Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Rather than browning the meat first, which doesn’t do much for lean ground turkey and can actually make it tough, this recipe prioritizes cooking down the vegetables first. Onions and canned tomatoes fried in olive oil provide an umami-rich flavor base for turkey’s blank canvas, and the adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers does a lot of this dish’s heavy lifting. Optional toppings like shredded cheese and sour cream help cool down the spice. One of the best ways to enjoy this simple but powerful chili is over French fries with melted cheese, or tossed with some cooked spaghetti. It’s so great on its own, as well.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until translucent and starting to brown at the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Use a fork to fish the tomatoes out of the can and add them to the pot, leaving behind the juice for now. Season with salt and cook the tomatoes, breaking them up with the wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until jammy and their liquid has reduced significantly, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Stir in the chili powder and cook until fragrant, just a few seconds. Add the ground turkey, season with salt and stir to combine, breaking up the meat with the spoon. (Don’t worry about browning or cooking it through here, as it will do so when it simmers.) Stir in the reserved liquid from the tomato can.
  4. Step 4

    Use the fork to fish out as many chipotle peppers from the can as you would like, starting with two or three, and add to the pot, breaking them up with the wooden spoon, along with all of the adobo sauce. The more peppers you use, the spicier your final chili will be; if you like spice, just add the entire can. (Store any peppers you don’t use in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 2 months.) Fill the empty chipotle can with cold tap water, swish it around and add to the pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Step 5

    Bring the chili to a simmer over medium-high heat — you should see occasional small bubbles breaking the surface of the mixture — then cover the pot and reduce the heat to continue simmering over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the tomatoes have broken down, about 20 minutes. The chili should look thick and shiny, but not too thick that you couldn’t ladle it into a bowl. (If it's too watery, then simmer with the lid off for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.) Taste and add more salt if desired. Serve with cheese, sour cream and cilantro, if using.