White Bean Turkey Chili
White Bean Turkey Chili is hearty and healthy with lean ground turkey, white beans, fresh lime and plenty of spice! It’s gluten-free and freezer-friendly!
This morning was so cold and foggy that I wanted to stay indoors in my cozy clothes and skip spin class.
I sucked it up and went to class, and quickly went from freezing to feeling like I was in a sauna for an hour. I walked out to my car glistening with sweat, which resulted in being much colder than I was before class.
I was cold to the bone by California standards, and all I could think about was a big warm bowl of this White Bean Turkey Chili!
A big slab of my skillet cornbread certainly wouldn’t hurt either. 🙂
This white bean turkey chili recipe was inspired by Cooking Light magazine years ago. It quickly became one of my favorite recipes because it was unlike any chili that I’d ever had before.
Most chili recipes are tomato-based and include pinto and kidney beans, but not this one. The base of this recipe is chicken stock, and also includes white beans which are creamier and more mild in flavor.
If you love tomato based chili, be sure to try my recipes for pumpkin chili and chorizo chili. They’re both nice and hearty too!
There are several white beans on the market, including cannellini (or white kidney beans), navy beans and Great Northern beans. Any of these white beans are viable options, but I prefer cannellini beans for their creaminess.
The white beans play two roles in this healthy white turkey chili. The beans give the chili the heartiness that every chili needs and they work as a thickener.
Half of one can of beans is mashed and added to the chili, then cooked down for 20-30 minutes until the chili has reached the desired thickness.
Ground turkey is my favorite animal protein to use in my chili recipes because it’s got a lighter flavor and it’s nice and lean.
The ground turkey works perfectly in this recipe with the creamy white beans, chicken stock and warm spices.
What really sets this White Bean Turkey Chili apart is the fresh lime juice and cilantro that’s added at the end. This chili is hearty yet light, with a delicious pop of freshness!
Serve it with sliced avocado, extra lime wedges and cornbread, and you’ve got a meal that will warm you heart and soul.
It certainly did the trick for me. 🙂
Try these chili and cornbread recipes too!
- Butternut squash chili
- Classic Chili by Food Network
- Honey cornbread muffins
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Guinness Beef Chili
Did you try this recipe? If so, be sure to leave a review below and tag me @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram
White Bean Turkey Chili
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 2 cans cannellini or Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
- 14.5 ounces low sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 lime juiced, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 5-6 minutes until onion is translucent and softened. Add the garlic and spices and sauté 30 seconds more.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 large yellow onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Add the ground turkey and 1/4 cup water and stir, breaking up the meat into pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes.2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- While the turkey is cooking, mash one cup of the rinsed and drained beans in a bowl with a fork. When the turkey is cooked through, add the mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes and chicken broth, and stir until combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and simmer 20-30 more minutes until thickened.2 cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, 14.5 ounces low sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes, 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Remove from heat and add the lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges and avocado if desired and enjoy!1 lime, ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro, salt and pepper
- This is a great meal prep meal and it’s freezer friendly! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
**This post was originally published in January 2013. I’ve updated the recipe and photos, but most of the text remains the same.
68 Comments on “White Bean Turkey Chili”
Just the recipe I was looking for – but it doesn’t specify how much turkey to use! I’m guessing a pound and making it anyway.
Embarrassingly, you’re right — I left out the turkey! Yes…use 1 pound and I’ll modify the recipe later this morning. Thank you for the heads up!
I’ve never had a white bean chili, but it’s absolutely something I would love to try! Mashing some of the beans to act as a thickener is a genius idea, and I bet the cilantro and lime add a wonderful flavour!
My husband isn’t normally into chili (neither are my kids!) but they’ll eat this one! It’s definitely a favorite of mine with all the fresh flavor. Thanks Leanne! 🙂
This is a delicious white chili. I was searching recipes and this one really caught my eye. I didn’t have yellow onion on hand but I had red so I chopped it and served it on top as a fixin along with the avocado and some sour cream. Could sub plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. I was worried my husband wouldn’t be a fan but he ate 2 bowls! This is definitely a keeper. I had to add some tomato paste to mine because it was a bit too watery for our preference.
Thanks so much for your feedback, Tracie, and I’m glad you enjoyed the chili!
How would you freeze this? And thaw later?
I freeze it in Tupperware (or use zip top bag) and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Wish I could grab the bowl full of deliciousness right away.. So warm and comforting…love it!!
I wish I could send you some! Thanks Arpita!
Want to try tonight but only have chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans on hand. Think I can substitute?
I think chickpeas would work very well!
I don’t make white chili NEARLY as often as I should! Seriously loving this turkey version! It’s been freezing in Wisconsin lately so I’m ALL about cozy food like this!
It had been a while since I made chili at all so this really hit the spot! Sounds like you really need a warm cozy bowl so I hope you get some soon! 🙂
I have been alll about the cozy soups and chili lately and this would be no exception! Looks like a perfect fall dinner!!
It hasn’t been very cool here yet but that hasn’t stopped me! 🙂 Thanks Ashley!
hi can i use leftover turkey instead of ground turkey? how much please 🙂
Hi Lee — I haven’t tried this but I’m sure you can. Simply add up to a pound of chopped turkey once you get the chili simmering. I’d love to hear how it turns out!
I was very happy to come across this recipe, as others are too spicy, too gloppy, to relentlessly low-fat (I am also very concerned about nutrition, but not denaturing foods!) Don’t forget that chopped herbs (cilantro/coriander, parsley etc) are very important in term of nutrition. I’m bringing in my balcony herbs now sadly.
