Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I’m smiling as I write this. Why? Because there is no dish that reminds me more of my mother than her ground turkey with peppers.

I’ve never had it anywhere but at home, not even at a school cafeteria, where God knows they’ve served every other budget meal known to mankind.

Did my mother invent it? Probably not, but she may just as well have. We’ve eaten this in our house at least once a month for almost 50 years.

And you know what? It’s good. It’s cheap (especially ground turkey thighs which have the added benefit of more flavor). It can be cooked in the time it takes to make some rice or pasta to go with it.

For years she seasoned the ground turkey with chili powder or chopped pickled jalapenos. These days she likes to add the smoky flavor of chipotle powder.

Do you have a favorite ground turkey recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

The method given is my mother's "one pan" approach, because she's only cooking up one pound of ground turkey, enough for 4 people. If you are increasing the recipe to serve more people, you may want to remove the vegetables after they've cooked and set them aside as you cook the turkey meat, or cook the meat and the vegetables in two separate skillets.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion, including some chopped greens from scallions or green onions
  • 1 bell pepper (red or yellow preferred), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb ground turkey, preferably ground turkey thighs
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


1 Sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and cook until onions and peppers are softened, a couple minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

2 Add the ground turkey, salt, chipotle chili powder: Push the vegetables to the edge of one side of the pan and position that side of the pan so that it is off the burner, away from the heat. The empty part of the pan should be right over the burner.

Add one or two more tablespoons of oil to coat the empty part of the pan. Put crumpled chunks of ground turkey in the pan, sprinkle with salt and chipotle or chili powder.

3 Brown the turkey, stir in the peppers and onions: Cook the turkey without stirring until it is browned on one side, then turn the pieces over to brown the other side.

Once the turkey is just cooked through, stir in the onions and peppers, and sprinkle with more salt and chili powder to taste. Remove from heat.

Stir in fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice or noodles.

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Ground Turkey and Peppers

Showing 4 of 57 Comments

  • Becky

    I just made this for dinner. I added micro greens with the parsley and celery to the pepper and onions. I also added cumin and rd pepper flakes. Finally I wrapped it in a low carb wrap. It was delicious thanks for the inspiration.

  • Kc

    Ever since I tried it, I always make it: so easy and yummy and healthy. Last time I added kale, and put less turkey to make it more dietary and didnt put parsley of cilantro(although better with it), and put crushed red pepper instead of chipotle/chili powder. Was sill very good!

  • Bryce Parsons

    Made this for lunches throughout the week for my wife and I. We are on a diet and this was healthy and hit the spot. Yummy. (:

  • Mike and Linden MARUM

    our favourite ground turkey or turkey mince dish is turkey chilli con carne .We use butter beans instead of kidneybeans and we darken the dish by adding red wine vinegar and cocoa powder as well as chilli powder and tomato paste etc regards from Taunton Somerset England

  • Jocelyn

    I made this on Sunday night and it was so yummy! The fresh parsley is a necessary finishing touch. Thanks!

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