Slow Cooker Turkey Chili – Organize Yourself Skinny

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This Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is one of the best you’ll ever eat! It’s filled with lean ground turkey, beans, and delicious smoky chipotle flavor. It’s perfect for making ahead for the week or freezing for dinners later on. Or serve this crowd-pleasing chili recipe on game day; everyone will love it!

As soon as Fall hits and football season starts, the first thing I do is break out the slow cooker and get our favorite chili recipes cooking. This classic beef chili or hearty chuck roast chili is on repeat through Fall and Winter. However, when I want a low-fat option, I’ll make this traditional slow cooker turkey chili.

Reasons you’ll love this recipe

  • Low fat and filling! Made with lean turkey and beans to keep you full and satisfied without any guilt.
  • Super tasty. Don’t let the healthier twist worry you because this turkey chili has a fantastic flavor.
  • Easy to prepare. The slow cooker does most of the cooking.
  • Meal prep champion! Make a batch on Sunday for the week or freeze for future lunches or dinners.

Ingredients

ingredients to make classic slow cooker turkey chili
  • Ground turkey. Purchase high-quality lean ground turkey for best flavor. I prefer ground turkey from Wegmans, Whole Foods, or Butcher Box.
  • Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. This blend adds a meaty flavor to the ground turkey.
  • Onions and garlic. For flavor and texture.
  • Chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. The perfect spice blend for a super flavorful class turkey chili.
  • Tomato paste. To thicken up the chili and add a layer of richness to the sauce.
  • Chipotle chilis. Adds a layer of heat and smokey flavor to the chili. Remove the seeds to reduce the heat, or leave them if you want it extra spicy.
  • Tomato sauce and Chili-seasoned diced tomatoes. This creates the base of the chili recipe. I love grabbing chili-seasoned diced tomatoes for more flavor, but regular diced tomatoes will work fine if you can’t find this variety.
  • Red kidney beans. This is the classic bean for chili recipes.

FAQs

Is turkey chili healthier than beef?

Assuming all of the other ingredients are the same, turkey chili is healthier than beef chili. It’s lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol, making it an excellent heart-healthy choice.

Can you put raw turkey in the slow cooker?

Yes, you can put raw turkey in the slow cooker, but you need to make sure the slow cooker comes up to temperature within 2 hours. Another issue with putting the raw turkey into the slow cooker with the other ingredients is that it won’t be as flavorful and will stay in clumps instead of crumbles.

For this crockpot turkey recipe, I recommend browning it first for the best flavor and texture.

turkey chili made in the crockpot. In a bowl with cheese and onions on top.

Cooking Tips

  • Don’t skip the extra steps. I know we all want a slow cooker recipe where there’s no extra cooking involved. Unfortunately, some recipes, including this slow cooker turkey chili, need the extra steps. This enhances the flavor of the onions, garlic, and turkey. When you throw those ingredients in raw, they tend to boil in the chili, muting the flavors. Here are more healthy slow cooker tips to help you get the best tasting recipe.
  • Increase the heat. The chipotle pepper does add a spicy, smoky flavor to the chili. However, if you want an extra spicy chili, add jalapeno peppers or crush red pepper flakes. You can also add diced chilis or pickled jalapenos.
  • Get those flavor bits. After you add the ground turkey mixture into the slow cooker, if you notice some bits sticking to the pan, use a little broth to scrape those up and then pour that in with the rest of the chili ingredients.
  • Increase the vegetables. Mushrooms, bell peppers, or cabbage is delicious in chili. I recommend heartier veggies, so they hold up to the long cooking time.
  • Swap in different beans. Black beans are another favorite for this recipe. However, you can use your favorite beans. Or leave the beans out; if you prefer not to have beans in your chili.
  • Get creative with toppings. Sliced fresh jalapeno, green onions, avocado chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, or plain greek yogurt are all delicious on top of a bowl of this class turkey chili recipe.

Pro tip: I like using this portioned out 2 tablespoon Super Cube silicone tray to freeze Extra tomato paste or chipotle peppers to use in future recipes.

2 tablespoon silicone tray

Serving suggestions

This slow cooker turkey chili recipe goes great with:

  • Cornbread or crusty bread
  • Corn chips
  • Or put on top of brown rice or pasta

How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

step by step collage for making a slow cooker turkey chili
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes—Cook for 1 minute. 
  • Then stir in the tomato paste and chipotle peppers until it’s blended with the other ingredients. The reason to put the tomato paste in this step is that it combines better with the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes when it’s in the slow cooker. When I add the tomato paste directly into the slow cooker, it stays as a clump and struggles to blend.
another collage showing how to make ground turkey chili in the crockpot.
  • Place the ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in with the onion mixture and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey into small pieces as it cooks. 
  • Add the ground turkey mixture into the slow cooker.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans.
  • Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours or cook on high 4 -5 hours—taste for salt and pepper.
  • Serve hot in bowls and top with your favorite toppings.
a delicious bowl of ground turkey chili with sliced jalapeños and cheese.

Storage 

This turkey chili recipe makes a lot, so you’re likely going to have leftovers. The good news, chili taste better by the day! So, store in glass containers and refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like to keep in individual containers for quick portion-controlled meals. 

You can also freeze chili for up to 6 months. Again, I recommend freezing into portions. You can use silicone trays (like these Souper cubes) or freeze them in containers or bags. 

silicone souper cube trays with chili next to a slow cooker of chili
slow cooker turkey chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

This Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is one of the best you’ll ever eat! It’s filled with lean ground turkey, beans, and delicious smoky chipotle flavor. It’s perfect for making ahead for the week or freezing for dinners later on. Or serve this crowd-pleasing chili recipe on game day; everyone will love it!

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Course: crockpot recipes, dinner, slow cooker

Cuisine: American

Keyword: crockpot turkey chili, slow cooker turkey chili

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes

Servings: 10 people

Calories: 292kcal

Author: Tammy Overhoff

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce seeds removed and minced
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 15 ounce cans dark red kidney beans
  • 2 15 ounce cans chili-seasoned diced tomatoes

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

  • Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes—Cook for 1 minute. 

  • Then stir in the tomato paste and chipotle peppers until it’s blended with the other ingredients.

  • Place the ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in with the onion mixture and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the turkey into small pieces as it cooks. 

  • Add the ground turkey mixture into the slow cooker. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans.

  • Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours or cook on high 4 -5 hours—taste for salt and pepper.

  • Serve hot in bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

Notes

Storage 
This turkey chili recipe makes a lot, so you’re likely going to have leftovers. The good news, chili taste better by the day! So, store in glass containers and refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like to keep in individual containers for quick portion-controlled meals. 
You can also freeze chili for up to 6 months. Again, I recommend freezing into portions. You can use silicone trays (like these Souper cubes 1-cup portins) or freeze them in containers or bags. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 889mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g

Other Healthy Chili Recipes

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