Black Bean Turkey Chili

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EASY Black Bean Chili! with ground turkey, black beans, and red bell pepper

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

It’s January! Meaning as pretty as it may look on a sunny winter day here in Northern California, as soon as I step outside I want to turn around and head back in, where it is still toasty warm.

Days like these are perfect for cooking a big pot of chili beans, don’t you think?

The basis for this turkey chili recipe comes from my friend Kelsey’s mom Janeen. It’s one of their family favorites.

Black Bean Chili

It uses naturally lean ground turkey, plenty of black beans, onions, carrots, and red bell peppers, and can be made in one big pot.

I’ve dressed the original up a little with a bit more seasonings. It’s great over rice, or with tortillas, and tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had more time to blend. Enjoy!

Photos updated, from the recipe archive, first published Jan, 2013.

Black Bean Turkey Chili Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

This recipe produces a mildly spicy chili. You can easily add more chili powder or some cayenne to intensify the spice level if you wish. You can also add chipotle chili powder or chipotle Tabasco to give a smoky note to the chili.

As for the red bell peppers, Trader Joe's has frozen sliced bell peppers that work well for this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I use ground turkey thighs for more flavor)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp cider or white vinegar
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Sauté carrots, onions, bell peppers: Heat the oil in a large, thick bottomed pot (6 to 8 quart) on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes.

2 Add the minced garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook for a minute more.

3 Add the ground turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir and cook until the turkey is no longer pink.

4 Add the chicken stock, oregano, bay leaf, vinegar, and tomato paste. Use a straight edge spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

5 Add the black beans. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook, covered for half an hour, and uncovered for another half hour, or until the the liquid thickens. Remove bay leaf.

Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice or heated corn tortillas.

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Showing 4 of 48 Comments

  • Lynn

    Snowed in! I only have 1 bell pepper. Can I sub jarred roasted red peppers?

  • Lynn

    Snowed in! I only have 1 red pepper. Can I use jarred roasted red peppers?

  • Michelle C

    I have made this chili several times and my husband and I love it. I did add an extra tablespoon of chili powder and I also added some heat with 1/2 teaspoon on Cayenne pepper at the point where the oregano went in. I serve it with Tostitos as well. Such a great recipe for a cold night. Enjoy!!

  • Maggie S

    Just made this for the first time, and it’s the best chili I’ve made in years! I like tomato-based chili, but it was a nice change to leave it out (although I did keep in the tomato paste). Mine was more soupy than the photo, but that was OK. The only changes I made were to substitute celery for the carrot because that’s what I had, and to decrease the amount of chili powder. As someone else mentioned, the heat of chili powder can vary a lot from type to type, and I know mine is fairly hot. One tablespoon was just right. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • charlie

    looks amazing, warm and delicious!

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