Heart Healthy Turkey Chili

Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won’t believe how great it tastes!

Grab a blanket and a spoon and get ready to curl up on the couch with the most deliciously luxurious bowl of turkey chili you’ve ever had!  Healthy, yet insanely flavorful, this turkey chili is perfect for a chilly night spent on the couch with your love, and for leftovers the next day for lunch!

Healthy Turkey Chili | The Chunky Chef | Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

When you think of a classic winter meal, what do you think of?  For me, I think of chili.  A hot, steamy bowl of chili topped with cool sour cream, buttery avocado, bright cilantro, flavorful green onions, and of course, some cheese.  It’s the kind of meal that you can eat while curled up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, watching a movie or some Netflix.  The perfect dinner in on a cold night!

This chili is heart healthy since it’s made with ground turkey which is 99% fat free…. but let me promise you something… healthy CAN equal tasty, and it definitely does in this case!  Don’t let the ground turkey turn you away… I know turkey has a reputation for being bland and boring, but this chili is certainly not those things.  In fact, you won’t be able to taste that it’s not ground beef!

I had never made turkey chili before, usually opting for the standard ground beef version, but honestly, I’m completely sold!  From now on, I’ll be making this chili with turkey 😀  My husband took some leftovers of the chili to work for his coworkers to try (and didn’t tell them beforehand that it was turkey), and they couldn’t tell.  So you get a super hearty chili, with sooo much less fat…. it’s like you can have your cake and eat it too (or in this case, chili lol).

Granted, I’m a self-proclaimed wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but… fair warning here, this chili has a kick to it.  A gloriously spicy kick, but a kick nonetheless 🙂  Of course, my version of “spicy” may not be the same as your version.  That’s where the sour cream comes in handy… it cools the chili off and just makes it melt in your mouth in a wave of spicy deliciousness!

One of my favorite things about chili is the toppings.  Oh my gawwwwd the toppings!  I tend to over-top my chili, because I like all that variety of flavor 🙂  You could top this chili with just about anything!  I chose to do a mix of monterey jack and cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced tomato, diced avocado, sliced green onions and minced cilantro.  It would be equally delicious with some corn kernels, or tortilla/corn chips as well!

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

As far as the preparation for this chili, it’s pretty standard and simple… nothing complicated and then it simmers on your stovetop for 40 minutes, which means you aren’t standing in the kitchen the whole time.  Go rest while dinner cooks away, you deserve it!!

There’s a secret ingredient in this chili… aren’t those fun?  You probably won’t guess what it is……… okay I’ll just tell you lol 🙂  It’s chocolate.  Yep, chocolate.  Don’t worry, it’s not the milk chocolate we snack on, it’s unsweetened baking chocolate.  So it doesn’t make the chili sweet, instead it just adds a depth of flavor and lusciousness that is really hard to beat!

If you’re looking to use up the baking chocolate you have, check out my Cincinnati-Style Chili… it’ll knock your socks off 😀

To start this chili off, saute your onion for a few minutes, then add the minced garlic and saute another couple of minutes.  Add the ground turkey and brown it, crumbling it as it browns.  You can use a wooden spatula for this, or do what I do, and go to town with your potato masher… it crumbles ground meats like a champ!

Once the turkey has browned, add in the diced red pepper, jalapeno and diced tomatos.  Let that cook for a few minutes while you get your other ingredients together.  There’s no need to drain the meat after it’s browned, since it’s ground turkey, there’s really no fat that renders 🙂  Add in your spices and stir to combine.

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

See how finely the turkey is crumbled? That’s how great the potato masher is

Next, add in your kidney beans (drained and rinsed), chicken stock and tomato sauce.  Stir to mix, and then add your chocolate.  Stir it for a minute to get it melted and let all the flavors combine.

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

Now set the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 40 minutes (stirring occasionally).  If you notice it’s drying up and getting too thick for your liking, add a splash of chicken stock as needed.

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

You’re going to want to let it sit on the stove to cool for about 5 minutes or so… it’s screaming hot.

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

There’s the turkey chili while it’s naked lol… no toppings.  If you prefer your chili this way, go for it 🙂

My only complaint with this recipe is that it doesn’t make enough!  There’s enough for 4 bowls, which is plenty for one meal, don’t worry.  I just love to have leftovers (how amazing does a bowl of this chili sound for lunch?!), so I would recommend doubling the recipe (I think it would freeze well too).  If you do double it, you’re going to want a deep pot, like a stock pot, to cook it in.

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

Ready for a bite?

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

Guys, I soooooo hope you try this recipe…. you won’t be sorry, I promise you!

