As soon as the weather begins to get the slightest chill in the air, turkey chili is on my dinner table! Yes, I’m crazy about all kinds of chili, but this one is a personal favorite.
Why do you ask? It has absolutely everything a fabulous chili should. It’s chunky, thick not soupy, deliciously spiced without being hot, and deeply layered with flavors.
Are you as chili crazy as I am? Feeling more like a chicken version? My chicken chili recipe has all of the flavors of a classic red chili but gives you all of the health benefits of chicken.
Grab your apron it’s chili cooking time!
- Family loves it
- One pot, minimal cleanup
- Hearty and filling
Like many chili recipes, my turkey chili recipe can seem a bit daunting at first. Do all those ingredients go into one simple meal?? But trust me when I say that you totally got this, friend.
I’ve outlined some of the more complex ingredients to make sure your chili turns out contest-winning-levels of YUM!
- Toasting the Spices: In step 3 of the directions, the spices are added to the cooked vegetables and cooked until fragrant. Don’t skip this step! By toasting the spices in this manner, you significantly increase the flavor and add tons of delicious taste to your finished chili. Just watch this stage closely you the spices toast and do not burn.
- Beer: This alcoholic beverage is not an uncommon ingredient in chili — but if you aren’t a beer person, you might feel a bit intimidated by the rows and rows of beer options at the store. What type should you pick? Stout or lager? IPA or ale? There are lots of handy guides online, but I personally prefer using a stout beer, to give the chili a deeper, darker flavor.
- Don’t worry, there will be absolutely no beer taste in the finished chili, and of course, all the alcohol has evaporated.
- Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s actually liquid taken from condensed smoke. Believe it or not, burning wood produces steam, which is then condensed and bottled up into delicious smokey droplets that bring a taste of campfire to your dinner table.
- Paprika: Paprika is one of my all-time favorite spices. It, like beer, has a few varieties that may seem intimidating at first. Sweet, spicy, smoked? Your choice depends on your preferences. I love using smoked paprika for this recipe — it pairs so nicely with the liquid smoke!
- Coffee: I generally use Decaf instant in this recipe. Coffee is often used with cocoa in recipes to help round out the flavor. This turkey chili recipe calls for instant decaf coffee crystals — that is just oh so handy on the go!
- It’s important to use the crystals and not brewed coffee for this recipe so you don’t end up with too much liquid in your chili. Oh, and there will be no coffee taste in the finished chili.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that chili tastes even better a day or so after it’s made. Yay!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes, you can! My turkey chili recipe is great in the freezer. Make sure to thoroughly cool it off first (no steam! Steam = condensation and condensation = freezer burn. Yuck!).
Then transfer your leftovers to an airtight container and safely store in the freezer for up to six months. I use quart-sized resealable bags and freeze them flat so they stack nicely in the freezer.
I love making a huge batch of turkey chili and freezing it for later in the winter when the nights get dark way too early and I come home from work too tired to cook. Then I can just grab a serving and not have to worry!
Check out these thawing tips to help you get the best flavor out of your leftovers.
Make Ahead Tips
Generally, if I want to make this turkey chili recipe ahead of time, I make the whole recipe and stick it in the fridge or freeze it premade.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This turkey chili recipe will last up to four days in the fridge in a sealed container. If you know you’ll need lunches throughout the week, dish out portions into pre-measured lunch containers and throw on different toppings for each.
Make it more Mexican with cilantro one day, then creamy dreamy with shredded cheddar the next. Chili variety is the best variety!
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- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
- 1 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup dried chili powder
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 - 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 3 cups beef stock or beef broth
- hot sauce to taste
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 (15-ounce) can white beans
- red onion chopped
- fresh cilantro chopped
- sour cream
- Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with the back of a spoon.
- Stir in chili powder, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with the back of a spoon. Mix in stock or beer, hot sauce, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)
- Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro, sour cream and corn bread separately.
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Source: Slightly Adapted From Epicurious