Turkey And White Bean Chili

A pot of Turkey And White Bean Chili simmering on the stove is the perfect antidote for a cold or rainy day. Made with shredded turkey, white cannellini beans and spices, this recipe will make you forget about the gloomy weather outside. This chili also has an ingredient you might not expect and that is ground tortilla chips. Not only do they add flavor, they help thicken the chili as well.

Turkey And White Bean Chili

Turkey And White Bean Chili

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • 1 hot red chile (I used Fresno), seeded and diced
  • 1 green jalapeño chile, seeded and diced
  • 1 poblano chile, charred, peeled, seeded and diced * See Tips
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile power
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 c. cooked turkey, torn into bit size pieces (I used smoked turkey breast)
  • 1 large can of cannellini beans (19 oz.), drained and rinsed
  • 2 c. chicken stock (more if needed to thin chili)
  • 1/4 c. ground tortilla chips (made from a couple of hand full of chips)

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and just starting to color. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the spices, stir well and cook for another minute.

Add the turkey, beans and stock and mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the ground tortillas to help thicken the chili and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until the chili reaches the desired consistency. If the chili is too thick, thin it with a little chicken stock or water. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve. If you like, you can serve condiments such as diced jalapeños, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro or tortilla chips as toppings for the chili.

Tips: This is a quick and easy meal to prepare and can be adapted to your taste.

  1. I like to char poblano peppers and peel them before cooking. I find the tough outer skin difficult to digest. I char them on the open flame of my gas stove then put them in a covered bowl to steam for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, the skin slips right off. While this step is not necessary, I find that charring adds flavor to the pepper.
  2. Chipotle and ancho chile powders are dried, ground peppers and should not to be confused with chili powder, which is a blend of ground chilies and other spices. Ancho chile powder  has a moderately spicy but rich flavor. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño chiles and chipotle chile powder has a smoky, sweet, spicy flavor.
  3. The chili would be equally good substituting rotisserie chicken for the turkey.
  4. If you like tomatoes in your chili, you might add a small can of diced Rotel tomatoes, either mild or hot, depending on how hot the fresh chiles are that you use in the chili.
  5. To remove some of the heat from chile peppers, I like to take out the seeds and the veins.
  6. I suggest you uses gloves when working with chiles if you have sensitive skin and be sure to never touch you face or eyes while working with them. Wash you hands carefully after handling them.
  7. If you notice, I did not add salt to this recipe because of the chicken stock and the tortilla chips which are both salted. I taste right before serving, then add salt if needed.
  8. Lastly, you might notice I’ve used both spellings of chile and chili…it all depends on where you live. For this recipe, chile refers to the plant and its dried, ground peppers  and chili refers to this recipe which is turkey and white bean chili.


The turkey and white bean chili is a very flavorful recipe although it is not very hot, spice wise. You can adjust the heat of the chili making it as mild or as hot as you like by the kind of chile peppers that you decide to use. The next time you have a gloomy or cold day, think about making a pot of this comforting and healthy turkey and white bean chili. Serve it in colorful bowls and think warm and happy thoughts.


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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

83 thoughts on “Turkey And White Bean Chili

  1. Your post is timely as this morning I decided to make white bean chili with left over chicken. I’ll use the chicken and modify with what is included in your recipe.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, Wish I could exchange a bowl of my white bean chili for a bowl of your classic New Mexican pork braise…we would both be happy. 😀

    1. Hi Val, How nice to have you leave a comment. It gave me a smile…thank you. I hope the two of you will enjoy the recipe if you give it a try. 😀

  2. Love turkey (or chicken) chili with white beans. And plenty of chilies. This looks terrific — haven’t made chili for a while, which for us — at this time of the year — is really unusual. Like the idea of ground tortilla chips as a thickener — I’ve actually tried this, and it’s a great addition. And as you point out, a great way to add salt to the dish. Good stuff — thanks.

