Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

  • By Jackie Sun
  • January 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili | Weeknight Meal #recipe via @CookSmartsIs anyone sick of seeing all these recipes for soups and stews, and slow cooker meals that will warm you up during the chilly season? To be honest, we’re totally not! In fact, we just can’t get enough of them. Having a slow cooker meal is definitely a highlight of winter, and it’s also the perfect way to let something else do all the cooking for you.

Once spring and summer roll around, we’re going to be switching to light meals and grilled recipes, so we’re going to take advantage of the slow cooker whenever we can! (Not that you can’t enjoy a good, slow-cooked meal come summertime. The slow cooker is so dependable and gets used so much in our kitchen.)

“Perfect for a cold January evening! We made it overnight and I must say, my husband was tempted to have a bowl for breakfast because he said it smelled so good. This is going in our favorites for sure!”

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili | Weeknight Meal #recipe via @CookSmartsBut if we’re going to make some belly-warming food, we’re going to go for an ultimate comfort food – chili!

Everyone probably has their go-to chili or traditional family recipe, but this one is definitely worth trying. We go a healthier route by using ground turkey rather than beef, and instead of the usual suspects – carrots and celery – we use green olives and corn. Nestled in the slow cooker, all the seasonings and flavor get seeped into every morsel.

“I have had a go-to chili recipe for years and it just got replaced! This was super flavorful. Slow cooker meals are the best!”

The result is a deliciously spiced, flavorful meal made even better with our favorite chili toppings – a sprinkle of Mexican cheese, creamy avocado, a dollop of sour cream, and sliced green onions.

With flavors like these, we wouldn’t be surprised if this recipe becomes your new favorite chili!

Make Once, Eat Twice:

Since you’re already making a batch of this chili in the slow cooker, why not double it and use half as nacho filling? You’ll save time and have two quick and delicious meals ready to go.

Just strain the liquids out very well, top on tortilla chips, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese melts. And yes, it’s okay to have nachos for dinner!

For More Smarts:

Soups develop more and more flavor as you let them sit. We recommend slow-cooking this before going to bed and then leaving it on warm the next day for more flavor development.

Prepping Smarts:

The slow cooker might be doing most of the work, but you’ll need to do a little chopping first. Learn how to chop onions and avocados with these videos:


How to Chop & Dice an Onion

Learning how to dice an onion correctly will save you so much time in the kitchen.


How to Chop Avocados

Watch this simple how-to video for chopping avocados.

Equipment Smarts:

Use a skillet like this one to saute the aromatics and ground meat before adding to the slow cooker.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
We love how it’s so easy to make flavorful meals with a slow cooker.

But if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also use a Dutch oven for excellent results.

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our ‘Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools’


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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Nothing beats the cold like a bowl of hearty chili chock full of meat, veggies, and beans. Enjoy this healthy version made with turkey and topped with avocado, cheese, and a dollop of sour cream, and you'll be set for the winter!

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 6 hr 30 min

Total time: 6 hr 45 min

Serves: 4


  • Chili powder - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika - 3/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Oregano - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper - pinch
  • Ground turkey - 1 lb
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
  • Green onions - 2 stalks, chopped - white and green parts separated
  • Onions (small) - 1, diced
  • Mexican blend cheese - 1 oz, grated (We use a Jack and cheddar mix)
  • Black or green olives - 2 1/2 oz, sliced
  • Kidney beans - 1/2 can, drained and rinsed (~1 cup of beans)
  • Avocado - 1, cubed
  • Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
  • Crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (14 oz) - 1 can
  • Corn kernels - 1 cup
  • Sour cream (opt) - for serving



  1. Make spice mix – Mix together chili powder, paprika, first part of salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Season ground turkey – Season with 1/3rd of the spice mix.
  3. Garlic / Green onions / Onions / Cheese – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  4. Olives / Beans / Avocado – Prep as directed.


  1. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil to skillet and then garlic, white parts of green onions, onions, and ground meat to skillet. Break up meat with a wooden spoon and cook until brown, ~6 minutes. (If not cooking in a slow cooker, just use a large Dutch oven instead of a skillet. After browning meat, add rest of the chili ingredients and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes).
  2. Transfer meat to a slow cooker.
  3. Add in olives, beans, crushed tomatoes, corn, remainder of the spices, and the second part of salt.
  4. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. This is perfect to do before bed, and the chili will be ready the next morning and then have the rest of the day to keep on developing flavors.
  5. Season chili to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce or any of the spices.
  6. Enjoy topped with avocado, green onions, cheese, and sour cream.


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