Ground Turkey Chili With Black Beans

It is January! Meaning, as beautiful as it is on a sunny winter day in Northern California, as soon as I step outside, I want to turn around and go back inside, where it is still delightfully warm.

Days like this are ideal for making a large pot of chili beans, don’t you think?

This turkey chili dish is inspired by my friend Kelsey’s mother, Janeen. It’s a family favorite.

How To Make Ground Turkey Chili

This chili is made with naturally lean ground turkey, plenty of black beans, onions, carrots, and red bell peppers, and can be prepared in one large pot.First, sauté onions, carrots, and bell peppers in olive oil. We season the onions with garlic, chili powder, and ground cumin. Heating the spices at this step will enhance their flavor.

To this flavor base, add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add chicken stock, spices, and black beans (canned or cooked) and simmer for an hour. Easy!

Make Your Turkey Chili Spicier

As is, this recipe makes a fairly mild chili. Chili powder varies in spiciness, depending on brand, so you may need to make adjustments to your taste.

You can easily add more chili powder or some cayenne to intensify the spice level if you wish. You can also add chipotle chili powder or chipotle Tabasco to give a smoky note to the chili.

What To Serve With Turkey Chili

This chili pairs well with cooked rice, warm tortillas, and tortilla chips. It also works well as a taco or burrito bowl filling.

How To Store and Freeze Turkey Chili

This chili keeps well (and even improves in flavor) for about 5 days. You can freeze it for up to three months.

Freeze in individual portions in freezer containers or bags with as much air pressed out as possible. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or warm it up straight from the freezer. Either way, the best way to reheat is in a saucepan over low heat on the stove top.

Ground Turkey Chili With Black Beans

PREP TIME15 mins
COOK TIME75 mins
SERVINGS6 servings

This recipe produces a mildly spicy chili. You can easily add more chili powder or some cayenne to intensify the spice level if you wish. You can also add chipotle chili powder or chipotle Tabasco to give a smoky note to the chili.

As for the red bell peppers, Trader Joe’s has frozen sliced bell peppers that work well for this dish.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups red bell peppers
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I use ground turkey thighs for more flavor)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Sauté the carrots, onions, and bell peppers:

    Heat the oil in a large, thick bottomed pot (6- to 8-quart) on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and bell peppers, and sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Raw carrots, onions, bell peppers for Black Bean Turkey Chili
  2. Add the minced garlic, chili powder, and cumin:

    Cook for 1 minute more.

    garlic, chili powder, and cumin Mixed with Black Bean Chili Veggies
  3. Add the ground turkey:

    Break the turkey up with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

    Raw Ground Turkey Mixed With Cooked Veggies
    Cooked Turkey bean chili in hot pot
  4. Add the chicken stock, oregano, bay leaf, vinegar, and tomato paste:

    Use a straight edge spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

    turkey black bean chili simmering in broth
  5. Simmer the chili:

    Add the black beans. Bring the chili to a boil, lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for half an hour.

    Uncover and cook for another half hour, or until the the liquid thickens.

    black beans added to turkey chili recipe
    boiling ground turkey chili recipe in pot
  6. Serve:

    Remove the bay leaf. Taste the chili and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve with rice or heated corn tortillas.


What is Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans?

Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans is a hearty and flavorful chili made with lean ground turkey, black beans, vegetables, and a variety of spices. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional beef chili, offering a lighter yet still satisfying option that’s packed with protein and fiber.

How do I make Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans?

To make Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans, start by sautéing diced onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a large pot until softened. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Next, add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and bring the chili to a simmer. Let it cook for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve the chili hot, garnished with toppings such as shredded cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, or chopped cilantro.

What ingredients are needed for Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans?

The main ingredients for Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans include:

    • Ground turkey
    • Black beans
    • Diced tomatoes
    • Tomato sauce
    • Onion
    • Bell pepper
    • Garlic
    • Corn
    • Chili powder
    • Cumin
    • Paprika
    • Dried oregano
    • Salt and pepper Optional ingredients may include diced jalapeños for heat, diced green chilies, or a splash of lime juice for added brightness.

Can I make Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans ahead of time?

Yes, Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans is a great option for meal prep. You can make a batch ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage. Let the chili cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. When ready to eat, reheat the chili on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Is Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans healthy?

Yes, Ground Turkey Chili with Black Beans is a nutritious and balanced meal option. Turkey is a lean source of protein, while black beans provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, the vegetables and spices used in the chili add flavor and nutrients without extra calories or unhealthy fats. To make it even healthier, you can reduce the sodium content by using low-sodium canned ingredients or omitting added salt altogether. Overall, it’s a wholesome dish that can fit into a balanced diet.


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