Do you feel that? The slight shift in temperature, a light breeze in the air, and Football on the television? Yes, that's right, it's cozy food season and I am very much obsessed with using my slow cooker during these months. I've done a few recipes in the slow cooker before, without getting them on the site, and that's why I'm so excited to share the best healthy slow cooker turkey chili recipe with you. Hearty, comforting, healthy, and seriously delicious.
I know that slow cookers are typically used during colder months as it's warming and hearty, but to me, a slow cooker is great all year long.
- What are the ingredients for this chili?
- How do I make this recipe?
- Chili Swaps and Substitutions
- What do you suggest I serve this chili with?
- What's the secret to making really good turkey chili?
- Is this chili freezer-friendly?
- How do I store this recipe?
- Hungry for more?
- Did you like this recipe? Share it!
- Best Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe
What are the ingredients for this chili?
- Ground Turkey - Ground turkey is such a great swap for protein in a chili if you are someone who is trying to cut down on red meat. I actually love using a combination of white and dark meat ground turkey from my local butcher. It gives the entire dish such incredible flavor.
- Red Kidney Beans - kidney beans bring a lot of flavor and color to the chili, plus kidney beans give more protein to the dish (WebMD, resource).
- Cannellini Beans (or white kidney beans) cannellini beans bring a lot of richness to the dish, so these are must.
- Sweet Potato - adding sweet potato to this chili gave it a creamier texture, a sweeter flavor, and I simply love biting into a soft chunk of sweet potato in each bite. It's truly so yummy.
- Tomato Sauce - the base liquid of this dish. We don't use any stock, broth, or water, so tomato sauce helps it cook and become nice and thick.
- Chicken Stock - while not included in the ingredient picture above, just ½ cup is enough liquid to help the chili cook and simmer.
- Seasonings: We want this dish to be flavorful, so we include cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.
How do I make this recipe?
This entire dish comes together in no time!
Step 1: In a large frying pan, add the ground turkey and begin to brown on a medium flame. Cook until the meat is 90% of the way cooked, as it will continue to cook as it is in the slow cooker. Season the meat with a little paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder.
Step 2: In the slow cooker, pour in the ground turkey and layer in the other ingredients: kidney beans, sweet potato, and cannellini beans.
Step 3: Pour in the can of tomato sauce, then add in another layer of seasonings (paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper).
Step 4: Add in the chicken stock then stir. Close the lid to the slow cooker and cook on a low setting for up to 5 hours. Stir occasionally.
HINT: Adding too much liquid will cause the chili to get runny and thin. If you like a thinner, soupier chili, go for it. Otherwise, stick to the 15oz of tomato sauce and just ½ cup of stock. That's all the liquid you need!
Chili Swaps and Substitutions
If you're looking to create this recipe but have specific dietary needs or allergens, here are some of my trusty recommendations to swap and sub in for the base recipe:
- Beans: you can opt in any beans you'd like here. Garbanzo, black beans, even some lentils will work too.
- Vegetarian: completely omit the ground turkey and add in the veggies you love to make it hearty. I love potatoes, zucchini, or garbanzo (chickpea) beans.
- Vegan: need a meatless option? use plant-based meats and add to the recipe following the steps provided.
- Spices: if you love chili, but don't really love the spice, leave out the chili powder and it will still be just as yummy.
What do you suggest I serve this chili with?
Serve this chili with any of the below:
- Roasted vegetables
- Atop hot dogs
- Over mashed potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- On top of french fries (loaded fries!)
What's the secret to making really good turkey chili?
After testing quite a few different versions of chili over the last few years, here's what I find to be some of the best things to keep in mind when making this:
- Finding the right combination of seasoning - Paprika, chili powder, and cumin are my go to for chili.
- Cooking "low and slow" - cooking on a low setting allows the ingredients to get to a simmering point at a slower pace rather than quickly cooking. This actually allows for the meat the get tender too.
- Opt for quality meat - We're picky when it comes to choosing the type of meat we eat. Find out from your local grocery store where they source their meat, or check out USA Wellness Meats for my favorites!
- Choosing the right beans - beans like kidney, black, or my personal favorite, cannellini beans are great because they have added nutritional value, and can give the chili a thicker, creamier texture and mouthfeel.
Is this chili freezer-friendly?
YES! This turkey chili recipe is perfectly fine added to the freezer for another day. This recipe doesn't call for any ingredients that would compromise flavor and texture, so feel free to add any leftovers to a freezer-proof container and store for up to 2 months. For thawing: place in the fridge overnight.
How do I store this recipe?
Add the leftovers to an air-tight container and place in the fridge for up to one week. This is a great option for lunch throughout the week, or pairing with other menu items for the week to make sure none goes to waste.
Hungry for more?
Check out these other yummy easy, cozy recipes:
Did you like this recipe? Share it!
If you're just as in love with this recipe as I am, please share a comment below and rate it! Better yet, share this recipe with family and friends!! Thank you for being here!!
Best Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe
- slow cooker
- frying pan
- wooden spoon
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 15 oz tomato sauce 1 15oz can
- ½ can cannellini beans
- ½ can red kidney beans
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled then diced into small cubes
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- In a large frying pan, add the ground turkey and begin to brown on a medium flame.
- Cook until the meat is 90% of the way cooked, as it will continue to cook as it is in the slow cooker.
- Season the meat with a little paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder.
- In the slow cooker, pour in the ground turkey and layer in the other ingredients: kidney beans, sweet potato, and cannellini beans.
- Pour in the can of tomato sauce, then add in another layer of seasonings (paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper).
- Close the lid to the slow cooker and cook on a low setting for up to 5 hours. Stir occasionally.