Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)

Is there anything better than a hot bowl of chili on a cold day? Here’s a favorite recipe from the archives that I recently remade, in preparation for the turkey leftovers we expect to have after Thanksgiving. With kidney beans, tomato, bell pepper, garlic and loads of spices, this chili terrific with shredded turkey meat (especially the dark meat!)

You could also easily make it with cooked shredded chicken if no turkey leftovers are available. Serve it loaded high with shredded cheese and diced onions, and better still, cornbread.

Note that this turkey chili recipe makes a large pot of chili! Perfect for a gathering. Use leftovers as an easy sauce with pasta or filling for enchiladas.

Turkey Chili

Updated from the recipe archive, first posted in 2005.

Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey) Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (or up to 4 Tbsp if you like it more hot)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if you can get it)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of turkey stock or chicken stock
  • Two 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt, plus more if desired to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups of shredded, cooked turkey meat
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green or red onion, sour cream for optional garnish.


1 In a large, 8-quart, thick-bottom pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and green peppers and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more. Add a bit more olive oil if needed.

turkey-chili-method-1 turkey-chili-method-2

2 Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, kidney beans, oregano, salt, pepper, and cooked turkey meat. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for an hour.


3 Salt to taste. Add sugar to taste if needed to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

The chili may be made in advance and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for 2 months.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and or sour cream. Serve alone, over rice, or with corn bread.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Turkey Chili

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 37 Comments

  • JoAnn Brereton

    I could make this in a crockpot, right? I’m thinking that once step #1 is done, just add the rest to the crockpot, cover, and let slow cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    What do you think?


  • Lou Grubaugh

    Your chili recipe sounds wonderful and particularly the enchiladas. We have a favorite Green Chili Enchiladas (we like the Green Chili Enchilada Sauce from Las Palmas, easily available in most grocery stores). We make ours with cooked chicken or turkey combined with olives, green onions, cilantro and some of the Green Chili Enchilada sauce, then rolled in softened corn tortillas along with some shredded Jack cheee, topped with more sauce, additional shredded jack cheese and a spinkle of cheedar. Bake in casserole. Serve with pico de gallo. Muy Bueno,

  • SandyK

    Thanks again for this wonderful recipe!

  • Nicole

    This chili turned out fantastic. Even my husband, who thinks he doesn’t like tomatoes, loved it. Absolutely delicious!

    I added paprika, used red bell peppers instead of green, and added a small bit of chopped, unsweetened chocolate at the end. (Native Texan here.)

    Although, I wouldn’t really say this made A LOT of chili, but maybe our portion sizes are different. We will get about 5 servings out of this batch.

    I forsee turkey chili being a staple for post-Thanksgiving dinner in our family from now on. Thanks!

View More Comments / Leave a Comment