Turkey White Chili


If you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, make this White Turkey Chili! It's made with white beans, green chilis, garlic, and of course, turkey.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Usually after Thanksgiving we have plenty of leftover turkey and enough turkey stock for several days of dishes.

Today I whipped up some turkey white chili, based on our chicken white chili recipe, but made it with cooked turkey meat instead of chicken, and with the beans cooked in homemade turkey stock.

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I bumped up the heat a bit from the other recipe, feel free to dial it down if you don’t like your foods spicy.

Have you ever had white chili? It’s called white chili because instead of what you find in the usual chile con carne, it uses white beans, white meat, and mild green chiles. It’s absolutely delicious with tortilla chips.

More Ways to Use Up Your Turkey Leftovers

Turkey White Chili Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Bean Cooking time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 5

If you are starting out with dry beans (recommended), to speed up the process you can put beans into a bowl and pour boiling water over them by 2 inches and let them sit for an hour instead of soaking them overnight (then drain).

You can also use a pressure cooker to cook the beans more quickly than on the stovetop without needing to pre-soak them.

You can also use canned white beans. If you use canned beans, drain them from their juices and combine them with the turkey stock in step one.  Only heat the beans and turkey stock enough to bring the stock to a simmer. You don't need to cook the canned beans because they are already cooked.

This recipe can easily be doubled.


  • 1/2 pound dry white beans, soaked overnight in water, drained OR 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
  • 3 cups turkey stock
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onions, chopped (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stem and most seeds removed, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon)

Garnishes and extras

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup (loose) chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped (or guacamole)
  • Chopped tomatoes or salsa
  • Corn tortilla chips and/or fresh warmed flour tortillas


1a Cook beans if using dry beans: Combine soaked and drained beans, turkey stock, and half the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 1 to 3 hours or more, depending on the type of white beans you are using.

Cannelli beans are tender and tend to cook rather quickly. Navy beans take longer. Add additional water (or watered-down stock), if necessary.

Or you can skip the soaking and cook the beans in turkey stock with the onions in a pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then let release naturally for 10 minutes.

1b If using canned beans:  Combine the beans and the turkey stock in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

2 Cook jalapeño, onions, garlic, green chiles: Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, cook chopped jalapeño (if using) and (remaining) onions in oil until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Add green chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly.

3 Combine jalapeño mixture and turkey to stock: Add the jalapeño onion mixture to the stock and beans.

Add the turkey and salt to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes or more (up to an hour) until the beans are thoroughly soft and the stew has thickened.

4 Serve: Serve topped with grated cheese. Garnish with cilantro, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, chopped green onions, and/or avocados. Serve with fresh warmed flour tortillas or tortilla chips.

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White Turkey Chili Served With Chips

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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27 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Penny

    YUM – perfect as written! used dried navy beans – only note to self is to NOT overcook the beans in Step One. used 1/2 HOT and 1/2 MILD green chiles for a nice kick. Perfect with a dollop of sour cream and avocado atop.


  2. WW

    Great recipe- made with northern canned white beans, jalepeno and 1.5 lb ground turkey. By far my favorite white chili recipe. Anyone have the nutritional info as made in the recipe?

  3. Lyn

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband and I both loved it. I especially love that it’s healthy. It’s a keeper!


  4. Chef B.

    Prepared recipe, added a few tweeks, for heat used Ancho chili pepper & chili paste (sambal), for creaminess refried veg beans, lots of garlic, over jasmine rice delicious


  5. Emiko

    I think this is my favorite turkey leftover recipe. I personally get tired after the third day straight of turkey. This changes it up enough without taking away from the awesomeness of the turkey. I used 2 cans of cannellini beans, and loved the creaminess. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making some more at the end of December.


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