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Recipe: Chef John's Turkey Chili

I served mine with some beautifully ripe slices of avocado that gives the final bowl another layer of silky richness. By the way, dont let the cocoa powder in our chili spice mixture throw you off Its only a small amount and it really works. My chili was garnished with sour cream, diced jalapeno, cilantro and avocado.

Chef John's Turkey Chili Ingredients

  • cup ancho chile powder

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2? teaspoons salt

  • 1? teaspoons ground dried chipotle pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • ? teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2? pounds ground turkey

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup tomato puree

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 (12 ounce) cans pinquito or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

How to Make Chef John's Turkey Chili

  1. Mix the ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, salt, chipotle pepper, oregano, cocoa powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground turkey and garlic. Cook and stir until turkey is no longer pink, breaking up any large chunks, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture. Cook until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Stir in the tomato puree and water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook until the turkey meat is broken down, about 1 hour. Stir in the beans, and continue to simmer until flavors have blended, 20 to 30 more minutes.

Chef John's Turkey Chili Nutritions

  • Calories: 447.5 calories

  • Carbohydrate: 27.9 g

  • Cholesterol: 139.7 mg

  • Fat: 18.9 g

  • Fiber: 9.1 g

  • Protein: 45.1 g

  • SaturatedFat: 4.4 g

  • ServingSize:

  • Sodium: 1635.3 mg

  • Sugar: 3.6 g

  • TransFat:

  • UnsaturatedFat:

Chef John's Turkey Chili Reviews

  • I have recently become obsessed with Chef Johns recipes, videos, and reviews. My husband made this chili on Friday night and did not change anything. The flavor and consistency were excellent. Last night I took the left overs and made a pasta bake with 8 oz Campanella pasta and shredded Vermont white cheddar in an 8x8 pan covered 350 for 30 min and uncovered for another 15 min. The chili had such wonderful intense flavor that I did not need to add anymore spice. This is very spicy and not for kids as is.

  • We loved this chili I will make it again for my husbands birthday party. It is spicy so just put less spice and add until it is right for you. Very good.

  • Spicy but very tasty. Added an extra can of maple flavoured beans. Will use this recipe again. Thanks chef John

  • I heart this recipe so so much I love that the flavor is complex - you can adjust the heat. And what I love most is using the chili spice as a rub on grilled chicken and fish. When I make this recipe, I double the spices, store 1/2 of them in a covered jar, and make the chili with the rest. The spice mix stays on-hand when Im in a hurry. Rub it together with a T of oil into some chicken thighs and grill for a quick, DeLicious dinner.

  • Quite nice but nothing special

  • Chef John this is the most flavorful WONDERFUL chili I have ever made Absolutely 100% GREATWhat a terrific EASY recipe and better for you than using fatty ground beef.Highly recommended and will most definitely put it on our regular menu.YUM

  • Very good It was very spicey though, I lef out one of the peppers it called for just cause I didnt have it and used only a tablespoon chili powder. Nice flavor though and if you like it spicey use the recommended measurements. I will definitely be making this again

  • Loved it Made it with the things we had in the house. 1 onion with the olive oil in a pot. Added one garlic to cook with onion. Then added 1.6lbs of ground turkey. 2tblsp chili powder, 1tblsp paprika, 1tblsp cumin, 2tsp salt, 1tsp oregano, 1tblsp cocoa, 1/8tsp cinnamon. Mixed it together until aromatic. Added one can diced tomatoes and one can red kidney beans, 2 1/2 cans water. Everyone raved about it. So, thank you chef John for the recipe. Will make this again.

  • Giving this 4 stars only because it was too spicy for me. It was good, and I should add we ate it the next day loaded with cheese, sour cream and guacamole and ate it as nachos. We liked the nachos as all the condiments and chips cooled down the spice. Its very thick and does has a really good flavor. But like I said (for me) way too spicy. So if you like it hot you will love this chili.

