Slow Cooker Turkey Chili


Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili is a hearty, healthy bowl of goodness that cooks in the slow cooker all day long and is a guaranteed weeknight dinner winner.

two bowls of turkey, quinoa, and sweet potato chili with crumbled chips

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. And 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. It’s super easy and just takes a few minutes to prep. This hearty, protein-packed slow cooker turkey chili recipe has been one of my most popular recipes since I first shared it in 2016.

This post has been updated with new tips and a new freezer label 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. 

Want to save this recipe?
Get it emailed to you directly! Enter your email below.
overhead image of chili in the slow cooker being stirred with a spoon

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

  • Ground Turkey – Slow cooker turkey chili can be made with any ground meat as a substitute. Try it with ground beef 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 to add to your slow cooker turkey chili.
  • Stock – You’ll need a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock for the quinoa to absorb as it cooks. 

Pin this now to save it for later

Pin It Now
overhead image of a bowl of chili with cheese, sour cream, and green onions on top

How to Make Chili in the Slow Cooker

  1. Chop vegetables and aromatics – Chop onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes. 
  2. Saute turkey with spices – In a skillet, brown the turkey with onions, garlic, and dried spices until cooked through and fragrant. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Ladle chili into bowls and add toppings!

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 and add it to your list of favorite freezer meals!

turkey chili freezer label

Printable Freezer Label

Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!

Print Freezer Label


Can I substitute ground chicken or beef for ground turkey?

Yes. Ground chicken or beef work well in this recipe. If using ground beef, use a lean ground beef.

How can I make turkey chili taste more meaty?

Usually ground turkey just needs more spices in order to taste more meaty and flavorful. This recipe works well because it is absolutely packed with flavorful spices and herbs, but you can even increase the dried spices if you’d like.

What should I serve with turkey chili?

In addition to classic toppings like sour cream, green onions, and tortilla chips, try serving turkey chili with cornbread or baked potatoes.

Is turkey chili healthy?

Turkey chili is lighter in calories when compared to versions made with beef. This recipe also includes healthy quinoa, sweet potatoes, and beans.

overhead image of a spoon scooping up turkey chili from a white bowl

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Pin this now to save it for later

Pin It Now
square image of turkey chili in a bowl
4.43 from 45 votes

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

This turkey chili with sweet potatoes, black beans and quinoa is a hearty, healthy bowl of goodness that cooks in the slow cooker all day long and is a guaranteed weeknight dinner winner.
This recipe should be made in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • Skillet
  • 6-quart Slow Cooker


For Chili:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 1/2 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
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Optional Toppings:

  • 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.


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 738mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 11640IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 243
Keyword: easy dinner, family friendly, freezer friendly, healthyish, make ahead, turkey
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

The original photo of this recipe from 2016.

Want to save this recipe?
Get it emailed to you directly! Enter your email below.

About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this recipe very much- even teenager and husband approved. I added two chopped poblano peppers and one chopped red pepper.

  2. This looks and sounds delicious, and its crocking away as I type this. And at 380 calories per serving? I am on board!

    Except 3/4 cup is hardly what I’d call a dinner-sized serving, much less a super-satisfying serving, and the bowl depicted in the picture is definitely larger than 3/4 cup. Looking at the crock, the whole batch it also looks to be more than 4 1/2 cups total (6 -3/4 cup servings). Was that a typo? Miscalculation? I’m asking because I saw the bowl in the picture, and I saw the 380 cals in the description and was sold. But if your bowl is actually a normal person’s sized bowl of soup, its probably at least 1.5 cups if not 2, and therefore approx. 570-760 calories. Which isn’t terrible by any means. If this wasn’t a typo or miscalculation, this is pretty misleading.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your careful read of the recipe and note about the error. We use My Fitness Pal to calculate the nutrition information for all of our recipes and find that the result is usually very accurate. In this case, the error you caught is just in the serving size. This recipe makes 6 servings at 380 calories per serving. The serving size estimate was inaccurate and has been updated – each serving will, in fact be closer to 1 3/4 cups. Thanks again!

      1. Phew! Because it’s so delicious and I ate a true 1.5-ish cup serving of it.

        Thanks for responding! I’ve been sharing this recipe with friends. It’s so good.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! I made it exactly as written and it didn’t need anything more. I’m so glad to find a recipe that used all the ingredients I had on hand. Simple and very filling too. I’ll absolutely make this again!

  4. Was looking for something different than some of the same old bland turkey chili recipes out there. This looked so flavorful and healthy that I had to try it. So glad we did – we absolutely love it. I made this in my instant pot in less than 1 hour for prep and cook. As a mom of a Type 1 diabetic, I especially love the added nutritional information and carb counts with your recipe. THANK YOU!!

    1. YAY! So glad you liked it, Jessica! So easy and healthy, right? This is one of my favorites. Actually…need to make a batch to tuck away in the freezer before our baby girl comes – thanks for the reminder!

  5. 5 stars
    This chili has become a staple in our house! We are obsessed over it! I even entered it into a chili competition at work and it placed third out of 10 – amazing for an office that isn’t keen on healthy food! Thanks again for sharing this amazing chili!

  6. 5 stars
    Doubled this recipe and brought it to a potluck. There was not a drop left at the end of the day!
    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  7. We had this for dinner last night! The kids were devouring the chili and the look on their faces was priceless when I told them thanks for eating quinoa (they hate it). I added more beans and put my twist on the spices but this gave me a good start.

  8. Looks yummy but aren’t you missing the chili powder? I’d like to make this on the weekend – please let me know if you make chili without chili powder, or if you just forgot it on ingredient list. Thanks!

    1. Katie – you are spot on! Thanks so much for your note. The recipe is correct now. We recently moved all of our recipes into a new format and have found one or two ingredients that were improperly formatted in the process. Thanks again!