Best Healthy Turkey Chili

This healthy Turkey Chili recipe is a classic recipe made with ground turkey and fresh ingredients. The entire family will love this recipe!

A large bowl of hearty turkey chili

Chili is the best comfort food. It’s hearty and delicious. This recipe comes together easily and tastes great as leftovers. It is the best recipe because it packs plenty of protein and vegetables and can be easily adapted to fit your needs. Omit the wine and brown sugar to make it even healthier.

Ingredients You Need

ingredients for turkey chili
  • Ground Turkey: You can substitute for ground beef.
  • Onion: Yellow onion is the best for flavor.
  • Bell Pepper: Green better pepper works best, but you can also use red bell pepper.
  • Fruity red wine: Merlot is best. You can also substitute with beer or chicken broth, or omit it altogether. If you omit the liquid, the chili will be a little thicker.
  • Whole Tomatoes: You can substitute the whole tomatoes for diced tomatoes in a pinch.
  • Diced Tomatoes: You can substitute with additional whole tomatoes, if desired.
  • Kidney Beans: You can substitute with another type of chili bean, such as pinto beans, if desired. You can also cut back to one can if you prefer less beans.
  • Tomato Paste: You can omit if needed, however the tomato pasta adds flavor and helps the ground turkey absorb the seasonings.
  • Brown Sugar: You can omit completely or use maple syrup. This adds flavor but isn’t necessary.
  • Garlic: This adds flavor.
  • Spices: This recipe uses chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Add diced jalapeños or red chili pepper for additional spice.
steps to make turkey chili

Tips for Healthy Turkey Chili

  1. Substitutions: This recipe can be altered slightly to fit your taste. You can omit the sugar, wine or substitute for another type of chili bean.
  2. Additions: Feel free to add another vegetable if desired. Throw in some corn, peppers, diced zucchini or sweet potato. You can add them with the peppers and onions to ensure they have enough time to cook.
  3. Cook time: Allow the chili to simmer for at least 45 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more flavor.
  4. Leftovers: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat prior to serving.
  5. Freezing: Allow the chili to cool. Store the chili in a zipped top freezer safe bag or storage container with as much of the air pressed out as possible. This recipe is large so you might need a few bags or containers. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop prior to serving.
a pot of cooked healthy turkey chili

FAQs

Can I substitute ground beef for turkey? Or can I use leftover turkey meat?

Yes, you can substitute the ground turkey for ground beef, pork or chicken. You can also add diced leftover cooked turkey meat.

How do you thicken turkey chili?

Chili thickens naturally while it slow cooks over low heat on the stove. To thicken, continue to cook the chili uncovered until the desired consistency is reached.

What do you serve with turkey chili?

Serve cili with shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, sliced jalapeños, avocado, guacamole, tortilla chips, olives, salsa or hot sauce.

How long is leftover turkey chili good for?

Store the turkey chili in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 4 months.

A large bowl of turkey chili

Go ahead, make a large batch of this ground turkey chili to share with your family and reheat throughout the week. This will quickly become a favorite meal. Pile on your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!

Other Hearty Soup Recipes

A large bowl of turkey chili

Healthy Turkey Chili

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins
This a classic go-to chili recipe made with plenty of fresh flavors and packed with protein!
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

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

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
  • Garnish with cheese, sour cream or your favorite chili toppings, if desired.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS
  • Ground Turkey: Substitute with ground beef or chicken.
  • Fruit red wine: Merlot is best. You can also substitute with beer or chicken broth, or omit it altogether. If you omit the liquid, the chili will be thicker. 
  • Tomatoes: You can use all diced, whole or a combination of both. 
  • Kidney beans: You can substitute with another type of chili bean, such as pinto, if desired.
  • Brown sugar: You can omit, if desired.
LEFTOVERS
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator form up to 3 days. Reheat prior to serving.
FREEZING
  • Allow the chili to cool. Store the chili in a zipped top freezer safe bag or storage container with as much of the air pressed out as possible. This recipe is large so you might need a few bags or containers. Store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop prior to serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g, Calories: 196kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 420mg, Potassium: 846mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1210IU, Vitamin C: 37.7mg, Calcium: 99mg, Iron: 4.1mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

This recipe was originally published in March 2013. It was updated with new process photos and tips in January 2020.

7 comments on “Best Healthy Turkey Chili”

  1. I love how easy this was to make and totally over the top delicious no one knew I used turkey!

  2. My dad loves beef but my mom has been trying to find healthier alternatives. This recipe is perfect for them!

  3. How many servings does this recipe make?

  4. 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
    Colleen

    • 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!

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

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