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Turkey Chili Recipe with Sweet Potatoes {gluten free + paleo}

This Turkey Chili Recipe with Sweet Potatoes is about to become your new favorite chili recipe. Made with Japanese sweet potatoes, lean ground turkey, black beans, and fresh herbs, this is a seriously healthy, lean, and delicious dish!

A bowl of turkey chili garnished with cilantro.

A Cozy, Healthy Chili Recipe That’ll Warm You Up!

This turkey chili recipe is a must-have in your cold-weather menu rotation, and this version brings the rich sweetness of Japanese sweet potatoes along for the ride. It’s warm, hearty, and good for you, too! Basically, this is a perfect meal for any chilly day or evening.

Made with ground turkey, colorful spices, black beans, and sweet potatoes, this turkey chili is full of healthy protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. Speaking of sweet potatoes, if you haven’t tried Japanese sweet potatoes (also sold as Oriental sweet potatoes), you can thank me later for turning you on to these purple delights. Once you try them, they’ll be the only sweet potatoes you buy! The special thing about them is much more than just their bright purple color. They have a unique nutty flavor and intense sweetness, and add a great, hearty layer of flavor to this chili.

Does Turkey Chili Taste Different Than Beef Chili?

It depends on who you ask, but it also really depends on the recipe. Turkey is less fatty than beef, so you may find that the reduced fat creates a different “taste” when you compare the two. Other people don’t really taste the difference as long as the chili is well-seasoned with plenty of spices. This turkey chili recipe uses chili powder, cumin, and sweet smoked Spanish paprika for a bold, earthy taste. 

Chili in patterned soup bowls next to a pair of fluted silver spoons.

(Psst! Want more chili recipes? Check out my Bacon Bison Beer Chili and this game-day perfect, classic Turkey Chili.)


The ingredients for this dish are so good, it’ll make you hungry just reading about them! You will need sweet potatoes, spices, turkey, and a few other pantry staples:

  • Sweet Potatoes: Look for Japanese sweet potatoes, also known as Oriental sweet potatoes.
  • Olive Oil: For coating the sweet potatoes while they bake, and also for browning some of the chili ingredients.
  • Ground Turkey: Use your favorite ground turkey for this, or go with another ground meat such as beef.
  • Onion: Dice up one yellow onion (or white onion, sweet onion, etc.)
  • Garlic: I usually go with one minced garlic clove, but feel free to add more if you like your chili more garlicky!
  • Spices: Chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and sweet smoked Spanish paprika. If you can’t find that, you can definitely use regular smoked paprika or sweet paprika instead.
  • Salt
  • Chicken Broth: Chicken broth is my go-to, but you can use any kind of broth that you have for this chili, such as vegetable broth, beef broth, etc.
  • Black Beans: Drain and rinse a can of black beans, or substitute any kind of beans that you like.
  • Cilantro: Roughly chop one bunch of cilantro.

Are Oriental Sweet Potatoes the Same as Regular Sweet Potatoes?

Oriental sweet potatoes, also known as Japanese sweet potatoes, are similar to regular sweet potatoes, but they are much sweeter – so sweet, in fact, that they’re often used in desserts. In Japan, this type of sweet potato is sold as street food without any seasonings or condiments needed. They have a sweet, nutty taste and bring so much flavor to this chili.

Close-up shot of a bowl of chili with ground turkey, beans, and cilantro.

How to Make this Turkey Chili Recipe with Sweet Potatoes

Let’s talk about the cooking method for this turkey chili recipe. There are basically two parts: first, baking the sweet potatoes. Second, making the chili itself. Here’s how to do it:

Make the Sweet Potatoes

  • Prep the Sweet Potatoes. Preheat your oven to 400F, and poke holes into the washed and dried sweet potatoes down one side using a fork. Place each potato on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle each one with olive oil. Rub the oil into the potatoes, and wrap them tightly in the foil.
  • Bake. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Once they are done baking, let them cool.
  • Mash the Sweet Potatoes. Remove the foil from the potatoes, and use a fork to gently separate the skins. Discard the skins, and mash the sweet potatoes.

