Slow Cooker Turkey, Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Chili is a hearty, healthy bowl of goodness that cooks in the slow cooker all day long and is a guaranteed weeknight dinner winner.
As with most slow cooker recipes, there's nothing quite as satisfying as coming home to dinner that has cooked all day, is ready to serve, and leaves only one dish to clean. This hearty, protein-packed chili has been one of my most popular chili recipes since I first shared it in 2016.
I'm bringing it back today with new photos, new tips, and a new freezer label in the recipe card below. But it is still the same recipe that many of you know and love! And if you haven't tried it, I can't wait for you to give it a try.
Like most chili recipes, this one only gets better the longer the flavors have to develop. Making it in the slow cooker gives it a few hours to come together, but this is a chili that is great as leftovers. I often make a big batch early in the week and have it for lunches. This is a lunch or dinner you'll feel great about eating and serving. Quinoa gives the chili an extra protein boost to make it satisfying and hearty.
The slow cooker / crockpot is a great tool for cooking chili because its low temperatures and long cook times allow all of the flavors to develop. It's super and easy and just takes a few minutes to prep.
How to Make Chili in the Slow Cooker
- Chop vegetables and aromatics - Chop onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes.
- Saute turkey with spices - In a skillet, saute the ground turkey with onions, garlic, and dried spices until cooked through and fragrant.
- Slow cook - Combine turkey, sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, and quinoa in a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Ladle chili into bowls and add toppings!
- Ground Turkey - This recipe will work with any ground meat, but especially with lean ground meat like turkey or ground chicken. If you use ground beef or ground pork, drain it well before adding it to the slow cooker.
- Dried Spices - Use classic dried spices in this chili - chili powder and ground cumin. I look for a more mild chili powder so that I can add more spice if I want. I love McCormick chili powder which is very mild.
- Onion and Garlic - Chopped onion and garlic add a lot of flavor as they cook.
- Sweet Potatoes - These add nutrition and a subtly sweet flavor to the chili. They will soften significantly in the slow cooker and will start to sort of melt into the finished dish.
- Uncooked Quinoa - It will seem like a small amount to add to the chili, but the quinoa will expand as it cooks and will give the chili a rich, thick texture.
- Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce - The combination of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce form a base with great texture and flavor. Be sure to look fore "fire-roasted" diced tomatoes because they have the best flavor.
- Black Beans - Even more protein and texture.
- Stock - You'll need a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock for the quinoa to absorb as it cooks.
Make Ahead / Freezer Friendly Chili
There is some magic that happens when you make chili ahead of time that means it tastes better a day or two after making it. In this case, you can slow cook the whole batch early in the week, or load up the slow cooker on Sunday night (pre-cook the turkey as outlined in Step #1 in that case) and just start it cooking first thing Monday or Tuesday morning.
And bonus that this freezes well too. Be sure to print the freezer label in the recipe card below and add it to our list of favorite freezer meals!
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Classic Beef Chili
- Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
- Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas
- Slow Cooker Puttanesca with Beef
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Slow Cooker Turkey, Quinoa, and Sweet Potato Chili Recipe
- 6-quart Slow Cooker
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- 1 ½ pound Lean Ground Turkey
- 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 cup Diced Red Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 pound Sweet Potatoes, cubed
- ¼ cup Uncooked Quinoa
- 1 15 ounce can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can Tomato Sauce (or tomato "puree")
- 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Shredded Cheese
- Tortilla Chips
- Sour Cream
- Cilantro or Chopped Green Onions
- Pre-Cook Turkey: (Do this up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate the turkey until you're ready to start the slow cooker.) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add turkey, chili powder and cumin and continue cooking until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
- Slow Cook Chili: Combine cooked turkey and all remaining ingredients (through the toppings). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve with your favorite toppings.
The original photo of this recipe from 2016.