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11 October 2019

This is the best turkey chili recipe you’ll ever try, made with two types of chili powder, fire roasted tomatoes, lots of seasonings and plenty of ground turkey. It truly is the real deal when it comes to flavor.

For spicy food lovers and non-spicy food lovers alike, a good bowl of chili is TOPS. Chili satisfies an appetite and a craving like few other foods can. Even though you can make a good mild bowl of chili, it’s a spicy food lover’s dream dish because you can throw in spices and peppers from medium heat to the hottest of the hot and that chili will develop them in so many wonderful ways.

Can you tell I just love chili?

Don’t get me wrong. If you decide to incorporate superhot chili peppers into your chili, like the wonderfully hot 7 Pot Pepper, fruity hot ghost pepper, or even the current hottest pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper, you’ll get a crazy hot chili that not many people can handle. Outside of yourself, that is, you crazy chilihead, you.

Still, it doesn’t matter what level of spicy food lover you are. You can make a chili from mild-medium heat all the way up to crazy hot, no matter how you enjoy it. It is very easy to customize.

It isn’t just the heat and spices that makes a satisfying chili. It’s all about the peppers and sauce, the quality of the ingredients going into it, and the meat. You have MANY meat options for making chili, and I’ve made it with different cuts of pork, beef, ground beef and chicken. Today, though, we’re cooking with ground turkey.

Yeah, baby! Turkey chili!

Let’s Talk about Turkey Chili

Turkey is a great choice of meat for making chili. Turkey may not contain the fat of other meats, which translates into flavor and mouth feel, but because of that it is a good lower calorie choice for those of us looking to eat a bit healthier.

Also, turkey is a milder protein, which means it will absorb and reflect back any flavors you decide to build into your pot of turkey chili. I see that as a huge positive. When I cook with turkey, particularly ground turkey, all the flavors of my chosen chili peppers, fire roasted tomatoes, chili powders and other seasonings have free reign to do what they do best – make a GREAT pot of turkey chili.

I’m calling this recipe the “Real Deal” Turkey Chili because it does exactly that. It incorporates a collection of outstanding ingredients that comes together into one beautifully flavored meal. Talk about tasty! And yep, it’s super easy to make.

Let’s talk about how we make it, shall we?

Turkey Chili in a bowl with extra fixings

Ingredients Needed

Here is what you need to make an excellent pot of turkey chili.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper (or sweet pepper, chopped)
  • 1 spicy chili pepper, chopped (I used a Devil’s Tongue from my garden – try a habanero or ghost pepper – optional for a nice and extra spicy chili)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 3 cans (42 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, or use equivalent fresh (You can also used diced tomatoes or tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 2 tablespoons guajillo powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR SERVING: Sliced roasted jalapenos, spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
 

Mike’s “Real Deal” Turkey Chili Recipe – the Steps

  1. First, heat the oil in a large pot and add the ground turkey meat, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through and the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
  3. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and give it all a good stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili on low for at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
  6. Serve in bowls with your favorite fixins. Some of my favorites are spicy chili flakes, sliced roasted peppers, chopped red onion, avocado, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream.

Boom! That’s it, my friends! Easy, spicy, awesome, “real deal” turkey chili at its finest. What do you think? Want to give it a go? I think you’ll love this recipe! I know I do.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Heat Factor. I kept this to about a medium-hot level heat factor by using jalapeno peppers and a Devil’s Tongue pepper from my garden, but you can dial back on the heat by using only jalapenos. Keep it mostly mild by using only sweet bell peppers, or go hotter with something like a ghost pepper or hotter. You can also swirl in some cayenne pepper or spicy chili flakes before simmering and that will add an extra touch of heat.
  • The Beans. I’m using red kidney beans here, but you can vary it up with different beans. Try it out with black beans, great northern beans, white beans, or a combination of beans. So many options!
  • For Thicker Chili. This chili is fairly chunky because I didn’t break up the ground turkey very much, and I started with nice and chunky tomatoes. They do break down, however, and may thin out, especially if you are using tomato sauce. If you’d like to thicken your chili a bit, swirl in a couple tablespoons of corn meal and cook another 10 minutes. This will help thicken the chili for you.
  • The Chili Powders. I love this recipe with two different chili powders – ancho powder and guajillo powder. Together they are a powerhouse of flavor. However, feel free to use your favorite chili powder blend, or try my homemade chili powder. It rocks!
  • Leftovers. Freeze it. I like to make large batches of chili and freeze the leftovers for quick lunches or dinner later in the week. For freezing, simply transfer the turkey chili to freezer proof containers and cap them off. They can be frozen 3 months or longer. I’ve enjoyed the chili 6 months after it was frozen.

Turkey Chili in the Crock Pot

You can make this recipe in a crock pot or slow cooker very easily. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to cook down the vegetables and ground turkey in a pan first, then transfer it all to the crock pot with the remaining ingredients. Cook them on low for 2-3 hours. The second way is to simply dump all of the ingredients together directly into the crock pot and break it all up with a wooden spoon. Then, cook the pot on low for 3-4 hours, or until all of the flavors mingle.

Try Some of My Other Popular Chili Recipes

Turkey Chili in a bowl, ready to serve

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Real Deal Turkey Chili Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
This is the best turkey chili recipe you’ll ever try, made with two types of chili powder, fire roasted tomatoes, lots of seasonings and plenty of ground turkey. It truly is the real deal when it comes to flavor.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, ground turkey, one pot, spicy
Servings: 8
Calories: 165 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper or sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1 spicy chili pepper chopped (I used a Devil’s Tongue from my garden – try a habanero or ghost pepper – optional for a nice and extra spicy chili)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 3 cans fire roasted tomatoes (42 ounces, or use equivalent fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 2 tablespoons guajillo powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR SERVING: Sliced roasted jalapenos spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the ground turkey, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through and the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
  3. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and give it all a good stir.
  5. Cook the chili on low for at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
  6. Serve in bowls with your favorite fixins.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Serves 6-8.
Heat Factor: Medium-Hot, depending on your choice of hot peppers. If you're looking to up that heat factor, incorporate hotter peppers or add in extra spicy chili powder or chili flakes. Hot sauce is also a nice addition for both heat and flavor. I always drizzle on some hot sauce!

Nutrition Facts
Real Deal Turkey Chili Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 1221mg51%
Potassium 292mg8%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 2475IU50%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Real Deal Turkey Chili Recipe - This is the best turkey chili recipe you’ll ever try, made with two types of chili powder, fire roasted tomatoes, lots of seasonings and plenty of ground turkey. It truly is the real deal when it comes to flavor. #Chili #GroundTurkey #Spicy

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