The Irresistible Secret to My Legendary Chili Recipe

There is something about fall in the Midwest. The minute the leaves start to turn, a slight chill returns to the air, and football fills our televisions, I start getting in the mood for fall food.

Although we have had a relatively warm start to autumn this year (not a complaint heard hear!), the first day of fall was crisp and cool, and in our house that means one thing – chili! Making chili during the fall season isn’t particularly novel, but there is one chili recipe I have made since my husband and I started dating well over a decade ago, and it has become our chili recipe.

This Simple Turkey Chili stands up to its name (it really is so simple), and it has 2,000 rave ratings and reviews to confirm it. If you sort through some of the reviews, you will note that many of them adjusted the recipe to their liking, and that is exactly what makes this chili so awesome.

For example, when my kids were little and much more spice averse, I would cut the amount of cayenne and chili powder in half. If I was missing some of the spices, I would shake in a bit of blackening season.


The recipe is the perfect chili for a novice cook, too. It requires basic chili ingredients, and if you follow the instructions to a tee, you’ll still come out with a batch of awesome, nutritious chili.

It’s also a great dish to gain confidence in the kitchen because it’s relatively difficult to mess up. You can start the onions and garlic earlier than directed if you prefer to get them going before you break up the turkey meat, or you can add them after browning.

To make the pot extra hearty, interesting, and fiber-filled, I now double the batch, and add in three kinds of beans: white beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans.

If you like a thicker chili (we do!), you can add less water; we usually cut the amount of water in half. Or if you don’t like too many chunks of the beans, stick an immersion blender into the pot, and puree some of the beans, giving the chili a bit of a “creaminess.”

This chili does well with other additions, too. Occasionally, I will add in a small can of hatch green chiles. Other Allrecipes cooks have added in green peppers, corn, black beans, and even chopped up carrots or celery.

Everyone loves a secret ingredient, so if you fancy a dash of cinnamon or espresso, go for it.

And let us not forget the fun part — all of the toppings that go along with chili. These are standard in our house: shredded Cheddar, chopped raw onions, sour cream, and oyster crackers. If I forget the onions, I substitute scallions, and if I forget the oyster crackers I just get an “Aww, Mom!”

This chili freezes well and makes amazing leftovers to boot. It is the perfect meal to make (or reheat) after fall soccer or baseball, and you could even make it in the slow cooker if desired. All in all, there’s no one reason I’ve returned to the same chili year after year; it’s the fact that this Simple Turkey Chili has it all — and then some!


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