Get Baked: Summer Turkey Chili

Need an easy, cheap and healthy recipe that is perfect for summer?

Here is the scenario. It’s BBQ season and you can’t cook. You are that girl who shows up to potlucks with a case of PBR and some paper plates. It’s ok, no one is judging you. I myself, at 31 years old, have not used my oven once since last year. Maybe you are also a super poor college student, like I was, and need something you can make and eat over the course of two or even three days. Look no further. My famous turkey chili recipe, embarrassingly the only thing I know how to cook, is a thing that all of my friends seem (or pretend) to enjoy!

“I love hell outta that chili.”
– an actual sober textual quotation from famous drunk chef Hannah Hart

The full ingredients for this recipe cost me $25 at Trader Joes in Manhattan and will make up to 5 generous portions. I’m pretty sure you can buy these ingredients for even less money somewhere else where a green pepper is not $5 and you don’t have to sell a kidney to pay your rent. I even purchased a $.99 recycled bag to carry my groceries because I seem to forget the collection I already own EVERY SINGLE TIME I go grocery shopping!!


1 10 oz can of tomato soup
1 15 oz (approx) jar of salsa (if you have a sweet tooth you might want to try mango or pineapple salsa for an extra dash of sweetness)
¼ cup of Cumin
¼ Tablespoon of Paprika
Seasoning or salt and pepper for turkey
1 can of black beans
1 can of pinto beans
1-1.5 lbs of ground turkey
2 green peppers
2 sweet or yellow onions
2 tomatoes

Veggie Note: You might find that if you use organic veggies, you’ll need 2 instead of one of each. Also if you are making it vegetarian, try two of each veggie. But if you get like a massive green pepper, you’ll only need one. Does that make sense?


Dice up the veggies (green peppers, onions, and tomatoes), drain the beans, and combine in large pot with tomato soup, salsa and spices. Turn heat to low, stirring occasionally.

While the chili, sans meat is simmering, season the turkey with some salt and pepper. Put it in a pan, break up and brown over medium heat.

Drain any excess fat from the turkey pan (or not, sometimes fat is delicious) and add the turkey to your pot.

Stir it all in and heat on low for up to 45 minutes. You want all the veggies to be tender.

Turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

This recipe only takes about 30 minutes to prep, 45 minutes to simmer to perfection and 10 or so to cool. I suggest you then top it with cheese and eat it with tortilla chips instead of a spoon, but hey, that’s just me. It reheats really well in the microwave.

here is a way you can eat this! no pressure. just a suggestion. you do you, etc.

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Robin specializes in entertainment, lifestyle and portrait photography. She's also a Creative Producer, Director of Photography and co-owner of Scheme Machine Studios LLC, her production company based in Los Angeles. Robin loves shooting for TV and film and has worked with media companies like Legendary Pictures and Viacom. She shot and directed the Pride campaign for Google called #ThisIsFamily. Robin has had the pleasure of working on national campaigns for companies like Dove and Levis, and had the unique opportunity to shoot for non-profits and initiatives such as The Black List, Save the Children, Move to End Violence, Have a Hart Day, and The Clinton Global Initiative. She is most proud of the work she has done with organizations such as The Ad Council and RAINN working on national impact campaigns. Her celebrity roster includes Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The B-52s, Keri Hilson, JB Smoove, Tegan and Sara, Margaret Cho, The B-52’s, Andreja Pejic, and many more. She was there for Autostraddle’s birth and proudly served as A-Camp co-director for many years.

Robin has written 82 articles for us.


  1. So I want to make this but in NZ turkey is not really a thing. Will beef mince be fine or is it gonna change the flavour heaps and make it not work? Seems like a stupid question, I know, but I’ve never had turkey (oh the shame) so I don’t know how strong it tastes etc.

    • Turkey’s pretty much like chicken. That said, in my experience with chili, beef is also fine. Sure, the flavor changes a bit, cause it’s not poultry any more, but it’s still delicious.

    • Chili was MEANT for ground beef (beef mince?). Turkey and chicken versions have less fat etc. and are also tasty, I AM NOT A MEAT DISCRIMINATOR/OPPRESSOR.

      Anyway, yes, do make this with beef, I think it will be amazing. Ground turkey IS a thing in Canada but costs like 4x the price of ground beef. So ne pas de turkey for me either.

    • turkey has a milder taste than beef so yes the flavors will change, but its still good!

  2. This recipe sounds so good and I love the pictures. Is this how photographers cook? I want to hang the cutting board photo in my kitchen!

  3. Oh. My. Goodness. How did you know I was looking for new ways to cook turkey? I’m doing this tomorrow! Thanks, Robin.

  4. I swear, this article was written for me! I am no cook, but I love eating and I’m the one who shows up at the potluck with utensils and my own food, lol. My co-workers know this and make fun of me for it. They have been trying to get me to cook. Maybe I’ll surprise them one day with this recipe after I try it at home first. Let’s just hope I don’t burn the kitchen down or some shit, while trying to kill myself in the process. Me in the kitchen is just diastrous, ok… maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but I’ve had my cooking moments, like the day I decided to make oatmeal cookies and used instant oatmeal, instead of actual oats (at least they turned out good)… or the times I’ve forgotten I put a pizza in the oven and totally burned it, then getting pissed at myself because that’s like the only thing in the house to eat and now I am forced to eat cereal… uh, yeah….Also, any kind of food that takes less than an hour to cook, is up my alley. This is a win-win article all the way around for challenged “cooks” like me.

  5. Im still dying to try some! Sad you missed the BBQ! And as always – great shots :)

  6. So I’m not sure who else can’t have tomatoes, but hey, queers and food allergies are a thing. I’ve found out that turkey chili with black beans is CRAZY GOOD with pumpkin puree in lieu of tomato sauce.

    Try it, you’ll like it.

  7. I don’t know why, but I always equate chili with being a winter thing. I will have to try it this summer!

  8. OK so this sounds awesome and I’d like to try it, but I am skeptical about the 1/4 cup of cumin. Then again, I’ve never attempted any chili recipe, turkey or otherwise. Could some kind soul with chili experience soothe my cooking fears and confirm that this is not a super crazy amount?

    • You can also add 2 Tablespoons, stir in, and taste as you go if you feel like its going to be too much for you.

  9. So I made this for dinns tonight, using pineapple salsa and it was BANGIN’ LIKE A DRUM! So delicious. Thank you, Robin!

    Everyone else making it should be smarter than me and wait ’til the chili cools down to eat it: it smelled so yummy that I kept telling myself it was okay to eat it steaming hot…now my tongue is a bit numb in the middle. Totally worth it though.

  10. I made this almost 3 years after it was written, and it was DELICIOUS. It was my first time cooking family dinner for my housemates and we all dug it! Added some jalepeño, threw it in the slow cooker for 4hrs, made a stack of grilled cheeses to go with, and errbody went berserk. Goes well with Pale Ale too :) Thank you.

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