beans, try my Healthy Turkey Chili instead.)
  • Beer. The secret ingredient that sets this turkey sweet potato chili apart from the rest! It adds exceptional, simmered-all-day flavor. I used an IPA beer, but any dark or amber beer will work here.

Substitution Tip

If you prefer to not use beer in this recipe, you can swap it for extra chicken stock.

  • Spices. The key to fabulous chili flavor! This recipe uses a blend of garlic powder, chili powder, chipotle chili pepper, and cumin. It’s smoky, sweet, earthy, and perfect for complementing the sweet potatoes.

The Directions

  1. Saute the turkey with the spices. then transfer it to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook the slow cooker turkey chili on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. ENJOY!

Dietary Note

  • This recipe is gluten free and dairy free as written.
  • For a paleo turkey sweet potato chili or Whole30 sweet potato turkey chili, I recommend trying my Whole30 Chili.
crockpot full of Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate chili in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven 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.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, cook the turkey and onion in spices as directed in Step 1. Refrigerate it in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

For those who want to wake up with their chili ready to go, you can slow cook chili overnight. Prepare the recipe as directed in a programmable slow cooker right before you head to bed, and set it to cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Once the cooking time is done, it will switch to the “warm” setting.

white bowl of slow cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Slow Cooker. Chili is better in a slow cooker!
  • Dutch Oven. My choice for browning the turkey.
  • Ladle. The easiest way to serve this turkey chili recipe.

The Best Slow Cooker

Having a high-quality slow cooker like this one allows you to make any of my delicious slow cooker recipes. This one is programmable, making it so you can’t overcook chili in a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Do you have any favorite chili or other autumn recipes that mark the start of fall for you the way this chili does for me? I’d love to hear all about them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Skip Browning the Turkey?

Although you can put raw ground turkey in the slow cooker (I do for these Crockpot Stuffed Peppers), I don’t recommend it for this recipe, because you need the turkey broken into pieces. Browning also adds important flavor.

Can I Omit the Quinoa?

Yes, you can omit the quinoa if you prefer. I suggest reducing the amount of liquid so that your chili isn’t too thin. If you prefer to use rice, cook it separately, then stir it in at the end.

Can I Double the Recipe?

Yes, you can double this chili recipe. However, if you are doubling the recipe, it WILL NOT FIT in a 6-quart slow cooker. Borrow a second one, place part in a smaller crock pot, or upgrade to a larger size. Trust me, I tried.

Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

4.98 from 79 votes
A healthy and hearty slow cooker turkey quinoa chili with sweet potatoes, black beans, and warm spices. Easy to make, great leftover, and healthy too!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 hrs 5 mins
Total: 5 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 small sweet potatoes (or 2 large) peeled and diced (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer I used an IPA; any dark or amber beer would be great too! or substitute additional low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2-3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • For serving: cilantro avocado, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Add the turkey, onion, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook and stir, breaking up the turkey as you go, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and cumin, then transfer to the bottom a large slow cooker.
  • To the slow cooker, add the chopped sweet potatoes, quinoa, beer, 2 cups chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and black beans. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in additional chicken stock if the chili is thicker than you would like (I added about 1/2 cup extra). Serve warm with desired toppings.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chili in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven 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.
  • If you are doubling this recipe it WILL NOT FIT in a 6-quart slow cooker. Borrow a second one, place part in a smaller crock pot, or upgrade to a larger size. You’ve been warned.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 436kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 32gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 42mgPotassium: 1411mgFiber: 13gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 11600IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 6mg

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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 wellplated.com 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. This is definitely my favorite chili recipe, and one of my favorite things is how good it is as a vegetarian dish, something it seems several people have asked about lately. I like to sub vegetable broth, omit the turkey, and add a can of pinto or kidney beans. Then to finish it off, I add walnuts as a topping. May sound unusual, but so good with this recipe that is already untraditional. It adds great flavor, as well as another texture to this dish that is already so complex. I’ve yet to have anyone complain about the lack of meat when making this for gatherings!5 stars

  2. I’ve made this many times. It’s a great meal to freeze raw and dump in crockpot later, or freezer after it’s cooked and reheat in portions. Definitely a great postpartum freezer meal! It’s delicious.

    My question is: any idea how to sub the beans and tomatoes? My husband can’t eat those now, sad, but he loves this meal! Any clever ideas welcome!! (And I’ll still be making some of this original recipe for myself ;) )5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed this recipe, T! Thank you for sharing this kind review! I haven’t tried omitting the beans and tomatoes myself, so it would be an experiment. You could try using a different type of beans and omitting the tomatoes, but you may need to add more liquid if it’s too thick. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. Love it! I used a Spotted Cow beer this last time, delicious. My modifications are that I cut the cumin down by 25%, I prefer a little more turkey if I have it, and I add a bag of frozen corn 20 minutes before the end. My favorite chili recipe by far!5 stars

  4. Hi Erin! I look forward to having this for supper tonight! Question…do you stir everything together or leave it in layers in which you put it in the crockpot? Thank you!

    1. I hope you enjoy the chili, Debbie! You do not need to stir the ingredients once they’re added to the slow cooker.

    1. Hi TB! I’ve never tried omitting the quinoa before, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi Stacy! While I haven’t tried it, you probably could. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  5. One of my favorite turkey chilis. I’ve made it a handful of times and have had people request this recipe. It’s a great chili for these cold northern days!5 stars

    1. Hi Courtney! I think the beer adds a nice depth of flavor and “spirit” without being overpowering! It’s hard to know for sure but it might of been the type of beer used. You can always reduce the amount for next time and add more chicken broth. Hope this helps!

    2. I lost a bet to a guy that I just started dating and the loser had to make dinner of the winner’s choice. He requested chili. I found this recipe because I had sweet potatoes on hand and, though the recipe calls for ground turkey, I ended up using Beyond Meat as a substitution. In sum, it was DELICIOUS!! I’m not a beer drinker but bought an IPA (Elysian Space Dust) which I think brought the whole recipe together perfectly. I added a fresh sliced jalapeño near the end of the cook time for some added heat. I’m so glad I found this recipe!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!5 stars

  6. Very tasty, even better the second night
    We like chili with a bit more liquid so more
    stock was added for the second night-
    A nice change from the regular chili. I would
    never have thought of the beer 🍺 great
    addition5 stars

  7. Wow! This came out amazing! Unfortunately, I overcooked it a little… it was done after 3 hours on Low. I stupidly let it go for another 30 mins, making the potatoes and quinoa a little too mushy and causing the bottom layer to burn. Still, chili is hard to make inedible, so it still tastes great.

    I made the following modifications: added a small can of jalepenos, an extra half-can of black beans, a tablespoon of Brown Swerve, and a couple pinches of cinnamon. I also used 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, because my store didn’t have any large or small ones (and I love sweet potatoes.) I used an extra cup of stock instead of beer, but I think I’ll add one more cup next time (or use beer… just didn’t feel like buying it.) Cinnamon is a MUST for me with sweet potatoes, so I had to add it! I think it makes a great addition.

  8. Hello Erin, I noticed that recipe says the serving size is 1/6, do you happen to know what that equates to in cups? I thoroughly enjoy all of your recipes! Thanks😊

  9. I am always open to trying new chili recipes however this is Sweet potatoes were not cooked through. Overall does not have much flavor. I do not recommend this recipe.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Bryan. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it, so I truly wish it would have been a hit for you.

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