This Simple Turkey Chili is loaded with protein (25 grams per serving!) and a satisfying spice thanks to ingredients like jalapeño and red chili. And it can be ready in 30 minutes!
I call this recipe “Simple Turkey Chili” because it’s easy to make and only takes about 30 minutes.
But when it comes to the flavors in this chili, there’s nothing simple about it at all! With ingredients like jalapeño, red chili, and garlic, this healthy turkey chili recipe has just the right balance of heat without being completely overwhelming.
Of course, if you’re the type who likes recipes so spicy they make your eyes water, don’t let me hold you back! Increase the spicy ingredients to your heart’s content.
The rest of the ingredients come together in an oh-so-delicious way that will leave you wondering if you really just ate a healthy recipe (The answer: yes!)
How to make Simple Turkey Chili
You can make this recipe in 4 easy steps that take less than 30 minutes!
Step 1: Chop the jalapeño, red chili, onion, and garlic.
Step 2: Sautée on a hot pan for 3-4 minutes until the onions become translucent.
Step 3: Add the ground turkey to the pan, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Step 4: Mix in the tomatoes, black beans, chicken stock (or bouillon cube), and spices, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
And you’re ready to serve! I like to dish mine up with chopped green onions and sour cream on top.
The green onions are optional, but I strongly recommend the sour cream. It adds a freshness that really elevates that taste of the turkey chili.
Controlling the spice
A lot of the heat in this recipe comes from the red chili. If you want to reduce the heat a little, you can remove the seeds from the chili before you chop it. Or, if you love spicy food, consider increasing the number of red chilis!
For the spices, I like to use paprika and black pepper. They add nice flavor without too much heat. Ground cumin is another classic chili spice, but I personally don’t like it that much.
For a hotter chili, you could also add more chili powder.
Turkey chili nutrition
Each serving of this chili contains only 232 calories and packs in 25 grams of protein plus 17 grams of mostly low-glycemic carbs. All of it from healthy, minimally processed ingredients.
I don’t like the term “diabetic chili”, but this recipe has the perfect nutrients for a healthy and diabetes-friendly recipe. You can even take out most of the carbs by limiting the beans if you follow a very low-carb diet.
And most importantly, this chili is super tasty!
One of the keys to consistently eating healthy is to find foods that support your nutrition goals that don’t taste like cardboard. Even the fittest people on the planet don’t want to eat food that tastes like cardboard, trust me.
I always tell my diabetes coaching clients that the best diet for them is the one they will stick to consistently. To make that happen, having great go-to recipes like this simple turkey chili is key!
When you have delicious recipes that are fast and easy to make, there’s no excuse to call the pizza delivery guy after a long day of work.
Why do you use turkey instead of beef in this chili?
Ground turkey has two advantages over ground beef.
First, it’s naturally a lot leaner. You can get ground beef that’s almost as lean as ground turkey, but it doesn’t taste that great. Ground beef gets a lot of its flavor from the fat. At low fat percentages, turkey simply tastes better than beef.
I like to use 93% lean ground turkey to keep the calories down. Less-lean ground turkey will have more flavor, so you can go for that if you like. But with so much flavor in this recipe coming from the red chili and spices, I don’t mind the leaner turkey at all.
Second, ground turkey is less expensive than ground beef, especially if you are buying organic. Always nice to keep meals as cost-effective as possible!
Canned versus dry black beans
For a quick and easy dinner, you can definitely use canned black beans in this recipe.
However, I highly recommend using dry black beans if you’re willing to spend a little more time and effort. You can see how to do this in both the traditional way (where you soak the beans overnight before cooking) and a much quicker way here.
Whether you make the full meal ahead of time or simply have leftovers, chili keeps very well!
If anything, this recipe tastes even better after sitting in the fridge overnight. The flavor deepens a little, and it’s a ready-to-go meal when you need it. Win-win!
This chili will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least three days, or you can choose to freeze it for a later date.
I suggest freezing it in individual servings so you can take out what you need, heat to your desired temperature, and add the sour cream and green onion toppings. Plus you won’t be tempted to go overboard with your serving size!
By the way, this chili also tastes great cold! Although it gives you that comforting and cozy feeling when served warm, I honestly really like how it tastes when it’s served straight out of the fridge. Try it!
More healthy chili and soup recipes
I love hearty dishes like chili and soup that are full of flavor and keep well in the fridge! Here are a few more of my favorites that I know you’ll love:
For even more great meal inspiration, check out this roundup of my favorite delicious low-carb soup recipes!
When you’ve tried this chili, please don’t forget to let me know how you liked it and rate the recipe in the comments below!
Simple Turkey Chili
- 16 oz. ground turkey (93%)
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 red chili
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 oz. cooked black beans (can be from a can)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3.5 oz. onion
- ½ cup chicken stock (or just use ½ Knorr bouillon cube)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
- 4 tablespoon fat-free sour cream
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Chop the jalapeño, red chili, onion, and garlic.
- Sautée on a hot pan for 3-4 minutes until the onions become translucent.
- Add the ground turkey to the pan, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Mix in the tomatoes, black beans, chicken stock (or bouillon cube), and spices, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
K Smith says
It’s delicious. I did add a little chili powder, didn’t have a red chili pepper, and 1/2 tsp of cumin. I will definitely make this again.
Gail Cox says
Both husband and I loved this chili, made as written except for leaving out the red pepper (I didn’t have one) and adding about 1/2 tsp of cumin. It has a simplicity and straightforwardness I found welcome, and with the green onion and sour cream garnish, has everything you need and nothing you don’t. As a this week diagnosed diabetic, it was reassuring to find that I could make something quickly that was compliant with diabetes guidelines that my husband would also enjoy. Will definitely make again and again.
What size can of tomatoes did you use? I have a jar of pickled jalapeño slices is that ok to use?
Christel Oerum says
We just used a standard size can of tomato (14.5 OZ.). You can use the canned jalapeño but they won’t really have any bite/crush as they have been in liquid for so long
My first time cooking with ground turkey and I could not stand the smell or taste so added a second set of ingredients and it was perfect! Shared with extended family and everyone loved it!
I made this for my mom who is Type 2 and she also needs to be on a renal diet. This has all the right ingredients to satisfy both.
Jenifer Dempsey says
This recipe is so good! Really easy, will make.again!
Christel Oerum says
So glad to hear that. Thank you for the review
Deborah Johnson says
I loved this! So simple and easy to make. Thank you!