Turkey Chili with Beans

Turkey chili beans is one of the easiest, yummiest, and healthiest versions of chili you’ll ever make. Give this a try; you may never make beef chili again!

turkey chili with beans

This recipe for turkey chili with beans is my adaptation of  a smiliar one found in The Junior League at Home~a recipe collection from Junior Leagues across the U.S. This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, and this version of “Favorite Chili Beans” is one of my go-to recipes when we crave chili.

If you think turkey chili surely must be boring, think again. With the right seasonings and a low and slow cook time, this typically bland meat becomes succulent, flavorful, and tender.

Savvy suggestion: Turkey meat is best seasoned BEFORE other ingredients are added to the pot. After browning the turkey, I add the dry seasonings and mix until turkey crumbles are completely coated. Then, all other ingredients can be added and the chili cooked according to the recipe.

Cook’s note: I use and highly recommend Penzey’s medium hot chili powder. It received a recommended rating in Cook’s Illustrated taste tests and has a smoky, deep flavor that I prefer much more than anything I’ve found in grocery store chili Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 8.44.43 AMpowder. Since I make so many chili and Tex-Mex dishes, I always keep this chili powder on hand.

A note on beans: I love using a combination of white and black beans, as the different size and color add interest.  I do drain the beans, but I don’t rinse them.

Maple syrup: Don’t be tempted to leave this out; it makes a HUGE difference in the flavor of the chili and balances the seasoning perfectly.

If you have a crowd, a fun and yummy way to serve this chili is alongside these Perfect Baked Potatoes with Crispy, Garlicky, Salty Skins. In addition to offering a platter of these delish potatoes, I set out bowls of toppings for a potato bar. My favorites are chopped bacon, shredded sharp cheddar, sour cream & salsa. This is a fun, easy, and filling way to serve dinner to friends and family. Folks love it!

If you try these, please let me know what you think! As always, thanks for being a reader! Be blessed, and stay savvy!

Turkey Chili with Beans
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  • 2 (16 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans beans (I use one can each of black beans and white beans)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (frozen chopped onion works great)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (use a fresh jalapeno rather than pickled from a jar)
  • 1 TB plus 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 (6-oz) tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Brown turkey meat in EVOO.
  • When cooked through, drain turkey; season with ranch mix, salty & pepper.
  • Place turkey and all other ingredients in slow cooker; stir well to combine.
  • Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 7-8.