Turkey or Chicken Chili

Every time I think I’ve made a ridiculously large amount of this turkey chili, and my husband wonders loudly and pointedly if we’re having a big crowd for dinner, we surprise ourselves by eating it all. Not in one sitting, unless we are in fact having a big crowd for dinner, but over the course of several pleasurable days.

This falls into the blissful, classic category of soups and stews that are even better after a few days. It also falls into the category of meals that make you glad to have in the fridge on a weeknight, especially when work or soccer practice means you’re walking in the door at 6:00 p.m.

This is our all-time favorite chili recipes, thick and flavorful and loaded with vegetables.

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What to Serve with Turkey Chili

Serve the chili with rice, of course, and you don’t even have to bother with salad or a vegetable unless you’re feeling frisky. This chili’s got the veggies built right in.  Classic topping include avocados or guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa or diced tomatoes.

In some parts of the world, and especially the good old U.S. of A., the definition of chili is the subject of heated discourse. This version could anger the con carne sect, especially those from Texas. There are copious amounts of beans in this chili, and the meat is turkey, not beef. I make no claims to chili authenticity and will just humbly submit the words of chili expert Jane Butel: “Whenever I meet someone who does not consider chili a favorite dish, then I’ve usually found someone who has never tasted good chili.”

A wedge of Molasses Cornbread is a nice partner to this chili.

Other Chili Recipes:

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Turkey or Chicken Chili

This is our all-time favorite chili recipes, thick and flavorful and loaded with vegetables.
Yield: 12 People
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


For the Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 large red bell peppers stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 pounds ground turkey or chicken and/or fresh turkey sausage removed from the casing see Cooking Tip
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 3 cans crushed tomatoes 28 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce optional
  • 3 cans about 15.5 ounces each cannellini, kidney, or black beans, or a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds of beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley optional
  • Hot cooked rice for serving

For Serving, Pick and Choose

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese such as cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend
  • Diced avocados or store-bought or homemade guacamole
  • Minced scallions
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh lime wedges


  • Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, chili powder, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Add the turkey, chicken, sausage, or whatever combination you are using, and the salt and black pepper, stirring to coat well with all of the spices. Cook, stirring until the meat loses its pinkness, about 6 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chipotles, if using, and the beans. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture tastes like chili, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the dill or parsley, if using, and add more salt and/or pepper as necessary.
  • Serve the chili with hot rice and any toppings you like.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1126IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. Looks so yummy! Am I an idiot or what? How do I print this recipe? I can’t seem to find the printer friendly version. Thanks

    1. Right at the bottom of the recipe is a little print button (no, you’re not an idiot! I miss these things all the time). If you are reading this on the site, it’s right above your comment, above this comment.

  2. Amazing recipe. I made it with a mixture of ground turkey and chicken sausage – yum. It was so good my husband keeps asking me when I’m making it again!

  3. so much seasoning is built into the sausage – gives a good head start on great chili flavor.

  4. I’ve been looking for a new chili recipe, and this looks great. Never would have thought of using turkey sausage instead of plain old ground turkey — great idea!

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