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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Bold flavors and simple comfort are what this slow cooker turkey chili is all about! Ground turkey, loads of beans, and veggies are combined in deliciously seasoned broth cooked low and slow and ready to serve at the end of the day!

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Crockpot Ground Turkey Chili

Homemade chili is a classic comfort meal that everyone loves, so it’s an easy go-to when I need something simple, delicious, and healthy!

I’ve made crockpot chili before and healthy turkey chili recipe before, but this time, I’m combining the two for a slow cooker turkey chili. It is now one of my favorite recipes with ground turkey!

Having a wholesome meal ready to eat at the end of a long day and gathering with family over a crockpot full of hearty chili may be one of the best things to come out of the cold weather. It doesn’t get more comforting or warming than that!

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s always a good time for chili. Make this for your next game day party, on a lazy weekend, or during the busy week. Everyone loves a good bowl of chili!
  • Healthy. Each bite is as nourishing as the next. It’s packed with so many nutrients and it’s high in fiber and protein. If you’re looking for a grounding meal that is packed with good stuff, this slow cooker turkey chili is it!
  • Easy and cost-effective. It’s basically a dump-and-set recipe and the slow cooker does most of the work. What’s listed in the ingredients is how I like to make mine, but chili is one of those recipes you can play around with. Use what you’ve got to keep it within budget! 
  • Freezer-friendly. This crockpot turkey chili recipe can make a lot, but it can also be doubled to serve a crowd or keep some frozen for another day.

Recipe Ingredients

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Ground turkey: Turkey is lean meat that is pretty mild in flavor on its own, so we’re not skimping on the seasoning in this chili! It’s a lighter version than traditional beef chili which is great if you’re looking for a lower calorie option.
  • Beans: I use a combination of red kidney beans, black beans, and white chili beans. You can use the same combination or just one or two of them. Whatever you prefer or whatever you have handy.
  • Seasoning: We’re using spices such as chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and dried oregano for the herbs. If you’d like to take a shortcut, use a blend of homemade chili seasoning instead!
  • Tomato sauce: Used to make tomato-y broth and gives it a robust flavor and a beautiful red color. If you want less tomato flavor, swap the tomato sauce for turkey or chicken broth instead.

Substitutions and Variations

This crockpot turkey chili can be customized to your family’s tastes. Feel free to tweak it as you see fit!

  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of brown sugar for a little added sweetness. It also helps to cut the acid from the tomatoes. 
  • You could also make it a little spicier by adding a can of diced green chilis or deli-sliced tamed jalapeno peppers plus a full 3 Tablespoons of chili powder.
  • If you want to add more veggies, load it up with about 1 cup of frozen corn or mixed veggies.
  • Have leftover Thanksgiving turkey or smoked turkey? This slow cooker turkey chili recipe is the best way to use the extras!

How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

4 step collage showing how to make slow cooker turkey chili.
  • Brown the meat. We brown the meat in a large pot or large skillet over medium heat first so we’re not adding raw turkey to the crockpot. Doing this gives it flavor as it cooks with the onion, bell peppers, and eventually garlic too. Once it’s no longer pink, drain any excess grease and transfer everything to the crockpot.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Pour in the tomato sauce (or broth), tomatoes, and all the beans and stir in the seasoning and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water, just to make sure everything is covered. 
  • Cook on low. Once everything has been added to the pot, cover it and cook on low for 4-6 hours. 
  • Season and serve. Once it’s done, do a little taste test and sprinkle it with a little extra salt if needed. Ladle it into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Favorite Chili Toppings

Here are some of what we like to use:

Serving Suggestions

As you can imagine, one bowl of this filling chili is enough to satisfy even the hungriest teenager! However, what’s a bowl of slow cooker turkey chili (or any kind for that matter) without a slice of sweet cornbread or a cornbread muffin on the side?!

Expert Tips

  • Even dicing is key! There’s a lot that goes into a delicious spoonful of chili and you want an even amount of everything in every bite. To do this, you want to make sure you know how to cut an onion and dice bell pepper properly. 
  • Mincing garlic is also important to know! 
  • Leave it on the warm function for a couple of hours. That’s the neat thing about the slow cooker. People can keep coming back for more without having to reheat it!
  • Ramp up the nutrition with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast just before serving.
  • Aim to use a combination of ground breast and ground thigh. Using just breasts can be too dry. You can also use all thighs if you’d like and if you own your own meat grinder, it’s a great way to save some money by doing it yourself.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this with different meat?

Easily swap the ground turkey in this recipe for ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, Italian sausage, or make it vegetarian with some tofu crumble, tempeh, or added beans and veggies.

What other vegetables can I add?

All of them! Zucchini, mushrooms, corn, broccoli, celery, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, you name it!

How to store leftovers?

Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Once it has completely cooled, transfer it to an airtight container or zip-top bag for maximum freshness.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, this is great for meal prep. You can prep the ground turkey mixture on the stove top, store in the fridge, then just add everything to the slow cooker in the morning. You could also make the entire meal in advance and set it to cook the next day.

What if I do put raw turkey in the slow cooker?

Technically it’s fine. It cooks for so long, it will all be cooked by the end. It’s the flavor that won’t be the same. Browning the meat with the aromatics beforehand adds the extra yum!

Need more family-friendly slow cooker recipes? Slow cooker ribs, slow cooker pork tacos, slow cooker beef bourguignon and more can be found on the blog!

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

5 from 5 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Bold flavors and simple comfort are what this slow cooker turkey chili is all about! Ground turkey, loads of beans, and veggies are combined in deliciously seasoned broth cooked low and slow and ready to serve at the end of the day!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce , or broth (for less tomato flavor)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white chili beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chili powder , plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin , plus more to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt , or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2-1 cup water

Optional toppings: Cheese, Sour cream, Cilantro, Avocados, Tortilla chips

    Instructions

    • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and bell peppers. Cook 3 minutes, or until softened. Add in the turkey and garlic. Cook until lightly browned. Drain, if needed. Transfer to your crockpot.
    • Pour in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, black beans, chili beans, and kidney beans. Stir in chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and 1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on how much liquid you need to cover everything). Cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
    • Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

    Notes

    Variations:
    • To make a little sweet, add in 2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar.
    • To make a little spicier, add in 1 can diced green chiles or deli-sliced tamed jalapeno peppers + the full 3 Tablespoons chili powder. 
    • Add in 1 cup frozen corn for some more vegetables. 
    Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. 

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 833mg | Potassium: 1181mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1378IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 7mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Soup
    Cuisine: American
    Diet: Low Fat

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