There are many ways to make chili, but my favorite is this slow cooker white turkey chili recipe. It takes just minutes to throw together in the morning before work; then, all you have to do when you get home is heat up some cornbread or sourdough bread for dinner. A quick and easy meal with no mess!
This recipe is a favorite in our family. My husband and kids like the rich, hearty flavor, and I like that it's super quick and easy to prepare and is primarily a healthy dinner.
Why is it called white chili?
White chili differs from traditional chili in a few ways. First, instead of using tomatoes as a base, the chicken broth becomes the base of the chili. Also, instead of using red meat like beef or bison, chicken or turkey becomes the protein source. And finally, white beans are used in place of the more traditional pinto or kidney beans.
ground turkey - a healthy alternative to beef or pork. It's high in protein and has a rich, meaty flavor that makes it the perfect choice for dishes like tacos, chili, and spaghetti sauce. And with so many cuts of ground turkey available these days - from extra lean-to super-lean - you can easily find one that fits your diet. Ground turkey is also an economical option too--it can be less expensive than other meats on the market.
chicken broth - this is a staple in my kitchen. Chicken broth has been shown to have health benefits such as fighting colds and boosting immunity. You can buy it from your local supermarket, or you can make your own by simmering chicken bones for hours until the flavor becomes concentrated.
salsa verde - Salsa verde is made primarily of tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, onion, cilantro leaves, and salt. It can be served as a dip for tortilla chips. Its name means "green sauce" in Spanish. I love using salsa verde as a shortcut instead of chopping up peppers, onions, and more for the chili. It's quick and packed with flavor.
navy beans - Navy beans are a common bean, which is part of the legume family. The other varieties include black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans. Navy beans are popular in many different dishes because they have a low glycemic index. They also have high concentrations of protein and fiber.
Navy Beans can be purchased dried or canned, but I use the canned version in this recipe to keep it quick and simple. Canned navy beans should be rinsed and drained to remove some of their sodium content before cooking with them.
spices - because we are using the salsa verde, we don't need to add many spices to this recipe. Some dried oregano, cumin, and salt are all you'll need to flavor this chili.
heavy whipping cream - I like a little cream in my white chili. It makes it hearty, creamy and takes the tang out of the flavor. You can use whipping cream, cream cheese (tempered), or even a dairy-free cream alternative. If you'd prefer, you can leave it out.
cornstarch - because we use broth as the base, this chili tends to have a thinner consistency. A little cornstarch slurry mixed in will thicken it up.
How to make Slow Cooker White Turkey Chili?
Making this chili is a quick and straightforward 4 step process! I should only take you around 15 minutes of hands-on time. If you will be gone from the house all day, I suggest leaving this chili on low or using a slow cooker that will automatically switch to keep warm after the cooking time is completed.
Brown the turkey until fully cooked and crumbled
Add all your ingredients to the slow cooker except cream and cornstarch.
Stir to combine, cover with the lid and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
Add the cream and cornstarch slurry and let heat through.
Variations and substitutions
no cream - this chili is good without the cream, but I prefer it with. You can use heavy whipping cream or even substitutes like soy milk or almond milk if you are vegan/vegetarian
ground chicken/chicken breast - you can substitute ground chicken, thigh meat or even chicken breasts for the turkey
extra veggies - broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini are just some of the veggies that would be good in this chili
beans - feel free to use another white bean in place of the navy beans, like great northern.
Spices - I think it's best with these ingredients, but go ahead if you have other spices on hand. You could add a little black pepper or cayenne pepper to give it some heat.
You could even make this recipe with leftover turkey from your holiday celebration.
Favorite topping suggestions
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- fresh chopped cilantro
- even some leftover cooked rice to give it some more bulk and to make it more filling
How to store leftovers
I store my chili covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. You will want to use air-tight containers so you don't get frostbite.
How to freeze white turkey chili
Just pop it into the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on stove or microwave.
I also love using Souper Cubes to freeze soups and chilis. Perfect for popping out the ideal portion to reheat for lunch or dinner.
Recipe Tips & FAQ's
A 3 -4 quart slow cooker is best for this recipe.
Feel free to double the recipe if you are feeding a crowd.
If you use cream cheese in place of the heavy cream, be sure it's at room temp and that you mix a ladle full of the hot chili with the cream cheese until it's smooth, and then mix that into the entire pot of chili.
Add extra veggies for even more nutrition!
This chili is perfect for game day, potlucks, quick lunches, or dinners! It's always a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
Slow Cooker White Turkey Chili
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 15 oz canned navy beans drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- Brown ground turkey in skillet until cooked through
- Add to slow cooker along with broth, salsa, beans, and seasonings
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3
- Whisk cornstarch with and equal amount of water until smooth
- Add mixture to slow cooker along with heavy cream and let heat through 15 minutes
- Serve topped with cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream or as desired.
- feel free to sub out ground chicken or even leftover turkey in this recipe
- leftovers will keep in fridge up to 3 days or can be frozen in air-tight containers up to 3 months
- a 3-4 quart slow cooker will work best for this recipe
- feel free to double the recipe to feed a crowd
- add extra veggies to make this even healthier and heartier - see details in post for ideas