This crockpot turkey chili recipe is the perfect healthy comfort meal for a busy weeknight. Plus, it’s versatile! Either prep it in the morning and throw it in the crockpot so it’s ready by dinnertime, prep it and simply freeze it for later, or cook it right then and there either on the stove top or in the Instant Pot! I’ll share more details on all the variations below.
The combination of ground turkey, fire-roasted tomatoes, sautéed onions, spices, and three types of beans make this turkey chili recipe both healthy and delicious. Letting it simmer in the slow cooker makes it even tastier, but like I mentioned the stove top would also work, as would the Instant Pot!
Crockpot Turkey Chili Recipe
I love using my slow cooker. Of course, there’s the whole letting it do most of the cooking for you thing. That’s a huge perk! But there’s also just something about coming home to delicious aromas and the feeling of warmth.
This recipe also makes a lot, so it’s great for meal prepping – eat on it all week or freeze some of the leftovers for later!
Ingredients in Crockpot Turkey Chili
Here are the ingredients you’ll be working with to make this crockpot turkey chili recipe come to life!
It’s super simple, so it’s a great go-to recipe using ingredients that are easy to keep on hand – mostly pantry staples with the exception of the red pepper, onion, and ground turkey. (Psst: if you love making meals with pantry staples, check out this blog post: 15 Minute Dinners You Can Make with Pantry Staples.)
As for the other ingredients, spices like paprika and cumin and canned fire-roasted tomatoes give it a smoky twist on traditional chili. But don’t worry: if you don’t have fire-roasted tomatoes, regular canned diced tomatoes work well, too!
It also calls for three different types of beans, which adds a nice texture and fiber-rich boost to the meal. Plus, if you have a toddler like me, they will find the different bean types super fun to look at (and may eat a lot of them while you try to cook, just a warning).
How to Make Turkey Chili in a Crockpot/Slow Cooker
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring frequently to break up, until turkey is mostly cooked through. Then, add the spices and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until any liquid has evaporated and the spices are fragrant.
Now it’s time for the crockpot/slow cooker! Place the turkey mixture into the insert of a slow cooker and add the diced onion and red pepper, canned tomatoes, and beans. Stir to combine, then place the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. That’s it!
How to Make Turkey Chili in an Instant Pot
If you’d rather make this in an Instant Pot, set your Instant Pot to “saute” mode. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring frequently to break up, until turkey is mostly cooked through. Then, add the spices and tomato paste and saute for another 1-2 minutes, or until any liquid has evaporated and the spices are fragrant.
Add the diced onion and red pepper, canned tomatoes, and beans. Stir to combine, then place the lid on and secure it. Make sure valve is set to “sealing.” Set to 5 minutes on high pressure. When the timer beeps let the pressure release naturally if you have time – it usually takes about 10 minutes. Move the valve to venting and when you can, open the pot, and enjoy!
How to Make Turkey Chili on the Stovetop
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large pot on the stove at medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring frequently to break up, until turkey is mostly cooked through. Then, add the spices, diced onion, and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until any liquid has evaporated and the spices are fragrant.
Add the red pepper, canned tomatoes, and beans. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, place a lid on, and let simmer for as long as you like! It can be ready to eat in as little as 5 minutes, or you can let it simmer for closer to 30. Up to you!
Regardless of how you cook it, I like to serve this chili with crusty seeded bread and fresh garnishes, but it’s also great with hearty cornbread and cheese and/or sour cream.
Meal Prep Tips: How to Store Chili in the Freezer
If you want to prep your turkey chili ahead of time, you can store it in the freezer until you’re ready to eat.
To prep ahead: follow the first two steps in the official recipe below. Let the mixture cool and transfer to a zip-top bag or tupperware container with the raw diced onion and bell pepper. Freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to cook, empty the frozen mixture into the slow cooker insert. Add the canned tomatoes and beans. Continue with the recipe – no need to add extra cooking time, it will have plenty of time to defrost!
If freezing in a zip-top container: freeze the bag in a container that will fit in the slow cooker (instead of freezing it flat). That way you can fit the frozen block into the slow cooker insert without having to thaw it first.
You can also cook the chili fully and then store any leftovers in a zip-top container in the freezer. Just squeeze out any air and freeze until you are ready to simply defrost, reheat, and eat!
And now, here’s the full recipe.
Please let me know how you like it by tagging me @fANNEtasticfood on social media or by commenting on this blog post!
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Looking for more slow cooker recipes? Here are some of my favorites: