Hearty Dinners/ Spice

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

December 11, 2020 by Chris Collins

This Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is the perfect twist on the classic chili. It’s rich, tender and bursting with flavour!

overhead shot of chili in white bowl with sour cream, cheese and cilantro

Ground Turkey Chili

Ground turkey is great because it’s incredibly lean. It’s also fairly inexpensive and perfectly festive for Winter! However, turkey’s got a bad rep for, well, being pretty bland. And I won’t stand here and tell you there’s not some truth to that. BUT, it’s not a lost cause. There’s many-a-way to spruce up turkey. And this chili, in my opinion, is the ultimate way. Here’s how we’re going to bring out the best in the turkey:

  • Brown – The first thing you can do to add flavour is brown the turkey before slow cooking. And that doesn’t mean just fry, but really make sure you see the turkey caramelize in the pan and start to brown.
  • Seasoning – This chili is absolutely loaded with flavour, which the turkey takes on beautifully. Don’t skimp out on the essentials either, turkey sucks up salt & pepper into oblivion, so ensure you season both when frying AND when slow cooking.
  • Slow – Cooking low ‘n’ slow is best, to really make sure the flavour makes its way into the meat.

Process shots: add ground turkey to pan with oil (photo 1), brown, season, then add to slow cooker (photo 2), add red pepper, onion & garlic to pan (photo 3), fry then add to slow cooker (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to prep slow cooker turkey chili

How to Slow Cook Turkey Chili

Alongside browning the turkey, I like to brown the onion, garlic and red pepper for the same reason. The caramelization with the pan adds an extra layer of flavour. You could add those 3 straight in the slow cooker, but you’ll lose out on a touch of flavour. In my opinion it’s worth the extra few mins, especially because you’ve already got the pan out 🤪

How long to slow cook turkey chili?

I’ve cooked this recipe on both high and low settings before, and found the sweet spot hits 3.5-4 hours on high, or 6-7hours on low. The difference between the two is minimal.

Can I make this on the stove?

You could, but I’d still recommend simmering with the lid on for at least 1 hour 30mins. It’s really important to cook this recipe low ‘n’ slow to inject flavour into the turkey and tenderize it.

Process shots: add chili ingredients into slow cooker (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), pop the lid on and slow cook (photo 3).

3 step by step photos showing how to slow cook turkey chili

Turkey Chili FAQ

Can I substitute ground beef in this recipe?

Ground beef is obviously perfect for a chili. This version does have a slightly different flavour profile, so check out my Chilli Con Carne for a beef version!

Can you put raw ground turkey in a slow cooker?

Technically speaking it would cook through, but I highly recommend browning first. This will not only ensure the turkey doesn’t clump together, but also ensures you don’t miss out on the added flavour from frying.

How do I thicken Turkey Chili?

I’ve created this recipe so it already comes fairly thick. I’m not a fan of watery chilis. But, if you want to thicken it further just flick the settings to ‘warm’ and leave the lid off for 20mins or so.

Can you freeze Turkey Chili?

Perfect for leftovers! Just allow to completely cool then portion and tightly seal in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge and reheat until piping hot!

close up shot of ladle in slow cooker scooping out chili

Serving Turkey Chili

Serve with tortilla chips then can add your fave toppings! Here’s what I usually go for:

  • Cheddar
  • Sour Cream
  • Coriander/Cilantro

For another delicious ground turkey recipe check out my Ground Turkey Gnocchi!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this slow cooker turkey chili shall we?!

close up shot of chili in white bowl with garnish blurred in background

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How to make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of chili in white bowl with sour cream, cheese and cilantro

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

This Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is the perfect twist on the classic chili. It's rich, tender and bursting with flavour!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 8
Calories: 315kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Slow Cooker
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Sieve/Colander (to drain beans)
  • Jug (for stock)
  • Cheese Grater (optional)

Ingredients (check list):

Turkey Chili

  • 2lb / 1kg Ground Turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups / 375ml Chicken Stock
  • 2x 14oz/400g cans of Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup / 80g Tomato Paste (Tomato Puree in UK)
  • 1/4 cup / 35g slices of Jarred/Canned Jalapeños, finely diced
  • 1 large White Onion, finely diced
  • 1 large Red Pepper
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp EACH: Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Mild Chili Powder (or to spice level preference)
  • 1.5 tsp EACH: Oregano, Ground Coriander, Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil, or as needed

To Serve

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh Coriander/Cilantro

Instructions:

  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and begin breaking up with your wooden spoon. Once it begins to brown, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Continue frying until cooked right through, draining moisture/adding oil if needed, then place in the slow cooker. Try and get a good browning on the turkey, the more it caramelizes in the pan the more flavour you'll get.
  • Drizzle more oil into the pan if needed, then add onion, pepper and garlic. Fry until soft right through and lightly browned, then add into the slow cooker.
  • Into the slow cooker add jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Pour in chicken stock then give it a good stir.
  • Pop the lid on and slow cooker for 3.5-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low. It should have a fairly thick consistency, but if you want to thicken it just flick the cooker to 'warm' and leave with the lid off for 20mins or so to allow the consistency to reduce down, stirring occasionally. If you want to thin out the consistency just stir through a dash of stock. Serve with your favourite toppings!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Can I use ground beef or chicken in this recipe? - Chicken would make a good sub, but beef needs a slightly different flavour profile. For a ground beef chili follow my Chilli Con Carne!
b) How spicy is this chili? - It's definitely got a good kick of spice - hence why I use mild chili powder. If you're at all weary of the spice just add 1 tbsp, then adjust later. To make it spicier you can either add it in right at the end after taste testing, or sprinkle with chilli flakes.
c) Can I store leftovers? - Yep! Just allow to completely cool then tightly seal in the fridge for 3-4days or in the freezer. Reheat in short blasts in the microwave until piping hot, or on the stove on low heat. If freezing thaw in the fridge overnight first.
d) Calories - based on using 2 tbsp olive oil, 7% lean turkey and no toppings. Divided by 8:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 315 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 13.95g21%
Saturated Fat 3.126g16%
Trans Fat 0.129g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.586g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.788g
Cholesterol 84mg28%
Sodium 742mg31%
Potassium 673mg19%
Carbohydrates 21.45g7%
Fiber 5.5g22%
Sugar 5.65g6%
Protein 27.95g56%
Vitamin A 1205IU24%
Vitamin C 21.2mg26%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 3.27mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart!

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