  • The video shows the 1st hour of cooking in step 3 to be in a covered pot but it does not state so in the recipe. The last 20 to 30 minutes, after adding in the beans, is done uncovered. As far as taste, I liked this quite a bit but found the finished flavor to be different than what you would expect and (for me) not quite as good as a basic chili. It may just be that I need to get used to the difference in spices. Anyway, the finished product had a nice (fairly mild) level of heat and the technique thats used cooked everything down to a good thick consistency. I will definitely follow this technique again in the future but not sure about the spice mixture.

  • Really nice flavor. I am somewhat of a wimp when it comes to spices, so I cut the ancho powder, chipotle powder and cayenne in half, but left the other spices as is. It was at maximum warmth for me, but had enough fire to keep El Hothead happy. Also had to add a cup more of water than called for. Chili goes really well with hard cider or beer Or is the other way round? Well done, Chef John

  • So good chef john never lets me down

  • I made this the other day for a chili cook off at my job. I omitted the beans (I dont like beans), I put corn in it. I used diced tomatoes, added some sugar for a little sweetness and threw in a few dried chile pods. Long story short, I won the cook off

  • OUTSTANDING

  • Loved this recipe so much Ive already made it twice. Chef Johns recipes and videos are the best Have not gone wrong with anything by chef John

  • Wonderful I only had 11/2 lb. turkey and a 30 oz. can of beans and my tomato pure was a 15 oz. can so I only added 1 cup of water . I kept everything else the same. It was dark and rich, but it may be too hot for some. We loved it.

  • This recipe was absolutely amazing and definitely not too spicy, in fact I did not notice much spice. I made it last night and might go back and get more ground turkey to make the full amount. I had cut it down to three servings instead of 6 and am really regretting having done that The flavors in the spices were phenomenal. I didnt have a lot of time to wait for it to simmer so used the pressure cooker on low for about 25 minutes, added the beans and waited another 20 and wish I had more of this right now. SO DELICIOUS.

  • Loved it. Very easy to make and the spices blended beautifully.

  • In my experience, turkey needs a lot of seasoning to be flavorful; so dont be intimidated by the seasonings and amounts in this recipe // I made a few modifications, some intentional and some based on what I had available. The main changes: 1) I am a total heat wuss, so I had to dial the peppers way back. I used 2 T. ancho chili powder, 1/2 T chipotle chili powder, and about 1/8 t. cayenne. 2) I used only one can of beans, because that seemed like plenty. 3) I used beer instead of water, because I like the flavor beer adds. // I cooked the chili in my Instant Pot on the meat/chili pressure setting. It was done in 30 minutes, and was delicious After cooking, I broke up the meat into small chunks and added a little potato starch to thicken the liquid. We garnished with sour cream and shredded cheese. Mr. Pickypants and I really enjoyed it -- thanks for another great recipe, Chef John

  • Chef Johns spice mixture for this chili is just divine I used ground beef instead but you could probably use any ground meat.You really must try this recipe - its a winner.

  • DELICIOUS We followed the recipe as written and loved every bite of this spicy, tender chili. Thanks for posting, Chef John

  • Really good.

  • Easy to make. Yes, it was spicy but just the right amount. My husband and I enjoyed the meal while my teens did not. I would make this meal again.

  • I made this with left over turkey from Thanksgiving, and added a teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of 1/4, it so soo spicy and sooo good, cant wait to make it again thanks for the recipe.

  • Very good. Heat sneaks up on you but not overpowering. Made with biscuits. Added a bit more chile powder and paprika, maybe should have doubled the cocoa for more of a mole flavor. All good

  • This is a very good recipe, but Im not a huge fan of mole and I think for me the addition of the cocoa was not for me. However, many others were very pleased with the taste. I also used black beans instead of pinto beans (personal preference). Some other reviewers complained this was too spicy, not for us. We added jalapenos. We also topped it with greek yogurt (in lieu of sour cream)

  • I have never rated a recipe on this site. (Havent done alot at other sites either.) But, i really loved this chili. It was spicey, had a great body and flavor profile. Who knew turkey could rise to such hieghts. I am very grateful for your recipe chef John. I want to say thanks for all of your recipes. I have saved many of them.