Healthy Turkey Chili | The Chunky Chef | Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

Enjoy alongside a slice of this skillet cornbread!

Skillet Jalapeno Cheddar Homemade Cornbread | In true homestyle fashion, this jalapeño cheddar cornbread is baked in a cast iron skillet with bacon drippings for extra flavor!  Soft inside, with a mouthwatering crunch on the outside, this cornbread is the one you've been looking for! | https://www.thechunkychef.com | #cornbread #homemade #jalapenocheddar #castiron #homestyle

Recipe adapted from Living Better Together

Tools Used to Make This Recipe:

Enameled Dutch Oven – I’ve upgraded my standard cast iron dutch oven (in the photos) to this enameled one and I LOVE it!

Silicone Coated Potato Masher – You don’t want to scratch up that lovely enamel in the dutch oven right?

** Disclaimer:  I make NO health claims regarding this recipe, as I am not a nutritionist.  I list it as heart healthy because of the switch to lean turkey breast instead of ground beef.  If watching a strict diet, please do your own research and nutritional calculations, thank you.**

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Heart Healthy Turkey Chili - Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!

Heart Healthy Turkey Chili

Chili is such a perfect winter meal, so how about making this heart healthy yet super hearty turkey chili tonight? You won't believe how great it tastes!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin comment
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Recipe Author The Chunky Chef


  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 roma or plum tomatoes diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 oz – 14 . can red kidney beans thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 - 14 oz . can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper depending on desired heat level - I use 1/2 tsp
  • 1 oz . 100% cacao Baker's Chocolate
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Dice onion, red pepper, jalapeno and mince garlic. Set aside.
  • In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add oil and heat to medium low, add onions and saute around 5 minutes or so, stirring often.
  • Add minced garlic and cook, stirring often for 2 minutes.
  • Increase heat to medium or medium high and add ground turkey, cook until browned, crumbling into small pieces (use a potato masher if desired).
  • Add diced jalalpenos, red peppers, tomatoes and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, and apple cider vinegar and stir.
  • Add in remaining ingredients and stir.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chili will thicken. If you notice it getting too thick for your tastes, add a splash of chicken stock as needed.
  • Turn heat off after the 40 minutes has passed and let rest on the stove for another 5 minutes before serving.
  • Top with optional green onion, cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, etc), sour cream, minced cilantro, diced avocado, and more diced tomatoes. (or whatever toppings you prefer)


I would suggest doubling this recipe... if you do so, you'll need a pretty deep pot (like a stock pot) to cook it in
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90 comments on “Heart Healthy Turkey Chili”

  1. Made this for Super Bowl Sunday.  Was delicious!!  Followed the recipe exactly.  This will be my go-to chili recipe.  Thank you, Amanda!!

  2. This is my go to chili recipe to make! It’s so delicious especially on a cold day! Thanks for sharing your recipe with all of us!

  3. Thanks for a fantastic recipe! I made it earlier today and loved it. I didn’t have any Bakers Chocolate, so I looked online and put 3 tablespoons of Cocoa Powder and 1 T. Avacado Oil
    instead and it seemed to have worked perfectly!
    I will definitely be making this recipe again! 🙂

  4. This was outstanding! My husband loved it. I will be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Amanda PLEASE!!…This chilli is the BOMB!!..Ground beef? Who needs iT?…The flavor wins. Period.Thank you . One other favorite meal I can eat and ENJOY with less calories. AND I can control the salt.

  6. Even though I make a few minor adjustments, this is hands down my favorite chili recipe. I’ve done the recipe with turkey and I’ve done it with beef, and it’s fantastic both ways.

  7. Wow, thank you for combining healthy and delicious ingredients! Can’t wait to prepare it!

  8. I believe the recipe is miss marked with some of the ingredients, 2 tablespoons paprika seem the most suspicious to me. I made it as the short recipe said, with the exception that I actually cut up the tomatoes (it doesn’t say to) and it was a pretty bad experience, I did not enjoy the taste. But again I’m curious if part of the recipe is miss marked.

    It’s also frustrating that the ingredients don’t follow the short recipe below. In addition to being out of order it doesn’t mention how to prepare the roma tomatoes, just to add them, though I’m again assuming they need to be chopped up.

    it’s also worth noting that this soup as is, is NOT heart healthy. The point of using turkey is to avoid saturated fat, however cheese and especially sour cream is chuck full of saturated fat. The average serving size of cheese like cheddar has 6.3 grams (over 30% of your daily amount) where 2 tablespoons of sour cream has another 3. There’s another 6 or so grams in the turkey, total, not per serving.

