The BEST ever healthy turkey butternut squash chili recipe! Perfect for those who like it spicy or more mellow, can be made in the instant pot or slow cooker! Smells wonderful and feeds a crowd!
You guys went nuts for this one when I shared it on my Instastories! I made the same recipe in the Instant Pot and the Slow Cookerat the same time so that I could test both and then freeze one batch for when Hungry Baby comes. I received a ton of messages telling me how delicious it looked and how you all wanted to dive right in through the phone!
It’s still close to 100 degrees here in Phoenix, so I wasn’t quite expecting that response. I didn’t think the world was ready for chili yet, but apparently, I was wrong. My bad. You guys either live somewhere cold or are trying to will colder weather with hearty chilis and soups like I am!
Looking for the IP version of this recipe? I had to move it to its own post so I can do a video for each version of this recipe! Get the IP version here: Instant Pot Turkey Chili Recipe
PS – this recipe also freezes BEAUTIFULLY! I froze it along with 12 other freezer meals for my maternity leave. You can find instructions and tips to freeze this recipe (before or after cooking) in this post.
I love my slow cooker. I didn’t always love it, because soggy food is not for me. Turns out I just needed to learn what to cook with this amazing appliance.
Thick and hearty soups are among some of the recipes I was missing out on for years, but NO MORE. Get that slow cooker out, it’s ready to get to work and do all the work for you! You can find more of my beloved healthy slow cooker recipes in this post.
Cook this Turkey Butternut Squash Chili In the Slow Cooker
With the slow cooker, you, unfortunately, have to brown your meat in some other pot or pan then transfer it to the slow cooker. So, you can start by adding all your veggies and beans to the slow cooker first.
You may notice I chose not to cook my onions with the meat. You can, if you want, but you don’t’ have to. Once your meat is browned, you can add it to the slow cooker along with everything else.
Common Question: Do you have to brown your ground turkey?
No, but you really really should. Technically you can throw in raw ground meat into the slow cooker and let it cook up that way. You will add extra moisture to the final product and have less flavorful meat (browning it locks in the juices and natural flavors). Plus, you may never fully get it to break up the way you want it.
So the reason that most recipes have you brown the meat first is that the final product is better that way (taste and texture), not because it’s unsafe to put it in raw. If you do put it in raw though, you better be darn sure it’s fully cooked, and the whole thing reaches a temperature of 165F minimum, so no one gets sick.
Now that we got that question out of the way, you can add your sauces, broth, and spices and let the slow cooker do its thing on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
The HUGE benefit here? You can start this in the morning and have dinner waiting for you! (If it cooks for a few more hours, that’s okay, your veggies will be extra tender.) Or, if you have a fancy slow cooker with a timer, it will switch to warm mode for you automatically!
Which Version Is Better?
Honestly, after both the Instant Pot version and the Slow Cooker version were fully cooked, I adjusted the flavor by adding more chili powder and salt, so I thought they both tasted great!
They both smell up your house with intoxicating smells.
They both taste like they’ve been simmering all day.
They both have a thicky, saucy, and hearty texture you would expect of chili.
I think it comes down to the time you have and what machine you want to use. That’s just my experience, though!
Either way, you chose to make this chili, it goes great with my healthy cornbread recipe!
If you are a meal plan subscriber, this recipe will be appearing on your meal plan soon! Not signed up for weekly meal plans that come with a grocery list and meal prep guide? Learn More and Sign Up for a FREE Week!
Slow Cooker Turkey Butternut Squash Chili
- 1.5 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 can no salt added red kidney beans, rinsed 15 ounces
- 1 can no salt added black beans, rinsed 15 ounces
- 1 green bell pepper deseeded, deveined, chopped
- 1 jalapeno OPTIONAL - see notes
- 15 ounces cubed butternut squash
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can no salt added diced roma tomatoes 15 ounces
- 2 cans tomato sauce 15 ounces each
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2-4 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt more as needed
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Sautee onions for 1 minute in avocado oil until they are translucent and tender. (You can skip this step and just add the onions to the slow cooker if you want, that's what I did.) Then add the ground turkey and brown it until fully cooked. When the turkey is almost done the cooking, add 1 tbsp of the chili powder to it and finish cooking it.
- Once the turkey is done cooking it can be added to the slow cooker with all the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Mix it well and let it cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 hours.
- Season it with more chili powder and salt to taste!
- Optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and green onions.
- Add 1 chopped jalapeno to cooking. Add it at the same time you add the beans and green pepper.
- If you need to keep it mild for others but want a spicy version for yourself here is what I did: I added sprinkles of cayenne pepper the first night I ate it. But, when I went to store it I split the leftovers into TWO containers. In my container, I placed jalapeno slices on top. The next day when I went to eat it I removed the jalapeno slices but the chili was PLENTY spicy and delicious!
Don’t forget to save this recipe for later and follow @hungryhobby on Pinterest for more healthy recipes, quick workouts, and nutrition tips!