Bring Panera Bread's Turkey Chili to your home in only a few simple steps. Lean ground turkey is simmered with hearty vegetables, beans, and a blend of spices, creating a savory and flavorful bowl of comfort. Everyone is going to love this protein-packed chili.Jump to Recipe
I don't know about you but I love copycat recipes. There's nothing more fun than knowing you can make your favorite restaurant item at home whenever you want and save money at the same time. I'm so excited to share this copycat Panera turkey chili recipe with you.
When I tried for the first time I was amazed. I've never thought of putting edamame, carrots, or turkey broth in chili but it works! I love a recipe that sneaks in vegetables for added nutrition. The fun part about this chili is you get so many different vegetables and beans with every bite. Get ready for a flavor that's unexpected but so good you won't be able to stop at one bowl.
Why You'll Love This Copycat Recipe
Hearty and Filling: Panera Bread's Turkey Chili is extremely comforting on these cold days. It's packed with lean ground turkey, beans, and vegetables. The high protein and fiber content in this chili will keep you feeling full and nourished for hours.
Nutrient-Rich Ingredients: Filled with protein from the lean turkey, fiber from the beans, and a variety of vegetables, Panera Bread's Turkey Chili is a nutrient-dense option that not only tastes great but also provides essential nutrients for a well-rounded meal.
Customizable Options: Have fun with this chili and customize with ingredients you already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator. Get creative with toppings and the way it's served as well.
Health-Conscious Option: With its lean protein source and wholesome ingredients, the Turkey Chili at Panera Bread is a health-conscious choice for those seeking a flavorful meal without compromising on nutritional value.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Olive oil - Used to sautee the onion, garlic, and ground turkey. I used olive oil because I love the flavor but vegetable or canola oil can be substituted.
Ground turkey - This ingredient is what separates this chili from traditional chili recipes. It's lean and has a distinct flavor. If you don't like or have ground turkey on hand you can substitute ground beef. Choose a lean ground beef to avoid excess fat.
Onion - Yellow, white, sweet onion, or red onion can be used. I used a small-medium onion.
Garlic - Fresh garlic will take it to the next level. We use about 3-4 large cloves.
Carrots - A non-traditional ingredient that adds a touch of sweetness and a pop of color.
Red kidney beans - For added heartiness. Black beans can be substituted.
Garbanzo beans - Also adds heartiness
Edamame - We're talking about shelled edamame here. I added a steam-able bag to the microwave, cooked, and shelled before adding to the chili
Original Rotel - A delicious blend of tomatoes and green chiles. I chose to use the original rotel because it adds a little bit of heat. You may want to opt for mild rotel if you're sensitive to heat.
Turkey broth - This ingredient might seem like a subtle difference but it's what makes Panera's turkey chili different than traditional varieties. Having a hard time finding turkey broth? Use a leftover turkey carcass to make a bone broth instead. For those wondering why they can't duplicate this healthy turkey chili, it's probably all in the broth. Chicken broth can be substituted.
Tomatillos - You can use fresh or canned. I opted for canned because they were easy to find. These add a little bit of tanginess to the broth. Salsa verde can be substituted.
Corn - Only about 1/2 cup corn is used for added crunch, sweetness, and of course a pop of color.
Oregano - This chili isn't complete without dried herbs. Italian seasoning can be substituted.
Tomato paste - For added depth of tomato. It's slightly sweet, thicker than tomato sauce and is perfect for the chili.
Cumin - For added flavor
Black pepper - Adds a hint of spice and aromatics
Chili powder - You can't have chili without chili powder.
Seasoning salt - To enhance flavor. Taste the chili before adding salt because salt is found in a few of the other ingredients already.
How to Make Copycat Panera Turkey Chili
Step 1. Add oil to a dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat on the stove top.
Step 2. Add ground turkey, onion, and garlic to the preheated dutch oven. Cook for around 15 minutes stirring frequently and breaking apart the ground turkey until the turkey has browned and is fully cooked.
Step 3. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Increase the heat to medium high to bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 4. Reduce heat to low-medium heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
Choose Quality Ingredients: Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Opt for lean ground turkey, fresh vegetables, and good-quality beans to enhance the overall flavor and nutritional value of your chili.
Simmer for Flavor: Allow the chili to simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the pot covered because you don't want to lose too much liquid. This slow cooking process helps meld the flavors together, allowing the turkey to absorb the spices and ensuring a rich, flavorful chili.
