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This wintry and warming White Bean Turkey Chili is thick, comforting and as spicy as you like. With ample lean ground turkey and creamy cannellini beans, it’s a lightened up version of your average chili recipe without sacrificing a bit of flavor.

White Bean Turkey Chili served in white bowls with linen napkin underneath photograph from above

Made with simple pantry and freezer ingredients in less than an hour, this white bean chili is ideal for weeknights and excellent for meal prep. Not only is it even better heated up, it freezes well and lasts for several days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for this White Bean Turkey Chili Recipe

White Bean Turkey Chili Ingredients on a white marble board
  • Olive Oil: Whatever variety you have on hand.
  • Ground Turkey: Lean ground turkey that includes dark meat works best for this chili recipe (Also true for our favorite Turkey Meatloaf). Ground turkey breast is low fat, but much drier.
  • Yellow Onion: Or white onion.
  • Garlic: A couple of large cloves.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Or other sweet pepper, like orange or yellow.
  • Dried Oregano: Ideally Mexican oregano.
  • Chili Powder: Your favorite brand.
  • Cumin: Your favorite brand.
  • Chipotle Chili Powder: Or smoked paprika for a milder chili. Unlike standard chili powder which is a blend of chili powder and spices, chipotle chili powder is made of just dried, smoked jalapeño peppers.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper: Optional
  • Diced Tomatoes: Undrained, add both tomatoes and juice.
  • Chicken Broth: Or chicken stock
  • Cannelini Beans: Also called White Kidney Beans, canned or home cooked. Great Northern Beans or navy beans are also options.
  • Black Pepper: Ideally freshly ground.

Optional White Bean Turkey Chili Toppings

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Chopped Fresh Tomato
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Sliced Jalapeño (fresh or pickled)
  • Lime Wedges

The Case for Cooking Dry Beans

Though it’s convenient to open a can of beans (I always have a few cans on hand), it’s easy and economical to cook dried beans in your slow cooker or crock pot. Soaking the beans in salted water overnight gives them great flavor and canned beans can’t compete with the firm, creamy texture you can get by cooking your own. They also freeze well and are easy to portion into freezer bags to use 1:1 for cans in recipes. You’ll find the simple salt soaking method I use in this post for White Bean Hummus.

White Bean Turkey Chili served in white bowls with linen napkin underneath

Serving Suggestions

  • Skillet Cornbread (My tried and true recipe for true Southern style cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet. All those crispy edges, but tender within.)
  • Mexican Cornbread (A riff on the cornbread above with cheddar cheese and a mild jalapeño kick.)

More Chili Recipes to Try

How to Make White Bean Turkey Chili

Step 1: Brown ground turkey in olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and spices; cook and stir 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add tomatoes with juice and chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered 10 minutes.

Step 3: Add beans and stir; simmer covered 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with desired toppings.

White Bean Turkey Chili ready to serve
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White Bean Turkey Chili

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 248
Servings: 6 people
A lightened up version of your standard chili that's every bit as comforting and delicious.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced small
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano ideally Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika (recipe note #1)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, omit for less spicy chili, increase for spicier chili
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannelini beans drained, or 3 cups cooked cannelini beans
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional Chili Toppings

  • shredded cheddar cheese for serving, optional
  • sour cream for serving, optional
  • diced avocado for serving, optional
  • chopped fresh tomato for serving, optional
  • chopped fresh cilantro for serving, optional
  • lime wedges for serving, optional


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add turkey; cook and stir until lightly browned, breaking up into bite size pieces.
  • Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, oregano, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, kosher salt, and cayenne (if using); cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes with juice and chicken broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in beans; cover and simmer 5-10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with desired toppings.


  1. Standard chili powder is a mix of spices and ground chiles while chipotle chili powder is just dried and ground chipotle chiles. It adds a nice smoky heat to this chili. For a milder chili, use smoked paprika instead.
  2. Nutrition information does not include optional toppings.


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 848mg | Potassium: 899mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1930IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Craig McDaniel says:

    5 stars
    I am making a pot right now and chef’s tasting privileges indicate a real success. I varied it in some aspects using a few items I had on hand and to account for a no-salt diet my doctor insists I follow. Actually most things I prepare without salt bear a more spicy flavor. I had cilantro and tossed that in with the tomatoes. I am baking polenta i just whipped up as a side. The house smells wonderful on a cold winter night.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      That’s wonderful to hear, Craig! Love the idea of polenta as a side to this. Thank you for your kind comment.