This leftover turkey chili recipe is a healthy and hearty way to use up leftover turkey! It's so easy to make, ready in just over half an hour, and will warm you right up.
You could also try my Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake or Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup to put your Thanksgiving leftovers to good use.
Why you'll love it
I find myself making this quick turkey chili every year after the big Thanksgiving feast since it's really simple. You basically just add the ingredients to a pot, and let it simmer away. No heavy lifting is needed after all your energy has been expended the day before! It's an awesome alternative to making turkey sandwiches for the next week.
This leftover turkey chili has plenty of veggies and beans, so as well as keeping tummies full, it's really nourishing. You also don't need to run out to the store since it's made with pantry staples. It's great to take to work to warm you up at the office once the post-Thanksgiving blues have set in as well.
Everything you need
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Onion and garlic - our tasty aromatics. I like sweet (Vidalia) onions, and it's effortless to mince the garlic with a squeeze of a garlic press.
- Canned goods - fire roasted tomatoes, green chilies, black beans, and kidney beans bring a ton of flavor and are always in my pantry
- Bell pepper - I chose green, but use your favorite color
- Turkey - we're shredding the leftovers from my Easy Roast Turkey recipe
- Chicken broth - for moisture and added flavor
- Seasoning - my homemade seasoning blend uses chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and Italian seasoning. It's warm, a little smoky, and herb-forward.
Toppings for turkey chili
- For an irresistible crunch, try tortilla strips or crushed up chips.
- Some of my favorite fresh toppings include chopped cilantro, scallions, and avocado.
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt have a great cooling effect and make it nice and creamy.
- Can't have chili without cheese? Tex-Mex will work really well here.
How to make leftover turkey chili
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Sauté the onion in the olive oil until lightly browned in a soup pot or Dutch oven. While it's cooking, chop and prep the other ingredients.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot apart from the salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Give it a taste, season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve with your favorite toppings.
Substitutions and variations
- If you made a Roast Chicken instead for the holidays, you can absolutely substitute leftover cooked chicken in this chili. Rotisserie chicken is another great option.
- For a bit of a kick, start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and add more to taste.
- I find that everyone's preferences for the consistency of chili varies, so feel free to add more chicken broth if you prefer more liquid.
What to serve with turkey chili
- Enjoy it all by itself or with the suggested toppings. All it really needs is some cornbread or breadsticks to round it out.
- I do like serving it with rice, though, just to make it even more hearty.
- A fresh salad goes with just about everything. Try pairing it with my Thanksgiving Salad for creative seasonal flavors.
Leftovers and storage
- This turkey chili makes excellent leftovers. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container, and the flavors will meld even more.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat, giving it the occasional stir, until warmed through. Add a splash more broth if desired. You can also microwave in small increments until hot.
- Freeze any leftovers in individual portions for up to 3 months.
If you made this simple chili with leftover turkey, drop me a review below! I love to hear from my readers. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Leftover Turkey Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 (4 fluid ounce) can diced green chilies with juices
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can black beans drained
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can red or white kidney beans drained
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups (or more) cooked turkey meat shredded/cut up
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 dashes Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Garnish (optional): sour cream, cilantro, Tex-Mex cheese blend, etc.
- Add the olive oil and onion to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients.
- Add all the other ingredients to the pot except for salt & pepper. Increase the heat to high, and once it's boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add salt & pepper as needed, dish it up, and top with your desired toppings.
- Want some kick? Add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper.
- If you want more liquid, feel free to add more chicken broth (especially when reheating).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Just made this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey we smoked on the egg, and it was a hit! Great use of leftovers.
So pleased you enjoyed it!!
This was great! I added a poblano pepper and 2 stalks of celery just to use them in fridge and omitted the canned green chilies.
Glad you enjoyed it! Love the poblano idea.
lisa Roberge says
What is the topping in picture that looks like a carrot?
I think it's either the cheddar cheese or diced tomatoes.
This was very good! I served it with cornbread and it was the perfect compliment! Can you give me the nutritional information please? Thank you!
Hi Jen!! So pleased you liked it. I was able to add the nutrition info for you. Keep in mind it's just an estimate and ingredients vary, and it doesn't include any toppings of course since it's so subjective.
Aly Foster says
Had enough leftover turkey for two family meals...
Made Thai turkey soup night one, and this chili on night two.
Both were delicious and whole family enjoyed!
So glad to hear it! 🙂
Can you please tell me if 1 serving is 1/2c or1c. We are diabetic and have to count every carb. So we need to know the amount of each serving. Thank You.
Hi Debbie! I wish I could be more helpful but I just guesstimate on the servings. I don’t want to tell you something that will unintentionally mislead you.
Very good! The longer it simmers, the better it is. I’m going to let mine simmer at least 2 hours.
Agreed!! So glad you enjoy this recipe, Mary.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
Perfect for all that leftover turkey that’ll be coming my way in a few days! Looks soooooo good!
Thanks so much, friend!!