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One serving of leftover turkey chili in a bowl with chips and garnishes scattered around.
Leftover Turkey Chili
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

Turn those leftovers into a pot of pure comfort! This hearty turkey chili is full of flavor and spice and makes use of those Thanksgiving leftovers!

Course: Main Dish, Soups/Stews
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: leftover turkey, turkey chili
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 395 kcal
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced (large)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes (1 can)
  • 15 oz tomato sauce (1 can)
  • 14 oz minced green chiles, fire roasted (2 cans)
  • 12 oz beer (I like an amber ale)
  • 2 cups beef stock (turkey or chicken stock can be substitued)
  • 8 cups chopped or shredded roasted turkey, about 2 lbs (rotisserie chicken can be substituted)
  • 16 oz white beans, drained and rinsed (1 - 16 oz can)
  • 32 oz pinto beans, drained and rinsed (2 - 16 oz cans)
  • splash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • shredded cheddar, avocado, and sour cream for topping (optional)
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven until hot.

  2. Add pepper and onion and saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add the spices, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, and stir well. Cook for 2 mins. Mix in the tomato paste and cook 2 more mins.

  4. Add the tomatoes, sauce, chiles, beer, and stock. Stir in the cooked chicken and beans.

  5. Simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. The chili should reduce a bit and have a nice thick consistency. If you have more time to let it cook, by all means let it simmer. It tastes even better the longer it cooks. Add a splash of stock if it gets too thick.

  6. Stir the lime juice (and hot sauce is using). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with garnishes if desired.

Recipe Notes
  • I created this recipe specifically to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but a rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken will work just as well.
  • I prefer an amber ale for the flavor it adds to the chili, but a pilsner or IPA will work too. Play around and find your favorite.
  • I love the spicy, smoky flavor that fire roasted tomatoes and chilis add to this dish, but if you can't find them, regular (not fire-roasted) can be substituted.
  • Beef stock adds a deeper, meatier flavor to this chili, but chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted.
  • Toppings, toppings, and more toppings! Go crazy with it! My favorites are sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, sliced avocado, and a pile of tortilla chips alongside!
Nutrition Facts
Leftover Turkey Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 3019mg131%
Potassium 1582mg45%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 14g58%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 1459IU29%
Vitamin C 45mg55%
Calcium 199mg20%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.