Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili

*The winner of the cookbook giveaway is Amanda M, #267 – email me, Amanda, and I’ll send your book along!*

Mmmm, this chili is goooooood. And with the blustery, cold weather we are having, there isn’t anything I crave more than a scrumptious, hearty chili. Ok, I’d actually take some dark chocolate, fresh bagels and some expensive cheese, but those are other cravings for another time.

Extremely quick and simple to prepare, this chili is chock full of classic flavors. Brimming with healthful beans and a variety of smoky spices, it definitely runs on the mild side of spiciness which makes it perfect for my family (and young kiddos), yet it doesn’t lack in flavor in the slightest. I loved the lightness of the ground turkey and the unique touch of dried basil. All in all, this chili is definitely a keeper.

What To ServeThe first night we ate it traditional chili style (at least in our house) – with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of shredded cheddar (with lots of homemade rolls for dipping). The second go-round, we ate it over tortilla chips, smothered in taco toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, etc. Seriously yummy any way you eat it!

Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili

One Year Ago: Autumn Minestrone Soup
Two Years Ago: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – Perfected
Three Years Ago: Creamy Chicken Fettuccine

Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili

Yield: Serves 4-6

Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


  1. In a large pot, brown the turkey with the onion and garlic over medium heat, until cooked through, breaking up the ground turkey into pieces as it cooks. Drain off extra grease. Add the chopped bell pepper and cook 1-2 minutes until slightly tender. Add the rinsed and drained beans. Stir. Add the remaining ingredients and spices. Stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or upwards of an hour if you have more time), stirring occasionally and making sure the chili isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from Clarissa M, a MKC reader who sent the recipe to me

36 Responses to Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili

  1. Anna says:

    I subbed chicken broth for one of the cans of tomato sauce and added 1/2 C Farro wheat instead of the black beans. I think the chicken broth added great flavor and texture. (I cut the salt down to 1/4 tsp in order to accommodate the chicken broth and added more at the end to taste.)

  2. Dani Rodriguez says:

    Hey Mel! I couldn’t find your moms classic chili recipe and wondered if you took it off the site. It’s my go to recipe and my family loves it! Could you somehow email it to me or can you put it back on the website?? My family and I would so appreciate it! Thank you! I love your website!

  3. Nicole says:

    Made this the other night.. family loved it!! Thank you for a great recipe..

  4. Amy says:

    Could you do this in a crockpot?

  5. Gayla says:

    Excellent! I did add extra vegetables, 2 cups sliced mushrooms and a couple stalks of diced celery. I added less tomato sauce which seemed fine. My husband really dislikes cumin so left it out. This will be made many times in my kitchen. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

  6. Jill says:

    I just recently stumbled across your website. Your recipes looked so delicious and easy. I tried the Super Bean Burritos and they turn out great. Next I tried the chili recipe and it was super. I looked forward to trying more of your recipes.

  7. Kelly says:

    Hi Mel,

    I found your recipe on Pinterest and having made it a few times now, I wanted to tell you how much I love it! This is my one and only chili recipe now, and I am a chili snob! I love the fact that it’s healthy, made with turkey and that I can make large quantities and freeze them for grab and go lunches instead of yucky frozen dinners.

    Thank you!

  8. […] was an internet recipe and one I plan on having make a regular appearance at the dinner table. Hearty Turkey and Bean Chili from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Pinterest directed me to her site and, I have to admit, I’m […]

  9. Mysty says:

    You saved the night again at our house! All of the recipes I have tried of yours, have been excellent. Didn’t make a meal plan this week and only had a couple of hours before dinner to whip something up. This was perfect, as I had all of the items on hand. Kids asked if I could make this again tomorrow, so you know it was a hit! Thanks for creating such a wonderful website. I love it!

  10. Ashlie says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and am bringing it to a potluck tomorrow served with lite sour cream, scallions, and tortilla strips. Delicious and healthy!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I loved this chili as did my 3 year old. My husband would have liked it to have more “kick.”

  12. mabob says:

    very good

  13. mabob says:

    very gooooooood

  14. Emilie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It is delicious! It was better the next day too πŸ™‚ Yum yum yum!

  15. AnnetteBrunette says:

    Mel, I made this last night for my bean hating family and a bean loving friend. Everyone was appeased. Delish! Thanks for another winning addition to our mealtime repertoire πŸ™‚

  16. tonya says:

    “Mmmmm, this chili is goooooood.”

