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Turkey Chili (Nice for leftover Turkey!)

My thick, hearty, and simple Turkey Chili is ideal for utilizing up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! This recipe has an unimaginable taste (due to a sneaky key ingredient), cooks in a single pot, and will be in your desk in below an hour.

Bowl of turkey chili topped with sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheese.

Leftover Turkey Chili

After spending Thanksgiving day chopping, roasting, baking, and simmering, it’s possible you’ll end up avoiding the kitchen within the days after. Certain, leftovers are often plentiful, however even these get outdated after a couple of days. Should you’re seeking to change issues up from the standard Thanksgiving-leftover taste profile, I believe this turkey chili is likely to be simply the factor to boost your dinner rotation.

Not solely is that this recipe extraordinarily straightforward, nevertheless it additionally repurposes loads of leftover turkey! I like recipes like this (you’ll additionally discover me having fun with turkey pot pie and turkey chowder), as a result of let’s be actual, chilly turkey sandwiches can solely be loved for therefore lengthy…

Right now’s turkey chili is just like (and even simpler than) my greatest chili recipe. There’s very minimal prep-work concerned, and the toughest half is letting it simmer for half-hour.

The flavour is unimaginable too, with numerous spices (make it as scorching or gentle as you need), veggies, and beans. It’s a hearty dish that you simply’ll end up craving lengthy after your Thanksgiving leftovers are gone!

What You Want

Bowl of chili made with leftover thanksgiving turkey.

This turkey chili has a posh taste, thanks partly to at least one vital ingredient that could seem a bit uncommon to you. Belief me although, it’s magical!

  • Shredded turkey. Leftover Thanksgiving turkey works completely right here! Simply shred it up properly such as you would a rotisserie rooster. In case you are making this outdoors of Thanksgiving, you may use 1 lb of cooked floor turkey as an alternative.
  • Fireplace roasted tomatoes. I like utilizing these for a bit of additional taste; they’re subtly smokey and simply so good! Should you can’t discover them, common diced canned tomatoes will work simply fantastic.
  • Chili powder. My choice is to make use of a mixture of ancho chili powder and common chili powder. Ancho chili powder is barely candy and smokey (in case you’ve had my potato soup, you already know it’s a key ingredient there!). It’s often bought within the spice aisle of your grocery retailer. Should you can’t discover ancho or favor to make use of all plain chili powder, that’s fantastic too.
  • Cocoa powder. Sure, cocoa powder! That is our magical secret ingredient. Possibly you’ve seen it in chili earlier than… It definitely isn’t my very own invention (chocolate and chilis have been paired collectively for hundreds of years), nevertheless it’s one I’ve grown very hooked up to. Both pure or dutch course of cocoa will work right here.

SAM’S TIP: You can also make this chili as spicy or gentle as you want; merely alter the cayenne pepper to style. I like to start out out with only a pinch and go from there.

Bear in mind, that is simply an summary of the elements I used and why. For the complete recipe please scroll right down to the underside of the publish!

The best way to Make Turkey Chili

Overhead view of chili made with shredded turkey, beans, and more.
  1. Cook dinner peppers and onions in melted butter over medium excessive warmth till translucent, then add the garlic.
  2. Add the turkey and spices and stir till the turkey is nicely coated.
  3. Add the remaining elements, carry the combination to a boil, then simmer for no less than half-hour.
  4. Serve with desired toppings (bitter cream and a few crumbled corn chips are non-negotiable) and revel in!

SAM’S TIP: Don’t neglect the toppings! I like topping my turkey chili with diced avocado, shredded cheese, bitter cream, and corn chips.

Bowl of chili topped with sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheese.

Regularly Requested Questions

Why add cocoa powder to chili?

Cocoa powder provides additional dimension to our chili and enhances the prevailing flavors. It provides physique and a refined depth of taste. The bitterness of the cocoa additionally works to steadiness the acidity from the tomatoes.

What it doesn’t do is make your turkey chili style like a pot of turkey brownies, I promise. Whereas you’re going to get an preliminary whiff of heat chocolate if you first add it to your pot, the distinct chocolate taste will dissipate and there might be no lingering chocolate style.

Can turkey chili be frozen?

Sure! This chili will be frozen in an hermetic container for as much as three months.

Is turkey chili wholesome?

Whereas I definitely don’t promote this as a wholesome turkey chili, it might be a bit extra well being acutely aware than a conventional beef chili. Turkey is decrease in saturated fats than beef, so it’s a terrific substitute right here. We’re additionally together with two kinds of beans, that are excessive in fiber. So whereas that is consolation meals, it does have some advantages too 😊

Bowl of chili topped with sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheese.

I prefer to serve my chili with a facet of buttermilk cornbread, jalapeño cornbread, or biscuits. When you have any leftover selfmade crescent rolls from Thanksgiving, these would work too!

Get pleasure from!

Let’s bake collectively! I’ll be strolling you thru all of the steps in my written recipe and video under! Should you do this recipe, make sure you tag me on Instagram, and you can even discover me on YouTube and Fb

Bowl of turkey chili topped with sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheese.

Turkey Chili

A thick & hearty Turkey Chili that’s good for utilizing up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! 


Course: Principal Course

Delicacies: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook dinner Time: 15 minutes

Time to Simmer: 30 minutes

Whole Time: 1 hour

Servings: 8 servings

Energy: 375kcal

Forestall your display screen from going darkish


  • Soften butter over medium/excessive warmth in a big pot (I like to make use of a Dutch oven) till melted.

  • Add onion and peppers and prepare dinner, stirring often, till translucent (about 5 minutes)

  • Add garlic and prepare dinner till aromatic.

  • Add the turkey to your pot after which add chili powder, brown sugar, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

  • Stir elements nicely till turkey is roofed with spices.

  • Add remaining elements and produce to a boil. Cut back warmth to a simmer and prepare dinner for no less than half-hour to permit flavors to completely develop.

  • Serve, topped with bitter cream, crushed corn chips, or your favourite toppings.


*Chili powder

My private choice is to make use of ancho chili powder, or a mix of the 2, however common chili powder will work. I favor ancho chili powder which lends itself to a smokier, barely sweeter turkey chili, however Zach thinks it’s too candy and prefers common chili powder.

**Cocoa powder

Please see my publish for extra data on why we add cocoa powder (it’s not going to make your chili style like chocolate, I promise!)

***Cayenne pepper

This quantity of cayenne pepper provides a really refined warmth to the chili. Be at liberty to extend this quantity at your individual discretion to fit your tastebuds.


Retailer in an hermetic container within the fridge. How lengthy this can maintain depends upon the age of your turkey, brisker turkey will maintain for five days, in case your turkey is a number of days left over I wouldn’t maintain for longer than 3 days. This recipe additionally freezes nicely.


Serving: 1serving (⅛ of chili, doesn’t embody toppings) | Energy: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 21g | Fats: 14g | Saturated Fats: 10g | Monounsaturated Fats: 1g | Ldl cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 9465mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 4.9mg

Dietary data is predicated on third-party calculations and ought to be thought of an estimate solely. Precise dietary content material will fluctuate primarily based upon manufacturers used, measuring strategies, cooking technique, portion sizes, and extra.


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