Classic, Healthy Crock-Pot Turkey Chili

Prep Time 10 min.
Cook Time 4-8 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Yields 5 1/2 cups


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (we prefer to use 96-99% lean)
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (from about half a large onion)
  • 16.5 ounces tomato juice (we use three 5.5-ounce cans of Campbell's)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans (preferably organic or reduced-sodium), rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup ketchup (natural or organic, see note)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (from about 1 stalk)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry, ground mustard powder (from the spice aisle – not prepared mustard)
  • Optional for serving: toppings like shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, chopped green onions, hot sauce for passing at the table


In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brown turkey and onions, stirring to crumble (or use my favorite crumbling tool), about 5-7 minutes. Drain if needed (if using very lean turkey, there probably won't be any need to drain.)

Transfer turkey and onion mixture to slow cooker. (This small, 3-quart slow cooker is the perfect size, but a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker will also work.) Add all other ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cook on high (about 4-5 hours) or on low (about 6-8 hours).

Serve with optional toppings as desired.


Recipe Notes

Ketchup: We recommend purchasing natural or organic brands of ketchup whenever possible, in order to avoid brands that have high-fructose corn syrup and other "questionable" ingredients.

Alternate stovetop directions: Brown turkey and onions in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble and draining if needed, as directed above. Instead of transferring the turkey and onion mixture to a slow cooker, leave the mixture in the large stovetop pot and add in all other ingredients (except optional toppings). Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Freezing and make-ahead: This chili reheats beautifully, and like most chili recipes, its flavors are just as good if not even better after a day or two. It also freezes well if you want to make batches further in advance for freezer meal prep.

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