Turkey chili in bowls

Turkey Chili

A thick & hearty Turkey Chili that’s perfect for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, leftover turkey, turkey chili
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Time to Simmer 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 375kcal
Author Sam Merritt


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 red pepper diced (about 1 heaping cup) 155g
  • 1 red onion diced (about 1 ½ cups) 180g
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 2 Tablespoon chili powder*
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar packed
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder**
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 11/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper***
  • 4 cups/1 lb cups cooked shredded turkey meat (450g)
  • 2 cups beef, chicken, or turkey stock my preference is beef (475ml)
  • 28 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained if you can't find fire roasted, regular diced tomatoes will work instead (795g)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste 66g
  • 1 14 oz can black beans rinsed and drained (397g)
  • 1 14 oz can dark red kidney beans rinsed and drained (397g)
  • 1 4 oz can fire roasted chilis 113g
  • Your favorite toppings: Sour cream, broken corn chips, diced avocado, shredded cheese, etc.


  • Melt butter over medium/high heat in a large pot (I like to use a Dutch oven) until melted.
  • Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent (about 5 minutes)
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Add turkey to your pot and then add chili powder, brown sugar, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • turn ingredients well until turkey is covered with spices.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to fully develop.
  • Serve, topped with sour cream, crushed corn chips, or your favorite toppings.


*My personal preference is to use ancho chili powder, or a blend of the two, but regular chili powder will work. I prefer ancho chili powder which lends itself to a smokier, slightly sweeter turkey chili, but Zach thinks it's too sweet and prefers regular chili powder.
**Please see my post for more information on why we add cocoa powder (it's not going to make your chili taste like chocolate, I promise!)
***This amount of cayenne pepper adds a very subtle heat to the chili. Feel free to increase this amount at your own discretion to suit your tastebuds.


Serving: 1serving (1/8 of chili, does not include toppings) | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 9465mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 4.9mg