Slow cooker turkey vegetable chili is a hearty, comforting meal made with ground turkey and plenty of nutritious vegetables. The perfect dinner for a cold fall day and easy to reheat all week for meal prep!
This turkey vegetable chili is not only hearty and filling, but also made with simple, nutritious ingredients. The best part is that the slow cooker does all the work for you - it takes only 15 minutes of prep to get started!
Slow cooker chili is the perfect recipe to make when it's cold outside. It's nutritious, warm, and comforting.
Ground turkey, kidney beans, plenty of veggies, and a variety of spices make this chili a complete meal on its own. However, feel free to top yours with favorites like sour cream, cheddar cheese, and fresh onions.
Side dishes like cornbread, breadsticks, or a side salad can stretch this meal even further.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground turkey - Can be substituted with your favorite ground meat, like ground beef, ground bison, or ground chicken.
- Tomatoes - 28 ounces of canned diced or petite diced tomatoes are ideal. Crushed tomatoes will give your chili a smoother, more tomato sauce like texture once cooked down.
- Beans - You'll need one can of kidney beans (or your preferred canned beans) for this recipe. Do not use fresh, uncooked beans in the slow cooker. Your beans need to be cooked first before adding them to this recipe.
- Corn - One can of corn kernels, or about 1 cup of frozen corn works in this recipe.
- Onion - Adds depth of flavor to your chili.
- Garlic - Adds depth of flavor to your chili. Two garlic cloves can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder if needed.
- Zucchini - You'll need about one medium zucchini or yellow squash. The zucchini will cook down almost entirely, along with the tomatoes. If you'd like your zucchini to maintain some texture, add them in the last 2 hours of cooking instead.
- Pepper - One bell pepper, any color, or 2-3 jalapenos work well in this recipe. Feel free to adjust to suit your preferred spice level.
- Seasoning - Chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper add flavor and heat to your chili. As written, this chili has a mild to medium amount of heat. For more heat, feel free to double the amounts of red pepper flakes and cayenne, or add diced jalapenos with the seeds.
- Tomato paste (not shown) - Adds a savory, umami flavor to your chili and thickens the chili slightly.
What vegetables are good in chili?
Want to substitute some of the listed vegetables with what you have on hand? Here are a few vegetables that are good in chili:
- Yellow summer squash
- Bell pepper (any color)
- Jalapeno peppers
- Poblano peppers
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
What size slow cooker to use
You'll need a minimum of a 3 quart slow cooker for turkey vegetable chili (as shown in the photos). Anything in the 3-4 quart range works well.
Your slow cooker works best when it's filled around halfway to three-quarters full. Filling your slow cooker to the top will cause your food to cook less efficiently. Plus, food can potentially spill and bubble out the top if overfilled.
If doubling this recipe, you'll need a 6 quart slow cooker.
Best chili toppings
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Crumbled bacon
- Fresh red onions
- Green onions
- Cubed avocado
- Pickled jalapenos
What to serve with turkey chili
Chili is a hearty meal on its own, filled with meat, beans, and nutritious vegetables. However, it's easy to stretch this recipe even further (serving more people) when served alongside a few side dishes. Here are a few ideas:
- Garlic bread
- Butter crackers
- Tortilla chips
- Side salad
- Baked potato (chili can be used as a topping)
- Grilled cheese sandwich
- Nachos (use chili as a topping)
Leftovers and freezing
Leftover chili reheats well on the stove top over medium heat or in the microwave. Keep any leftover chili in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Chili can also be frozen in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container for 3 to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat on the stove top over medium heat, or in the microwave.
Slow Cooker Turkey Vegetable Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 ounces ground turkey
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juices
- 15 ounces canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces canned corn kernels, drain
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and crumble ground turkey into pan, cooking until browned.
- Add cooked ground turkey to a 3 quart slow cooker along with the rest of your ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for 5 hours. Stir sparingly (once or twice is enough).
- Optionally, top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, chives, or crumbled bacon. Serve warm.
- Chili makes four hearty servings on its own, or six average servings with toppings and/or a side dish. Serve chili with cornbread, breadsticks, garlic bread, a side salad, or a baked potato.
- Leftover chili keeps for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Chili can be frozen in a tightly sealed, freezer-safe container for up to 4 months.
- Zucchini will cook down entirely in the chili. To keep zucchini intact, add in the last 2 hours of cooking on low, or in the last 1 hour on high.