Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey)

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

Here’s a favorite recipe from the archives that I recently remade, in preparation for the turkey leftovers we expect to have after Thanksgiving. With kidney beans, tomato, bell pepper, garlic and loads of spices, this chili terrific with shredded turkey meat (especially the dark meat!)

You could also easily make it with cooked shredded chicken if no turkey leftovers are available. Serve it loaded high with shredded cheese and diced onions, and better still, cornbread.

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

Turkey Chili (with Leftover Turkey) Recipe

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


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (or up to 4 Tbsp if you like it spicier)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (fire roasted if you can get it)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of turkey stock or chicken stock
  • Two 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp 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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Showing 4 of 52 Comments / Reviews

  • Alison

    This was so good! What a great recipe! I made a few modifications. I used smoked turkey and a homemade stock from the smoked turkey bones. I sautéed everything in the drippings from the smoked turkey, and added ground coriander and cayenne to the spices. I also was short on diced tomatoes, so I used one can and a can and half of pureed tomatoes, which made it a bit sweet and thick, but I didn't have to add any sugar and it was very hearty. Great recipe!

  • Dana Hamilton

    This recipe was fabulous! I always try to stick to the original recipe the first time, but did make a few minor alterations....

    - I used ground turkey instead; which I cooked before the onions
    - I omitted the green peppers
    - I used the fire roasted tomatoes- this is key!
    - I added about 1-2 Tb of brown sugar at the end.

    Enjoy! and thank you!

  • Pia

    Excellent recipe! Would it work in an Instant Pot? If yes, how long do you think it should cook? I have a 3 quart pot so I would make half of this recipe. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  • Pia

    Another great recipe!

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