  • Great chili, I did not have all the ingredients but still was a nice hotness. I wanted to eat it all day

  • Tasty, but a little too spicy for me, personally.

  • This recipe is very close to how I used to make turkey chilli. Johns version elevated my turkey chilli to the next level. Great recipe. Everyone loved it.

  • LOVE THIS.. Im not a chili fan per say and am making this again. I didnt put all the peppers in it that the recipe calls for as I cant handle a lot of spice. This is SOOOO GOOD

  • I have made this chili at least 12 times, including for two parties. It is great chili and even better with sour cream and cheese. I also add pickles peppers at the end sometimes. If it is too hot reduce the Chipotle chili powder some. I also use this chili to use up partial or old veggies in the fridge. This time it was a hunk of red pepper and half an onion.Just made this AGAIN. This time in my instant pot and it came out as good as ever. Did 25 minutes in the instant pot.

  • Use less salt, can use can of chopped tomatoes and some tomato paste instead of puree.

  • Made it using ground venison. Turned out great Ive never been disappointed with Chef Johns recipes

  • I was a bit leery, but this is very good I did not use the avocado. The cocoa gave it a nice smoky flavor

  • I made this exactly as per the recipe. I despise the flavor of cinnamon but used it anyway and I believe that it denigrated the recipe for me. The rest of my family loved this recipe thus Chef John still deserves 5 stars for this recipe.

  • So good. This is a very forgiving recipe. I feel a little guilty rating it since I had to sub out the chipotle powder (I didnt have any and a big snow storm was limiting our options to travel to the store.) instead, I used smoked paprika - I know they have different tastes but it seemed to work. Will make it with the chipotle pepper powder next time, but even with the switch, this has to be one of the best chili recipes I have tried.

  • Great taste..a little thin though...added a little corn starch.

  • This was very good. It does have a good spicy kick to it which I really liked and the spice doesnt overpower the actual flavour. I did have to make adjustments due to what was available to me at the store and what I already had on hand. I didnt have turkey so just used ground beef and this worked out fine. I couldnt find the ground chipotle pepper so I used smoked paprika instead. I also used an entire 28 oz can of tomato puree and no water and it wasnt too tomatoey. I used some extra beans (2 cans of kidney beans and one can of romano beans.) I usually put veggies in my chili and I was missing that crunch and texture so I think next time, Ill try some celery and green pepper. The spice blend in this chili was really good and I think it would be good as a rub for meat, as well. Very adaptable and delicious recipe with a lot of possibilities. Thanks for the great recipe

  • WOW. This chili blew me away. When my husband saw that there was cocoa and cinnamon in the seasoning he was skeptical, but he did not complain once he ate the first bite. The first time I made it, I added some slices of roasted green chilis (my hubby is from NM) and the second time I made it I added a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeos. Both pots of chili were FANTASTIC

  • Y U MFrom Cincinnati originally and this reminded me a lot of Cincinnati style chili

  • Ive made this a few times now. Ive even doubled (or tripled) this recipe for a super bowl party and I tell you, I had no left overs when everyone left This is spice heavy and I like it that way. I also love how easy it is to make and there really are no frills. No need to chop up jalepenos or purchase special chili beans or have whatever random stuff... Its all already in my pantry It is all very adjustable as well. I like to use dry beans, so I will either use a combo of beans (black, kidney, pinto or red... Really, whatever I have on hand) or a single type of bean,soak them, cook them, then add them in when it is called for in the recipe. I cant find tomato pure and dont bother trying to find it in the grocery store so I just use a whole can of tomato sauce. It works well. The cocoa powder and cinnamon are wonderful in here and once all the liquids are in, I add a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Why not? Great blend of spices and is so warming in this fall weather Look no further, this one is THE recipe.