    Yes. Yes it is.

    Made this for supper tonight. Mmmmm, this chili IS goooooood.

  17. Carolyn says:

    I’ve been popping in and out lately since I don’t “need” the goodies you’ve been sharing and I need to keep temptations to a minimum! πŸ™‚ However, I was searching for something for dinner last night and scrolled down to find this recipe. I used beef cause that’s what I had and I threw in a can of green chilies. My husband declared it the best chili I’ve ever made – yeah! He also wanted dessert, but opted for a third bowl of chili instead – ha! There are several blogs I visit and enjoy the pictures, but with yours I can count on enjoying the food – thank you!

  18. MrsS says:

    We made this last night–turn out great! I’m an Indiana girl, and we served our chili with spaghetti (I’m pretty sure I just heard some gasps, but don’t knock it till ya try it.)

  19. Irene says:

    Hi, Mel!
    This recipe sounds delicious! I love chili myself and I am ready to make this on Wednesday. I have all of the ingredients except for the turkey. It sure sounds healthy and flavorful! Thank you so much for another great recipe! And the idea of saving your recipes is just awesome!! Great idea and a very nice gift to us all as well!!:) (I have a lot to save!!!!!)

  20. Courtney says:

    We are quite the chili family, so I’ll definitely have to bookmark this for later use! πŸ™‚

  21. Whitney says:

    We just ate this for dinner and it’s yummy! I went out on a limb and made 5 batches of it (this is not something I would normally do with a new recipe, but I had no doubt that we would love it, since it came from you :), so we now have enough chili in the freezer for a few dinners and several school lunches! Thanks for another great recipe!!

  22. Julie says:

    Hi Mel, just made this today with your cornbread recipe, delish! Thanks for all your great recipes!

  23. Leslie says:

    Made your best tacos last night and will never buy a seasoning mix again. So delicious! We’re having your broccoli and rice casserole tonight and herb biscuits with buttermilk chicken. I’ve loved every single recipe I’ve made of yours. Oh and carrot cake. Ummm we like to eat at our house!! Thanks so much!!

  24. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme says:

    This looks delicious! I love your combination of ingredients!

  25. Elise says:

    Love that I can save your recipes on ziplist! Makes my life soo much easier, thanks! Now all I need is your cookbook on my shelf and I will be set. By the way, I have 4 boys and have no idea how you have time run this blog let alone cook all this good food. Good on ya!

  26. This loos SO good right now! The weather really has gotten chilly these last couple days and there’s nothing like a bowl of hot chili to warm your soul! I have a question about your photographs. When you photograph soup, do you keep some ingredients out of the pot to put on top so that they show better in the photograph? I noticed in a soup that has cream cheese that the veggies on top idn’t look like they’d ever touched the creamy broth, and then I got a lightbulb above my head, thinking maybe you saved some ingredients aside to add for a better photograph! I’ve never thought of this and think it’s a great idea!

    • Mel says:

      Veronica – to be honest, I usually don’t mess with the soup too much. I don’t keep out ingredients to spoon on top, but if there is a spoon in the bowl in the picture, I’ll usually “fluff” up the soup with the spoon, bringing some of the chunky ingredients to the top and sit on top of the spoon, if that makes sense. Although, I do think the idea of spooning some of the main ingredients on top is a good one, too!

  27. Andrea says:

    When do we find out who won your giveaway πŸ™‚

  28. Michele T. says:

    I have a similar recipe from Taste of Home. The only difference is you add a can of pumpkin puree!! It’s so yummy and the pumpkin taste is very subtle. πŸ™‚ Also, for a little more spice, add mild Rotel with green chiles instead of the plain diced tomatoes.

  29. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it looks so delicious. I appreciate that you share your talents with us, and take time to make our lives more rich. You are wonderful. I plan to make this soon.

  30. Ah, love chili in all forms. Yours look so amazing! I love that you added basil, a bit different!

  31. Kim in MD says:

    My family loves chili! We often eat the leftovers with tortilla chips and taco fixin’s, too!This looks so delicious, Mel! I love the addition of black beans and basil. I also love that it looks like it would come together fast, so this would be a great weeknight meal!

  32. Diana says:

    This looks nice and juicy…

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