turkey chili

Turkey Chili

Leftover turkey?  I opened the fridge this morning and noticed I still had a pile of cooked bird from Thanksgiving.  While I am more than happy to have a surplus of food during these times, I must admit, I was perplexed as to what to do with it.

Turkey chili of course.  Here’s a recipe that I threw together, literally, in the crockpot.  Feel free to adapt this chili to your liking and make it up as you go along, like I did.

Print Recipe
Turkey Chili
  1. In a large crockpot , combine turkey, poblanos, stock, onions and carrots
  2. Allow to cook several hours or overnight
  3. Add cumin, oregano and salt
  4. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to make a slurry
  5. Stir into crockpot and cook for another 1 hour or until thick
  6. Garnish with cilantro
  7. Serve

You can use any type of chili peppers that you wish in this recipe, though beware, I would not recommend anything too hot.  In terms of the arrowroot, I use it to thicken the soup, though you could definitely go without it or experiment with another thickener of your choosing.

Enjoy your leftovers; if you are looking for something else to do with your turkey remnants, check out Karina’s recipe for gluten-free turkey enchiladas.  Given that she lives in the southwest, I bet hers are the real deal.

I finished using up all of my turkey today (Monday); how long do you retain your cooked turkey meat in the fridge after Thanksgiving?  How long do you think it will safely keep?  Today was definitely the last day for me and that was stretching it by probably a day.


  1. Lynnette FosterHowith says

    I grow poblanos, hatch, jalapeno, etc peppers during the summer and upon harvesting I wash, roast on my gas stove, closed paper bag steam them, and then peel them.. Then i freeze them whole in baggies so I have them ready when I need them.

  2. says


    Love that idea. I will add it to my “recipes to try” list. Though you may have to come over for dinner that night; not sure if my boys would eat that one.


  3. ~M says

    Hi Elana! Today at work someone had egg drop soup from the local fast food eatery and I kept thinking that there must be a way to Elana-ify egg drop soup. :) I remembered this chili recipe and was thinking that it might work to simmer chicken broth, make an arrowroot slurry and add it, and then add the scrambled egg mixture and maybe some scallions (basically, just follow a generic egg drop soup recipe). Does that sound like it would work? It’d be a great appetizer to an Asian meal or stir fry. Best to you and your family from Chicago!

    • ~M says

      By the way, homemade, grain-free egg drop soup turns out great. I follow Garrett’s guest post from Simply recipes, though I’m sure you could Elanify it further by subbing something for soy sauce (what’s your usual sub? fish sauce? ume vinegar?) and using arrowroot for cornstarch (I still have a bit left that I’m trying to use up; then it’s arrowroot for me).


      Do you roast the poblanos yourself? How do you do that? I’m in the process of creating my Thanksgiving spreadsheet and this made the cut! I just LOVE that it uses the crockpot and hope to see more crockpot recipes this winter! Thanks!

  4. says

    Kelly -Thanks, the meat was so tender in this. It fell apart.

    Daniel -You’re welcome!

    ~M -Thanks for letting me know about the bum link. I fixed it. Not sure I understand your question though –I didn’t realize there were different types of poblanos…I thought that was the type of pepper. Maybe you could send me a link which can show me the different types of poblano then I might be able to answer your question. In terms of reducing the broth, I’m not sure how that would work as I haven’t tried it myself. The tomatoes sound like a good addition; let me know how it turns out if you do decide to experiment. I remembered that you like cooking in your crockpot and was thinking of you when I wrote this recipe and created this post.

    Penny -Wow! That’s so great that everyone loved the pumpkin cranberry upside down cake! Thanks for letting me know that.

  5. Penny says

    I neglected to post to let you know that I prepared the cranberry pumpkin upside down cake for our Thanksgiving dessert and it eclipsed all the pies at my sister’s house. It was absolutely fantastic! Thanks for your great site. I visit often.

  6. ~M says

    This looks very tasty! I love chili and crockpot meals. What exactly are the type of poblano peppers that you are using (the link is broken for me)? Also, I’m thinking I may use 6 cups broth and 1 can of diced tomatoes since my husband likes tomatoes in his chili… do you think that would work?

  7. says

    Hi Elana!

    This is just what I’ve been needing! I don’t actually like old holiday turkey bird – I think it’s the texture. But leftovers, like turkey sandwiches made with lots of Vegenaise, lettuce and tomato are what I much prefer. And there’s nothing like soup, especially made in the crock pot, to tenderize the meat. Oh how I love soup. This is turkey leftovers I could really enjoy! Thanks!


    • Carol says

      I used to make chili with beef. Now I use chicken or ground turkey. Any kinds of meat would work I think. The pork sausage is reduced fat and quite tasty.

      I kept the basics because we loved chili. I cut out a lot of fat, reduced salt and added beans. We like this just as well.

      5 pounds ground chicken (I grind my own breast)
      1 pound Italain turkey sausage(remove casing) or lite pork sausage
      1 T salt
      2 T pepper
      2 large onions, diced
      1/4 cup minced garlic or 1/2 tsp powdered
      1/4 cup Spanish paprika
      1/2 cup chili powder
      1 T cayenne pepper
      2 T sugar or substitute
      1 T ground cumin (comino)
      2 T parsley flakes
      1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
      4 – 28oz cans crushed tomatos
      1 – 29 oz can diced or petite diced tomatos
      1 can pinto beans, with juice IF it needs a little more salt
      1 can red beans or kidney beans, with juice IF it needs a little more salt

      In a large skillet cook meats over medium heat adding salt and pepper as it cooks. Add onion and garlic to meat and continue to cook until meat is done. You may have juice on the meat from the onion breaking down. You don’t need to drain this off. Transfer to a large pot. Add other ingredients. Bring to a boil about 5 minutes; stir and set heat to simmer at least 30 minutes with cover on pot.

      We top ours with grated cheese and diced onion.

      Serves 20 according to the cookbook. Not at my house!

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