    1. Thank you for your compliment on the chili John. I love chili anytime of the year but especially during cooler weather. Yes, tortilla chips are a great thickener and do add to the flavor of the dish.

  3. That sounds absolutely heavenly, Karen. I love all the different chiles that you used in the recipe – I can only imagine the complexity of flavor! Will definitely be trying this next time we have some shredded turkey around!

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment David. The chili is equally good with chicken and of course, you will want to make it your own by not using garlic. 🙂

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Yes indeed, charring any pepper does enhance its flavor. I use charred red bell peppers when I make Spanish romesco sauce…so good. 🙂

  4. This looks beautiful and sounds delicious! I think we’re on the same wavelength recently with dishes like this. It’s certainly the season for comfort food where I am in cold and dreary London (Canada’s London, that is). And if the sun comes out tomorrow as promised, I’ll still be craving dishes like this chili!

    1. Thank you for your compliment Judy. I think I probably use cannellini beans more often than any other bean I cook with. They went nice with the turkey in this chili.

  5. Here across the wide land masses and that big Pond one may not reach for turkey nor chillies as often as over your way. But love cannellini beans and want to learn more about the different chillies, so shall most decidedly try 🙂 ! One does not need winter – ’tis appetizing even in today’s 41C burst of heat here . . . . remember most of the hot curry eating nations have similar temperatures . . .

    1. Hi Eha, I agree with you that the ingredients in my chili are probably not all that common in Australia. I can’t believe how hot it has been in your part of the world, I know you will be looking forward to a break in the weather. I also agree with you that it is not necessary to have cold weather to enjoy a spicy dish like curry or chili. 😀

    1. Thank you for the pin Judy, it is much appreciated. This would definitely be a nice dish to have when you return home to New Hampshire. In the meantime, keep enjoying the warm weather.

  6. This is one of our favorite winter dishes, Karen, but I’ve never made it with shredded turkey! Always ground. I would love to try this version, and think that would quickly become a hit! Also, I often add some masa to thicken, but again, never thought of the chips! This is a fantastic way to go. I’m sure this will be on my list this week. I’ve had a bad cold and this sounds so warm and nourishing!!

    1. Hi Debra, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. A bowl of this chili might not cure your cold but it would be warm and nourishing nonetheless…wish I could have shared some with you.

    1. Hi Angie, I can vouch about the chili making for a good lunch as I did that a couple days later and it was delicious. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Fatima, We are like you when it comes to bean dishes, they are good tasting, good for you and the price is right when purchasing dried or canned beans. 🙂

    1. Hi Gerlinde, Chili is such a versatile meal…there are so many ways of preparing it. I hope you will like this version if you get a chance to make it.

    1. Thank you Charlie, I know after all the heat you have had that you really must be looking forward to cooler weather. That is when you would enjoy a dish like this.

  7. I’ve never thought to thicken with the tortilla chips – brilliant! Poblanos are my favorite pepper to roast, and I love white beans. There are so many delicious flavors in this. (And I love that pretty green bowl!)

    1. I’m glad you like the idea of using turkey in my version of chili Inger. It makes a nice change and goes well with the white beans. Thank you.

  8. Lovely recipe Karen! I’m not sure I will be able to get Pablano Chillies in Sydney and I imagine they are integral to the recipe….I will have to research it.
    Like so many other of your readers, I love the idea of the tortilla chips .
    I must admit I looked up the spelling of chilli as in Aust. we use two “l”‘s….. I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t been spelling it incorrectly for years 😂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Kathryn. The spelling of chili whether the dish or the pepper depends on where you live. And speaking of where you live, I know certain ingredients can be hard to find. Poblano peppers are a mild chile with usually very little heat. An Anaheim pepper would be the best substitute but I don’t know if it would be any easier to find. I think you could use a green bell pepper and then add another jalapeño pepper for spice.

  9. I love turkey or chicken chili, all those flavors and spices – truly a nice pot of chili, Karen, and I love your hints on handling chile peppers!

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