Our recipe will give you the best slow cooker chili of your life! With just a few simple ingredients and a few hours of slow cooking, you’ll have a delicious meal you can eat throughout the week.
Chili is meant to be cooked this way. It allows all the flavors to develop and marinate together. One bite of this chili and you will be a complete believer in using a slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
When searching for the right slow cooker chili, you’ll likely find many recipes out there that seem pretty good. However, it is easy to say that this turkey chili recipe really is the BEST.
There are a few reasons why this recipe is better than any other you’ll find. We will explore all of that right now, making you a true believer in this turkey chili recipe too. Before we dive in, think about these important points:
- This turkey chili is healthy
- Our recipe is very easy to make, taking only a few minutes to put together!
- Turkey chili is loaded with flavor
- Your entire house will smell like heaven as the chili cooks!
So stop your search for any other turkey chili, slow cooked chili con carne or recipe for chili- this is the only one that you need (it really is delicious!).
How to Make Turkey Chili in a Crockpot
Making turkey chili using a slow cooker or crockpot could not be any easier. Essentially, you just add add of the ingredients to the bowl of the slow cooker, set it to low heat and come back a few hours later to a perfect lunch or dinner. Our recipe does add an additional step at the beginning to infuse some flavor into the dish.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized skillet.
- Add the sliced vegetables to the pan and cook until browned.
- Place the cooked veggies in the crock pot along with the remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook!
Browning the vegetables allows the natural sugars in them to caramelize. This process adds an incredible amount of flavor to the chili. If you are in a hurry or want keep this chili recipe to a one pot dish, simply skip this step- it will still taste amazing!
You may also notice that the recipe calls for cooked, crumbled turkey. Simply cook the ground turkey in a saute pan or large skillet, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks.
You can even use the same pan to cook the turkey and then sear the sliced vegetables. Cooking everything in one pan will help preserve and capture the flavors of the turkey and add it right into your chilli con carne slow cooker meal.
Customize Your Slow Cooker Chili
While this recipe is the best as written (just ask my husband! He’ll definitely vouch for the flavors in this dish!), everyone has different taste preferences. Luckily, you can easily add a few ingredients and spices to your chili to make it perfect for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add a teaspoon of ground cumin to the mix before cooking, along with the other spices
- Stir in a teaspoon of paprika to liven up the chili, adding a smokey taste
- Use lean ground beef or ground chicken instead of turkey as the meat in the recipe
- Add a can of canned kidney beans drained, an hour before the chili has completed cooking
- Add some sliced bell peppers to the sauteed vegetables
Using our chili recipe as a guideline and adding your own favorite spices, vegetables and meats will make the best chili you have ever had. After all, your perfect chili may be spicier, full of more veggies or loaded with extra tomatoes- everyone’s ideal dish is different.
Healthy Chili Recipe
It can be hard to make a meal that is delish and still healthy. You may not think that a chili recipe would qualify as healthy but, in fact, this one is! There are many nutritional benefits to this recipe, making it a meal that you can feel good about eating and serving to your family.
- Turkey is full of healthy protein and B vitamins
- Zucchini has lots of vitamins and minerals as well as healthy plant compounds and antioxidants
- Tomatoes are low in carbs and full of fiber as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals
Overall, this chili is low in saturated fat, low in carbohydrates, high in beneficial proteins and tastes amazing! It really is a great, healthy chili.
Toppings for Chili
Many people enjoy eating slow cooker chili with a big spoon and nothing else added. However, chili is one of those dishes that you can top with almost anything. Try a few of these toppings and sides that compliment our chili recipe perfectly:
- Tortilla chips served on the side (you can also scoop the chili on top of the tortilla chips)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Chopped jalapeno
- Chopped green onions
- A sprinkle of paprika over the top of the chili
- A dash of hot sauce on top of the plated chili
- Serve the chili over rice or noodles
- Chili powder, cumin or oregano mixed in before serving
- Steamed corn
- Bacon crumbled over the top
All of these additions are delicious and are sure to make for a hearty meal that your whole family will love!
Can you put raw ground beef in the slow cooker?
Yes, you definitely can put raw beef in the slow cooker. However, you would need to make a few adjustments to the recipe. To begin, you would want to break up the raw meat as much as possible, even opening the crockpot lid a few times to stir and break it up as it cooks.
You also will need to increase the cooking time, letting the chili cook for 6-8 hours over low heat. While using raw meat will cut back on your prep time, it does eliminate the caramelized taste that browned meat adds.
How do you make chili more flavorful?
My absolute favorite way to make chili more flavorful is to simply cook it in the slow cooker like we do in this recipe! Cooking the chili slowly for a longer period of time allows the flavors to truly develop and grow.
You can also try the suggested recipe alterations that are mentioned in the paragraphs above. Things like adding ground cumin, paprika, ground black pepper and even a splash of beef broth can make a huge difference in a slow cooker chili recipe. Just keep in mind that a little extra spice can go a long way!
How long should you cook chili?
The longer chili cooks, the more the flavors will grow and develop. Since the turkey in our chili recipe is cooked in advance, we recommend cooking the chili in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours.
If you cook it any longer, it may get too thick and pasty. Four to six hours of cooking time is ideal for this chili recipe!
Do you have to brown meat before putting it in slow cooker?
No, you do not necessarily need to brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. If you increase the cooking time, the meat will still cook completely and be safe and tasty.
However, you will lose some great, caramelized flavors that browning the turkey adds. Yet skipping the browning step will also help you cut back on the prep time and the dishes- it is a hard choice!
If you love this recipe, please leave us a great review and add any comments below! We love to hear from you and how our recipes helped you make a tasty, easy dinner!
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Check out more of our Crock Pot recipes below:
There is nothing as delicious as a warm bowl of flavorful, veggie filled turkey chili!
- 2 lbs. cooked ground turkey (or beef)
- 1 (28oz) can organic tomato sauce
- 1 (14oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 2 small yellow onions (diced)
- 2 small zucchinis (peeled and diced)
- 2 cloves garlic or garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- sea salt + black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté zucchini, onion, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes to skillet and let cook for another 10 minutes.
- Place cooked meat and vegetables in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with tomato sauce and chili powder. Mix everything evenly together and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with whatever toppings you prefer.
- Once the chili is done cooking, taste a spoonful and then adjust the spices slightly to suit your desires. Stir in some more ground black pepper, salt, paprika or hot sauce to make it the best chili you have ever tried. Just be sure to do that initial taste test!
- Use two large fresh tomatoes rather than a can of fire roasted tomatoes for a fresher, juicier chili
- Stir the chili a few times in the slow cooker as it is cooking if you are around and able (I know many of you may set the crock pot up then leave the house making this harder to do!). Stirring will help blend the ingredients well and prevent the chili from cooking onto the sides of the crockpot.
- Look into slow cooker bowl liners. They fit right into your crockpot bowl, lining it and making for easier clean up.
- Once you try this recipe and fall in love with making dinners in your slow cooker, you should definitely look into other crockpot recipe books, you can make so much in that convenient crock pot of yours!