Turkey White Bean Chili

Simple Turkey Chili with Tomatillos, White Beans and hatch chiles.

Looking for a spicy turkey chili recipe or just a great game day chili? This white bean chili recipe will soon be your family’s favorite. My simple turkey chili with hatch green chiles, tomatillos and white beans is hearty, flavorful and it can be as spicy (or not) as you like. Best turkey chili EVER

This post has been updated since it’s original publish date in 2015 for photography purposes.

Making tomatillo sauce for the game day chili.

I’ve been writing about my friend, Nola, for years — and how she introduced me to Hatch chile peppers a while back.  She’d taken a road trip to Colorado to visit friends and family and on her way back, she loaded a cooler with several metric tons of fire-roasted hatch chiles.  I was the lucky recipient of about half of her bounty — and so my love affair with the hatch chile began. Since then, I’ve made chile rellenos, hatch green chile bread, braised hatch green chile chopped pork, braised pork penne casserole and even a breakfast strata and I’ve updated this simple turkey chili to include hatch green chiles — because they make it THAT MUCH BETTER.

sautéing vegetables and adding spices for the simple turkey chili.

Fast forward to this fall… I took a trip to Colorado and Nola and her sister Karen, took me to their favorite Hatch green chile stand to show me how the roasting process was done.  I took a video (at the top of this post) which shows the mechanics of fire roasting — as well as Nola, Karen and Margaret prepping the chiles to freeze.

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Cooking ground turkey with veg and spices | hatch chiles
Cooking ground turkey with veg and spices | Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chiles

I think everyone must have a favorite chili recipe in their cooking arsenal… some with beans, some without.  Some with beef, some with poultry.  This one is loaded with beans, turkey and fire roasted chiles.  I’m talking LEGIT fire-roasted hatch green chiles. This simple turkey chili is our official game day chili and my husband thinks it’s the best turkey chili out there — but he may be biased.  You decide.

Mixing in the chiles for the game day chili.
Adding Hatch Chiles and Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

Ingredients For Simple Turkey Chili with Tomatillos and White Beans:

  • Tomatillos
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Adobo Sauce
  • Chicken Stock from Rotisserie Chicken or low-sodium broth
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Jalapeño
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Oregano
  • Ground Turkey Breast
  • Bay Leaf
  • Fire Roasted Hatch Chiles (if available)
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Cornmeal
  • Cilantro
adding cornmeal.
Adding cornmeal.

How To Tame The Heat on Spicy Turkey Chili Recipe

This spicy turkey chili recipe is an easy one pot meal that doesn’t require simmering all day long, making it a perfect game day chili. I mentioned earlier that you can make your white bean chili recipe as spicy or mild as you like… and this recipe has lots of layers of chile, so there are various ways to adjust the heat.

  • Omit the cayenne pepper.  The way this recipe is written, it’s got a mouth-tingling heat. Not exactly hellfire and damnation, but if you’re spice averse — make the adjustments I’ve indicated.
  • Cut down on the heat from the jalapeño by removing the white membrane and seeds (that’s where the spice is).
  • Hatch green chiles can be mild or spicy — so order (either at the roadside roaster stand or online) according to your tastes.
  • For the spicy tomatillo sauce,  cut back on the chipotle pepper and adobo (though I think this really adds a lot of flavor).
  • Conversely, if you don’t mind a little tongue tingling heat, keep the recipe as is and have a few cold cervezas at the ready!
adding cilantro.

You’ll want to use your largest dutch oven for this spicy turkey chili recipe because it makes a lot! Pictured is a 7-qt. dutch oven and it’s nearly full.  If you’re planning on making this your game day chili, set up a buffet with all the toppings close by, so your guests can garnish the simple turkey chili the way they like it! (See garnish suggestions in the recipe card.)

garnishing game day chili with avocado, sour cream, cheese and lime.

More hatch chile recipes you’ll love:

Game day chili is loaded with hatch green chile for a great spicy turkey chili recipe.