Make the Chili

  • Brown the Turkey. While the sweet potatoes are cooling, drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a large pot or Dutch oven. Set this over medium heat, and then add the turkey. Brown the turkey, breaking it up as you go, until it’s cooked through.
  • Season the Turkey. Next, sprinkle the chili powder and other seasonings over the turkey, and stir them in.
  • Cook the Onion and Garlic. Push the turkey to the sides of the pot, and put the onions and garlic in the center to cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  • Add the Broth and Simmer. Once the onions are translucent, pour the chicken broth over the turkey and veggies, and stir. Let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Finish the Dish. Finally, add the mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, and cilantro. Let the chili warm through, and then serve.
  • Enjoy!

Helpful Tips

When making this recipe, keep in mind that you can customize it in all kinds of ways. Here are my top tips for making the best bowl of chili around:

  • Beef It Up: If you prefer, you can definitely swap red meat for the turkey. Go with traditional ground beef, or use ground bison.
  • Add Veggies: This turkey chili is also fantastic with your favorite organic corn kernels, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and other mix-ins.
  • Add Some Heat: For a spicier chili, try adding minced jalapeno or additional cayenne pepper. Be careful – a little goes a long way. And if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use gloves while preparing jalapenos (and don’t touch your face until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly. Ouch!).
  • Turn Down the Heat: Reduce or omit the cayenne pepper for a milder chili.

Serving Suggestions

To serve this turkey chili recipe, add your favorite sides and toppings – the sky’s the limit! Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Salad: Every meal is better with a fresh, flavorful salad, and this Goat Cheese Roasted Beet Salad hits all the right notes. The earthy flavor of roasted beets pairs beautifully with the earthy spices in the chili.
  • Loaded Mashed Potato Bites: Everyone loves loaded potato dishes – especially with chili. Try these Loaded Mashed Potato Bites for a simple appetizer or side dish that perfectly complements this meaty chili dish.
  • Pico de Gallo: For a pop of bright flavor, sprinkle some freshly-made Pico de Gallo on top of each bowl of chili. This healthy, traditional condiment is full of flavor and so easy to make.

Storing and Reheating

This homemade turkey chili can be stored in your refrigerator for up to four days. Store tightly covered for maximum freshness. 

To reheat, just place the desired amount in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat, until heated through. Give it a few stirs to make sure that it heats evenly. You can also heat this in the microwave, if you prefer.

Can I Freeze This Dish?

Yes, you can freeze this recipe successfully. Just cool it down first, so that it doesn’t form condensation in the freezer (which can lead to freezer burn). Pack it into freezer containers, mark it with the date, and freeze it for up to three months. Thaw in your fridge before reheating.

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili gluten free recipe | ahealthylifeforme.com

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili will become your new favorite chili recipe. Made with sweet white oriental sweet potatoes, lean ground turkey and fresh herbs. This is a seriously healthy, lean and delicious chili recipe
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 Oriental sweet potatoes {about 2 lb} you can use regular sweet potatoes, but I recommend oriental
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1- 14.5 oz. black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro roughly chopped


Sweet Potatoes:

  • Preheat oven 400°
  • Pierce sweet potato down one side with fork. Place potatoes on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and rub potatoes. Wrap aluminum foil tightly around potatoes, place on baking sheet and place in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, let cool until you can handle. Using a fork the skin should remove easily and then mash.
  • Meanwhile heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and turkey, breaking up and string until slightly cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt, stir to combine.
  • Push turkey to the perimeter of pan making a clear spot in the center.
  • Add the onion and garlic stir cooking until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add in mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro, warm evenly and serve.


Regular sweet potatoes can be substituted in this recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American


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Turkey Sweet Potato Chili gluten free recipe | ahealthylifeforme.com

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Turkey Sweet Potato Chili gluten free recipe | ahealthylifeforme.com

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