If you enjoy this 3 bean turkey chili recipe and turkey recipes in general, be sure to check out our Ground Turkey Meatloaf and Pumpkin Turkey Chili recipes as well.
To me, a big pot of three-bean turkey chili is the definition of winter food. I love using this recipe as a place to start and try it with different vegetables, beans, and meats. I also love the fact that it is a great crowd-pleaser. I can’t imagine a better one-pot dish to make if you have a big family. Or, if you are a two-people family like us, no dish freezes better than this one.
I will go into ways of making your own version of chili in a minute based on this recipe, but first let’s talk about how to make this ground turkey chili.
How To Make This Recipe?
The process for the recipe has 2 folds. Making this turkey bean chili takes around 45 minutes from start to finish.
First, you start with sautéing some onions and peppers along with some chili spices like chili powder, chipotle powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander. This step is important because spices like cumin and coriander are oil soluble. In other words, they need to interact with oil to release their flavors. If you skip this step you will not have as much “chili” flavor.
Once the veggies and the spices are cooked, add in 2 pounds of lean turkey meat and sautée until it turns pink. At this stage, you don’t have to worry about cooking turkey thoroughly as it will continue to cook once all the other ingredients are added to the pot.
Alternatively, you can use leftover cooked turkey (such as turkey tenderloin or turkey legs) just like it is in this Peruvian Turkey Soup recipe. Simply shred the meat and add it in to the soup with the beans.
The second step is to add in all the other ingredients; all three beans, pureed and diced tomatoes, and chicken stock. I also chose to combine pureed tomatoes with diced tomatoes as I love the richness and umami flavors that simmered tomatoes provide.
Once everything is in the pot, all you have to do is to bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it thickens to your liking.
What Kind of Beans To Use For Chili?
In terms of beans, I used a combination of canned kidney, black and Cannelini beans. However, you can use whatever beans you can on hand. I opted for canned beans as they are a lifesaver when you need to put dinner on the table on a Tuesday night, but if you have time, you can cook your own.
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile. Using it as a place to start you can easily create your own chili recipe.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Try it with other ground meet: The recipe below is made with ground turkey meat, but feel free to change it up with ground beef, chicken, and even lamb. I have tried them all and they all worked well. I used 2-pounds of ground meat, but you can use less than that if you want. In the past, I have also made it with 1 pound of ground meat and added an additional can of beans to make up for it.
- Try it with other types of beans: I used a combination of red kidney beans, Cannelini beans and black beans, but feel free to play with it. In the past, I have tried it with pinto beans and they were delicious as well.
To save on time, I used canned beans but you can definitely cook your own beans. I bet a little bit of the cooking liquid from the beans added to the chili would be a nice addition.
- Different Toppings are a great way to switch things up: I cannot think of a big bowl of chili without toppings. When I serve this for dinner, I usually skip making a salad. Instead, I prepare as many toppings as possible, similar to how they do in restaurants.
To do so, I fill a bunch of small bowls with chopped cilantro, red onion, sliced jalapenos, cubed avocados, fresh corn, tortilla chips, lime wedges, and sour cream with a spoon in each bowl. That way we can garnish our chili bowls with whatever we like.
A Few Helpful Tips:
- What to do with leftovers: As with most chili recipes, this 3 bean turkey chili tastes better the next day. If I have leftovers, I bring them to room temperature, place them in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezing Instructions: This turkey and bean chili freezes beautifully. I portion it into small airtight containers (or Ziploc bags) and freeze up to 2 months. I thaw it in the fridge the night before I am ready to serve it.
- How Many Calories in Turkey Chili: This three-bean turkey chili has 388 calories per serving (see full nutritional information card underneath the recipe card). This calorie information doesn’t include the toppings, as they are optional, and it is hard to predict how much of them will be used to top a bowl of chili.
- What To Serve with Turkey Chili: In addition to all kinds of colorful and delicious toppings, I love serving chili with cornbread. This Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar and Jalapeno recipe as well as this Jalapeno and Scallion Cornbread recipe, are my go-to recipes to serve alongside my chili.
