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.
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.
What to Serve with Turkey Chili
Pile your bowl of turkey chili with any or all of the following:
- Shredded cheese
- Diced red onions
- Diced avocado
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Green onions
- Sour cream
Swaps & Substitutions for Turkey Chili
- Use chicken instead of turkey.
- Use ground turkey instead of shredded turkey. Cook the ground turkey first, transfer it to a bowl, then continue with the recipe as written.
- Swap the kidney beans for black beans, pinto beans, or any other favorite kind fo bean.
- For some spice, add a red pepper flakes, cayenne, or a few chopped jalapeños.
How to Store & Freeze Leftovers
Leftover turkey chili will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. It can also be frozen for about two months. Thaw and then reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Great Chili Recipes!
Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)
- 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 tablespoons if you like it spicier)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 3 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if you can get it)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup turkey stock or chicken stock
- 2 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 shredded, cooked turkey meat
- 1 to 3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- To garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green or red onion, sour cream
Sauté the vegetables
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.
Add the remaining chili ingredients
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.
Taste and season
Salt to taste. Add sugar to taste if needed to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
The chili may be made in 2 days in advance, or frozen for 2 months.
Serve with toppings
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and or sour cream. Serve alone, over rice, or with cornbread.