I don’t believe in denaturing foods either. I’m glad you enjoyed this!
So perfect for fall! I replaced the water work white wine and added green chilies. So good!!
I’m so glad you liked the recipe Kayla!
I tried this tonight….YUM! I added chili flakes and cinnamon (I was out of chili powder) and an extra can of beans, then dressed with with a little sour cream, avocado and lime…best turkey chili I’ve had! Great recipe!
Your modifications sound delicious, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the chili Christina!
Made this last night & me & the hubby fell in love with it! Going back to the store for more ingredients! I’ll make a double from now on! Thanks for the amazing recipe!
Thank you for your feedback Veronica! This is my favorite chili recipe and I’m so glad to hear that you love it to!
Would this do ok in a slow cooker? I’d brown the meat first.
If you do make it in the slow cooker, follow my instructions for this recipe. Be sure not to add the cilantro and lime until it’s done cooking and it should be fine! https://flavorthemoments.com/easy-slow-cooker-turkey-chili/.
Thanks so much!
You’re welcome, and I’d love to hear how it turns out!
Turned out great! I used chicken instead of turkey b/c that’s what I had on hand, added zucchini, pepper and corn so I’d have some veggies. I did 3 hours on high and 2.5 on low just to suit the time I needed it done. I was taking to work in a thermos so didn’t add the fresh toppings but it was still delicious! Will be sure to do again and enjoy with lime and cilantro :). Was refreshingly lighter than my normal chilli.
Thank you so much for your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the chili!
This is a family hit! I’ve started to make it several times a month in fact! We just love the simplicity. Since my 7 yr old doesn’t “like” tomatoes, I blend them along with the portion of beans and he doesn’t event know they’re in there! It thickens it a bit, so I just add a little more broth as needed. I’ve made it with rotisserie chicken and ground turkey and it’s great either way. We serve it with some shredded cheese, avocado and corn chips. Thank you for this!
Your 7 year old sounds like my boys when they were little! 🙂 I’m so glad that your family is enjoying this recipe Jennifer, and thank you for the feedback!
Hi, have you ever doubled the recipe? Would you suggest doubling everything exactly?
Hi Julie! I have not doubled the recipe, but if I did I would double all of the ingredients exactly. It may take a bit longer to cook, but it should work perfectly!
This is really flavourful with a lighter, brighter profile than traditional chili. I omit the chicken broth for a heartier texture.
Glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe makes 6 servings. How much is one serving? 1 cup, 2 cups?
I didn’t pour the entire mixture into a measuring cup so I don’t know exactly how many cups the recipe yields. I’d say a safe bet is around 1 cup per serving.
I created this today and it is great! I didn’t measure out the spices but other than that followed the recipe and will definitely make this again! Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the chili Christina and thank you for the feedback!
This is great, very tasty. I’ve made it with the ground turkey and another time with leftover thanksgiving turkey. Both great! Thank you for the recipe 👌👌😀😀
Thanks so much for your feedback and taking the time to leave a rating!
Best chili recipe ever! Definitely will be a go to recipe!
I’m so glad you love it Wendy!
Loving this recipe! We came across this as we were getting ready to welcome our baby – we ate it and froze a huge batch and ended up making in 2 more times before she arrived! One of our favorites now. Thanks!
This makes my day…thank you for the feedback!
Hi I was wondering what the serving size was to calories?? Thank you!
Sorry I just have a basic estimate — I did not measure the amount of chili.
Was I supposed to drain the tomatos? Mine looks like a red chili
I never usually drain them as the liquid adds flavor. I’m surprised they turned the dish red…we’re they crushed tomatoes instead of diced?
This recipe is amazing!!! I substituted tomato with zucchini per dietary restrictions and it was delicious!!! My husband and I both said we can’t eat regular chilli again.
I’m so happy to hear that you love it Michelle — thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback! 🙂
Can post the original recipe with the butternut squash?
I’m sorry but I’m not sure what you’re asking. Do you mean the separate recipe for butternut squash chili?
Can I make this in a crockpot?
I’m sure you can but you’d have to cook the turkey on the stove top as listed, then you can transfer the turkey mixture to the crock pot. I have a crock pot turkey chili recipe that you can check out for cooking times, etc.
Wow! This came out amazing! It was so flavorful and my whole family loved it! The lime and cilantro were really a great touch at the end. Fabulous and healthy, I will be saving this for our dinner rotation! Thank you the great recipe!
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and I’m glad you love the chili! 🙂
I read through all the comments but don’t see where anyone has used the instant pot. I can figure out everything but how long you would cook it once the turkey is browned…do you have any suggestions? Thank you!
Hi Jamie. I’ve never tried it in the Instant Pot, but it shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes at High Pressure. If it looks thin from there, simply cook it on Sauté mode with the lid off until it’s thickened enough. Hope that helps and I’d love to hear how it turns out!
How can the serving size be 1 gram? Is that correct?
The recipe card automatically generated a “g” for grams…sorry about the confusion. The nutrition information is based on a total of 6 servings.
Overall this was great! I did reduce the chili powder by half, and it was a little thin so added a jar of turkey gravy. Had with cornbread and coleslaw. Healthy and filling. Thanks so much for the inspiration! 💕
Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing your feedback!
Love it. Not a cilantro or lime gal. Forgive me but in my bowl, I add a smidge of butter and a dollop of hot sauce. OMG. Perfection. Thanks for the recipe!!
Cooking is all about doing what you like, and would never judge a person for adding butter and hot sauce! 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoyed the chili!