With a simple combination of fresh ingredients and canned ingredients, we can make the most delicious, hearty turkey chili recipe in a fraction of the time of traditional methods. Our Instant Pot takes care of all the work in one place and the results are nothing short of amazing!
The Instant Pot is really changing the way I’m meal planning. A simple recipe such as turkey chili is always fun to make, but is normally reserved for a weekend when I can let it cook in the crock pot all day. Well, not anymore. I can come home from a busy day at work and have a delicious pot of turkey chili ready to go in less than an hour.
Why Use Turkey in Chili?
I love ground turkey and use it in many instances where I’d normally use ground beef. In chili, I find that ground turkey lets the flavors of the other ingredients really shine through and be the stars of the show. The fresh bell peppers, onion and flavors from the spices really become front and center while the turkey provides a wonderful base that is tender and juicy, blending seamlessly with the dish’s textures and flavors. It’s so savory that I always wind up going back for seconds!
As mentioned, we’ll use a combination of fresh ingredients and the simplicity of canned ingredients for our chili.
Our seasoning blend consists of: chili powder, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, ground black pepper and cocoa powder. Wait… what? Cocoa powder!?
Secret Ingredient: Cocoa Powder
No worries, we won’t have chocolate chili. Using cocoa powder in turkey chili might sound unconventional, but it serves a few great roles. First, it brings a deep richness to the chili’s flavor profile, elevating the overall taste of all the ingredients. The slight bitterness of cocoa also provides a boost or “pop” to the overall flavor profile. It also helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, again, letting the natural flavors really shine through. A dash of cocoa can transform your turkey chili into a richer and more rounded dish.
Chili powder, naturally, will be the base of the seasonings. Chili powder consists of, well, ground chilis, which gives it it’s characteristic spiciness. The exact blend will vary by brand, but I like to go with a good name-brand chili powder for best results. Some chili powder contains salt and some do not. I generally like to use chili powder that does NOT have salt, as we’ll have better control over the overall flavor.
Seasoned salt is an ingredient that is perfect in recipes such as chili. Seasoned salt is a blend of salt and other spices that can really provide an instant boost to the overall flavors. Again, I like to stick to a name-brand seasoned salt such as Lawry’s. A little goes a long way so we’ll only need 1 teaspoon.
The onion and garlic powder will provide their respective flavors throughout the dish, while the oregano brings a subtle earthy flavor to chili, enhancing its overall depth and complexity. It complements the other spices, creating a more balanced and aromatic dish.
Dice the onions and dice the peppers. There, you’ve prepped. As I like to keep recipes simple, that is the only prep you’ll need to do. I like to chop the onion and peppers on the larger size. Seeing those big chunks in the chili makes it all the more satisfying.
You’ll use one medium-sized onion, but no worries if it’s larger or smaller. There’s no exact correct amount here. Basically, we’re looking for about 1 to 1.5 cups when diced.
For the peppers, I generally use two medium-sized bell peppers of different colors. Use whatever combination of colors you like. Red and green work great and are common in most supermarkets. If you want to throw in an extra pepper or two, by all means, do so! Again, a medium bell pepper will yield about 1 cup when diced. Feel free to use 1 – 3 cups of your favorite bell peppers.
Here’s where the beauty of the Instant Pot really shines. Everything happens in one pot and unlike a slow cooker, we have a sauté mode, which is paramount to great chili.
We’ll start by adding the olive oil to the pot and setting it to the sauté mode. Use the high setting if it has it. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and onions and saute for about 3-4 minutes or just until the onions start to become translucent. Then add the ground turkey and continue sautéeing until the turkey is browned through. Usually it will take another 5 minutes or so. Make sure to stir well with a wooden spoon the whole time.
After the turkey has browned, add in the spices and continue sauteéing for another 1 minute. This additional sauteeing will help to “bloom” the spices, further releasing flavor.
When everything is sauteéd, press cancel to stop the sauté cycle.
Add the remaining ingredients in this order: broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce. And do not stir. Everything will come together during the pressure cooking cycle. We don’t stir because we want to keep the thinner liquid, the broth, on the bottom to help speed the time the pot comes to pressure to to prevent the tomato from possibly burning on the bottom of the pot and giving us a burn notice.
Once everything is in, secure the lid, make sure the vent is set to “sealing” position and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
It should take the pot about 15 minutes to come to pressure before the actual pressure cooking cycle begins. Then the clock will begin counting down from 10 minutes.
When the 10-minute pressure cooking cycle is complete, carefully move the valve to the “venting” position to release the steam and pressure. This is called quick release. It will take a minute or two to complete before the pin drops and lets us remove the lid.
When done, carefully remove the lid and give everything a good stir. The chili will thicken as it cools and as you stir.
Want it thicker?
When done, this chili will have a very good ratio of liquid which will thicken as the chili cools. However, if you find it to have too much liquid you can always thicken it up with cornstarch.
In a cup, mix 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and add it to the pot of chili and stir. You can continue to add more if you want but be careful, it can get very thick very quickly.
You can also place the Instant Pot back into saute mode and simmer the chili until it reaches desired consistency. Usually about 10-15 minutes.
Serving and Toppings
Your chili is now ready to serve. Simply ladle into bowls and you’re good to go.
Adding toppings to chili is always fun and you can definitely make it your own.
Here’s some suggestions for toppings:
Goldfish crackers: I LOVE these things and they’re SO good in chili. You get that cracker crunch along with the cheesy goodness.
Oyster Crackers: These are a staple in many pantries and naturally are a great addition to soup or chili.
Saltine Crackers: Like oyster crackers, saltines are destined for greatness in soup and chili.
Shredded cheese: I’ve gotta have cheese in my chili. In fact, you might say I overdo it but I don’t care. I love a bunch or gooey, melted cheese with the savoriness of the chili.
Green onions: Green onions add a crisp, fresh, and mildly onion flavor and provide a crunchy texture to the rich and hearty chili.
Storage and Reheating
Allow the chili to cool before storing it in airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To Reheat Chili:
- Thawing: If frozen, thaw the chili in the refrigerator overnight.
- Stovetop: Reheat the chili in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it’s heated through.
- Microwave: Use a microwave-safe container, cover, and reheat, stirring periodically to ensure even heating.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake in an oven-safe container until warmed through, which may take 20-30 minutes, depending on the quantity.