  • Delicious But you must use all the ingredients.

  • Yum This is a great SPICY chili. When I make it for adults who like spice, I make it as is. When I make it for my family I adjust by only adding in a fraction of the spicier spices and adjusting as needed.

  • This is a fantastic chili BUT my best piece of advice on this dish is to make it a day in advance because it gives the flavours time to merge. I made this dish EXACTLY as written which is key. Dont substitute on Chef Johns recipes because each ingredient is chosen for a reason. When we ate this the night I made it, it was good BUT when we had it the next night, it was a completely different dish altogether. So flavourful and worth the effort. Thank you Chef John for yet another great recipe.

  • Really delicious Chili We will be making this again to share with family and friends

  • This was very easy to make and it came out delicious I didnt have ancho chile powder so I substituted regular chile powder in its place. I also halved the chipotle powder because we dont like things that spicy. This will definitely be in my regular rotation of recipes. Thank you Chef John

  • The family loved this chili, a perfect spice combination for a chili base, and it can use with various meats and stocks. This is our go-to for chili of many varieties due to that spice blend. The base blend is a bit spicy but you can add some jalapenos, or some chilis in adobo for more spice, or more beans and stock to absorb the spice if too much.

  • Exquisite...Love this recipe of turkey as an alternative to ground beef. I love both; I just try to eat less red meat now. The only other thing I changed wasI didnt use cayenne pepper. Everything came out very good and quite tasty. Will definitely make it again

  • Has a wonderful New Mexico flavor from most Chilis I have had.Its extremely hot, but with cheddar cheese and Corn bread resting on top of the Chili helped tone the fire down on the palate.

  • We love this Chili, I have been making it every week for the past monthI followed the recipe , but I just Tomato Sauce , and 1/2 cup chicken stock- no water. I also added cut up red & yellow bellpper for color, and to add veggies. Its a bit spicy but perfect for our family. We love it

  • This is my go to chili recipe. Very simple and tasty, my family cannot even tell I used ground turkey. The cocoa powder gives it such a wonderful depth of flavor I like my chili chunky so I add a can of diced tomatoes, and it turns out perfect for me. You will def enjoy this chili

  • I have made this chili many times. I stick pretty much with the recipe, the spice mixture is perfect. I do cook my own beans, I cant stand canned beans and I mix three types of beans the pink one John uses, black beans and Red kidney beans. And another tip I got from Micheal Symon, I swapped out an IPA beer for an equal amount of water. I make this every year for Super Bowl, served with many choices of toppings, red and green onions, greek yogurt, avocado, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes & micro greens, guests choose the toppings they want and it is served with homemade cornbread. The huge chili pot is always empty

  • Madre some changes to suit me.Basically a fair recipe I will use again with my changes.

  • Delicious I used half the cayenne and dried chipotle to cut the spice. Terrific depth of flavor Will definitely make again.

  • This is a great recipe and the cocoa powder was a great addition Amazing how a little cocoa powder added so much flavor I have also made this chili with ground chicken instead of turkey and we like it better with chicken. Either way its a great recipe. Thanks Chef John

  • Another amazing recipe from Chef John This chili hit all the marks The turkey meat really kept it light. The spice mix was so complimentary I would have never thought to add cinnamon and cocoa, brilliantI was really worried that this chili may be too spicy for the kids. So to keep the heat moderate, I just used 1/8 of the cayenne pepper. I sprinkled some fresh cilantro when serving. I did not modify anything else in the recipe. So yummy

  • Best Chile. Was first time I made Chile with Turkey, will now become a regular in my house. Anything Chef John is always great.

  • I liked it,. big g said way too spicy.

  • Added mushrooms and used smoked paprika; needed to add salt to round out the flavors. Yum

  • This was very good and an authentic tasting chili with the ancho and chipotle chili powders. It was a bit spicy for my wife, so I cooked some rice to serve it with. I would make again because the spiciness covers up the turkey flavor. You would not be able to distinguish it from beef chili.

