Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers


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 smokey 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 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.

moms-ground-turkey-1.jpg moms-ground-turkey-2.jpg

2 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 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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Showing 4 of 63 Comments

  • Sharina

    I made this last night for my meal prepping. I am 2.5 months pregnant and want to take a healthy approach on this pregnancy. I cooked as instructed but doubled the portion. I made it with red and yellow bell peppers and opted for fresh Parsley. It was amazing! I may add a little more seasoning the next time but definitely will be a meal in my rotations. Paired it with roasted sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil and cinnamon and steamed broccoli. My lunch was just delicious!!

  • Sonya

    Thanks for the recipe! I made this with zucchini “noodles” and used chicken stock instead of water. Everyone cleaned their plate! :)

  • Janet

    good turkey

  • Jeff in Stockton, CA

    I first made this as the recipe when I first saw it on Simply Recipes. I have since modified it by adding one red pepper, one yellow pepper and one orange pepper. Adds so much flavor, color and crunch to this if you triangle cut and don’t over cook the peppers. My wife loves the dish with the Chipotle chili power. And I serve it with bow-tie pasta. Fantastic dish and as stated, real easy to prepare.

  • patrick

    I made this recipe and then scrambled some eggs and made tacos. Healthy and packed with protein!

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