Hearty Turkey Chili

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This time of year things are always very busy at work. I am constantly looking for something that is easy to make and works well as leftovers. I like to make a few meals on Sunday that I can reheat during the week.

One of the first recipes I ever made on my own from scratch was this chili recipe. For years I have been cooking this recipe because I have yet to find another turkey chili recipe that is as thick, hearty or delicious. While I generally make this chili the same every time, I like that you can add or subtract ingredients to make it your own. Add a diced jalapeno for a little spice or Italian sausage for a meaty dish. Since this chili gets better with age and reheats well it works perfect as leftovers.

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Hearty Turkey Chili

Yield: about 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • dash of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ¼ cup Merlot or other fruity red wine
  • 1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15oz) cans kidney beans, drained


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, onion, and green bell pepper. Cook about 8 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through, stirring to crumble.
  2. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, dried oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
  4. Garnish with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

adapted from Cooking Light, January 2003


  1. Brad

    This is the best chili I’ve ever had. Especially excellent on a chilly day!

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  5. Colleen Ralls

    Hi Ashley
    The chili looks amazing I will be trying that soon! I have a healthy recipe I would enjoy sharing with you and you can share to your website if desirable. In the winter especially in new England we all enjoy soup time even tho it can be good for anytime of the year winter brings it right home! I make a kale soup. Many people say kale is not that good or hard to use in recipes but my soup is delicious and inexpensive for anyone who is on a budget please let me know if you would like to share it I’d be happy to send you the full recipe
    Thank you

    • Ashley

      Hi, Colleen! Send me the recipe, I love trying new soup recipes. I try to make soup at least once a week during the winter. And I LOVE kale so I’m pretty sure I would love it!

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  7. Stacie

    How many servings does this recipe make?

    • Ashley

      Hi, Stacie! This recipe makes about 8 servings.

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