Crockpot Turkey Chili Recipe - Healthy & Low Fat

10 cups
4 hr 10 min

This crockpot turkey chili recipe is the perfect ‘set and forget’ meal. Whether it’s a game day, a ski day, a busy day or just a cold night, this ground turkey chili will be a welcome meal come dinner time. A few minutes of prep time in the morning will yield a big batch of healthy and hearty turkey chili for dinner. Both crockpot and stovetop instructions are provided.

Every family has one of these chili recipes, which gets tweaked over the years until everyone agrees,” O.K., this is it. Don’t mess with it anymore!”

This hearty crockpot turkey chili was a work in process for many years, and then we nailed it! Terry thinks it is the addition of beer that gives it that certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’, but I think it is the sprinkling of fennel seeds that gives a hint of Italian sausage that takes this healthy and hearty chili to the next level. We all agree that even though this chili recipe is healthier with lean ground turkey instead of beef, there is no sacrifice in taste! Nowhere is it written that a healthy turkey chili recipe can’t be delicious and hearty!

Hearty Crockpot Turkey Chili with kidney beans in a red bowl on a wood surface.

Ground Beef or Ground Turkey?

We opt for ground lean turkey in most things, but lean ground beef (93/7) is very similar to turkey in terms of fat and calories.

Spill the Beans!

If you are bean-avoidant, then go ahead and leave them out. But…beans are a powerhouse of nutrition, chock-full of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin K, phosphorous, copper, vitamin B-1, potassium, manganese, and iron. My first preference for this chili is always kidney beans, but I will readily swap in black beans if I don’t have the kidney. A mix of both is always nice, too.

I rarely have cans of beans on hand, preferring to keep jars of dried beans. This recipe shares instructions for both. If you use kidney beans, ensure they are cooked thoroughly before adding them to the crockpot. Kidney beans, in particular, contain high levels of a compound called “phytohaemagglutinin, which can be toxic if the beans aren’t cooked thoroughly. In their Bad Bug Book about foodborne illnesses, the USDA states that consuming as few as four or five undercooked red kidney beans can cause severe vomiting within hours, typically followed by diarrhea. Serious abdominal pain is often another symptom.

So, after soaking your kidney beans, boil them in fresh water for at least 30 minutes. Typically, the toxin is destroyed when boiled at 212ºF for 10 minutes, but scientists recommend 30 minutes to ensure the beans reach the proper temperature for the requisite time.

I bet you didn’t expect a science lesson when you came for a healthy chili recipe! We always strive to beat your expectations!!

Beer with Me…

This crockpot turkey chili recipe does include a can of beer. I am not a beer drinker…AT ALL! Really don’t like the stuff…and I’m being kind. That being said, the beer does add a little hoppy flavor and very subtle sweetness to this chili which I really DO like. The alcohol will completely cook out of the chili, leaving just the flavor behind. I use a pilsner most of the time, but will put in whatever Terry has in the fridge.

BUT, if you just can’t fathom putting beer in your chili (though you should), you could substitute chicken broth for the beer. No judgment here.

Chili Powder

Because we use chili powder in so many recipes, I now mix up a big batch so that we don’t run out. Pop over to grab my simple chili powder recipe which gets its smoky flavor from chipotle pepper and smoked paprika. This chili powder makes a spicy, but not too spicy chili. Feel free to add more heat with cayenne pepper.

Variations to this Crockpot Turkey Chili Recipe

Add 1 cup of bell pepper or diced sweet potatoes to this Simple Turkey Chili Recipe for a variation with minimal effort.

This is a ‘chunky’ chili. If you like a soupier chili, then add 2 cups of broth.

Favorite Chili Toppings For Crockpot Turkey Chili

  • Cheddar Cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Tortilla Chips or Corn Chips
  • Green Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh Jalapeño Slices and Pickled Jalapeño Slices
  • Avocado
  • Black Olives
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Hot Sauce
  • Fresh Cilantro

Crockpot turkey chili in a red bowl.
Crockpot Turkey Chili Recipe - Healthy & Low Fat
Recipe details
  • 10  cups
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 4 Hours Total time: 4 hr 10 min
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  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans of kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups of dried kidney beans that have been soaked and cooked.
  • 1 can of beer
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (optional, if you want a soupier chili)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground turkey in a large skillet
in a large (6 quart) crockpot, add turkey and the rest of the ingredients.
Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low heat.
See the notes for topping ideas.
Brown ground turkey in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once the turkey starts releasing its juices, add the onion so it cooks alongside the turkey.
Once the turkey is no longer pink, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 40 minutes.
While the chili will be ready now, it is always better the next day.
See the notes for topping ideas.
  • Favorite Toppings:
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced Scallions
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Black Olives
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Jalapeno Slices or Pickled Jalapenos
Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle
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