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Smoky Slow Cooker Turkey Chili





This smoky slow cooker turkey chili is rich and bold in flavor- with chipotle chilis, ground turkey, kidney beans and plenty of spices. The slow cooker makes this easy and hands off to prep, and it works great for meal prep! 

Hearty, healthy and easy to prepare…these are just a few of my favorite things about chili. While I love a good Vegan Crockpot Chili and Crockpot White Chicken Chili, this smoky turkey chili might just be my favorite!


For extra tasty recipes and to see what I’ve been getting as much as you may observe me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter .

Smoky Slow Cooker Turkey Chili in blue bowl

With lean ground turkey, beans, corn, tomatoes, onions and garlic, this chili is not only loaded with healthy vegetables, but also with protein.


It’s a very flexible recipe that you can add or subtract from to get your perfect bowl of chili. After simmering all day, there is so much delicious smoky southwestern flavor in every bite!

Reasons you’ll ♡ smoky slow cooker turkey chili:

  • it simmers 8 hours in the slow cooker for an easy hands off dinner
  • you can sautee the turkey for extra flavor or skip this step in favor of shorter prep time
  • it works as a crockpot freezer meal (and freezes great after cooking as well!)

Recipe video

Wondering how this meal comes together? Watch the 1 minute video below to see how to cook it! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

ingredients required to make smoky slow cooker turkey chili

Sautée the turkey + spices for extra flavor

The first step in this recipe is to brown the turkey in a frying pan. We do this for a few reasons: Firstly, it’s thought to improve the flavors of the turkey, though I’m not sure you’d notice a difference flavor-wise in this chili.

Secondly, browning the turkey helps improve its texture by giving it a chew. I’ve found when cooking ground turkey right in the slow cooker that it is softer, and I do miss that chewy ‘meaty’ texture.

Taking the time to sautée the spices helps build flavors by releasing the oils in the spices, making their flavor stronger.

Can I put the meat into the slow cooker without cooking it? Yes, you can do this, however the texture will be slightly softer, with less chew to it, and the flavors of the chili may lack in depth ever so slightly.

Pick the right ground turkey

For the best flavor, pick a mixture of light and dark turkey meat for the best flavor: typically, ground turkey can be found at the store simply labelled ‘ground turkey’. This is a mix of light and dark meat, and works perfectly well for turkey chili.

Avoid anything labelled ‘turkey breast’ or ‘extra lean’, as they are light and lacking in flavor.

Control your spice level

Buyer beware: chipotle peppers are spicy. As written, this turkey chili is mildly spicy. Adjust the chipotle to taste: if you like a spicy chili, double the chipotles!

Freeze leftover chipotle peppers & adobo sauce in jars or freezer bags for up to 3 months.

overhead view of uncooked turkey chili in slow cooker

Finishing touches

I like to give my chili a taste before serving, especially for long cooking slow cooker meals. Is the flavor flat? Add a squeeze of lime or something acidic to boost flavors. Is the seasoning off? Add some salt to taste. Usually these two things can fix any flavor issues quickly.

Chili is all about the toppings. Here are some of my favorites:

  • green onions
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • tortilla strips or chips
  • jalapenos
  • avocados

Equipment

I have owned Crock Pot brand slow cookers for many years now and have been extremely happy.

ingredients for crockpot chili in freezer bag

Meal prep it!

This recipe works incredibly well for meal prep. There are actually a few different ways you can incorporate it into your meal prep routine:

1. Crockpot freezer meal

This is a type of meal that you assemble ahead before cooking, then freeze. If you choose to use this chili as a crockpot freezer meal, cook your turkey + spices, then cool completely before adding to your freezer bag.

You can store your crockpot freezer meal in

  • a gallon sized plastic freezer bag
  • a 3 quart glass meal prep container (I’m a fan of the ones IKEA carries)

2. Cook ahead and freeze

The second way you can meal prep chili is to cook it ahead and store in the fridge or freezer for easy reheat meals.

  • Store in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • Store in the freezer for up to 6 months

Check out my favorite freezer containers!

smoky turkey chili in slow cooker

More freezer meals

Smoky Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Mexican

Keyword: freezer, ground turkey, slow cooker

Calories: 293kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 6

This smoky slow cooker turkey chili is rich and bold in flavor- with chipotle chilis, ground turkey, kidney beans and plenty of spices. The slow cooker makes this easy and hands off to prep, and it works great for meal prep! 

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time4 hrs

Total Time4 hrs 20 mins

Instructions

  • Cook ground turkey- Cook ground turkey in a large pan over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces, until no pink remains (5-8 minutes). Add the chili powder, cumin, ground coriander and salt and cook for an additional 1 minute, until spices are fragrant. See note 4

  • Cook in slow cooker- Place turkey and spice mixture into a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker with all remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours.

  • Garnish + serve- Taste before serving and add salt or lime juice to taste. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips or avocado.

Notes

1- use a chili seasoning blend, not a pure ground chili powder. I’ve linked to a homemade chili seasoning blend recipe in the post
2- As written, this turkey chili is mildly spicy. Adjust the chipotle to taste: if you like a spicy chili, double the chipotles!
Freeze leftover chipotle peppers & adobo sauce in jars or freezer bags for up to 3 months.
3- not to be confused with ketchup, this is pureed tomatoes, sometimes call passata
4- you may skip cooking the turkey + spices, but your chili may have slightly less flavor
Storage
Cool chili completely, then portion out into meal prep containers or storage jars.

  • store in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • store in the freezer for up to 3 months

Reheating
Heat individual portions in the microwave until steaming hot.
Heat larger portions in a pot over medium heat on the stove until warmed through.
Freezer crockpot meal
This is a type of meal that you assemble ahead before cooking, then freeze. If you choose to use this chili as a crockpot freezer meal, cook your turkey + spices, then cool completely before adding to your freezer bag.
You can store your crockpot freezer meal in

  • a gallon sized plastic freezer bag
  • a 3 quart glass meal prep container (I’m a fan of the ones IKEA carries)

Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw completely before cooking as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of batch | Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 593mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g






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