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Overhead view of bowls of Spicy Turkey Three-Bean Chili with toppings and cornbread alongside.

Spicy Turkey Three-Bean Chili

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Betty Crocker)
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8-10 Servings 1x
  • Category: Soups & Stews
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


The best bowl of spicy turkey chili is easy to make at home! Includes tips for making it milder, freezing, and topping ideas. Perfect comfort food!


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 3 cans red/kidney/chili beans, undrained
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder

Suggested Toppings (optional, but encouraged!):

  • Shredded cheese (cheddar or a Mexican blend are both great choices)
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Minced red onion or shallots
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Melt butter in a large stock pot over moderate heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add meat and brown, breaking it up as it cooks. 
  2. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Add ketchup, water, celery, brown sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, vinegar, and dried mustard. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  3. Add beans, tomato juice and remaining spices (chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and cocoa powder) and heat through. (See notes for milder heat level variations) 
  4. Garnish with any (or all!) of the suggested toppings and enjoy.


If you don’t like things too spicy – no need to worry! All you need to do to keep this more mild is omit the chipotle chili powder and cayenne. You could also add a little of those spices if you want just a little more kick than it has without.

I often make this chili and after adding the beans and other spices, stir it all together and take half of the chili and put it into another pot. I’ll then add half the amount of chipotle chili powder and cayenne to one of the pots so I have both spicy and mild chili made without much fuss.

Serve with cornbread, crusty bread, or dinner rolls for dunking.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 335
  • Sugar: 9.7 g
  • Sodium: 1073.2 mg
  • Fat: 6.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.3 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 34.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 71.6 mg

Keywords: chili, spicy, turkey

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