Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers

Quick and EasyLow CarbPaleoGround Turkey

This 1-pot ground turkey and peppers recipe is quick and easy! Sautéed ground turkey with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and seasoned with chipotle chili.

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 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 jalapeños. These days she likes to add the smoky flavor of chipotle powder.

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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.


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin 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 pound ground turkey, preferably ground turkey thighs
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


1 Sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic: Heat 2 tablespoons 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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what to make with ground turkey

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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136 Comments / Reviews

No ImageMom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Misha

    Was so simple and delicious! The whole family enjoyed it.


  2. DH

    I made this for dinner tonight, it was so easy, quick and healthy. I served it over brown rice. I put the cilantro in my rice and only used the peppers, onions and ground turkey.


  3. Kp

    I admit I was really skeptical of the 4 star review bc the recipe seemed so basic. However, it is quite delicious! I was very cautious with salt but you do need a good amount to get any flavor. I had salad greens topped with this, sour cream and cheese. Delicious!


  4. Ronald Carmona

    I made it with Jennie-O ground turkey 90/10 and it was good. You just need to add enough salt and chipotle powder/ chili powder and it won’t be bland. I used cilantro. You end up with a “chorizo” flavor so I mixed in cooked white potatoes. I can see how several other vegetables would be a good accompaniment for it too. Never mind the part about “serves 4,” I ate it all myself :-)


  5. John

    Needs a sauce of some sort. Fresh Cilantro is powerful. Use less than you think is necessary. Would make it again when I come up with a suitable sauce.


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