Best Ever Turkey Chili

By • May 15, 2011 • 10 Comments

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Author Notes: I don’t mean to be cocky, but this chili really is the best ever. At least the best I've ever made. And it's dirt cheap! While beef is usually my protein of choice for this purpose, here in Israel it’s expensive. So I decided to give leaner, cheaper turkey chili a whirl and watched as they freshly ground the turkey breast for me at the shuk.

I’ve made a decent amount of chili in my day. We usually make it at least once a year, and have been known to host a chili party. It’s one of those cool weather comfort foods, and when I was home in New York in December I couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Usually I make a decent chili, but I can get a little heavy-handed. I add too much jalapeno, or beer, or cinnamon. But this time everything was in perfect harmony, the ingredients balanced each other to create a hearty, highly satisfying chili. Also, for the first time I measured and wrote down ingredients as I went instead of haphazardly throwing things in the pot. Which means, lucky for me, I can recreate this again. This is a fairly mild chili, but can be easily spiced up with jalapeno peppers (I just forgot to get them). Enjoy it with a cold beer; the Leffe I cooked with was a perfect complement, although a cheaper beer would be just as good!

Serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoons hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoons dried coriander
  • ¼ teaspoons oregano
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup dark beer such as Leffe Brown
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15½-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or chile paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream, chopped chives, cilantro, shredded cheese for toppings
  1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the chili powder, hot paprika, coriander, oregano, and cinnamon; stir and allow to cook until aromatic, 1 minute.
  2. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until lightly browned. Pour in the beer and allow to cook down slightly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and spicy paste or hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Allow to simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Top with sour cream, chopped chives, cilantro, and/or shredded cheese.
Jump to Comments (10)

Tags: chili, Soups, stew

Comments (10) Questions (0)


8 months ago Tarragon

I should have commented months ago - I have been making this almost weekly for about 7 months - love it, especially the seasoning! I follow your recipe exactly, although sometimes I sub chicken or beef stock (or mixed) for the beer to save calories.


8 months ago Katherine614

That is so wonderful to hear!! Thanks for letting me know. I make it often as well :-)


about 1 year ago Lisa Kasanicky

Made this recipe last night and it was delicious! Hearty, rich flavor and easy!


almost 2 years ago MissEliz

I made this tonight - A HUGE HIT. It's delicious. We went with Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout...I just wish I had doubled the recipe for more leftovers :)

Really easy to make and super tasty!


almost 3 years ago marynn

My husband's family traditional Christmas Eve chili dinner just got a delectable update. Thank you, Midge!


about 3 years ago lylebama

I just made this, substituting roasted piquillo peppers for the fresh bell, sundried tomato paste for the tomato paste, harissa for the hot sauce, Rotel with green chiles for diced tomatoes, and guajillo chile powder for garden variety chile powder. It is delicious - spicy, with a nice sweetness from the cinnamon and roasted peppers. Looking forward to having it leftover for the Womens World Cup Final Sunday. Thanks so much


over 2 years ago Tbird

Lyle -
Didn't you just pretty much create your own recipe? Kmartinelli provided a great recipe. I appreciate a tweak here or there, but....


over 2 years ago michelle kimbrough

Yummm! both varieties sound great. Thanks for the idea of possible changes that work well!


over 3 years ago Midge

I made this for dinner the other night with a few substitutions (used carrots instead of a bell pepper; pinto beans for kidneys, and a tbsp of chili garlic sauce for heat) and boy was it ever tasty! Thanks so much for posting it!


over 3 years ago kmartinelli

Oh Midge you've just made my day! I am so glad it came out. Love the addition of carrots and garlic sauce!