This easy Turkey White Chili is a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers! This delicious chili is made with leftover turkey, cannellini beans, corn, and onions.
Making this chili is quite simple. You’re pretty much going to add everything to a pot, stir, and let it cook.
The best Leftover Turkey White Chili
Leftover Turkey Chili is a great dish to make with all that turkey from thanksgiving. But, turkey chili doesn’t have to be made only around thanksgiving. Whenever you have leftover turkey, you should think about making this recipe.
You can also swap the turkey for shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken and whip up this recipe in a flash on a busy weeknight.
Comforting chili on a cold Fall or Winter day is one of the best ways to warm up. I’ve come to really love making it because there are so many different combinations and ways to make chili so everyone can enjoy it.
White Turkey Chili Recipe ingredients
- Meat & broth: put that post Thanksgiving turkey to use to make this chili! You can use white meat or dark meat. If you don’t have any leftover turkey, you can use ground turkey or a turkey breast and cook it before adding it to the chili. You will also need chicken broth or chicken stock if you prefer.
- From the garden: one of the things I love most about chili is all the veggies I can use. This is also great if you need to use up some of these items in your pantry. For this, you will need a white onion, garlic cloves, mild green chiles, sweet white corn, fresh parsley (or fresh cilantro), lime, and cannellini beans (or white beans).
- Herbs & spices: shake a few of those pantry staple spices into the pot like dried oregano, paprika, and cumin to really get the flavor going.
- Top it off: top off your chili before serving it with a dollop of sour cream, tortilla chips, avocado, or lime wedges,
White Turkey Chili flavor variations
One of the most common ways to bring more flavor to your chili is to add peppers.
You can go with spicy peppers like chipotle peppers; these will add a nice sweet yet smokey flavor to the chili. On the flip side, you can add a red pepper or green pepper that doesn’t add heat but adds to the overall flavor of the dish.
Now, if peppers aren’t your style or if you did add them, but something else is still missing, it might be the spices! Consider adding:
- Cumin (more than recommended)
- Paprika (more than recommended)
- Chili Powder
How to make White Turkey Chili
1. Sauté onion and garlic. Heat a large soup pot (I like to use my large dutch oven) on medium heat with olive oil. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Make the broth. Next, you’re going to add in the chicken broth, green chilies, lime juice, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
3. Purée the beans. Drain and rinse the beans in a strainer. Add them to a food processor with a splash of broth (about 1/4 cup) from the soup. Purée until smooth. Add the puréed beans to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 15-25 minutes.
This step is what makes the chili thick. It’s perfect for people (like me) who don’t like the texture of beans. I don’t think the puréed beans give off a strong bean flavor, they just really help with thickening the soup.
4. Mix in remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low. Then stir in the sour cream, corn, cooked turkey breast, and parsley.
5. Serve and enjoy!
How to thicken this Turkey White Chili
If your chili is looking a little thin – kind of like soup instead of chili, there are a variety of ways to make it thicker.
The way I thicken this turkey soup is with puréed cannellini beans. I love this method because it doesn’t overpower the chili with beans but still adds nutrients and heartiness. It’s great for people who don’t like beans.
Reducing the heat and simmering chili actually makes it thicker! It’s important to note that you must simmer on low heat though. Simmering chili on high heat may cause it to boil and dry out. This is one of my favorite ways to thicken chili because it doesn’t change the appearance, taste, or texture.
Now, if that doesn’t work, you can add thickeners like flour or cornstarch to thicken the chili. This method will change the appearance of your vegetables though and can affect the texture and flavor of the dish if you add too much.
Another clever way to thicken chili (and this is a personal favorite of mine) is to add cheese! Serve up your chili with shredded cheese to help thicken it up.
No matter how you thicken your chili, I recommend also adding a large dollop of sour cream and tortilla strips right on top.
Another way to flavor up your chili is to add beer! Yes, beer. The best beers to use are stouts or any dark beer for that matter. This will add a nice malty flavor to your chili!
How to serve this Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe
Leftover turkey recipes are crucial to keep in your back pocket around Thanksgiving, here are a few of my favorites:
- Leftover turkey pot pie
- Turkey and citrus salad
- Monte Cristo sandwich
- Leftover turkey tacos
- Breakfast turkey hash
How to store Leftover Turkey Chili
If you store your turkey in an airtight container in the fridge, it will stay food for up to 3-4 days or up to a month if stored in the freezer.
White Turkey Chili FAQs
– Red chili is known for its spicier, red-hued broth and usually includes beans and tomatoes. White chili is milder in terms of heat, uses green chili peppers, and almost always includes white beans and dairy for a creamy texture.
– Red chili usually includes beef and white chili is typically made with chicken.
When simmering chili, it should be covered to meld the flavors and keep the steam from coming out. Uncover it later in the cooking process to reduce liquid and thicken the chili for a more concentrated flavor and consistency.
– The ingredients in the chili are what make it thicker, but cooking it uncovered will help to reduce some of the liquid.
– To make chili thicker, you can include ingredients like beans or cornstarch, as well as purée a portion of the chili in a blender or food processor before adding it back into the pot.
If you freeze it, pull it out of the freezer the night before and pop it in the fridge.
More Easy Soup Recipes
- Mexican Street Corn White Chicken Chili
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Simple Chicken Pho
- Shrimp Pho Noodle Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
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Turkey White Chili
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil, for cooking
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 ounces green chiles
- 1 lime, juice
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 15 ounces cannellini beans
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup sweet white corn
- 2-3 cups cooked turkey meat, shredded or chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Heat a large soup pot (I like to use my dutch oven) on medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes or until soft, then add garlic and cook 30-60 seconds.
- Add broth, green chillies, lime juice, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Drain and rinse beans in a strainer. Add them to a food processor with a splash of broth from the soup (about 1/4 cup). Purée until smooth. Add the puréed beans to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 15-25 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in sour cream, corn, cooked turkey breast, and parsley.
- You can make this recipe with leftover chicken too.