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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A Crockpot Classic
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a superhero when I’ve got dinner ready by the time the kids come home from school. It’s just one less thing to think about when the after-school chaos begins! When you have smoked turkey leftover, this is just the recipe to use up the extras!
Homemade chili is one of those classic comfort meals 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 I’ve made a stovetop turkey chili recipe before, and this time, I’m combining the two.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
All of them! Zucchini, mushrooms, corn, broccoli, celery, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, you name it!
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.
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.
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!
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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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