Utilize that leftover holiday turkey in a hearty chili! Made with a deeply delicious blend of spices, thick tomato broth, beans, and tender shredded turkey.
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Table of Contents
- About Leftover Turkey Chili
- What’s in this leftover turkey chili?
- Can you make this in advance?
- How should chili be stored?
- How long is turkey chili good for?
- Can you freeze turkey chili?
- How do you reheat chili?
- How do you thicken chili?
- How do you thin out chili?
- Notes & tips for leftover turkey chili
- More delicious bowls of comfort
- How to make leftover turkey chili
- Recipe Details
About Leftover Turkey Chili
Whether you have leftovers you need to use or you simply love the taste of turkey, this hearty turkey chili is delicious comfort food that’s perfect for enjoying in cold winter weather. Plus, it freezes well, so you can make a big batch and enjoy it all season long!
What’s in this leftover turkey chili?
In order to turn your holiday leftovers into delicious turkey chili, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Leftover turkey – The star of the show! Feel free to shred up your leftover cooked turkey and use it as-is in this recipe. You can also substitute this for other pre-cooked shredded meats (chicken, pork, etc) or even substitute it for a pound and a half of cooked and crumbled turkey, chicken, pork, or beef.
- Sweet onion, green bell pepper, and garlic – Classic vegetables to enhance the flavor of the chili.
- Olive oil – Used for cooking the fresh vegetables to tender perfection.
- Chili seasoning, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper – A delicious blend of seasonings to give this chili some deep flavor.
- Crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes with green chilies – A melody of different types of tomatoes to create the red “sauce” of the chili.
- Granulated sugar – A small dash to help curve the acidity of the tomatoes, but you can leave it out if you’d like.
- Unsalted chicken stock – Used to add flavor and thin out the chili some.
- Dark red kidney beans, pinto beans, and frozen corn – Other traditional additions to chili that make it delicious. You can omit or substitute any of these for similar items, as you’d like.
- Shredded cheese and sour cream – Technically optional, but make for great chili toppings.
Can you make this in advance?
Yes! In fact, chili is known to taste better once it’s had time for the flavors to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
For the best presentation, I recommend making these bars up to 24 hours in advance.
How should chili be stored?
Whether you’re refrigerating or freezing chili, I recommend storing it in individual-sized containers. And for best results, chili should rest in the container no more than two or three inches deep.
How long is turkey chili good for?
Once prepared and cooled, this chili can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days. NOTE: This time may be impacted by how long ago the turkey (or meat of your choice) was cooked.
Can you freeze turkey chili?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled, turkey chili can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to three months.
How do you reheat chili?
Chili is one of the best dishes to reheat! To do this, follow these tips:
- If chili has been frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. TIP: If you’re confident in the seal of the container the chili was stored in, you can speed up this process by submerging the container in warm water for about one hour.
- Microwave: Add chili to a microwave-safe bowl. If desired, add one or two tablespoons of chicken stock to help with consistency. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and heat for one minute, then stir. Continue to heat for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the desired temperature is reached.
- Stovetop: Add the chili to a saucepan (or other pot that’s large enough to hold the chili). If the chili is thick, consider adding a tablespoon or two of chicken stock to help with consistency. Warm the chili over medium heat until simmering, stirring frequently, until the desired temperature is reached.
- Slow Cooker: Add the chili to the slow cooker, evenly covering the bottom. If the chili is thick, consider adding a tablespoon or two of chicken stock to help with consistency. Warm on LOW for two hours.
No matter which method of heating you use, it’s recommended to heat the chili up to 165 degrees F. You can use a candy thermometer to easily check this.
How do you thicken chili?
This chili has a lot of hearty ingredients and a thick tomato base, but there’s always a chance that you might want your chili to be a bit thicker. To achieve this, try making a slurry.
To make slurry:
- Scoop out 1/4 cup of the more watery part of chili, and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- Add two tablespoons of all-purpose flour or cornstarch.
- Whisk together thoroughly, making sure there are no longer any clumps
- Pour the slurry back in with the chili, then stir. If needed, return the pot to the heating unit and slowly warm the chili, stirring frequently, until the chili reaches the desired level of thickness.
If the chili still isn’t thick enough, repeat Steps 1-4.
How do you thin out chili?
Because of all the hearty ingredients in this recipe, there’s a chance that the chili might be thicker than you were anticipating. If this is the case, you can add more chicken stock (or water) to the chili to thin it out to your desired consistency.
Notes & tips for leftover turkey chili
- Make sure you have a deep spaghetti pot (like this 12 quart stockpot) or a Dutch oven on hand before making this recipe.
More delicious bowls of comfort
How to make leftover turkey chili
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil. Add the white onion and green bell pepper and cook until lightly browned and translucent. Toss in the garlic and give it a quick stir.
Step 2 – Add all the seasonings (chili seasoning, sugar, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper) and cook a little more.
Step 3 – Pour in the chicken broth, then mix well. Take a moment to loosen any bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Step 4 – Add crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with green chiles, turkey, and corn. Give everything a good stir.
Step 5 – Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer!
Step 6 – Serve and enjoy!
Leftover Turkey Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced sweet onion, or to taste
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chili seasoning, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock, or unsalted turkey stock
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 16 ounces dark red kidney beans, undrained
- 16 ounces pinto beans, undrained
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
- 4 cups cooked shredded turkey, *
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- shredded cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)
- sour cream, for topping (optional)
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add yellow onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are lightly browned and translucent, about 15 minutes.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup diced sweet onion, 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
- Add chili seasoning, sugar, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for 1 minute.1/3 cup chili seasoning, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Pour in chicken stock and scrape any bits off bottom of pan.1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- Add crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with green chiles, turkey, and corn, then stir well.28 ounces crushed tomatoes, 16 ounces dark red kidney beans, 16 ounces pinto beans, 15 ounces tomato sauce, 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles, 4 cups cooked shredded turkey, 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover Dutch oven and let cook, stirring frequently, for 1 hour.
- Serve immediately with cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish (both optional).sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.