Easy Mexican Style Chili With Turkey

A delicious, hearty Mexican style chili is perfect when you are feeding a crowd for game day, a potluck, or any other excuse to get together. Chili is the ultimate crowd pleaser and the ground turkey in this recipe provides all the flavor while being slightly healthier than classic beef chili.

A square blue bowl of turkey chili topped with sour cream, shredded cheese and a tortilla chip.
Mexican style chili for game day

This flavorful recipe combines turkey with onion, garlic, tomatoes, beans, and corn with a blend of herbs and spices. The result is a deliciously chunky, smokey, chili that is mildly spicy. It is perfect for most palates, but your heat lovers can add extra hot sauce or cayenne to kick it up a notch or two more. And I promise that you won’t miss the extra calories or fat from the beef versions.

What is the difference between Mexican and Texas chili?

Mexican style chili is made with beans and tomatoes or tomato sauce. Texas chili on the other hand, traditionally does not have either. It has a brown based sauce that made from a paste of several varieties of dried chili peppers. There are many local variations of both types of chili and what is considered authentic is based on which cook you ask.

What beans are best in chili?

There are many types of beans that go great in chili. The most common are kidney, pinto, or black beans. You don’t have to pick one. Adding a combination will provide deeper flavor and texture.

Chili with crumbled tortilla chips.
Chili is a crowd favorite

The spices give chili it’s flavor!

Chili powder, cayenne and cumin are the classic building blocks of flavor. Onion powder and garlic are also often added to chili. In this recipe I use a seasoning mix that I made from a combination of spices and herbs. I got the recipe for this Mexican Chili Spice Mix from blogger Amanda Michetti of Chew Town. It is a wonderful blend that you can use in a variety of recipes.

The only adjustment to her recipe that I made is the omission of coriander. Not because I don’t like it, but simply because I didn’t have any in my spice rack. It worked out just fine. The result is a chili with a lot of layers of flavor.

What do you serve with chili?

You can turn this simple Mexican style chili into an amazing meal by adding a salad and some Extra Moist Cornbread. Both are excellent accompaniments to a bowl of spicy chili and will help to counter the heat if needed.

Turkey chili with toppings
Toppings can be a fun way to dress up chili

Toppings are also fun and tasty. Traditional toppings include sour cream, shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mexican Cheese blend, etc.), chopped onions, jalapeno, or cilantro. But you don’t need to stop there, add some crumbled tortilla chips, black olives, or a spoonful of guacamole. There are no right or wrong options.

Steps for making this recipe?

Chili is truly an easy dish to prepare. Below are steps for both the stove top and slow cooker methods.

Stovetop Method

Brown the meat, drain it and transfer it to another plate.

Browned turkey in a pan.

Sauté the onion and garlic and then add the meat back in to the pan.

Onion and ground turkey in a dutch oven

Add the spices, tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Tomatoes and chicken stock were added to the pan of ground turkey.

Add the beans and corn and allow the chili to simmer until thickened.

Chili simmering on the stove.

Slow Cooker Method:

  1. Brown the meat.
  2. Add the meat and the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, mix and set the cooker on low for 4-5 hours.
Two colorful bowls of Meixcan style turkey chili with toppings and tortilla chips.
Chili is party food!

Chili FAQ’s

Is turkey chili healthier than beef chili?

Depending on the fat content in the beef, turkey is lower in calories and fat then beef. Simply swapping out turkey for 80% beef lowers the calorie count by approximately 100 calories per serving, which is something to consider if you are watching your weight. When comparing the leanest cuts of beef to turkey, turkey is still slightly lower in calories and fat

Can chili be made ahead of time?

Chili is the perfect make ahead meal. Cooking it a day in advance allows all the spices to meld together and heighten the flavor of the dish. It is actually better the second day. The sauce will also thicken even more. So if you like a really thick chili, give it a night in the refrigerator.

How long should you cook chili?

Most chili recipes can be made in about 30 minutes. But the longer you cook it the better it will be. This gives the meat time to tenderize and the flavors to come together. You will have more layers of flavor the longer the chili cooks. My recommendation is to let the chili simmer for about an hour to get the best flavor.

How do you thicken Chili?

1. Flour as a thickener. Mix a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of water until the flour is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Stir this into the chili and cook for about 10 minutes.
2. Cornstarch can also be used as a thickener. Like the flour method, dissolve the cornstarch in water and add it to your pan, mixing well. Let the chili cook for several minutes and the sauce should thicken.
3. Masa Harina or corn meal. Masa Harina is a type of corn meal that has been finely ground. You can find it in Mexican food stores or the specialty food section of your supermarket. Either can be added to your chili to thicken it. Just add a tablespoon or so and make sure to mix it in well so that it absorbs the extra liquid. It may also give the chili a bit of a grainy texture.
4. Mash some of the beans and stir them into the chili.
5. Lastly, let the chili simmer uncovered until the excess liquid has evaporated.

Other dinner recipes you might like:

Easy But Hearty Beef Stew

Easy Flank Steak Pizzaiola

Easy Stromboli

Oven Roasted Rosemary and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

A square blue bowl of turkey chili topped with sour cream, shredded cheese and a tortilla chip.

Easy Mexican Style Chili with Turkey and Beans (Stove top or slow cooker)

A thick and hearty chili made with turkey, beans, tomatoes and corn. Just enough heat so the whole family can enjoy it.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 12 servings
Calories 317 kcal


  • Dutch Oven or slow cooker


  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil divided
  • 3 lbs turkey ground
  • 1 Onion large, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 28 oz Diced Tomatoes in juice or puree
  • 3 tbs Mexican Chili Spice Mix
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 15.5 oz Kidney Beans rinsed
  • 15.5 oz Black Beans rinsed
  • 15 oz Corn whole kernel
  • 1 tsp Salt Kosher

Additional Toppings

  • Cayenne or hot sauce
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Cheese such as cheddar, a Mexican Blend, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Tortilla chips


  • Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the turkey and 1 tsp. of salt and brown the turkey until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the turkey, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan and saute until just tender. About 1 minute. Stir the turkey and Mexican chili spice mix into the onion until well combined. Cook one minute.
  • Mix in the tomatoes and Chicken stock into the turkey and bring to a boil.
  • Add the beans and corn to the pan, mix well, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. The chili will thicken as it cooks. Stir the chili occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve with additional hot sauce or cayenne and your favorite toppings

Slow Cooker Method

  • Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the turkey and 1 tsp. of salt and brown the turkey until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the turkey, transfer it to the slow cooker bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir and cover. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours.


Serving: 12servingsCalories: 317kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 36gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 405mgPotassium: 871mgFiber: 8gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 203IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Turkey, chili powder, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Corn, Tomatoes, game day, tail gate, slow cook, hearty
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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