Easy Turkey Chili

An easy turkey chili that’s filling, cozy, and healthy. Perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight, and you only have to wash one pot!

Hand holding tortilla chip scooping stovetop turkey chili from white bowl with sour cream

Punxsutawney Phil says that we get an early spring this year, and I might believe him!

For the past week or so I’ve been greatly enjoying the 70-degree weather and eating lunch on the lovely screened porch we have at work. It’s one of the greatest perks of our new office building, in my opinion.

After being stuck inside all day, I love getting a little fresh air for half an hour. The view is spectacular; it overlooks the beautiful marsh, you can see the iconic Ravenel Bridge in the distance, and egrets and herons fly by and perch in the shallow waters to find their own lunch.

For those of you not from the South, the screen is essential for keeping out no-see-ums and mosquitos during the majority of the year. There’s even a fan on the blue-painted ceiling to keep it from getting too stuffy when it’s hot and humid during the summer. And there are two amazingly comfy chairs with six inch thick cushions that I can sink into for a little homey retreat during my 30-minute break. 

It’s pretty much a perfect porch.

I’ve been saying to people, “You think we’re going to get a winter this year?”

“We already had it!” they tell me. 

Now, I am not much of a cold weather person but I think I can count the number of sub-freezing nights we’ve had this season on one hand, or maybe two. I haven’t even had to bring my lemon tree inside.

Overhead shot of two bowls of easy turkey chili surrounded by tortilla chips

I thought this would make me happy, but it turns out there is one thing I do actually truly love about the winter: the food it inspires. I’ve found myself saying, “But wait! I haven’t even made a beef stew! I haven’t made mulled wine! I wanted to make pot roast again!” All delicious things, but they’re not exactly springtime foods.

I actually — dare I say it — find myself hoping, just a teensy bit, that Punxsutawney Phil is wrong this year, so I can get in my hibernation food fix before winter is truly over. Wikipedia says that Phil has actually only been correct 39% of the time, which are significantly worse odds than chance, and that he’d actually be correct more of the time if the predictions were reversed and seeing his shadow meant an early spring instead. So there’s hope, I guess. 

In the meantime, I’m going to pretend it feels like winter and go ahead and make all my cold weather foods, like this easy turkey chili. 

Closeup side view of easy turkey chili in white bowl topped with sour cream, surrounded by tortilla chips

Making Easy Turkey Chili

Making this easy turkey chili is super simple because it only takes one pot and 30 minutes, and is basically just throwing a bunch of cans of things and some spices into a pot. That means no cutting boards to wash either!

It’s also pretty healthy, which isn’t the word that comes to mind with a super hearty, cozy meal. But it’s all beans and tomatoes and lean meat and onions, and not any butter or fatty things, so it really is a health food! Now, the pile of tortilla chips I usually serve it with tell a different story, but you could totally just eat it with a spoon.

I make this with ground turkey because I find it to be more flavorful, but you could also make this with ground beef. I top mine with a little cheese and a dollop of sour cream and scoop it with round tortilla chips, or cornbread is another excellent option to serve with it.

It was delicious, and it’s gone now, and I can check it off my winter foods checklist, if there is such a thing.

I do think we’ll dip back down into the cold for a while, because Charleston can never make up its mind what season it wants to be. (Except in summer. Everyone knows when it’s summer.)

But for now, I’m going to go about my business like it’s winter and make sure I don’t hold back on the cozy foods around here. 

What’s your favorite way to eat chili? Do you consider it a winter food or a year-round food? Let me know in the comments!

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Hand holding tortilla chip scooping easy turkey chili from white bowl
5 from 1 vote

Easy Turkey Chili

An easy turkey chili that’s filling, cozy, and healthy. Perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight, and you only have to wash one pot!
Print Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Main Course
Yield: 4
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1-1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 16 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add ground turkey and cook, breaking into small pieces, just until no longer pink. Drain grease.
  • Add beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Bring to a simmer and turn down to medium low. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream and serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.
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  1. Haha now sooner did I post about this very same thing did it SNOW here. I don’t know if it snowed there but we had hail, sleet, and snow all in one day for the Superbowl so it was really interesting. Your porch sounds like a dream! I think this year I’m going to finally take the plunge and get a fruit tree or two. I really want a lemon and a pear tree. I agree, I feel like I didn’t get enough time to enjoy my winter comfort favorites. I think I might need to make this chili! I have some meat in the freezer that’s screaming for chili.

    1. Carmella, you’re so right!!! It was FREEZING here Sunday – all drizzly and windy and even with four layers of shirt on, and leg warmers and fuzzy boots, it didn’t stop my face from hurting! My FACE! And tonight it’s supposed to get down to twenty-something. Ugh. At least I can make more soups and stews in peace now?

      I want to get a couple fruit trees this year too, and blueberries! We have a giant side yard and I just need to decide where to put them, to leave room for a possible future workshop or something. We have a potted lemon tree on the stairs on our front porch, but I’d really like to get a nectarine tree, or figs, persimmons, or pears. Or all of the above. Really, I’d like one of those amazing grafted trees that produces like 10 different kinds of fruits. Have you seen those?

      Let me know if you try the chili and how you like it! Stay warm! Your Superbowl weather sounds pretty intense!

  2. This sounds great – and so easy. Like you, I prefer the warmer weather! (Which explains my life in Tucson! It’s even too cold here these days…)

    1. Ughhhhh, I got what I asked for. Today… SO COLD. SOOOOO COLD. It was like 40 degrees, drizzly and windy. I had on like 4 layers of shirt and a scarf and hat and leg warmers and fuzzy boots, but my FACE hurt walking outside. I don’t know how northerners do it. Yeah, I don’t think we’ve had winter yet… How’s the weather in the old pueblo?

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