Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

Easy Turkey Chili Recipe

This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

For a cold day or a big crowd, nothing beats a good old fashioned bowl of chili! This is the perfect recipe for leftover turkey!

spoonful of turkey chili over full yellow bowl of soup

About This Turkey Chili Recipe

After the plates have been cleared and the last relatives have finally walked out the door, chances are you’ll probably find yourself with heaps of Thanksgiving leftovers!

It’s up to you to figure out what to do with the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, but I can help when it comes to that mountain of unconsumed turkey!

Great for sandwiches, soups, and (in this case) chilis, the Thanksgiving turkey is a gift that keeps on giving.

This recipe came about after I decided I should finally cook a turkey for the first time. In this post, I’ll walk you through how to prepare a turkey from its frozen state and then use the resulting meat to make a filling and flavorful turkey chili.

Looking for another way to use leftover turkey? Raspberry Chipotle Aioli Sauce Recipe

How To Cook A Frozen Whole Turkey

The first thing you have to do when cooking a turkey is purchase one- which I did. After I bought my turkey, I had to figure out how to defrost and cook it. I chose to defrost the turkey in the refrigerator over a period of days.

After I defrosted the turkey, I opened the package in the sink and asked me, husband, to remove the neck and giblets package (I wanted to want to do that part- but I didn’t actually want to).

I mixed half butter, half olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and rubbed it on the top of the skin.

uncooked-turkey-pura-vida-moms

I put the turkey on a roasting pan with some vegetables underneath and baked it, uncovered, in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about three hours. My turkey came with a pop-up timer- which I used.  But I wanted to make sure the bird was fully cooked.

 I double-checked it was done by using a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast (about an inch from the bone) to make sure the internal temperature was at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the turkey was done I pulled it from the oven and let it rest for a bit in the roasting pan before we carved the turkey, starting with the breast. I served it with mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole- a nice little preview to Thanksgiving dinner.

The turkey was super yummy and everyone asked for seconds- so it received the Casa Pura Vida seal of approval!

cooked-turkey-pura-vida-moms
Look at how golden brown it roasted up- Super yummy!

Of course, we had leftovers, so for dinner the next night we had a simple turkey chili bar. Here’s the recipe for Easy Turkey Chili- a perfect recipe for the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone can eat when they are hungry- be that during a break from football watching or after a big shopping trip.

Easy Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound leftover turkey, shredded or cut into chunks
  • 1/2 white onion finely chopped and cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1-2 TB Chili powder
  • 2  (14 oz) cans tomatoes, undrained (crushed or diced)
  • 1 C water (or substitute homemade chicken stock)

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot or slow cooker. Mix and heat thoroughly. Serve with desired toppings (we love cheddar cheese and sour cream!)

Substitutions

If you aren’t cooking a turkey this year or want this recipe in the “off-season” naturally lean, ground turkey or ground beef is a great replacement for the shredded turkey meat. 

Take one pound of ground turkey meat and brown it on the stovetop with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. 

If you don’t have canned crushed or diced tomatoes, you can just use fresh tomatoes- just cube them and add an extra half teaspoon of salt.

You could also substitute shredded turkey into this amazing Garbanzo Bean Soup Recipe – Costa Rica or this fun Costa Rican Chop Suey.

Variations

Protein-packed black beans make for a great addition to this recipe! Simply add two 15 oz. cans’ worth of drained black beans to the slow cooker and prepare according to the instructions. Pinto beans can also fulfill the legume requirement!

For an extra spicy kick, you can add one or two 4- oz. cans of green chilis to the original recipe. 

turkey chili in yellow bowl with cheddar cheese and sour cream toppings

Serving Suggestions

We recommend sour cream, cheddar cheese, and cilantro sprigs. 

I’m not even going to lie, I usually serve this with chips and my world-famous 3-minute guacamole recipe.

You might also like- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

FAQ

How many calories are in a serving of turkey chili?

Though it depends on the recipe you are using, a cup-sized serving of turkey chili contains about 220-260 calories.

Is turkey chili healthier than beef chili?

Though it depends on the recipe you are using, a cup-sized serving of turkey chili contains about 220-260 calories.

What is the best secret ingredient for chili?

That’s a fun one! I like lime juice for its citrus-y flavor, but I’ve heard about recipes that involve everything from dark chocolate to honey. Chili is pretty forgiving, so have fun experimenting with new flavors!
 

Printable Recipe

Yield: 6

Turkey Chili Recipe

turkey chili in yellow bowl with cheddar cheese and sour cream toppings

For a cold day or a big crowd, nothing beats a good old fashioned bowl of chili! Here, I'll walk you through how to prepare a turkey from its frozen state and then use the resulting meat to make a filling and flavorful turkey chili.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound leftover turkey, shredded or cut into chunks
  • 1/2 white onion finely chopped and cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1-2 TB Chili powder
  • 2  (14 oz) cans tomatoes, undrained (crushed or diced tomatoes both work)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 16 ounce can canned kidney beans - drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot or slow cooker.
  2. Mix and heat thoroughly.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with desired toppings.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 509mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

Don’t Forget To Pin It!

About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

Follow her at: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, language and travel. I’m a Latina mom, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here.

Follow Me on Social

Join our email list

An email each week with new content. Nada más.

Skip to Recipe