I normally don’t declare recipes the best for just any reason. In fact, if I’m saying something is the BEST, then it’s for a very good reason. Most often because I had multiple people try out a recipe and tell me it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted; this happens most frequently when I bake cookies.
I created this now-internet-famous healthy turkey chili back in 2015 not knowing that Ambitious Kitchen would soon be known for it. I remember the very first time I made it and I was surprised at the wonderful thick texture and truly addicting flavor. Fast-forward 7+ years and it’s one of the all-time MOST POPULAR recipes on Ambitious Kitchen. And for good reason!
It has quickly become one of those recipes people tuck into their recipe boxes, share with friends and family, and bookmark on their phones. I’m obsessed and I’m pretty sure the chili lovers of the world are, too.
Ingredients in the best healthy turkey chili
This turkey chili recipe is packed with tons of spices, veggies, beans and lean ground turkey to give it the perfect thickness and flavor. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Veggies: you’ll need a red bell pepper, yellow onion, and canned or frozen sweet corn.
- Ground turkey: we’re adding lean protein with ground turkey (or you can use ground chicken) instead of traditional ground beef.
- Herbs & spices: the chili gets its incredible flavor from mild chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and plenty of salt.
- For the broth: everything simmers in a can of diced or crushed tomatoes and chicken broth.
- Beans: I like to add two cans of red kidney beans for wonderful texture, fiber & protein.
Can I make it vegetarian?
This turkey is truly best served the way it is, so if you’re looking for a vegetarian option try my Best Vegetarian Chili Ever!
Our fav ways to customize this turkey chili
The fun part about cooking chili is all of the toppings and ways you can make it your own! Here are some suggestions:
- Add delicious toppings: I love topping my bowl with fresh avocado, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, and sliced jalapeños.
- Get spicy: if you like a kick of heat, feel free to add extra cayenne pepper and/or top your bowl with sliced jalapeños.
- Make it mild: alternatively, if you’re sensitive to heat simply omit the cayenne pepper. Please note that I use McCormick chili powder in this recipe, which is very mild. If your chili powder is spicy, you’ll want to reduce the amount.
What to serve with this turkey chili
This warming chili is absolutely wonderful paired with these honey pumpkin cornbread muffins, my best ever cornbread recipe, or even these easy gluten free crackers. If you’re serving a crowd for a party or game day, add these sides to your table:
Get all of my appetizers here, and side dishes here!
Make it in your slow cooker
This healthy turkey chili can easily be made in the slow cooker as well! A great hands-free way to cook it and keep it warm. A few tips:
- Reduce the chicken broth to 1/2 cup.
- Brown the turkey and onions before adding them to the slow cooker.
- Add the rest of your ingredients and cook the chili on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
Storing & freezing tips
- In the refrigerator: this healthy turkey chili will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week. Once your chili is completely cooled, just place it in an airtight container (or multiple, if you’d like to meal prep it) without the additional toppings and place it in the fridge. To reheat it, simply do so in the microwave with a microwave safe bowl, or feel free to reheat it on the stovetop. Add your toppings once you’re ready to serve!
- In the freezer: chili makes the BEST freezer-friendly meal! Follow the instructions above, but instead of placing the turkey chili in the refrigerator just put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply thaw the chili overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
More chilis, soups & stews you’ll love
Get all of my soups, stews & chili recipes here!
If you make this healthy turkey chili recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen.
Seriously, The Best Healthy Turkey Chili
Healthy turkey chili made with lean ground turkey, kidney beans and corn. This famous recipe is perfectly spiced, packed with plenty of protein and fiber, and is simply the BEST. Make it on the stovetop or in your slow cooker for an easy, delicious weeknight dinner.
yellow onion, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
medium red bell pepper, chopped
extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)
chili powder* (I used McCormick chili powder – please read the notes section on this)
salt, plus more to taste
(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
(15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
(15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
- For topping: cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream
Place oil in a large pot and place over medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add in ground turkey and break up the meat; cooking until no longer pink. Next add in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt; stir for about 20 seconds.
Next add in tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens and flavors come together. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary.
Garnish with anything you’d like. Makes 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each.
*I’ve gotten a few comments about the chili being too spicy — I used McCormick’s Chili Powder in this recipe, which is very mild. You should not use a spicy chili powder. If you’re using something else, I would start with 2-3 tablespoons instead of 4.
To make this recipe in the slow cooker: Reduce the chicken broth to 1/2 cup and brown the turkey and onions before adding to the slow cooker. Cook it on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. This is an awesome tailgating or football party recipe!
Servings: 6 servings
Serving size: 1.5 cups
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on November 8th, 2015, and republished on January 12th, 2023.