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I couldn’t think of a better recipe to kick the month off than this healthy slow cooker turkey and white bean chili. Nothing beats a slowly simmered chili on a cold October day. Made with ground turkey, bell peppers, smoky chipotle peppers, white beans, and served with sharp cheddar cheese and avocado. This bowl of chili is a hearty, healthy and cozy dinner that you can feel good about eating.

overhead photo of Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili with beer bread and spoons in photo

Happy October first! It’s the month of all things Halloween and as you can tell from Saturday’s “spooky” Poison Apple Martini I am very, very excited! I love the month of October so much, and I’m looking forward to all that is to come!

I spent the weekend finally getting caught up with work. And while I’m still not where I’d like to be, I am entering the month feeling a little more on top of things and a little more confident. It feels good. My goal for this month is just to take things one day at a time. In an effort to not feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions, I also want to focus my energy on one project at a time. I put my new mantra into practice over the weekend and so far so good. Fingers crossed I can’t stick with this. My mom always says it’s best to take things one day at a time, so I’m listening to her words of wisdom. After all, it’s true what they say, moms know best.

No real reason in sharing all that, other than a little positive Monday pep talk for us all…

Ok, I’ll go back to writing about what I am good at now, the food.

Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili slow cooker bowl

How much do you guys love chili?

It’s always been one of my favorites come the fall, but growing up the only chili I ever knew was Cincinnati style chili. If you’ve never experienced Cincinnati chili, it’s just a thicker chili served over angel hair pasta. It is my mom’s favorite. To this day, the only way she will eat chili is over pasta and topped with cheddar. The only way…so yes, when I gave the family this chili to try, she indeed ate it over pasta.

Anyway, point is, I didn’t grow up eating bowls of chili. So making a soupy style chili feels like something completely new and different to me. I’ll always love Cincinnati chili, but I also love today’s healthier chili probably just as much.

side angled photo of Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili with spoons and towel in photo

On to the details…

To start, you’ll want to brown the ground turkey on the stove-top. You can also use ground chicken, both will work equally great. I know that this extra step is a bit of a pain, but trust me, when working with ground meat it’s a step you have to take. On that note, I recently got a slow cooker that can also brown meat before you begin slow cooking. It’s a game-changer. I highly recommend investing in an all in one browning slow cooker if you love slow cooking.

Brown the meat, add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and set for six or so hours. Then come home to the most delicious smells and dinner that’s ready for eating. Does not get better than that.

To bump up the flavors of my chili, I used a mix of chipotle chili peppers, chili powder, and my secret ingredient, apple butter. I know it may seem weird to use apple butter in chili, but the sweetness balances out the spice of the chili. Go with me on this, promise it takes the chili to a who would have known delicious level.

Finish each bowl off with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and green onions. AND serve with the 5 Ingredient Honey Butter Beer Bread from the cookbook. A bowl of chili is not complete without beer bread.

Also, while I am providing you guys with Instant Pot directions, I much prefer this recipe to be made in the slow cooker if time allows. No matter how much pressure cooking you do, nothing will be the same as slow cooking a chili all day long. It gives the chili time to develop flavor and creates the most wonderful smells throughout your house.

I highly recommend making this for Sunday night dinner and then enjoying the leftovers throughout the week. Perfection.

overhead photo of Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili with hand in photo dipping bread into chili bowl

If you make this Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 849 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

Slow Cooker

  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the turkey and brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
    2. Transfer the turkey to the bowl of your slow cooker. Add in the red bell peppers, chipotle peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth, the tomatoes, tomato paste, apple butter, and bay leaves, stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. During the last hour of cooking, stir in the beans. If your chili is too thick, add the remaining broth to thin as desired. 
    3. Remove the bay leaves and ladle the chili into bowls. Top with cheddar cheese, avocado, and green onions. Eat!

Instant Pot

  • 1. Set the instant pot to sauté. Add the olive oil and onion and cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the turkey and brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 5 minutes. Turn the instant pot off.
    2. Add in the red bell peppers, chipotle peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth, the tomatoes, tomato paste, apple butter, and bay leaves, stir to combine. Cover and cook on soup/chili for 25 minutes.
    3. Once done cooking, use the quick release and release the steam. Stir in the beans. Remove the bay leaves and ladle the chili into bowls. Top with cheddar cheese, avocado, and green onions. Eat!
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is a go-to in our household! Best chili ever! Question – if I wanted to make this and freeze it, how should I do that?

    1. Hey Kayla,
      Happy Sunday!🌾🌽 I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it and sharing your feedback! I would just freeze after making:) xx

  2. 5 stars
    Yum! I didn’t have apple butter, so I added a splash of apple cider vinegar, a little honey and diced up a half of any apple to simmer in. Loved the tiny bites of sweetness mixed with the smokey and spicy flavors. I think I’d add a whole apple diced next time. Great chili!! I paired it with corn bread and honey butter.

    1. Hey Sherri,
      Happy Tuesday!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out tasty for you! xT

  3. I added the beans to the slow cooker up front with the rest of everything! Oh no.. just now seeing it says to add at the end. I’m only 10mins into the slow cooking. Do you think it’ll be ruined?

  4. 5 stars
    Loved this chili recipe! I omitted the chipotle peppers only because I was serving it to our 1 and 4 yr old also. Everyone loved this & ate it right up! Added more broth & another lb of Turkey to make 2 dinners out of it for our family of 5.

    1. Hey Molly,
      Happy Friday!!🌻 I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it and sharing your review:) xT

  5. Can’t wait to try! Can I add the raw ground turkey to the slow cooker without browning it first? Or do I have to cook it on the stovetop first before slow cooker step?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hey Presley,
      You will want to follow the instructions as written:) Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope it turns out tasty! xT

    1. Hey Lizzy,
      Totally, that will work well for you, maybe just simmer for 2-3 hours! I hope this recipe turns out tasty, please let me know if you give it a try! xT

  6. Followed the recipe to a T (just 1 adobo Chile). And of course I had apple butter (because HBH). My 19m old daughter kicked the plate clean:) we did the instapot version.

    1. Hey Jacqueline,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! xx

  7. I plan to make this recipe for the weekend. I’m going to use Impossible meat, leave out the adobo peppers, add a little apple cider instead of butter, and use 2 cans of beans. I hope I don’t wreck it!