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Turkey and Bean Chili

You can substitute an equal amount of lean ground beef for the turkey. Other types of beans, such as black or kidney beans, can be used instead of pinto beans.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Yield:
Turkey and Bean Chili

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2005


  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 pounds ground dark-meat (7 percent fat), turkey
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic cloves
  • 2 medium fresh jalapeno chiles, ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, sliced pickled jalapeno chiles, reduced-fat sour cream, crumbled cornbread, grated cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a Dutch oven (or other heavy 5-quart pot) over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp and brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Raise heat to high; add turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Add onion, garlic, and jalapenos; cook until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cocoa powder, and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

  3. Break up tomatoes with a spoon or your hands, and stir them in along with the puree. Add molasses, 1 cup water, and 4 teaspoons salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, partially covered, 30 minutes.

  4. Add beans; continue cooking, uncovered, until meat and beans are very tender, and chili is thick, about 30 minutes more. Serve with desired toppings.

Reviews (9)

  • Mom2lingling 1 Mar, 2014

    I used 2 lbs of turkey and 3 cans of beans. I also reduced the salt. It is a unique Chili with the Cocoa and Molasses but it's is a magical combination. We will make this again very soon!

  • Jamie M 9 Feb, 2013

    This is my go to chili recipe. It's relatively lower in fat compared to an all beef chili and has delicious depth of flavor. If using Kosher salt, 4 teaspoons is about right. If using table salt, be sure to decrease the amount to 2 teaspoons. Super easy and perfect on a cold day.

  • MaryS 4 Feb, 2012

    This fantastic recipe has become my family's preferred chili recipe. My son and husband love hot sauces so they always add heat to theirs. I have omitted the bacon and turkey and substituted firm tofu, and added carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, and a bit of wine for a great all-veggie chili when vegetarian guests are joining us - I use both diced and crushed tomatoes for a slightly thicker sauce when I do that.

  • MichelleLeigh15 30 Jan, 2012

    I was just so curious to see what the flavors of this chili would taste like. I grabbed a pen and paper and jotted it down, went to the grocery store right after work and made this chili. When my boyfriend got home, he said he could smell that chili outside. That was my first clue it was wonderful. The turkey was SO tender and really absorbed the flavors. I would say the layers of flavors are absolutely awesome. THANKS!!!!!!!! Its now a new staple in our favorite recipe book.

  • Madjack100 18 Dec, 2010

    I made this chili while camping over the Halloween weekend. I prepped everything at home and cooked it at the campsite. It was absolutely delicious - my teenagers were scraping the pot with bread to get every last morsel!

  • Shashi 16 Apr, 2008

    Hmm. Just realized the recipe I used today was from the PBS/Everyday Food site, and there it recommends 4 tsp salt. Here it doesn't. Oh well!

  • Shashi 16 Apr, 2008

    This chili is delicious and a big favorite in our family with a few modifications. 1) I'd highly recommend cutting the salt in half, to two teaspoons, then tasting. We like salt in our house and well seasoned food, and yet I would have found the 4tsp salt way too much. 2) We only use 1 jalapeno (seeded and veined as suggested) to make it more kid-friendly. 3) We use turkey bacon and typically use 6 slices instead of the suggested 4. Enjoy! We love it.

  • ehguy11 1 Mar, 2008

    I forgot to mention that a few dashes of Tabasco sauce really helps too (I like it hot!!).

  • ehguy11 29 Feb, 2008

    Very tasty and easy to prepare. I cut the recipe in half for the two of us, and it lasts for days. In fact, it's better the next day! I add a chopped green pepper to the onion and garlic mixture if I have it on hand.

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