Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers

Quick and EasyGluten-FreePaleoGround Turkey

The mother of ground turkey recipes, this 1-pot family classic is quick and easy! Sautéed ground turkey with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and seasoned with chipotle chili.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 ground turkey recipe 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 favorite ground turkey recipes? 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 this ground turkey 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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97 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Donna

    Made this tonight. From Gayles recommendation I used a whole bag of multi colored sweet peppers and made a double batch. I ate mine on an almond tortilla and some extra on the side and my husband ate his over rice.


  • Leona

    Really enjoyed this! I hadn’t had ground turkey since I tried it years ago & didn’t like it. Found this recipe, decided to give it another try, and I’m glad I did. Low cal, low fat, nutritious, simple, and tasty, can’t ask for more than that. For those who found it bland, I disagree. The Adobe Chile powder made mine perfectly spicy & the cilantro gave it another level of flavor. Maybe OP is right, to little salt? Either way, thanks for sharing. ☺


  • Lisa Robinson

    I made this tonight and it turned out awesome! Will definitely be making this again.


  • Gayle

    So, so good. Making it again tonight it was so tasty. I used the higher fat ground turkey, almost a whole bag of the mini multicolored sweet peppers, added about half a container of cherry tomatoes when onions and peppers were almost done cooking, upped the spices with extra chipotle chili powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Really, this is amazeballs!

  • Theresa

    Thank you to your Mom!! This was delicious and quick!! I’m on Weight Watchers so this was zero points and gluten free for my hubby!! That’s a great feeling knowing your Mom has made so many happy!


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