This, my friends, is the Best Turkey Chili Recipe I’ve ever made. It’s a great way to turn your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers into a hearty midweek meal!

leftover turkey chili

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

As Thanksgiving approaches, I always try to jot down a few ideas that will help me make the most of our leftovers. Turkey sandwiches are great for a day or two. But after that, our Thanksgiving leftovers tend to sit stagnant in the fridge until their inevitable day of doom.

I hate wasting food like that.

Giving leftover Thanksgiving turkey a makeover is a great way to ensure your family is happy to see it again on days 3, 4, or 5.

leftover ingredients

Best Turkey Chili Recipe

Sure, I’ve made turkey chili before. Plenty of times. Yet never with the depth and hearty allure of this recipe.

My Best Turkey Chili Recipe was inspired by a turkey chili I tasted last spring in Deer Valley Resort. It was rich and well-spiced with loads of veggies, sweet corn, beans, and large chunks of turkey meat.

It’s then topped with cheese, onions, and sour cream, a rich one-bowl meal I could have enjoyed for days.

Obviously, I had to come home and create my own copy-cat recipe.

By starting with a leftover, you can make the Best Turkey Chili Recipe you’ve ever tried any night of the week. Add in a side of honey cinnamon corn muffins and you have a show-stopping meal your family will ask for again and again.

At least mine does.

Best Turkey Chili

How To Make Turkey Chili


  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Butter
  • Masa Corn Flour
  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground Coriander 
  • Chili Powder 
  • Dried Oregano
  • Turkey Stock or Chicken Stock
  • Cooked (Leftover) Turkey Meat 
  • Canned Black Beans (drain and rinse the beans)
  • Frozen Corn
  • Honey
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Possible Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Diced Red Onion, Chopped Scallions, Salsa, Corn Chips 


  1. Start by sautéing onions, red bell peppers, celery, and garlic in butter. Then add cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano for an alluring balance of spice.
  2. You can add in chopped leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or even leftover chicken (or store-bought rotisserie chicken) to conveniently make this recipe all through the winter.
  3. Simmer all the ingredients for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors time to mix and mingle. Then top each bowl with a hefty amount of toppings and serve.

That’s it.

See the Recipe Card Below for How to Make The Best Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe. Enjoy!

Easy Chili

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this leftover turkey chili last?

You can keep this recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days

How well does it freeze?

You can freeze leftover turkey chili for 3-6 months. Make sure to store in an airtight container in the back of the freezer.

Can I use dried over canned beans?

Yes, you can substitute 1 pound of dried beans for the canned beans. However, you will need to soak the beans in water overnight. Simmer them with the broth, veggies, and spices for 1-2 hours until the beans are soft. Then add in the turkey and simmer for another 20 minutes. 

Are there any substitutes for corn flour?

Masa is a great thickener for chili because it offers a rustic earthy note. However, you can use all-purpose flour or Gluten-Free baking mix if desired.

Can I make this in the crock pot or instant pot?

Yes, you can. Cooking it in a slow cooker makes more sense than the Instant Pot, because it doesn’t really save you time in the IP, over cooking it on the stovetop. For the slow cooker: Saute the vegetables in a skillet to soften. Then place everything in the crockpot. Cover and set on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.

How can I adjust the spices if I want to make it spicier or less spiced?

None of the spices in this recipe are actually very spicy. You can reduce the chili powder if desired. Or add cayenne pepper if you want extra heat. 

Other Chili Recipes You Might Like:

The Absolute Best Turkey Chili Recipe on #thanksgiving #leftovers
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Best Turkey Chili (Leftover Turkey Recipe)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
This, my friends, is the Best Turkey Chili Recipe I've ever made. It's a great way to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a hearty mid-week meal!
Servings: 6



  • Place the butter in a large stock pot and set over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onions, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, until softened. Stir to make sure the veggies don’t burn.
  • Mix in the masa, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano. Stir to coat and sauté another 2 minutes. Then pour in the turkey stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the veggies.
  • Add the chopped turkey, beans, corn, and honey. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Bring the chili to a low boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season again if needed. Serve warm.



Don’t have leftover turkey meat? Substitute leftover cooked chicken, or a rotisserie chicken from the market.


Serving: 2cups, Calories: 674kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 95g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 234mg, Sodium: 1476mg, Potassium: 1607mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1265IU, Vitamin C: 30.2mg, Calcium: 139mg, Iron: 6.2mg
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier
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