This smokey and spicy chili casserole is an easy way to feed a hungry crowd with Tex-Mex style. It’s got sweet corn, tender beans, juicy turkey, and red peppers for a hearty meal. Don’t forget lots of melty cheese!
Easy Turkey Chili Casserole Recipe
If you’re wondering what to serve for your upcoming game-night, this prep-friendly chili casserole is the answer. Pull it out of the freezer and pop it into the oven for an easy dinner packed with Tex-Mex flair. Aside from lots of onions and fragrant garlic, every bite is full of saucy tomatoes and ground turkey. Sweet corn and creamy black beans add plenty of texture too. Best of all, it’s topped with lots of melty, bubbly cheese for savoriness. Served on its own or with corn chips for a dip-like dinner, your baking dish will be empty before kick-off.
Why You’ll Love This Chili Casserole
This simple casserole will be the reason you add a Tex-Mex night to your weekly dinners.
- Comforting. This casserole is hearty, saucy, and loaded with bold spices for the ultimate comfort meal.
- Great for gatherings. Serve it in the baking dish and let everyone help themselves to this chili casserole!
- Prep-friendly. Make it a day in advance so all you have to do is pop it in the oven right before dinner.
- Versatile. Don’t be afraid to swap the protein or use up whatever leftover veggies and cheeses you have in the fridge.
What You’ll Need
Onion, red pepper, beans, and corn are always the foundation for any Tex-Mex dinner. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.
- Coconut oil – Feel free to use olive oil.
- Yellow sweet onion – White onion works too.
- Red pepper – You can use any color of bell pepper.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is best.
- Ground turkey – Fresh ground turkey doesn’t have any particular smell. If yours smells sour or off, toss it out.
- Seasonings – Kosher salt, chili powder, and ground cumin.
- Black beans – Canned or homemade are great. Rinse and drain them well if you use canned.
- Diced tomatoes with green chilies – Any diced tomatoes will work as long as they don’t have Italian seasonings.
- Organic corn – Feel free to use fresh, canned, or frozen.
- Ground cornmeal – It helps the mixture thicken and soak up all the saucy goodness.
- Mexican cheese blend – Use your favorite melty cheese blend.
How to Make Turkey Chili Casserole
Get a head start by chopping all of the ingredients in advance or even assembling the entire thing beforehand. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.
- Prep the oven. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook the onions and peppers. Add the coconut oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers. Stir well and let them cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onions soften.
- Brown the turkey. Add the garlic, ground turkey, and salt to the pan. Mix to combine and cook everything for 5-6 minutes or until the turkey browns. Use a spatula to break up the meat into smaller pieces.
- Add the beans and tomatoes. Stir the beans, tomatoes, corn, seasonings, and cornmeal into the mixture.
- Assemble it. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Bake it. Pop the uncovered baking dish into the oven for 40 minutes or until nice and melty.
Tips & Variations
Chili casserole recipes are quite versatile because you can add more veggies and swap the protein.
- Use leftover cheese. Whenever you’ve got leftover bits of different cheeses in the fridge, shred them and use them for this dish.
- Make it one-pot. Cook everything in a Dutch-oven or cast-iron skillet so you can transfer it from the stove to the oven and save yourself some cleaning time.
- Swap the protein. Ground beef, pork, and chicken are great alternatives to turkey in this recipe.
- Add more veggies. Broccoli and cauliflower florets, chopped mushrooms, and baby spinach can add lots of flavor and extra nutrients to this recipe.
- Use one seasoning. If you don’t keep lots of spices in your pantry, swap them all for taco seasoning. You’ll get a very similar smokey, spicy flavor.
- Add toppings. Serve the casserole with a dollop of sour cream, chopped chives, or sliced avocado for extra flavor.
- Choose the right baking dish. Try to avoid glass baking dishes because it’s likely your casserole will stick. If possible, always use ceramic or non-stick ones.
This turkey chili casserole is the perfect dinner when served with simple veggie sides. I love it with my Sweet Potato Fries and Sweet Potato Cornbread. If you prefer regular potatoes, go for my Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Crispy Mini Potatoes. Grilled Corn works too, as do corn chips with your favorite Mexican salsa.
Can I Prepare Chili Casserole in Advance?
Yes! Prepare and assemble this casserole (without baking) up to 1 day in advance. Keep it covered with foil in the fridge and then bake it right before dinner.
Keeping an extra casserole in the freezer at all times will save you on a hectic weeknight.
- Fridge. Once cooled refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep it away from the sun when on the counter for serving.
- Freezer. Assemble the casserole in a disposable baking tray but skip the baking. Cover it with plastic wrap twice and then once in foil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and then bake it as usual. If you want to bake it straight from frozen, add 20-30 minutes to the baking time.
- To reheat it. Pop it into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. For larger portions, do it in the oven at 300F for 20-25 minutes.
More Easy Casserole Recipes
- Grilled Sausage Peppers and Onion Casserole
- Paleo Molasses Sweet Potato Casserole
- Double Broccoli Chicken Cheese Casserole
Turkey Chili Casserole
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large yellow sweet onion peeled and diced
- 6 ounce roasted red pepper in water drained and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 pound lean white ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-15 ounces of black bean drained
- 2-14.5 ounces can of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 cups of frozen organic corn
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup ground cornmeal
- 1 cup shredded mix cheese I prefer Sargento 4 cheese Mexican blend
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil or spray with organic non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large skillet add coconut oil over medium heat, when melted add onion and red pepper. Saute for about 4-5 minutes until onion starts to soften.
- Add garlic, ground turkey and salt. Saute for 5-6 minutes, breaking up turkey into small pieces and no longer pink inside.
- Add beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, cumin, and corn meal, stir to combine.
- Add all ingredients into baking dish.
- Sprinkle cheese over top and bake uncovered in middle of the oven for 40 minutes.