  • Great, full flavor I like spicy but this was more than we liked--added a can of diced tomatoes (w/o liquid). Easy to make & better made the day before.

  • As advertised, this was a hit. I didnt even have chili powder, improvised tremendously and it was still a hit.

  • So good Made a few slight changes - half the amount of turkey (about 1lb) and upped it with veggies (yellow pepper, zucchini, mushrooms) and used normal chili powder instead of the adobo stuff. Turned out amazing... one of the few times I made a recipe and did not have to adjust the seasoning AT ALL. Served with a dollop of sour cream and avocado slices as Chef John recommended, SO yummy... definitely keeping this one on hand.

  • A bit spicy for me, but my son loved it. It is even better the second day, served with sourdough bread

  • Thanks to Chef John. Healthy tasty chili.

  • Left out the chipotle (no fans here) and used leftover Thanksgiving turkey (chopped). Good Thanks, Chef John

  • This is a great Turkey chili recipe especially because of the detail of what to use. Unfortunately, I only had 2 tbsp. of chili powder which was evident because it wasnt as spicy as it could have been but it was still great with only 2 tbsp. of chili powder. Also, I could not find a small can of tomato puree, only 28 oz. I poured the entire can in there but diluted it with water. One other thing that I did which was awesome, instead of 2.5 lbs of ground turkey, I used 1.5 lbs ground turkey and 1.5 lbs of turkey breast tenderloin. This was a great combination and the chili was absolutely perfect. I browned the meat and seasonings together and then put it in Crock-Pot for 6 hours. Thanks, Chef John

  • My husband wanted chili and he wanted turkey chili so right away I knew I could trust Chef John. Im normally not a chili fan, but this chili is fantastic and you cant even tell its turkey. This will be my new go to chili recipe from now on. I served it with skillet corn bread and my own mixture of avocado mixed with scallions, jalapeos, lime juice, tomatoes, my spice mixture and parsley on top to cut the heat. (We hate cilantro).When I make Cincinnati Chili there is unsweetened chocolate in there so its not weird for us at all to see cocoa in chili.

  • Excellent Chili recipe I will be making this one again. My wife thought it a bit to spicy but she has zero tolerance for spicy foods. personally I would kick the spice up a bit with a little ghost pepper and then enter it into a chili cook-off. A guaranteed winner

  • Very tasty Made it, loved it, will make again and omit the salt

  • Great recipe the spice mix is on point. I just added a green pepper was my only change and I was out of ca. pepper I just used hot sauce as a sub. so tasty, I took some to my dad he could not even tell it was turkey

  • Everyone loved it Will definitely make again. I used 2 19oz cans of tomatoes in pure + 1 cup of water. The consistency was perfect

  • Loved this recipe. Easy to make yet so delicious, flavours are very complex and it leaves you wanting to have more.

  • No way was I putting 1/4 cup of any kind of chili powder in this. I cut way back on the ancho and it was still hot enough. I happened to have some canned pumpkin left over from so I tossed that in and used chicken stock instead of water. Added a bell pepper because I had one of them too

  • Very spicy with a kick to it Everyone in my family loved it I love tomatoes in my chilli, so the only thing extra I added were a couple of cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles.

  • So delicious and spicy,

  • I have made this recipe many times. I do cut back the chili powder a little, especially if Im serving it to family. Otherwise I make it as stated in the recipe. Won a chili cook off one year with a bunch of firefighters as judges. I usually do turkey but I made it with leftover smoked brisket including the burnt ends. Best chili ever

  • The only change I made was I cooked in a slow cooker. For me it didnt have enough spice to it. If I make it again, I would add some more spice. Thought it was blah.

  • I thought the spices were perfect Dont leave anything out. I topped my chili with arugula, chopped yellow peppers, scallions and a touch of chopped jalapeo. I had an unripened avocado or I would have added that, too. Will make again. Thanks, Chef John

  • Made quiet a few adds....was not spicy enough for us.

