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White Turkey Chili

5 from 1 vote
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After working hard on that Thanksgiving meal, why not make your life easy with leftovers? Throw that leftover turkey into this white turkey chili!

white turkey chili in a large white speckled bowl with a blue rim. cilantro can be seen above the bowl and some crushed up tortilla chips scattered around the bowl as well.

So truth be told, usually by the end of Thanksgiving day, I get really sick of turkey because we’re constantly picking at it throughout the night and I don’t know, turkey just isn’t my favorite type of meat (I love ground turkey though, lol).

However, since there’s usually so much left over, this recipe for white turkey chili is the perfect way to use up your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers! It’s easy to make, can be made on the stovetop, in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, and is full of flavor. This hearty chili will keep you warm and full! You won’t even know it’s leftovers, ha!

Did you know that apparently 79% of Americans prefer Thanksgiving leftovers over the actual Thanksgiving day meal? I’m one of the 79%. I think you can get so much more creative with Thanksgiving leftovers. Most of the time, people generally don’t like messing with traditional recipes as much.

White turkey chili is seen in a white speckled bowl with blue rim and a grey towel beneath. Tortilla chips crushed on top with cilantro leaves as well.

What is white chili?

I know this can be interesting because we’re used to the classic red chili. This is just a variation of it. It’s white because it uses white beans, white meat, and green chilies.

Overhead shot of all ingredients for white turkey chili. Going clockwise: cannellini beans, corn, turkey stock, shredded turkey, olive oil, seasonings, cream cheese, diced onions, minced garlic, and chopped jalapenos

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for white turkey chili. For exact measurements, scroll to the recipe card below.

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Low-sodium chicken or turkey stock – best to use low-sodium so you can add in salt to taste yourself!
  • Shredded turkey– you’re going to have so much leftover from Thanksgiving that it’ll be a breeze to shred and toss them in this chili! If you’re making this any other time and you don’t have shredded turkey, rotisserie chicken is a great option as is ground turkey.
  • Shredded cheese – my favorite to use is a Mexican blend
  • Cream cheese – this makes the chili so creamy!
  • Green chilies – for a little kick of heat.
  • Cannellini beans – for texture and added creaminess!
  • Frozen corn
  • Cayenne pepper

How to make white turkey chili

For detailed instructions, scroll to the recipe card below.

  • Sauté. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic until softened.
  • Add in seasonings, chilies, and chicken/turkey broth. Bring to a simmer.
  • Combine remaining ingredients. Stir in the turkey, cheeses, corn, and beans. Let simmer for five minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Overhead shot of large pot with white turkey chili garnished with a large sprig of cilantro leaf. Corn kernels and white beans can be seen dotting the soup throughout. Fresh cilantro leaves are on the bottom right corner and a greyish towel is underneath the pot.

Substitutions and variations

This recipe is easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand. If you don’t have any turkey leftovers, you can substitute chicken breast or even rotisserie chicken for extra flavor! Ground turkey works well in this recipe too.

You can also use different types of beans, such as black beans or pinto beans. And if you’re not a fan of green chilies, you can leave them out. If you like things extra spicy, you can add more cayenne pepper or diced jalapeños.

White turkey chili spooned out onto a spoon with the bowl in the background. Cilantro leaves and crushed tortillas are also seen in the background.

Storing instructions

This chili can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.

Frequently asked questions

What can I serve with white turkey chili? This is delicious served with a side of cornbread or a green salad. You can also top it with sour cream, diced avocado, or shredded cheese.

How do I make this in the slow cooker? If you want to make this in the slow cooker, I would add everything except the leftover turkey meat in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high and 4 hours on low. Add in the turkey meat right before serving and let the residual heat warm up the meat. Stir to incorporate.

How do I make this in the Instant Pot? If you want to make this in the Instant Pot, I recommend adding everything except the leftover turkey meat into the insert of the Instant Pot. Using manual high pressure, set it for 8 minutes. Do a quick release then add the turkey meat before serving and stir to incorporate.

White turkey chili is seen in a white speckled bowl with blue rim and a grey towel beneath. Tortilla chips crushed on top with cilantro leaves as well.

White Turkey Chili

After working hard on that Thanksgiving meal, why not make your life easy with leftovers? Turn that left over turkey into a white turkey chili!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups (946 ml) low sodium turkey stock, or chicken stock/broth
  • 2 ½ cups (249 g) shredded turkey, shredded rotisserie chicken works well too
  • 1 cup (112 g) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • ½ cup (114 g) cream cheese
  • ½ cup (75 g) canned diced green chilies
  • 15 ounce (425 g) canned cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup (165 g) frozen corn
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish/toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, cilantro, lime wedges

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


  • Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté until slightly brown.
  • Add chicken broth, green chiles, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer (around 15 mins).
  • Reduce heat again to low and stir in the turkey, cream cheese, and Mexican cheese blend, corn, and beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Top with desired garnishes and serve while still hot.


Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 391 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 25 g | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g | Trans Fat: 0.02 g | Cholesterol: 71 mg | Sodium: 493 mg | Potassium: 744 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 5 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Entree, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Keyword: slow cooker, turkey
Recipe Rating


Sunday 27th of November 2022

What if I leave out the cream cheese??


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

@Julie Chiou, thanks for your quick reply!! I made this soup for my mom. She doesn't like creamy soups so leaving out the cream cheese was a huge hit!!! She loved it and I am making another batch tomorrow to finish off the turkey and so she can freeze some. Than you again 😃

Julie Chiou

Monday 28th of November 2022

it just won't be as creamy


Monday 6th of April 2015

Any recommended substitute for hominy? I've searched Toronto and cannot find any! Thanks


Wednesday 8th of April 2015

You could substitute white corn kernels!

Nutmeg Nanny

Friday 29th of November 2013

Oh my, this chili looks fantastic :) definitely have to try this out as soon as i can!


Friday 29th of November 2013

I couldn't find a turkey this year, but we ate nearly 3 whole chickens between 8 of us. And you better believe I'm making chilli out of our leftovers :D


Wednesday 27th of November 2013

This looks so delicious! I love white chili!