the best turkey chili recipe
Appetizer,  Dinner,  Gluten-Free

The Best Turkey Chili Recipe

There’s something about the beginnings of fall that always make me crave chili. When football season starts, this turkey chili recipe is in my crockpot on a regular basis – it’s the ultimate game day food. I love leftovers, and this chili has that too. With minimal effort. And not many calories.

This post contains affiliate links. I make a commission for purchases made through those links.

Let’s Talk Flavor.

I used to add ground beef as the meat in this recipe. I switched to turkey because it’s cheaper and lower in cholesterol. For awhile I liked my turkey chili recipe, but wasn’t fully satisfied. One day I added a beef bullion cube on a whim. That was the trick and is now my secret ingredient.

PRO TIP: Aldi has a 1.20 lbs package of ground turkey for the price of a pound. Check out this post for other Aldi finds.

The amount of enchilada sauce in this chili isn’t a standard amount, like an 8 oz can. That makes me crazy in recipes. To cope, I buy giant cans of it and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then I always have some on hand, and end up throwing a couple of cubes in lots of stuff. My ice cube trays hold about 1.25 tablespoons in each well. I use 4 cubes of enchilada sauce. You could substitute tomato sauce, but I like the extra flavor kick enchilada sauce brings to the party.

Turkey chili couldn't be any easier - dump in the crock pot and forget about it.

The Last Step.

The cornstarch slurry might seem unnecessary. But it thickens your turkey chili. Make sure to smooth out any cornstarch lumps (a fork works well) so that you don’t end up with a strange chunk in the chili. The starch needs a half hour or so to work its magic science. Heating the starch allows it to trap more water between molecules and thus increases the viscosity of the chili.

The Beefiest Turkey Chili

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Chili, Comfort Food
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 260 kcal


  • 1 lbs ground turkey Aldi pack is 1.2 lbs
  • hot sauce

Into the Slow Cooker

  • 1/2 cup small red beans dry
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans dry
  • 5 tbsp enchilada sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 beef bullion cube
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped optional
  • 6 cups water

At the End

  • 3 tbsp corn starch


  1. Brown ground turkey in a skillet. Towards the end of cooking, add some hot sauce. I like Tabasco’s Smoked Chipotle.

  2. While turkey is browning, add beans, enchilada sauce, spices, & jalapeno to a slow cooker.

  3. Add browned turkey to slow cooker. Top with water and stir. Cook on high for ~4 hours. 

  4. Once beans are tender, dish some chili liquid only into a small glass/bowl. Mix in 3 tablespoons of corn starch to make a slurry. Add slurry to slow cooker and cook for another 30 min or until chili has thickened some. 

Recipe Notes

Be sure kidney beans are boiled for at least 10 minutes. Raw kidney beans contain the toxin phytohemagglutinin which causes bad stomach issues.


Share with me @periodicallycreative on Instagram & use #periodicallycreative

OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Southwest Turkey Burgers | Slow Cooker Potato Soup | Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

Spice Buying Hack

Spices are way cheaper in bulk. Plus then its easier to make your own chili seasoning. If you have the room at the back of a cabinet or bottom of your pantry to store the large containers, its worth it. Just fill up the small jars in your spice rack as needed. My grocery store doesn’t have large containers of all the spices for chili, but Amazon does! These are the ones I can’t find larger containers of very easily:

Chili is pretty healthy.

Chili is one of those dishes that seems like it’d be terrible for you. Its not. This is really a guilt free game food. The beans are filling, but low in calories. Ground turkey is the same. Almost everything that adds flavor doesn’t have any calories. Thanks giant pile of chili seasoning. An entire slow cooker full of chili is only 1300 calories before cheese. Add cheese [and Fritos] and you’re only around 400 calories for a serving. That leaves more calories for beer!

What’s your favorite beer to pair with chili?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating