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Slow Cooker Turkey and Beer Chili with Beans

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This slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans has a distinctive malty flavor from the beer that is complimented with zesty spices.   Cooking this pot of chili in a slow cooker has two benefits.  First, it is pretty much a hands-free one pot meal.  Second, the flavors intensify as they cook all day in the slow cooker.

slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans
Zesty spices are complemented by the maltiness of beer in this slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans.

What’s better on a cool afternoon than a thick hearty bowl of chili! This recipe has some amazing flavors that are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

Dry Beans or Canned Beans

I like the convenience of canned beans but I tend to buy dried beans more frequently.  Dried beans take up less storage space on my shelves and they are a lot more budget friendly. This recipe is perfect for canned beans. 

 However, if you don’t have canned beans you can pre-cook the dry beans before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.

The reason you want to pre-cook your dry beans if you’re not using canned beans is that acidic ingredients will prevent the beans from softening during the cooking process. Tomatoes and beer are both acidic, therefore, adding them to uncooked beans will prevent the beans from becoming completely tenderized.

As a side note, I also avoid salting my beans while they are cooking.  Salting the beans at the beginning of the cooking time will make the beans less susceptible to absorbing water.  Cooking the beans with salt also lengthens their cooking time and makes them tough.

slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans
The zesty spices are complemented by the maltiness of beer in this slow cooker turkey and beer chili.

Why Cook With Beer?

I don’t drink beer and I don’t care very much for the taste but I do love what it does to add flavor to a dish. The beer adds an incredible depth of flavor in this chili and the maltiness in beer goes incredibly well with the spices. Beer is the perfect addition to a spicy chili and it turns ordinary into extraordinary.

When adding the beer the alcohol completely evaporates during the long cooking process so it is safe to serve to minors. You can change the flavor of this chili just by changing the type of beer you choose.

Light wheat beers will give it a more mellow malty flavor while a strong dark stout will give it a very assertive rich and earthy flavor.

slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans
Don’t forget the condiments, they seal the deal!

If you like chili beans you will love the zesty flavors in this recipe.  Warm, buttered cornbread is a perfect accompaniment.

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slow cooker turkey and beer chili with beans

Slow Cooker Turkey and Beer Chili with Beans

The zesty spices are complemented by the maltiness of beer in this slow cooker chili with turkey and beer.
4.86 from 27 votes
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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 257kcal
Author: Dahn Boquist


  • 5 Anaheim chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans pinto beans or 1 cup dried pinto beans, cooked*
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 15 ounces each cans stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  • Pre-heat the oven to broil. Place the Anaheim chili peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, turn them and broil the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes. The peppers will get blistered and charred looking. Place them in a bowl and cover it tightly with cling wrap. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat then add the onions. Cook the onions about 6 minutes or until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook for 5 to 6 minutes (stirring to break up the lumps) until the turkey is no longer pink.
  • Transfer the turkey mixture to a slow cooker. Remove the cover from the Anaheim peppers. By now they will have had time to sweat and loosen their skin. Pull off the stems then peal the skin off the peppers and remove the seeds. Chop the peppers coarsely and add them to the slow cooker. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne to the mixture and stir well.
  • Add the beans, beer, water, bay leaves, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours. 
  • Remove bay leaves, stir in the salt, and serve with condiments on the side.


If you want to start with dried beans you will want to pre-cook the beans before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Simply place them in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover them with a lid. Cook for about 1 hour or until they are tender. (If you add dry beans directly to the beer, the acidic environment will prevent the dry beans from becoming tender)


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 257kcal | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 458mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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4.86 from 27 votes (26 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 11th of February 2014

This was so delicious! The nice big pieces of Anaheim pepper were perfect. And I could actually taste the beer in there too. Maybe next time I will try it with a different beer to change the flavor up a bit!


Tuesday 11th of February 2014

I'm glad you liked it Josh. The type of beer you choose will definately affect the flavor of the chili. One time I made it with a dark stout and didn't care for it but you may like that flavor profile.

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