White Bean Turkey Chili

This white bean turkey chili recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover holiday turkey. It’s hearty, soothing, and has just the right amount of kick. 

A bowl of white bean turkey chili topped with grated cheese, behind a pile of tortilla chips and lime wedges

White Bean Turkey Chili Recipe

I love turkey, but turkeys are big birds. Which means that if you cook one up, you’ll probably find yourself with a lot of leftovers. And as much as I love a good turkey sandwich, there’s only so many you can have before you find yourself craving something new. 

If that happens to you during the holidays, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you: this white bean turkey chili! This chili recipe is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey. It’s got a good amount of heat, from two different types of peppers, as well as chili powder.

AND it’s super rich and hearty, with big chunks of turkey and lots of white beans. Plus, this chili goes perfectly with an ice cold beer. If that’s not convincing enough, then I don’t know what is!

Ingredients For White Bean Turkey Chili

Here’s everything you need to make this white bean turkey chili. Scroll to the bottom of the page to check out the recipe card for exact quantities of each ingredient.

For the Chili: 

  • Cooked, shredded turkey – You can also use leftover chicken, too if you have some.
  • Olive oil
  • Jalapeño pepper – Remove the seeds.
  • Poblano peppers
  • Onion – I prefer yellow onion but you can also use white onion.
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chicken broth – Vegetable broth also works.
  • Lime
  • White beans – You can also use canned pinto or black beans.

For Serving:

  • Grated cheese – I prefer to use cheddar cheese for topping this chili, but jack works well too. 
  • Tortilla chips
  • Avocado
  • Lime wedges

What Do Poblano Peppers Taste Like?

This recipe uses two different kinds of peppers. Everyone knows what jalapeños taste like, but what about poblanos? Poblanos are milder than jalapeños, and a bit more sweet.

They taste a lot like green bell peppers, except that they have a kick to them. The flavor becomes less spicy and more sweet the longer you cook the peppers.

How to Make White Bean Turkey Chili

Here’s how to make this simple leftover turkey recipe.

  • Sauté. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the onions and both types of peppers. Cook until everything is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Season. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then season with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  • Add the broth and beans. Pour the chicken broth and the white beans into the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. 
  • Finish. Stir in the turkey and the lime juice, adjust the seasonings, and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve hot with the toppings of your choice. 
A pot of white bean turkey chili, with a bowl of tortilla chips and a cutting board of lime wedges in the background

Tips for Success

Here are some tricks and tips for making this filling white bean turkey chili. 

  • Add what you’ve got. This recipe is meant to use up leftover turkey, but it’s also great for using up leftover veggies. If you’ve got vegetables in the fridge that you’re trying to get rid of, sauté them with the onion and peppers. Almost all veggies go with white beans and turkey meat. 
  • Check the seasonings. Go light on the salt at first, and then check the seasonings when the chili is almost finished. The salt content in your chicken broth and turkey will impact how much salt your chili needs. So start with a small amount of salt, and then see what it needs.
  • Cook it low and slow. One thing I love about this recipe is how quick it is. It only takes 35 minutes to turn leftover turkey into a comforting, nourishing chili. That said, most chilis and stews get better the longer you cook them, and this recipe is no exception. If you happen to have the time, turn the heat to low and cook the chili for an hour or two. The flavors will only intensify. 

Serving Suggestions

This leftover turkey chili can be eaten all by itself, but what food isn’t better with a side dish? Here are some of my favorite things to serve with this recipe.

How to Store Turkey Chili 

Store this recipe in an airtight container. It will last in the fridge for 4 days, or in the freezer for 6 months. If stored in the fridge, reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If stored in the freezer, defrost first, then reheat. 

A bowl of white bean turkey chili topped with shredded cheese, surrounded by tortilla chips, lime wedges, and half an avocado

More Chili Recipes

If you enjoyed this spicy white bean turkey chili, then check out some of my other favorite chili recipes.


White Bean Turkey Chili

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

This white bean turkey chili is the perfect way to use up leftover turkey. It’s hearty and soothing, with quite a kick from two types of peppers and chili powder.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans white beans
  • 1 pound cooked, shredded turkey
  • 1 lime, juiced

For Serving:

  • Grated cheddar or jack cheese for topping
  • Tortilla chips
  • avocados
  • lime wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, poblano and jalapeño peppers to the pot and stir to soften for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook one minute more, then season with the salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and beans then bring to a simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. After the chili has simmered, stir in the turkey and the lime juice, test for seasonings and cook 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve with grated cheese, more lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

Store: Let the chili cool and then store it in an air tight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Note: This will depend on how long your leftover turkey has been around. Leftover turkey should be eaten within 3-4 days, so keep that in mind when storing your leftover chili.

Reheat: Reheat leftover chili in the microwave or on the stove top.

Freeze: Freeze this turkey chili in an air tight container for 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and then heat up in the microwave or on the stove top.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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3 Responses
  1. Ashley@blondegirlcravings

    Looks yummy! I still have a turkey in my freezer that is taking up room, I will be trying this recipe for sure.

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