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4.59 from 12 votes

Tomatillo Turkey Chili

This savory chili feeds a crowd and goes great with a wedge of cornbread!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, hatch chile, super bowl, turkey chili
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8



  • 1 pound tomatillos peeled and quartered
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce note – do not use the entire can of chilis — only 1 pepper
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers
  • 2 cups chicken stock from rotisserie chicken or low sodium broth


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • ½ sweet bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper diced (for more heat- keep seeds and membranes, for less, discard seeds and membranes)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder or other chili powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 pounds ground turkey I use 1 1/2 pounds extra lean and 1 1/2 pounds regular ground turkey.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup fire roasted hatch chiles skins, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon corn meal
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped, + more for garnish


  • Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • cilantro leaves
  • avocado diced
  • lime wedges
  • sour cream
  • green onion diced
  • jalapenos sliced
  • tortilla chips
  • hot sauce



  • In a blender or food processor combine the tomatillos, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and chicken broth.  Pulse several times until pureed. Set aside.


  • In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and salt. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Stir in cumin, chili powder, cayenne (if using), and oregano. Cook, stirring for an additional minute.
  • Add ground turkey, breaking up lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Brown the turkey while incorporating it into the vegetables. This should take 5-6 minutes or until the turkey is browned.
  • Pour spicy tomatillo sauce into the turkey mixture. Add the bay leaf, hatch chiles and cannelloni beans. Stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a boil. Place lid on the pot so that it’s mostly covered but steam can still escape. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in cornmeal and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Check for seasoning, adding salt, pepper or more spice if desired.
  • Ladle chili into bowls and serve with optional accompaniments.


YouTube video


You can order Hatch Chiles online if you don’t have access to a local roaster, or you can substitute canned green chiles.
For a milder (less hot) chili, roast some poblano peppers over a gas stove or grill until well charred.  Place roasted peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and allow to cool, then slough off the charred skins and discard the seeds.  Use in place of hatch chiles.


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 873mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 715IU | Vitamin C: 51.7mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3.3mg

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  1. Wondering if I could make ahead and freeze

  2. Connie Jurczyk says:

    Hi, quick question – the recipe calls for 3 pounds ground turkey, and it’s noted that you use one pound extra lean and one pound regular. What is the third pound?

    1. Thanks for the catch. I use 1 1/2 pounds of each — fixed it in the recipe card.

  3. Julie Bou says:

    5 stars
    I had 1 lb of tomatillos, 1 head of romaine, and 2 eggplants from my farmer share basket that I didn’t want to go bad. I used this recipe and added roasted eggplant and romaine to the sauce and it was fantastic! Great recipe, thank you for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    Making this again tonight, it so freaking good!

  5. I have canned tomatillos that I’ve been trying to find something to make with them. Can I substitute them for the fresh, maybe cutting back on the salt? It is a 28oz can. Drain or use liquid?
    This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to make it.

    1. Hi Cheryl – absolutely — the canned tomatillos should work perfectly in this chili. I would drain the tomatillos from the liquid — unless the liquid is very flavorful — if it is, it couldn’t hurt to use a quarter cup or so.

  6. Gave my sister the recipe so she can make it!

  7. 4 stars
    I made this tonight,it was delicious. I will be making it again.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Marie! We have this at least once a month usually beginning in the fall and going through the winter!

  8. I’m going to make this tomorrow, I see corn meal in the ingredients. I don’t see it in the directions

    1. It’s in step 5 — stir in beans and cornmeal… The cornmeal acts as a slight thickener. It gives body and texture. Let me know how you like it, Marie!

  9. I’m always up for a good alternative chili, and this combo sounds fabulous. I cracked up at your note about only using one chipotle –accidentally use a whole can, and I think your mouth would just combust into flames. 😉

    1. You definitely run that risk if you use the whole can!!!

  10. I love tomatillos, they are so tangy and full of flavor. This recipe is sure to be a family favorite. Thanks!

    1. Anytime I can find tomatillos at our farmers market — I load up on them… My husband thinks I’m nuts.

    1. Can you run back to the store and grab some???

  11. Lisa Bryan | Downshiftology says:

    Turkey chili is seriously the perfect meal for a cold winter day (like today!). Nothing like warming from the inside out with a big bowl of tasty chili!

    1. I completely agree! Even though I’m in South Florida — our weather is changing tonight and it’s going to be sweater weather tomorrow!

  12. Chili is all about the toppings for me too! I never think to make it with turkey, so I’m going to have to try this. Bring on the Fritos!