Make it in Advance: Like many stews and chilis, the flavors of turkey chili tend to deepen and develop when allowed to sit. Consider making it a day ahead to allow the ingredients to meld even more, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
Use Bone Broth for Depth: For added depth of flavor, consider using a homemade bone broth from a leftover turkey carcass. This will add a richness and a wealth of nutritients you won't be able to get from using pre-packaged broth.
Experiment with Heat: Tailor the spiciness to your liking. If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding diced jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Taste as you go and adjust accordingly.
Use Your Favorite Toppings: Garnish your turkey chili with fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, or a dollop of Greek yogurt for added freshness and contrast to the rich flavors. This will take your chili to a whole new level.
Ways to Serve Panera Turkey Chili
Classic Bowl: Serve Panera Bread's turkey chili the way it's meant to be served in a bowl. Add the toppings of your choice and enjoy.
Bread Bowl: Elevate the presentation by serving the turkey chili in a hollowed-out bread bowl. Opt for a round loaf of sourdough bread for delicious flavor.
Chili Nachos: Create a fun and shareable appetizer by ladling the turkey chili over a bed of tortilla chips or french fries. Top with shredded cheese, green onions, and a dollop of sour cream for a delightful twist on traditional nachos.
Chili Tacos or Burritos: Use the turkey chili as a flavorful filling for tacos or burritos. Wrap it in tortillas along with your favorite toppings such as shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa for a handheld, customizable meal.
Chili-Stuffed Baked Potatoes: Bake or microwave large russet potatoes until tender, then split them open and fluff the insides with a fork. Spoon the turkey chili over the potatoes, and garnish with cheese, chives, and a dollop of Greek yogurt for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Chili Mac and Cheese: Combine the goodness of turkey chili with creamy mac and cheese for the ultimate comfort food mashup. Serve the chili over a bed of cooked macaroni and cheese, creating a rich and indulgent dish.
Ways to Top The Chili
Shredded Cheese: Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican blend over the hot turkey chili.
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt: A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt not only adds a cool and tangy contrast but also contributes to the richness of the chili.
Avocado Slices or Guacamole: Creamy avocado slices or a scoop of guacamole provide a fresh and buttery flavor that complements the savory turkey chili.
Chopped Green Onions: Add a burst of freshness and a mild onion flavor by sprinkling chopped green onions over the chili.
Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves add a pop of freshness to the chili, balancing the richness of the dish.
Lime Wedges: Squeeze a wedge of lime over the chili just before serving to add a citrusy brightness that enhances the overall taste.
Pickled Jalapeños: For those who enjoy some heat, add a few pickled jalapeño slices to provide a spicy kick that cuts through the richness of the chili.
Hot Sauce or Chili Oil: Customize the heat level by drizzling your favorite hot sauce or chili oil over the turkey chili.
Storing and Reheating
To store, allow leftover chili to cool a bit before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. For longer storage, freeze the chili in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
When it comes to reheating, I recommend two methods, microwave and stovetop. On the stovetop, gently warm the chili over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warm throughout then serve immediately. To reheat in the microwave, place the chili in a microwave safe dish and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals. Stir throughout to ensure even reheating. Continue until fully heated through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Panera Bread turkey chili gluten free?
All the ingredients in the chili are naturally gluten free. Be sure to check the canned items to make sure there are no added ingredients that might cause the chili to contain gluten.
Is Panera turkey chili spicy?
I don't think this chili is spicy at all. Fortunately, the spice can be adjusted. As mentioned earlier, choose mild rotel instead of original and hold back on adding too much pepper. If you like it spicy, opt for a hot or original rotel, add a little bit of cayenne or hot sauce.
Can I make this in the slow cooker?
Yes, absolutely! To make this in a slow cooker, cook the ground turkey separately then add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.
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Healthy Copycat Panera Turkey Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 15 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup edamame
- 1 can original rotel
- 4 cups turkey broth
- 1 cup chopped tomatillos
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Seasoning salt to taste
- Add oil to a dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat on the stove top.
- Add ground turkey, onion, and garlic to the preheated dutch oven. Cook for around 15 minutes stirring frequently and breaking apart the ground turkey until the turkey has browned and is fully cooked.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Increase the heat to medium high to bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low-medium heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Once done remove from heat and serve immediately.