Healthy Ground Turkey Chili (Slow Cooker, Instant Pot)

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Spice up your dinner with this easy ground turkey chili recipe! It’s a comforting dish that’s simple to make in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.

ground turkey chili slow cooker or instant pot recipe cover image

If you’re tired of your boring old ground turkey recipe that lack flavor, then this chili is just the thing you need. It’s so simple and delicious that you’ll making it over and over again just like our Filipino fruit salad!

It’s an easy dish to make in a crock pot or Instant Pot. The great thing about using the electric pressure cooker is that you only need one pot.

If you choose to make this butternut squash paleo turkey chili recipe in the crock pot, you’ll need to brown the meat in a pot first. Otherwise, the meat tends to cook in large clumps.

We enjoy making this simple chili in the fall and winter when winter squash is fresh and plentiful. But, you can also use frozen butternut squash chunks year round.

Ingredients For Healthy Paleo Turkey Chili

In addition to ground turkey, the recipe adds in vegetables and spices. You’ll find the complete list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Vegetables

Fresh minced garlic and chopped onions enhance the taste of the meat. Bell peppers, celery, diced tomatoes, and butternut squash add flavor and nutrition. Tomato sauce is also included for a zestier taste but you can use tomato paste instead.

Spices

The dish is seasoned with chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. If you like it spicy, sprinkle in some extra cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.

Optional Toppings

To add some additional flavor, feel free to top your chili off with sliced jalapeños, avocado, and cilantro. If dairy isn’t an issue for you, you can also toss on some sour cream and cheese.

How To Make Slow Cooker Turkey Chili In An Instant Pot

The easiest way to make the recipe is to use an Instant Pot. But, it can also be made in a regular slow cooker or the stove top. The directions provided are for slow cooking in an electric pressure cooker so adjust as needed.

initial recipe steps

Sauté The Meat

To start, turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. Then drizzle the bottom of pot with olive oil. Add turkey, onions, green pepper, celery and garlic. Sauté until meat is browned.

Add Tomatoes And Spices

Deglaze the pot with a quarter cup of water. Add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

With Instant Pot still in Sauté mode, bring to a boil. DO NOT STIR.

Add Butternut Squash And Slow Cook

Once boiling, add in butternut squash. Secure lid and set Instant Pot to slow cooker mode. Make sure you have the steam release sent to venting position (that is how the slow cooker mode works).

Adjust slow cook timer to 4 hours on normal cooking mode. If wanting to use the instant pot feature, turn the steam release to venting, hit SOUP mode and cook for 12 minutes. Ensure that you release steam after the cooking process.

final recipe steps

Slow cooking brings out the best flavor. So you’ll want to allow adequate time for simmering the dish slowly on low heat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Turkey Chili

Is turkey chili healthy?

The combination of ground turkey and vegetables makes this chili a healthy choice. Plus, turkey has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than lean ground beef.

What setting should be used on a standard slow cooker?

If you aren’t using the slow cooker function on an Instant Pot, you should set your slow cooker to the low setting. The normal slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot is 200°F while the low setting on a standard slow cooker is usually 190°F. Therefore, it may take a bit longer to fully cook the squash.

Can the chili be cooked under pressure?

Yes! If you want to cook the dish quickly, just set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 5 minutes. Once the time is done, allow for a natural pressure release before opening the valve.

What goes good with turkey chili?

Most people like to serve their chili with cornbread or nachos. But if you follow a Paleo diet, you’ll want to use a gluten-free and grain-free alternative.

How long do leftovers last?

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. You can freeze it for up to 3 months, but the squash tends to get a little mushy when frozen.

turkey chili in instant pot

Reasons We Love This Chili

Ground turkey is packed with protein but it can be very bland. Adding in a variety of seasonings and vegetables makes the dish very flavorful.

The combination of chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne bring out the best in the meat. Butternut squash adds a nutty and sweet taste to this spicy turkey chili.

ground turkey chili in bowl with instant pot

Serving Suggestions

We like to serve with jalapeno slices, diced avocado, and fresh cilantro on top. But you can add grated cheddar cheese on top if you aren’t on a paleo diet. A dollop or two of sour cream or greek yogurt tastes great too!

You can make this dish meatier by adding crispy bacon bits. Or, try adding vegetables like chopped zucchini to make it even more loaded with nutrition and goodness!

Another idea is to stuff the chili into bell peppers to serve in an edible bowl. You can also serve it with pork rinds, nachos or a low-carb rice substitute on the side.

ground turkey chili on spoon over bowl

Other Recipes To Try

Need a few more comfort foods to feed your family? If you like this recipe, we think you’ll love these other favorites too:

Butternut Squash Paleo Turkey Chili Crockpot

Spice up your dinner with this butternut squash chili crockpot recipe! It’s a comforting dish that’s easy to make in an Instant Pot.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword butternut squash chili, paleo chili, turkey chili
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 182kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
  • 2 pounds Ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • ¼-1 ½ cups water used as needed
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes with juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled & cubed

Optional Toppings:

  • Jalapeno
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro

Video

Instructions

  • Turn Instant Pot to Saute.
  • Drizzle bottom of pot with olive oil and brown turkey, onions, green pepper, celery and garlic.
  • Deglaze the pan with ¼ c of water.
  • Add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • With Instant Pot still in saute mode, bring to a boil. DO NOT STIR.
  • Add in butternut squash.
  • Secure lid and set Instant Pot to slow cooker mode. Make sure you have the steam release sent to venting position (that is how the slow cooker mode works).
  • Adjust slow cook timer to 4 hours on normal cooking mode.
  • If wanting to use the instant pot feature, turn the steam release to venting, hit SOUP mode and cook for 12 minutes. Ensure that you release steam after the cooking process.
  • Serve with jalapeno and/or avocado and fresh cilantro.

Notes

For starters, you can add grated cheddar cheese on top of this turkey chili if you aren’t on a paleo diet. Or, add a dollop or two of sour cream or greek yogurt on top!
Make this meatier by adding crispy bacon bits to this hearty chili. Or, add vegetables like chopped zucchini to make it more loaded with nutrition and goodness!
Stuff the chili in bell peppers for presentation. You can also serve it with pork rinds or low-carb nachos on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 565mg | Potassium: 899mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 9620IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg
By on March 10th, 2021

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  1. 5 stars
    I don’t usually leave reviews but this one didn’t have any and it was so good that I thought I should leave one. I had some frozen butternut squash I needed to use up, so I thought I’d just try it and man, was it GOOOOOOD! My husband loved it, too! I decided to halve the recipe because I only had one pound of turkey. I also added a zucchini. DELICIOUS!

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