  • This is so delicious It has such a great flavor to it

  • Absolute best chili ever It has gotten to the point that its gone in 2 days because my coworkers always want me to share.

  • This is my base go to chili recipe. I do adjust the heat as I cannot handle very spicy foods.

  • I had always made chili using a store-bought spice kit, but based on the reviews here, I decided to mix the spices included in Chef Johns recipe. His spice combination is spot-on and is as good as any chili Ive ever eaten. I cut the heat back by about one-third and it was just right for my girlfriend. Instead of ground turkey, I substituted 1.5 pounds of cubed ribeye and 1 pound of ground sausage. I topped it with cheddar, chives, cilantro, sour cream, and diced avocado.EXCELLENT

  • I did make changes. I cut the recipe in half because I cook for one. I added some sweet peppers that I sauteed with onions and celery. I added liquid smoke , soy sauce and a little ketchup to temper the hot peppers. It was excellent and for 5 meals, I never tired of it

  • Cooking for 2 small children so made a few changes - scant amount of cayenne and also did not have/use the dried chipotle. I also only had 1.5 pounds of turkey so I made adjustments accordingly. Used 3 cans of kidney beans because its what I had. Used 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 small can of tomato paste (A MUST). Also added a chopped green pepper and a cup or two of carrots I chopped VERY finely in the food processor - a great way to get more veggies in and no one would ever see them. Did not like it so thick so added water to my liking. Thanks Chef John Will definitely make again and again

  • Awesome spice mix Complex flavors. It is worthwhile to get the freshest chile powders such as from Penzeys Spices. Adjust the heat as tolerated as it makes for a pretty intense flavor with how it is written. Will definitely make again during this winter session.

  • Great flavor. Made several changes after trying the original recipe, but mainly additions (i.e. Bell peppers, crushed tomatoes)

  • Great chili recipe A little spicy for my kids taste, but with a spoonful of Greek yogurt it was perfect for the adults Thanks Chef John for another great recipe

  • Very easy to make, this recipe packs a lot of flavor. I had to substitute some ingredients like the ancho chile powder (very hard to find in Colombia) an added others such as red and yellow bell peppers to have more veggies in the dish. Garnished with white cheddar and home made guacamole, my guests were more than happy to indulge in this hearty meal.

  • Followed the recipe as written, but did end up needing to add a little more tomato puree and liquid (only because we dont like our chili super thick). Absolutely delicious, as all Chef Johns recipes that I have tried are. Will definitely put this recipe into regular rotation, though next time I may add some other beans along with the pinto just to add variety.

  • Great, and easy to make. I used beef broth instead of just water for a meatier flavor. Keep some extra broth on hand in case it needs to be thinned out. Its not to spicy, but you can feel the heat on your lips about 5 minutes later. Enjoy with cheese over baked potatoes or Frito chips .

  • I followed the directions exactly and I had to throw it away. 2.5 teaspoons of salt is waaaay too much I will make it again cutting the salt down by a half and let you know what I think then.

  • Spicy AND Full of Flavor Everyone loved this exactly as recipe listed. Loved the heat. Loved the texture. Loved the flavor. Thanks Chef John. Another hit that will be made again and again.

  • Made 1/2 batch with dry beans in the pressure cooker. Added 1/4 cup of oats, the 2 cups of water the recipe called for, and a little dash of liquid smoke. Toss everything together in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes and walk away.

  • Outstanding. Made it for ourselves and guests many times.

  • I made some very small changes because of what I had in the cabinet like I added chipotle salsa instead of the cayenne pepper add two cans of red kidney beans. It was so good and definitely will make again

  • Perfect for the family. I made it to last for a few days. My kids ate it all in one day. My only variation from the recipe is that I used a little less than the 1/4 cup of chili powder and in addition to the kidney beans I also added garbanzo beans and lima beans.

Source: Chef John's Turkey Chili

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