Slow Cooker Black Bean Turkey Chili

There’s no better cozy, comforting food to serve a crowd for fall than a hot pot of chili! Everyone needs a good chili recipe, and luckily, chili is incredibly easy to make with a few pantry staples and a decently stocked spice cabinet.

Beans or no beans, meatless or largely beef-based, there is a chili for everyone, though not all are created equally, nutritionally speaking. Using turkey and including beans are two great ways to make your bowl of chili a little more heart-healthy, and just as satisfying.

Why You’ll Love This Chili

This turkey chili has all the same hearty, comforting flavors and thick, meaty texture of traditional chili, but it’s lower in fat and higher in fiber thanks to lean turkey and a double dose of black beans. The best part is that it can simmer all day long in the slow cooker after just 15 minutes of prep time. Whether it’s for a weeknight meal or a football game, this chili is both convenient and a crowd favorite!

Tips For Making Slow Cooker Chili

– It may seem like an unnecessary step, but don’t skip browning the turkey and cooking the onion on the stove. Lots of flavors comes from searing the meat in a hot pan and then scraping all those tasty brown bits from the bottom. Cooking the onion and garlic mellows out their flavor and helps you avoid the off-taste that sometimes happens when you put raw onion or garlic in the slow cooker.

– I don’t use oil in the skillet to brown the turkey, because the meat usually releases enough fat and moisture to not stick too much, plus you want it to have enough contact to get that nice, flavorful browning.

– Rinsing and draining canned beans greatly reduces their sodium content by up to 41%1 so don’t skip it! You can also look for low-sodium versions of canned beans and broth to reduce sodium content even more.

– If you have an Instant Pot, this recipe is even easier! You can do the first 4 steps right in the pot on Sauté mode, then add everything else in and use the Slow Cook mode for the remainder of the recipe. You just saved yourself another dish!

Recipe Variations

– I used 2 small cans of medium-heat green chiles for heat in this recipe, and it’s still not super spicy. If you like a lot of heat, add more green chiles, or add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. 

– If you don’t have any canned green chiles, dice a couple of jalapeño or serrano peppers and cook them in with the onion and garlic.

– If you don’t have smoked paprika and/or Mexican oregano, regular versions of each work just fine.

– This recipe is easily doubled to feed more people, or to store half in your freezer.

Make It a Meal!

– A bowl of chili just isn’t complete without cornbread! Bake a batch of my Healthier Skillet Cornbread or Gluten-Free Polenta Cornbread!

– Top your chili with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and/or diced avocado.

– Add a green salad on the side to round it all out. 

Slow Cooker Black Bean Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey (97% lean)
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles


1- Dice the onion and mince the garlic.

2- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned on all sides.

3- Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. 

4- Add the broth and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with your spoon. Pour everything into the pot of a slow cooker.

5- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. 

6- Leave the lid slightly cracked during the last 30-60 minutes of cooking to let the chili thicken up.

References:1. Duyff, R. L, Mount, J. R, & Jones, J. B. (2011). Sodium Reduction in Canned Beans After Draining, Rinsing. Journal of culinary science & technology, 9, 106-112. doi: 10.1080/15428052.2011.582405

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