Make a pot of white turkey chili to use up that leftover roasted turkey or chicken. The fresh and zesty flavours are a welcome change after all the heavy holiday feasting. (Skip to recipe.)

white turkey chili loaded with toppings

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers. Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season. Thank you for continuing to visit my site – you are the ones who make it all worthwhile and keep me inspired to come up with new recipes to share with you. This space is my happy place (and a great source of procrastination to avoid doing housework!)


There’s feasting and gifting and cookie nibbling and drink sipping and carol singing and snack snitching and family hugging and more feasting, feasting, feasting . . .

The holidays are a wonderful and busy time, but can also be a time of excesses. It feels good to keep it simple sometimes. I like to stop in the midst of all the bustle and just enjoy the moment whenever I can. I sit and sip a cup of tea and stare dreamily at the beauty of the tree, with the lights turned low and the candles gently glowing.

After you’ve dealt with the wrapping and empty boxes and stashed away the leftover cranberry sauce and brussels sprouts, you’ve got that turkey carcass to deal with. Why not make a big pot of lovely homemade turkey soup? I sometimes even just stick the whole carcass into a plastic bag and freeze it to make soup in January when the cold winds howl outside. (Freeze the gravy and leftover mashed potatoes to add into the soup and make it creamier and even more delicious – almost like a turkey chowder – so good.)

avocado and sour cream on white turkey chili

As for all that leftover roasted turkey meat, turn it into a pot of this flavour-packed, light and zesty white chili. Your taste buds will welcome the change after the flurry of  feasting. It’s a great meal to serve on those in-between days before we get into the swing of New Year’s festivities.

White Turkey Chili and all the Toppings

Once your brain gets past the idea of traditional, beefy, dark mahogany-coloured chili, you’ll be surprised at the flavour punch in this blonde version. Chunks of tender meat party together with creamy beans, sweet onions, and softly crunchy cashew nuts. White chili is a winning combination all bound together with a light wine scented chicken broth packing just the right amount of spices and kick.

Don't forget the lemon on your bowl of white turkey chili

Don’t forget the squeeze of lemon juice at the end to brighten the flavours, and have some fun with the toppings.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: The amount of leftover turkey or chicken in this chili is just a guide. If you have less meat, use less, or throw in a handful of other veggies with the onions, like mushrooms or zucchini. If you have more meat, use more, adding a bit more broth and seasoning if needed.

If you don’t have a fresh jalapeño pepper on hand, add heat with a pinch of dried chili flakes, a bit of cayenne pepper, or a good dollop of spicy green tomatillo salsa or green hot sauce.

Serve the white turkey chili over rice, or in a bowl to be scooped up with tortilla chips. Provide an assortment of toppings to customize the flavour to individual tastes and add a bit of fun.

white turkey chili

White Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds if you prefer a milder chili)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups diced, cooked turkey or chicken (½ inch cubes)
  • 2 cans (400ml/14 oz. each, or one 800gm/28 oz. can) cannellini beans, white kidney beans, navy beans, or chickpeas, drained (3¼ cups cooked beans)
  • 1 cup (240ml) white wine
  • 2 cups (480ml) chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup whole raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (or regular flour)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

optional toppings for serving:

  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • shredded white cheddar cheese
  • diced avocado
  • chopped onion
  • chopped cilantro leaves
  • chopped toasted cashews
  • tomatillo salsa or hot sauce

In a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and oregano.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent.

Add the diced chicken or turkey, drained beans, white wine, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, and white pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Whisk together the sweet rice flour and water. Add to the simmering chili. Add the cashews, taste and add more salt if needed.

Simmer for 10 more minutes to thicken.

Stir in the juice of half a lemon and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. (The lemon is really important – brings out the flavours.)

Offer just a few, or a whole selection, of garnishes like sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, shredded white cheddar cheese, chopped roasted cashews, chopped red onions, or sliced green onions, plus green tomatillo salsa for anyone who’d like their chili spicier. Serve over cooked rice or with tortilla chips.

Makes 6 servings (1½ cups each).

white turkey chili served over white rice

Guten Appetit!

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You might also like:

Lemon Chicken Soup with Meatballs and Egg Strands

Turkey and Potato Puff (Cottage Pie)

Turkey Fricassé e (another great use for leftover turkey)

Homemade Turkey Soup