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 recipe, 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 Easy Recipe
- It's a perfect 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
- Yellow onion or white onion
- Garlic cloves
- Tomato sauce
- Chicken broth
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
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.
- 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, then add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, and seasonings. Stir to combine.
- Mix in the beans and turkey.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
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- Dutch Oven - 6 quart
- Measuring Spoons
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Cutting Board
- Santoku Knife
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This is such a great way to use up turkey (in whichever form you have leftover) during the holidays.
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.
How to Use Leftover Chili
Here are three of my favorite ways to use leftover chili to make a new meal or snack:
- Corn Muffin Chili Cups - these are so fun to make with kids!
- Chili Stuffed Peppers - traditional stuffed peppers get a chili makeover.
- Chili Potato Skins - perfect for game day snacking!
✔️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 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.
- Instead of using leftover cooked and shredded turkey you can use ground turkey or even leftover chicken.
- Thinly sliced celery or a chopped green bell pepper can be sautéed with the garlic and onions.
- 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!
Related: Slow Cooker Chuck Wagon Chili
🍴 Serving Suggestions
Our easy Turkey Chili is a hearty meal! 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 cheddar cheese
- fresh avocado chunks
- tortilla chips
- green onions
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!
- Pumpkin Chicken Chili - Savory red chicken chili thickened with a little bit of pumpkin puree is perfect for Fall.
- Tomato Soup - There's nothing like a classic! This creamy tomato soup is loaded with basil flavor.
And you'll love this busy day soup recipe, too!
📋 Not ready to make Leftover Turkey Chili yet?
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Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound leftover turkey
- 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.2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ cup yellow onion
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are tender, then add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.3 cloves garlic
- Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, and seasonings. Stir to combine.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
- Mix in the beans and turkey.1 pound leftover turkey, 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained, 1 15oz can black beans, drained
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30-45 minutes
- Adjust seasonings as necessary.
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