This Leftover Turkey Chili recipe is full of body and bursting with flavor. It’s loaded with turkey meat (either browned ground turkey or leftover roasted turkey) and hearty beans, simmered in sautéed onions, tomato sauce, and an array of chili spices and seasoning!
As the years have gone on, I’ve certainly tried and tested my fair share of homemade chili - chicken, beef, vegan...you name it! And while it’s hard to pick a favorite, I must say that I love my latest turkey chili addition, if not for the mouth-watering flavors and texture then for the fact that it’s helped me find a new way to use up those holiday turkey leftovers (though my Thanksgiving Sandwich is also delicious!).
This Leftover Turkey Chili recipe freezes well, allowing you to prepare wholesome meals for the family ahead of time while also using up any turkey you may have in the refrigerator. Serve it with your favorite chili toppings or a side of cornbread or dinner rolls to soak up all that turkey chili goodness!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a tasty way to use up leftover holiday turkey, making a hearty meal that the whole family will love.
- You don't need any fancy kitchen appliances to make this simple yet super flavorful dish.
- Leftover turkey chili can be made in advance to save you time and effort later on.
- It's a budget-friendly meal that's also versatile!
- Olive oil
- Turkey - ground or shredded
- Yellow onion - chopped
- Garlic cloves - minced
- Tomato sauce - canned
- Chicken broth
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Black beans - canned and drained
- Kidney beans - canned and drained
This is meant to be a brief overview of the Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe. For step-by-step instructions and a full printable recipe card with ingredients, please scroll down to the teal box below or Jump to Recipe.
- Add oil and onions to a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender.
- Add in the turkey and cook through. Drain any excess liquid and return the turkey mixture to the pot.
- Next, add in: garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate into the turkey.
- Add in the canned tomato sauce, chicken broth, kidney beans and black beans.
- Bring the turkey chili ingredients to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Adjust the seasonings as necessary and then serve immediately!
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- Dutch Oven - 6 quart
- Measuring Spoons
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Cutting Board
- Santoku Knife
To Store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (These are my favorite containers.)
To Reheat: Reheat on the stove at medium high heat until warm all the way through, or microwave individual bowls according to your microwave's instructions.
To Freeze: Freeze in air tight containers for up to 3 to 6 months.
To Thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Make sure that you don’t skip the first step of softening the onions before adding in the rest of the turkey chili ingredients. Not only do you want to avoid crunchy onions in the chili but softened onions also do a great job of incorporating all the flavors in the pot.
Using good quality turkey will increase the overall flavor of this dish. You could also consider browning the turkey with the tender onions in a larger pan with a bigger surface area than the pot or Dutch oven. This is totally optional but worth it if you want to achieve a better browning of the ground turkey - a trick that always intensifies those delicious meaty flavors!
Avoid cooking the ground turkey on high heat otherwise, the flavors won’t develop as well and you may also end up with tough turkey instead of tender meat.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions (and answers!) readers often ask about this recipe.
If you don’t have enough leftover turkey chili to serve as-is for a hearty main meal, consider using up what you have left to make some other mouth-watering snacks, appetizers, or side dishes, such as:
Corn Muffin Chili Cups or mini turkey chili pot pies with cornbread crust;
Chili Potato Skins or other veggie sides such as turkey chili stuffed acorn squash!
Store your leftover turkey chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze leftover turkey chili for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring regularly until warmed through.
- The great thing about this leftover turkey chili recipe is that you can use up a bunch of different leftovers. You can puree leftover veggies like sweet potatoes, and carrots or leave them whole and just throw them into the pot.
- Use leftover cooked and shredded turkey for this turkey chili instead of ground turkey. It’s a great way to use up turkey (in whichever form you have leftover) during the holidays. The texture of shredded turkey will obviously be different from what you’d get using ground turkey but your chili will still be super delicious!
- Thinly sliced celery can be sautéed with the garlic and onions as an additional ingredient before adding in the ground turkey. Celery is a common ingredient used to provide an aromatic quality to a dish such as stews, braises and soups.
- For more heat in your turkey chili, add more chili powder or use red pepper flakes and increase the amount of cayenne pepper. A chopped jalapeno can also be added to the garlic and onions at the start of this recipe for an extra kick of heat!
🍴 Serving Suggestions
Turkey Chili is a hearty meal as is. A bowl of this leftover turkey chili can be enjoyed as a satisfying main dish, served with your favorite toppings such as:
- Sour cream;
- Sliced jalapeno;
- Shredded cheese,
- Fresh avocado chunks, or
- Tortilla chips.
If you’re looking for a separate side dish to accompany this leftover turkey chili recipe, then consider these tasty options:
😋 Similar Recipes
- Instant Pot Beef Chili - A beefy chili made easily in an Instant Pot with a rich tomato base, garbanzo and beans!
- Slow Cooker Chicken Chili - A ‘set and forget’ chili dish made with slow cooked tender chicken pieces, tangy tomato and crisp corn kernels, boasting a subtle spice and smokiness.
- Vegan Chili - Made with everyday pantry staples, this easy Vegan Chili recipe is loaded with hearty plant-based protein for a nutritious and delicious meal option.
- Sweet and Spicy Chili - This chili is close to my heart and has been an absolute winner for game day. The kick of heat is beautifully balanced with a slight sweetness!
📋 Leftover Turkey Chili
Not ready to make Leftover Turkey Chili yet? Don’t forget to pin this recipe for later! When you do make it, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @jugglingactmama or #jugglingactmama – I’d love to see your pictures! And finally, if you get a chance, please comment and leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below!
Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound turkey ground or shredded
- ½ cup yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced (approx. 1 tablespoon)
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 15oz can black beans, drained
- 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
- In a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat add oil and onions
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are tender
- Add in turkey and cook though, drain and return to pot
- Next add in garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper stir to incorporate
- Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, kidney beans and black beans.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30-45 minutes
- Adjust seasons as necessary.
- Serve immediately