Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)

Make-aheadChiliTurkey Leftovers

This easy Turkey Chili is a great way to use up turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving and Christmas! Make it with shredded turkey (dark or white meat), kidney beans, onion, garlic, and tomatoes.

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.

Turkey Chili ready to serve

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.

Our Favorite Videos

From the editors of Simply Recipes

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
  • Cilantro

This chili is also great with cornbread served alongside, or served over rice.

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!

Updated November 27, 2020 : We spiffed up those recipe to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

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 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


1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

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

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Products We Love

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

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.

More from Elise

77 Comments / Reviews

No ImageTurkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jay Baillie

    This was delicious but I do have one question. The recipe calls for cooked turkey. You then cook it again to make the chilli and suggest it could be made ahead and kept for 2 days. This mean you would be cooking the turkey 3 times. I made a massive pan of it and then a friend of mine, who was a chef, says you cant heat the turkey up a 3rd time so I’ve got to bin 6 portions. Such a shame because it was so nice. I just wish I’d made 2 portions but I had so much turkey left over.


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Donna

    I made this last night and pretty much followed the recipe exactly except I cooked the tomato past with the cooked veggies for a minute or two before adding the remaining ingredients and I didn’t add sugar. It is some darned good chili! Thanks!


  3. Aida

    Just made this today, great flavor, deapth. Was skeptical about shredded turkey, but it tasted amazing. The only change I made was to add some peppers in adobo sauce, skipped sugar and added sprinkle of cocoa.


  4. Katrina

    So I halved the recipe and used camellia beans that i pre-soaked..grilled the pepper and onion and threw everything in a crockpot and cooked for about 6 hours it was great l. My toddlers loved it (I did make a mild version for my LOs)


  5. Todd

    It came out great. I used 2 cans of Ro Tel diced tomatoes with Habaneros, 1 can black beans and 1 can cannellini beans. Definitely a keeper.


View More
Turkey Chili ready to serveTurkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)