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.

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.

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

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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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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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68 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Pearl


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Katherine Crowe

    Very good chili. I used a double size can of crushed tomatoes with basil and a can of chili ready diced tomatoes. I used a can of chili ready pinto beans and a can of black beans. Honestly though the size of the chili estimate wasn’t as big as stated it is something I will make again. Probably will go with the slow cooker on low rather than simmering on stovetop next time. For us, we had chili for dinner and more for lunch, but we’re only 2 people and I have had a gastric bypass and have a small stomach.


  3. Lee

    Lush ,just made this and was a big hit for my fussy family to point of them asking to make again

  4. ecove

    Delicious! Will definitely be making this again.


  5. MG

    So good! I added a little crushed red pepper to make spicy.


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Turkey Chili ready to serveTurkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)