Slow Cooker Turkey Chili | Don’t Go Bacon My Heart

Slow cooker turkey chili recipe

This slow-cooked turkey chili is the perfect twist on classic chili. It is rich, tender and full of flavor!

chili shot in white bowl with sour cream, cheese and cilantro



Ground turkey is great because it’s incredibly lean. It’s also quite cheap and perfectly festive! for the winter! However, Turkey has a bad reputation for, well, being pretty bland. And I won’t stay here and tell you there’s no truth to that. BUT, it’s not a lost cause. There are many ways to fix turkey. And this chili, in my opinion, is the best way. Here’s how we’re going to get the best out of


  • Brown – The first thing you can do to add flavor is brown the turkey before cooking it slowly. And that doesn’t mean just frying, but actually making sure you see the turkey caramelize in the pan and start browning.
  • Seasoning – This chili is absolutely loaded with flavor, which the turkey acquires beautifully. Don’t skimp on the essentials either, turkey absorbs salt and pepper in oblivion, so be sure to season both frying and cooking slowly.
  • Slow – Cooking under ‘n’ slow is best, to really make sure the flavor reaches the meat.

Process the shots: add the ground turkey to the pan with oil (photo 1), brown, season, then add to the slow cooker (photo 2), add red

pepper, onion and garlic to the pan (photo 3), fry, and then add to the slow cooker (photo 4).

4 step-by-step photos showing how to prepare slow cooker turkey chili

How to slowly cook turkey chili

In addition to browning turkey, I like to brown onion, garlic and red pepper for the same reason. Caramelizing with the pan adds an extra layer of flavor. You could add those 3 directly into the slow cooker, but you’ll lose a hint of flavor. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra minutes, especially since you already have the pan. How 🤪

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long to slowly cook the turkey chili?

I have cooked this recipe in high and low settings before, and found that the sweet spot reaches 3.5-4 hours in high, or 6-7 hours in low. The difference between the two is minimal.

Can I do this on the stove?

I could, but I would still recommend simmering with the lid on for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is very important to cook this low and slow recipe to inject flavor into the turkey and soften it.

Process the shots: add the chili ingredients in the slow cooker (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), open the lid and cook slowly (photo 3).

3 step-by-step photos showing how to slowly cook turkey chili

Turkey Chili FAQ

Can I substitute ground beef in this recipe?

Ground beef is obviously perfect for a chili. This version has a slightly different flavor profile, so check out my Chilli Con Carne for a meat version!

Can you put raw ground turkey in a slow cooker?

Technically speaking, it would cook, but I highly recommend browning first. Not only will this ensure that the turkey doesn’t clump together, but it will also ensure that the added flavor of frying isn’t lost.

How does turkey chili thicken?

I’ve created this recipe, so it’s pretty thick. I’m not a fan of watery chili peppers. But, if you want to thicken it further, just move the settings to ‘heat’ and leave the lid out for 20 minutes or so.

Can Turkey Chili be frozen?

Perfect for leftovers! Simply let cool completely and then split and seal tightly in the freezer. Defrost the fridge and heat again until it is very hot!

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close-up of the ladle in the slow cooker scooping out chili


turkey chili Serve

with tortilla chips and then you can add your favorite ingredients! Here’s what I usually choose:

  • Cheddar
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro/Cilantro

For another delicious ground turkey recipe

check out my ground turkey Gnocchi


For more chili recipes, check out my Chili Mac, Chilli Con Carne and Veggie Chilli!

Alright, let’s get into the whole recipe for this slow cooker turkey chili, okay?

close-up of chili in white bowl with blurred garnish in the background

How to Make Turkey Chili in a

Slow Cooker (full recipe and video)

If you loved this turkey chili recipe, be sure to set it for later! Have you already done so or have a question? Give me a shout in the comments and pick up your Free electronic kitchen on the go!

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