If you liked this Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe, You Might Also Like
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- Easy Chicken Chili
- One-Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
- Hearty Homemade Chili
- Spicy Vegan Chocolate Chili
- Five Bean Salad
- Black Bean Quinoa Chili
Three Bean Turkey Chili
For The 3 Bean Turkey Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions chopped
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed and cut into small pieces
- 1 jalapeno chile seeded and chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can pureed tomato
- 1 cup of low-sodium chicken stock or water
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeno sliced thinly
- 1 ripe avocado cut into small cubes
- Lime wedges
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or a large heavy bottom pan) over medium heat. Add in the onions, chopped bell pepper and jalapenos. Cook, stirring frequently until they are softened, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring frequently until vegetables are softened, 5 minutes.
- Add in the turkey. Using a wooden spoon, break it up into smaller pieces and cook until it is no longer pink, 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the black beans, red kidney beans, white beans, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, and chicken stock. Give it a big stir. Put the lid on and bring it to a boil.
- Once it boils, turn the heat to medium-low and put the lid ajar. Let it simmer, stirring every 10-15 minutes, for 25-30 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks.
- Taste for seasoning and add if necessary. Right before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro.
- To serve: Ladle the chili into soup bowls and garnish them with jalapeno slices and diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
How much is one serving of 3 Bean Turkey Chili without toppings?
I would say between 1 1/2 to 2 cups or so.
We started making this recipe a lot recently. It is very easy to make and healthy. We love the corn muffins with it as well. Thanks for sharing, Aysegul!
Isn’t it delicious. So easy to make it too. Thanks Aysegul.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
Chili is one of my favorites in the colder months!
Lori @ RecipeGirl
I don’t know how you make a simple turkey chili look like this, but WOW!
Ahhh Lori.. That means the world to me coming from you. Thank you ❤️
Toni | Boulder Locavore
Looks like a new favorite for cold nights!
So hearty and filling but healthy too! Love it so much!
The flavors are perfectly balanced in this chili. So good!
I love the variety of beans in this yummy chili!
So great to hear. Thanks Melissa.
Such a beautiful and tasty recipe. Love the combination of spices!
Thanks so much for stopping by Heather. I am so glad you liked it.
How did I miss this post!!! Every single photos are SOOOOOOO GORGEOUSSS!!!
LOVE LOVE LOVE
Aww thank you Pang. <3
Chili is so damn good and this one looks delicious! I’m sure it’s so nice for you to be able to cook your heart out, but I’d take a day one the beach right now! X
Emilie @ The Clever Carrot
It is SO true that our mood and daily lives are connected to the weather outside! Absolutely! Currently, we have frost all over our strawberry plants, and I cannot stop thinking about strawberries! I want jam. Cake. Snacks. But I’ll take this chili in the meantime, because strawberry season is a long time away! This looks so delicious. Hooray for toppings 😉 Beautiful photographs, too. xo
Thank you my dear friend for being so lovely and generous with your words.
Strawberries are my favorite and now I want strawberry jam, too. And strawberry scones, perhaps… 😉
Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish
So glad I stopped in to see your creations today! Love this chili…and who doesn’t like a versatile recipe you can make your own! Gorgeous work as always XO
Oh you are so sweet Suzy. We love this chili. It is easy and delicious.
Thank you for your lovely words my friend. <3
Just as you, I love the changes of the seasons when it comes to food. Chili is one of my go to winter dishes. Beautiful photos!
Thank you Jessica. It has been a welcome change to come back. Though seeing the signs of spring felt really good this weekend. 🙂
Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
So I clearly MISSED IT when you moved back to North America!!! What the what?? I’m glad to see you’re settling in with comfort winter foods though 😉
Yes, we moved back to the US. We are currently living in the suburbs of Philly. Though it seems that we’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be announcing where pretty soon. ;)))
Thank you! I love the snow and I can’t imagine a better winter food to eat when it is snowing outside.
Very tasty! I’d love the occasional hot chilli in the summer, though, it actually keeps me cool afterwards.
Thank you Ethan. I get what you are saying about having chili in the summer. We occasionally had chilis in the Caribbean, but for me, it was mostly because I needed something to accompany my corn bread. 🙂
I loooove cooking with beans, only yesterday I cooked a big pan of veggies and buckwheat and beans with a chinky tomato sauce, it freezes so well and is so heartwarming! I love chillies, but my son hates chilli and anything that is spicy hot – only very mild curries are allowed here… saaaad!! – so I don’t usually cook chillies, I do the whole dish but leave out the best!! I’m also very influenced by the turn of the seasons and the weather around me, especially when it comes to my food cravings!