Easy, appetizing and flavorful: Slow cooker turkey chili recipe

Turkey Chili
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When I moved into my first apartment at UC Berkeley, my mom gifted me a brand new slow cooker. When we unboxed it together, she decided that she wanted to cook something special that night. So, we gathered the following ingredients and made a recipe similar to this one. That was the first time I ever made chili, and since then, I’ve experimented with all kinds of different flavors and ingredients. The following chili recipe is a great starter recipe; take this and make it your own. 


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 2 cans cannellini beans 
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes 
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped


  • 2 teaspoons cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder 
  • 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper 
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 

Note: Seasoning measurements are only approximations. Add more or less depending on what you like. 

Toppings (optional, but recommended)

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese 
  • Jalapenos 


  1. Lightly season the ground turkey with salt, pepper and chili powder. You’ll add more seasoning into the chili, but it’s always a good idea to season your meat before you cook it.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. In a large pot (or slow cooker), pour the cans of beans and diced tomatoes. Once the meat has finished cooking, add to the pot and place over medium heat. 
  4. To the same skillet you used for the meat, add your onions and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add them to the pot. 
  5. Add your seasonings and turn the heat up to high. Stir and taste. Adjust the spice levels according to your liking. (If you love spicy food, add some sriracha or other spicy sauce.)
  6. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. At this point, your chili is complete, but if you want to enhance the flavors, simmer your chili for a few hours!
  7. Serve with toppings and enjoy!

Thanks to my mom, this recipe carried me through the last three years of college. Try it out and experiment with your own flavors!

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].