Smoky Turkey Chili

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My husband and I got a turkey chili recipe and over the years have modified it to something completely new.  We’ve got it just to where we like it, so I thought it was time to share it! Technically it’s no longer a “chili”, but we don’t care because it’s delicious. 🙂 There are many things I like about this chili but the top 2 are: 1) It tastes even better the next day, so it’s a great make ahead meal and 2) The smoky flavor.

As chili recipes go, I would say this is one of the easiest you’ll find.  So let’s get to it!

Start by heating the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and turkey. Cook that until the turkey is no longer pink. I should note that you can also make this chili vegetarian.  We’ve tried it with mushrooms instead of turkey which was great and really meaty.  The last time my husband made it, he spaced and forgot to add the turkey and neither of us even noticed until the next day.  The flavor is that good!

Some of the ingredients may seem strange for chili, but just trust me.  img_4965The coffee and cocoa give the chili a deep backbone.  You can’t actually taste their individual flavors, but they give everything else a boost.  The chipotle and cumin are what really give this chili its smoky flavor.  I will be the first to admit that I am a wimp when it comes to spice level, so if you really like to feel the heat you’ll want to add more chipotle.The rest of this recipe is pretty much a dump it all in situation- I told you it was easy!  So, in goes the black beans, tomatoes, cumin, chipotle, sugar, salt, cocoa,  cinnamon stick, and coffee.


Bring the chili to a simmer and then cook on low for about an hour.  This gives it a chance to thicken slightly and for the flavors to develop.  Serve hot right away, or store it covered in the fridge and reheat the next day.  It’ll last in the fridge about a week.


I like mine topped with a dollop of sour cream and sometimes shredded cheddar.  I’ll even make cornbread to have on the side if I’m feeling extra fancy.






Smoky Turkey Chili
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • sour cream and shredded cheese for garnish


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and turkey.
  2. Cook until the turkey is no longer pink.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cook on low for about an hour. Serve hot, or store it covered in the fridge and reheat. It'll last in the fridge about a week.



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