Quick and Easy Turkey Chili

Bowl filled with turkey and bean chili garnished with parsley

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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!


Units Scale
  • 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
  • 3/4 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


  1. 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.
  2. Add any other optional vegetables that need to be cooked, like bell peppers, zucchini, etc..and saute a few minutes more to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and saute about 30 seconds.
  4. 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. 
  5. Add the remaining ingredients: chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, salsa, beans and water. If adding fresh tomatoes or corn, add now. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings. I almost always add more salt. You can also add more chili powder or dried oregano. 
  8. 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.