    *The American Heart Association says a 2000 cal diet should limit it’s sat fat intake to 12 grams total. That’s hard to do when you’re getting 9-10 grams from one serving of this soup.

    **The FDA has a definition of what foods can be deemed heart healthy and one of these definitions is to have less than 1 gram of saturated fat Kinde Bars were in a lot of trouble for this very reason.

    Make sure you check meals completely before you eat them if you’re at risk for a heart attack, don’t rely on other people to do it for you.

    • Hi Jeff. It seems you may have mis-read the recipe… there is only 1 Tbsp of paprika in the recipe. Using 2 would definitely change the taste. I added the (, diced) clarification to the recipe to further clarify that they should be diced (it mentions it in the instructions, as well as in the post itself), so thank you for bringing that to my attention. This is a chili, not a “soup”, and the ONLY reason I mention that this is heart healthy, is that I use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Obviously people are smart enough to know that toppings they add, such as cheese and sour cream, will increase the fat of the recipe. As you can see from my photos, I used MAYBE 1 1/2 Tbsp of shredded cheese, so not a large portion at all… same with the sour cream. I listed the toppings as OPTIONAL, so if you would prefer to not add them, then don’t. Moderation is a wonderful thing. Have a great day.

  9. I made this recipe as is except I substituted a can of diced tomatoes in place of tomato sauce. This is the most delicious chili I have ever made. I think the chocolate is such an awesome addition. Thank you so much.

  10. I love this chili recipe. I’ve used it so many times for family and friends. You should totally enter this chili contest! I think you have a good chance at winning (because I don’t want to steal your credit)!

  11. Love this! I added mushrooms and roasted corn as well. It ended up being a little too spicy for my daughters so I added some honey and they enjoyed it.

  12. How do you think this would do in the slow cooker??

    • Hi Tiffany, I can’t say for sure, as I’ve never made it in the slow cooker… but I think it would do well! Personally, I would brown and crumble the ground turkey before adding it to the slow cooker. Then just add the other ingredients and cook on low for maybe 4 hours? Although I’d check on it to make sure there’s still enough liquid 🙂 If you try it, I’d love to know how it turns out!

  13. Am I reading that last ingredient right? Does that say bakers chocolate? Is that a typo ?

  14. That chili looks so good! The weather has been cooling off here and today was the perfect day for a recipe like this one. Your feature photo made me want to dive right in!

  15. Comfort food to its best!

  16. This sounds yummy! As much as I love the Summer I’m always excited for the Fall because it means I get to make tummy-warming soups and stews!

  17. Oh, this chili is just gorgeous! Toppings!! Yes … all those amazing toppings! And I love that you subbed turkey for a healthier, lower-fat, but still super-delicious meal! Pinned!

  18. There is nothing like a bowl of chili on a chilly day. It’s the perfect comfort food. I rarely use ground turkey and I really should! Your recipe looks wonderful!

  19. Simply beautiful! I actually made a turkey chili last year using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I will definitely have to do it again this year (and hope it comes out looking like yours!)

  20. I love this version of chili and I’m not surprised at the secret ingredient. (Think of mole – and how wonderful the chocolate and spice mixture is, spicy as all get out if you amp up the chilis.) When I use turkey, I usually mix it with another meat, but you’ve convinced me to try it “as is” in this version.

    • Thank you Laura!! You’re so right… mmmmm mole is so yummy 😀 I’m usually a hardcore “no turkey” person, but I definitely didn’t miss the beef in this chili 🙂 If you try it, I hope you love it!

  21. Your food pictures make me mighty hungry! I am too excited to try this recipe. Thanks.

  22. I love a good chili!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope you come back tomorrow and share some more stuff!! Pinned!!

  23. Your chili looks so amazing. I think I could take a bite right now! Thanks for sharing at Wordless Wednesday. We hope you return this week…the party’s going on now!

  24. This looks so good and so hearty, especially for these frigid nights! Thanks for linking up with “Try a New Recipe Tuesday.” Hope you can join us again this week. http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2015/02/try-new-recipe-tuesday-february-24.html

  25. This looks incredible! I’m licking my lips right now. Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for taking the time to party with us. We hope to see you tonight at 7 pm. It wouldn’t be a party without you! Lou Lou Girls

  26. We are iced in here today and your Turkey Chili would be delicious! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your post with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  27. Your chili has me drooling. So delicious! Thank you very much for joining in the celebration of #purebloglove, we enjoy having you each week. I hope to see you on Thursday at 8PM, EST through Sunday night. ~Cydnee

  28. YUM!!! I love a good chili and this looks delicious! Can I say something that made me smile as soon as you revealed your secret ingredient? I use chocolate n my stews too!! 😀 But I’ve NEVER used it with a chili! I can’t wait to try this… I love the flavours and how beautiful it is! (can I just lick the screen already?)

