Turkey chili

This is a great pantry dish to make when I’m low on fresh ingredients. I usually have ground turkey in the freezer, cheddar cheese in the fridge and onions and garlic rolling around somewhere. I love leftovers in the fridge for lunch.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (1 lb frozen)

Toppings (any or all)

  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Sour cream or greek yogurt
  • Avocado, cubed or sliced
  • Scallions, sliced thin
  • Cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat large saucepan or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add olive oil and diced onions. Saute until soft and translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey, breaking up meat with a large spoon. Saute until meat is cooked through (no pink). Drain meat in colander to rid of excess juices. Put meat back in pan.
  3. Add garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and oregano to the meat. Saute briefly to heat spices.
  4. Rinse beans in colander. Add to meat and stir.
  5. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir.
  6. Fill tomato sauce can with water and add. Stir.
  7. When chili starts to boil, turn heat to low and cover. If you want to make it quick, cook at a lively simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you are making ahead of time, cook at a low simmer for 1-2 hours, or more. Check periodically to add more water if necessary.
  8. Add corn and crushed red pepper to taste. Serve with toppings as desired: grated cheese, sour cream (or my favorite substitute, greek yogurt), diced avocado, slivered scallions, cilantro.


  • Feel free to use whatever beans you have handy – kidney beans are of course the classic chili bean, but white kidney (cannellini), small white navy beans or even garbanzo beans (chickpeas) will work.
  • Add other vegetables if desired: bell peppers, winter greens, zucchini – I’ve even added cubed winter squash, which blends right in.
  • Leftover chili will thicken when cooled. Add a bit of water when reheating if you like it soupier.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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