Slow Cooker Turkey Chili in a bowl with cornbread and sliced green onions on a cutting board
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Chili is one of those meals that is craved on a cold winter day and this Slow Cooker Turkey Chili will definitely satisfy that craving.  Using the slow cooker allows the flavors to grow and blend throughout the day!  And once you add all the ingredients, you can let the slow cooker do its thing until it is ready to eat!

Using turkey instead of beef makes this chili leaner compared to beef.  And in combination with the kidney beans, makes this recipe a high protein, high fiber, and high antioxidant meal! Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is a great healthy meal in the fall and winter.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

  • Turkey – Using ground turkey that is 93% lean, 7% fat is a heart-healthy choice.  I like using ground turkey because it is not as greasy as using ground beef.  But you can also use lean ground beef if you prefer, at least 90% is considered lean.
  • Kidney Beans – Dark red and light red kidney beans add a slight difference in color.  You can use 2 cans of dark red kidney beans if you want even more of those dark red antioxidants!
  • Tomatoes – Diced tomatoes with green chilies and tomato sauce gives this chili lots of tomato flavor.  The mild green chilies also give it a mild spice flavor, perfect to give it a little extra flavor.
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, paprika, and coriander add amazing flavor.  Chili powder is a blend of chili peppers, cumin, oregano, garlic, and salt. Adding more cumin to chili adds a warm, earthy flavor to chili and is commonly used in Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines as well.  And paprika has a peppery flavor, but it can vary depending on the level of spice or sweetness of the peppers used.

How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

First, heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Then add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Pour onions and garlic into a 6–7 quart slow cooker.

Chopped onions sautéed and added to slow cooker
Onions added to the slow cooker

Then, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add ground turkey and cook until the turkey has cooked all the way through, and it is no longer pink.  Make sure to break up the ground turkey as it cooks.

Browning ground turkey in a skillet
Brown turkey in skillet

Next, add the browned ground turkey to the slow cooker.  There will not be much fat because turkey is lean, but you can drain the fat if you prefer or add it to the slow cooker for additional flavor.

Browned ground turkey in slow cooker with onions
Browned ground turkey added to slow cooker

Stir in the diced tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, coriander, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Added diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to slow cooker
Diced tomatoes and tomato sauce added to slow cooker
Kidney beans and spices in slow cooker with other ingredients
Kidney beans and spices added to slow cooker

Then cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours.

Slow cooker turkey chili ingredients stirred
Ingredients stirred and are ready to cook!

Serve the slow cooker turkey chili warm.  Add additional toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, or sour cream.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is ready
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is ready to serve!
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili served with shredded cheddar, green onions, and sour cream in a bowl
Delicious Slow Cooker Turkey Chili served with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions

Nutritional Benefits of Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Protein

This recipe is loaded with protein from ground turkey and kidney beans.  One ounce of cooked ground turkey has 7 grams of protein, and one-half cup of kidney beans has 7 grams of protein.  One serving of this recipe contains 30.5 grams of protein!

Protein has many uses and benefits in the body such as it helps to maintain or increase lean body mass, reduces appetite and hunger levels, boosts metabolism, increases fat burning, lowers blood pressure, and promotes weight maintenance.  And it also helps to make antibodies that fight infections.

Fiber

Kidney beans are an excellent source of fiber in addition to protein, iron, manganese, folate, phosphorus, and thiamine. One-half cup of kidney beans has 7 grams of fiber.  This recipe also gets fiber from tomatoes and onions.  One serving of this recipe contains 9 grams of fiber.  

If you are looking for more recipes with beans, check out how I added black beans to Turkey Taco Skillet!

Antioxidants

The vegetables in this recipe (tomatoes, onions, kidney beans), as well as the spices, provide lots of antioxidants.  Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene. Lycopene gives tomatoes their bright red color and protects your cells from damage.  This helps to lower the risk of cancers such as lung, stomach, or prostate cancer. In addition, it can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, or the “bad” cholesterol.

Spices

Cumin has impressive health benefits. It promotes digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes. Cumin also helps increase the release of bile from the liver which helps to digest fats.  It is also a rich source of iron, providing 20% of your daily iron needs in 1 teaspoon!  And cumin may even prevent food-borne illness because of its antimicrobial properties.

Garlic is a nutrient-dense food and an excellent way to flavor food and is also an excellent source of vitamin B6.  Additionally, garlic provides a good source of manganese, selenium, and vitamin C.  It also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and lower cholesterol levels.

Paprika is made from peppers that can range from mild, sweet, to hot.  In addition to flavor, it adds a red color to your food.  It is an excellent source of vitamin A meeting 20% of your daily needs from 1 tablespoon. And it contains antioxidants with help to fight cellular damage caused by free radicals. Some of the antioxidants in paprika are lutein and zeaxanthin and these can improve eye health and lower the risk of cataracts.  


Tips

  • Sautéing the onions before adding them to the slow cooker helps to make the onions soft and tender, so be sure to not skip this step.
  • If you cannot find diced tomatoes with green chilies, then you can buy 2 cans of diced tomatoes and a separate 4-ounce can of diced mild green chilies. The spice level is mild, but you can omit them if you do not like any spice.  Or if you like extra spice, then get hot green chilies.  You can adjust the spice level to your taste!
  • Enjoy the chili on its own or have a slice of cornbread with it!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy


Slow Cooker Turkey Chili in a bowl with green onions and cornbread on the side

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Nosh Nourish Wander
Using turkey instead of beef makes this chili leaner. And in combination with the kidney beans, this recipe is a high protein, high fiber, and high antioxidant meal!
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 362 kcal

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground turkey 93% lean/7% fat
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 3 cans (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz) dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) light red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • shredded cheddar cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Pour onions and garlic into 6-7 quart slow cooker.
  • Then, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add ground turkey and cook until the turkey has cooked all the way through, and it is no longer pink. Make sure to break up the ground turkey as it cooks.
  • Next, add the browned ground turkey to the slow cooker. There will not be much fat because turkey is lean, but you can drain the fat if you prefer or add it to the slow cooker for additional flavor.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, paprika, sugar, coriander, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Then cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours.
  • Serve the slow cooker turkey chili warm. Add additional toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, or sour cream.

Notes

  • Sautéing the onions before adding to the slow cooker helps to make the onions soft and tender, so be sure to not skip this step.
  • If you cannot find diced tomatoes with green chilies, then you can buy 2 cans of diced tomatoes and a separate 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies. The spice level is mild, but you can omit them if you do not like any spice.  Or if you like extra spice, then get hot green chilies.  You can adjust the spice level to your taste!
  • Enjoy the chili on its own or have a slice of cornbread with it!
 
Nutrition Information: 362 calories, 30.5 grams of protein, 35.1 grams of carbohydrates, 9.3 grams of fiber, 10.4 grams of fat, 70 mg of cholesterol
Keyword high fiber, high protein, slow cooker
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Dietitian, food lover, and world traveler! Veronica has been a registered dietitian for over 18 years, specializing in clinical and community nutrition. She enjoys wellness, trying new foods, and exploring the globe to learn about different cultures.