  29. Love this recipe of chili! So much flavorful and hearty!

  30. This is my kind of dinner! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  31. Oooooh, I love chili, and I love healthy! I want to give this a try, for sure! Thanks for linking up at Best of the Weekend! Pinning this!

  32. This meal looks and sounds so appetizing and hearty. I like the’ go rest while your dinner cooks away’ concept so much. It is so much better than standing in the kitchen monitoring all the while.

  33. When you said about the chocolate, I thought you were kidding. But you are completely serious. 😀 This is so interesting and I am sure the addition of chocolate to this makes this dish so good. Thanks for sharing. Happy FF. 🙂

  34. ooh looks so yummy i adore chilli x

  35. Sooo yummy this chilli looks. I would love to have them over nice french fries. 🙂

  36. Oh, I love chili. Not only in winter time though, I also like it in summer. It’s just so full of flavors and delicious. I actually never tried it with turkey, I have also never seen ground turkey anywhere in the supermarket. Probably Germany is a bit behind on those health things… 😀
    I like the chocolate idea, I have heard about it a few times but have never tried it myself. I usually use cinnamon in my chili as well as tomato sauce, which adds a lovely flavor as well. Will have to try the chocolate version next time.
    Happy FIesta Friday 🙂 Don’t forget to link to the party. 🙂

    • You’re right, chili is great in the summer too 🙂 `I always forget that some items aren’t available everywhere, but I think this would be just as good with ground beef 🙂 Great tip on using cinnamon in tomato sauce! Happy FF 😀

  37. This looks delicious! I love the toppings you used. I generally don’t think of avocado but not sure why. I like a spicy chili and it would even out the heat.

    • Thank you Julie! I think you’d love the heat level on this chili, and I think I end up putting avocado on just about everything, I’m hooked 🙂 If only I lived somewhere I could get them locally lol

  38. Oooh looks amazing, definitely the perfect cold weather meal!

  39. We both brought chili to Fiesta Friday #56. Mine is vegetarian but like you said , healthy can mean tasty and it often does. My recipe makes too much even though I usually freeze some. Shared half with a sister this time 🙂 I agree with the toppings as you can add so many yummy condiments.

    • I’ll have to try your version, as we’ve been fitting more and more vegetarian dinner options into our dinner rotation 🙂 Too funny we both brought chili to the party, tis the season for comfort food 😀

  40. Hmmm…winter meals. I am instantly transported to anything cheesy. I love a good raclette…which is a convivial French meal that requires a special machine to melt slices of cheese…you then boil a bunch of potatoes, slice up a few tomatoes, and pull out the charcuterie and drape your melted cheese across the top of everything. I miss it so much…that I might have to go make a bowl of this American classic just to soothe myself! Thanks for linking up at #FoodieFriDIY!

  41. This look so yummy and healthy and perfect for this cold weather!

  42. Looks healthy and delicious! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!

  43. This looks so good! I’m always looking for healthy recipes, and this definitely fits the bill. I’m sure it’s tasty and filling – a double win! Pinning!

  44. This looks delicious! I always appreciate a recipe that looks and tastes good but is also healthy. I can’t wait to try it! (found you on Lou Lous)

  45. Love a classic chilli – this turkey version looks so comforting. Perfect for the cool weather right now!

  46. This one is a winner! I’ve bookmarked the recipe as I love a good chili!

  47. I’ll bet this would taste amazing with ground chicken too. For some reason, I prefer it to turkey. I have yet to make an awesome pot of chili, so I really should try this recipe of yours!

  48. My husband and I LOVE chili, especially this time of year- man these pics make me feel like I just took a bite!!! (But I didn’t and I need to make that happen, perhaps this weekend… those pics just look soooooo good!) I like that it has a little kick to it too. Funny, I just bought ground turkey.. I think it’s all just meant to be. OH and I love that you put avocado in there, I’ve never done that! YUMMMM!

    • With the weather you all have been having, I’d say you most definitely need some chili! Thank you so much 😀 😀 I think you’re right, it’s meant to be, I hope you LOVE it. I’m obsessed with avocado, and wasn’t sure how it would taste with the chili… but it’s super yummy!

  49. The Winter and a good Chili go hand in hand!