When you don't have time to simmer chili for hours, this quick and easy turkey chili is a satisfying family dinner. It's easy to improvise this recipe based on what you have on hand.
Let me be clear - this is not the type of chili you simmer for hours and feed to 20 people. This is "It's 5pm and my family's hungry and I don't feel like cooking" chili. This is chili that can be made with just a few ingredients in not much more than 30 minutes.
It's not called Quick and Easy Turkey Chili for nothing!
And yet, this turkey chili is also really satisfying and flavorful and no one will leave the table feeling hungry. I call that a dinner win.
You can follow my exact recipe, but you can also improvise as much as like based on what you have in your kitchen.
Here's How I Make Quick and Easy Turkey Chili
- Saute onion and ground meat
- Add a few spices
- Add beans, salsa and water
- Simmer, adjust seasonings, and eat
- Load up your bowl with grated cheese and other toppings, of course!
Here's How You Can Make This Chili with What You Have on Hand
Meat: I use ground turkey for this recipe, but ground beef is also a favorite.
Vegetarian: Skip the meat and add a cooked grain like farro, barley or quinoa instead.
Veggies: The more the merrier! I often make this chili with just an onion, but you can also add chopped bell pepper, zucchini, fresh tomatoes, corn, or grated carrot.
Beans: I use whatever is in my pantry, usually a combination of two beans. Pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans are always good. Sometimes I use white beans or garbanzos.
Tomato: I add salsa to this quick and easy turkey chili for instant flavor. You can use a 14-oz can of diced tomatoes instead.
Add Heat: I'm feeding this to young kids, so I don't make my chili spicy. Instead, I serve hot sauce and diced jalapeno on the side. If you want spicier chili, add cayenne or hot peppers or use hot salsa or fire roasted canned tomatoes.
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Quick and Easy Turkey Chili
When you don't have time to simmer chili for hours, this quick and easy turkey chili makes a satisfying family dinner.
Follow this exact recipe, or change it up with ingredients you have on hand. Read the blog post above for suggestions!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 1x
- Category: Chili
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup salsa (fresh, refrigerated salsa works best)
- 2 15-ounce can beans, drained (use what you have - see suggestions below in notes section)
- 1 cup water, plus more as needed
- Heat a wide, deep skillet or wide pot over medium heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until softened.
- Add any other optional vegetables that need to be cooked, like bell peppers, zucchini, etc..and saute a few minutes more to soften.
- Add the garlic and saute about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground turkey. Season the meat lightly with salt. Cook the meat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
- Add the remaining ingredients: chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, salsa, beans and water. If adding fresh tomatoes or corn, add now.
- Bring the chili to a boil then reduce heat back down to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili seems dry and starts sticking to the skillet, or is too thick for your tastes, then add more water as needed. Using just 1 cup water makes a thick chili. If you prefer chili that isn't so thick, you'll definitely want to add more water.
- Taste and adjust seasonings. I almost always add more salt. You can also add more chili powder or dried oregano.
- Serve with any chili toppings you have on hand: Sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, avocado, and tortilla chips.
Beans: I use whatever I have in my pantry. Pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans are always good. Sometimes I use white beans or garbanzo beans.
Keywords: turkey chili, easy chili