This turkey chili recipe with black beans has a rich, earthy kick thanks to the addition of a little smoked paprika and spicy chipotle peppers. Forget the same old boring chili – this is a dish that'll make your taste buds stand up and take notice. My ground turkey chili recipe will leave you reaching for seconds – and maybe even thirds!
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Why This Recipe Works
What makes this a great recipe is the balance between flavor and heat. While the chipotle peppers add heat, I found to get the level of smoky flavor right I had to add so much that it made the chili a little too spicy.
My many times testing this recipe brought me to combine smoked paprika and chipotle peppers for the perfect balance.
I think my rigorous testing will pay off and this is going to be your new favorite chili recipe.
Ground Turkey- Lean ground turkey adds a healthy note to this recipe. But you can also use ground chicken for the same results.
Black Beans- I like black beans because of their small size but pinto beans or kidney beans are good substitutes. Regardless of the type of beans used you need to drain and rinse the beans.
Canned Tomatoes- I prefer crushed tomatoes they have just the right amount of liquid vs chunks. Do not use plain tomato sauce, it will be too thin.
Bell Pepper- This is an optional ingredient but I like to sneak healthy veggies where I can!
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce- Used canned chipotle peppers not dried. If you prefer a mild version you can skip and just double the smoked paprika.
The best substitute for chipotle peppers is going to be to increase the smoked paprika by 1 teaspoon and adding ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You do not need to add tomato paste because there are already tomatoes in this recipe.
Spices- All the usual suspects but be sure to use smoked paprika. Just like with my Cajun seasoning, it adds just the most unique flavor.
Chicken Stock- You can substitute turkey broth if you have some on hand.
Apple Cider Vinegar- Peppers can sometimes give off a slightly bitter taste. Add a little vinegar or lime juice
⏲️ How to Make Turkey Chili
You make this recipe just like any other chili recipe. Use a large stockpot or Dutch oven.
Sauting the onions and peppers will not only soften them but the caramelization adds sweetness to the chili.
Next brown the turkey over medium-high heat. Meaning saute and break into smaller pieces with a spoon. Cook the turkey until it is no longer pink.
Add the spices, stirring to coat the meat and vegetables.
Add the tomatoes, beans and broth. Allow the chili to simmer for 40 minutes or so. Then stir in the vinegar.
Can I make turkey chili in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make turkey chili in a slow cooker! Just know that it is not faster than making it on a stovetop, but it's definitely easier for meal prepping dinner. Saute the turkey and onions until the turkey is cooked through.
Add to your slow cooker with the remaining ingredients (except the vinegar). Add an extra ½ cup of chicken stock. heat on low for 4 to 6 hours. Stir in the vinegar at the end.
🥗What to Serve with Turkey Chili
For a thicker chili reduce the chicken broth by half.
This black bean turkey chili can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container. I think this chili is better the next day. You can use leftover chili as the filling for your bean and cheese tacos or make zucchini boats with the leftovers.
To freeze leftover chili, let cool completely then transfer to freezer bags or airtight containers. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of stock or water if needed to thin.
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💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Add an extra chipotle, more adobo sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, diced jalapeno, or cayenne pepper.
Yes! I recommend frozen corn, minced mushrooms, or diced sweet potatoes.
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📖 Printable Recipe Card
Turkey Chili with Black Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups yellow onion diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 whole canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce minced
- 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder mild not a spicy chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes see notes
- 30 ounces canned black beans drained
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Optional toppings - shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, green onions, minced cilantro or tortilla chips
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion starts to turn translucent. Stir often to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1½ cups yellow onion, 1 cup red bell pepper
- Add the ground turkey to the pot and sprinkle on the salt. Break up the meat; cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Next add the garlic, chipotle pepper and, adobo sauce, and the remaining dried seasoning. Cook for one minute, stirring to coat the browned turkey and vegetables with the seasoning.1 pound ground turkey, 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 cloves garlic, 2-3 whole canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce, 3 Tablespoons chili powder, 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Add in the chicken stock, diced tomatoes with their juice, and beans to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Season to taste, if needed.1 cup chicken stock, 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, 30 ounces canned black beans, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- The amounts in canned goods change over time. You need approximately 28 to 32 ounces of both black beans and diced tomatoes.
- After simmering the chipotles should lose their bitterness. Add the vinegar. If it is still too bitter for you can add a tad bit of brown sugar or simmer for another 15 minutes.