hearty three bean turkey chili

turkey meat bean chili

A basic meat + beans chili recipe, without all the frills, to take you back to why this classic is a favorite in the first place!

Culture + geographical location are both big parts of what influences our taste preferences + eating habits. When it comes to chili, each region has their own take on it. Beans or no beans? What type of meat? Thick or thin? How spicy?

turkey meat bean chili

According to this article by Serious Eats, I also learned that Illinois is the [self-proclaimed] chili capital of the world. I lived there for over 20 years and did not realize that — oops. Also, IL apparently also struggles with the spelling of chili. Opting for the double “L” in chilli. Maybe this explains why I keep naturally adding an extra L while writing this post + having it autocorrect my spelling every time…

bean cans pinto black kidney

I will tell you, this is more of a standard Illinois recipe rather than Cincinnati-style. I guess my IL roots are showing because the Cincinnati-style just doesn’t cut it for me. I need thick, chunky stew-like chili, not a meat sauce. [Sorry not sorry, Ohioans!]

turkey bean chili with cheese

Couple quick notes about this recipe:

  • You can choose any type of meat you want: ground turkey, chicken, beef, etc.
  • This was just enough spice for my husband + I, however, we are definitely more on the mild end of spice tolerance. Add additional jalapeño if you want more of a kick.
  • The purpose of the cornstarch is to create a thicker consistency rather than beans + meat floating in broth. You can skip this step if you wish, but I don’t recommend it!
  • This recipe is on the larger side because I love having leftover chili! This also freezes well.
  • This pairs lovely topped with cheese, sour cream / greek yogurt, oyster crackers or with a side of fresh cornbread!

hearty three bean turkey chili

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 45m
  • Total Time: 1h
  • Yield: about 10 cups
  • Category:


  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño, half the seeds removed, minced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, raw
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes, canned, not drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)


  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet & heat over medium-high.
  2. Add onions & bell peppers. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until they begin to soften.
  3. Add minced garlic & jalapeño, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. In the same pan, move the sautéed vegetables aside to make room for the ground turkey. Season both the meat + vegetables with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, & pepper.
  5. Brown the turkey until no longer pink, breaking it up into smaller pieces & mixing with the vegetables as you go.
  6. Transfer entire vegetable & meat mixture to a dutch oven or large stock pot. Add tomato paste, stirring to evenly distribute.
  7. Add diced tomatoes, all three types of beans, & broth. Bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat & allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. To thicken: Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid, transferring it to a separate dish. Add cornstarch & whisk until completely dissolved before incorporating back into the rest of the chili.
  10. Continue to simmer for 15 more minutes or until thickened to desired consistency. Remove from heat & let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

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