Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)

Make-aheadChiliTurkey Leftovers

Easy Turkey Chili, great for turkey leftovers! With shredded turkey meat, kidney beans, onion, garlic, tomatoes and chili.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Make the Best Turkey Chili with Leftover Turkey

Is there anything better than a hot bowl of chili on a cold day?

Here’s one of our favorite recipes for using Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. With kidney beans (canned or homemade), tomato, bell pepper, garlic and loads of spices, this chili is terrific, and easy to make with leftover shredded turkey meat – especially the dark meat!

You could also easily make this chili with cooked shredded chicken if no turkey leftovers are available.

Easy Turkey Chili in bowl with cheese and onions

Turkey Chili for All

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

Serve the chili loaded high with shredded cheese and diced onions, and better still, cornbread.

Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey) Recipe

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


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (or up to 4 Tbsp if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if you can get it)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup of turkey stock or chicken stock
  • Two 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon 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 Sauté the onions, peppers, garlic, and spices: 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.

2 Add tomatoes, beans, stock, cooked turkey: 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 Add salt: 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.

4 Serve with toppings: Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and or sour cream. Serve alone, over rice, or with cornbread.

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Best Turkey Chili is leftover turkey chili

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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60 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Nicole

    I was hesitant because i am a beef chili lover, but i love this recipe soooo much, i will definitely make it again!


  2. Mme. Hanley

    I made it! I followed all the steps. I did not make any changes. It was delicious. I plan to make it again in the future. Thank you for sharing your family recipe.


  3. Jessica

    Loved this recipe! Excellent flavor the evening I cooked it. made recipe exactly as written. Perfect!


  4. Kelley

    The spices are a perfect combination.


  5. Hayden

    I just made this with our turkey leftovers a few days ago, and my family loved it! I said to my husband “this is probably the best chili I’ve ever had”. Super flavorful! I didn’t change anything about the recipe. I will be using this again over the winter months and will use ground turkey next time. Thanks!


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Turkey Chili ready to serveTurkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)