This hearty and delicious Copycat Panera Turkey Chili recipe is inspiration to create an amazing crowd-pleaser right from the comfort of your own home! It’s super easy, budget-friendly using pantry ingredients you can make in a dutch oven, slow cooker or instant pot. Perfect for game days, weeknights and meal prep!
Is Panera Bread Turkey Chili healthy?
Yes, there’s nothing like comfort food that’s high protein, low fat, full of fiber and loaded with flavor. And it’s naturally gluten and dairy free. The combination of heart-healthy turkey with a trio of beans, vegetables and spices makes for an awesome one pot meal.
What's in the Turkey Chili at Panera?
Here’s a list of the key ingredients and substitutions to make your own version depending on allergies, dietary preferences, and what’s already in your fridge or pantry.
- Turkey – I used a blend of white and dark ground turkey, but you can use chopped turkey breast or thighs as well. And, if you’d rather have ground beef or chicken go right ahead.
- Beans – Feel free to use all kinds of beans. Kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and shelled edamame. Substitute lima beans for the edamame for soy allergies.
- Vegetables – Sweet onion, bell pepper, poblanos, corn and a few cloves of garlic are pretty standard fare in most chilis. You can also add chopped carrots and celery depending what you have on hand.
- Tomatoes – I like the combination of crushed tomatoes with the concentrated flavor of tomato paste that also thickens the chili. Pureed tomatoes can be substituted too.
- Broth – I used chicken broth because it’s readily available, but turkey broth will also obviously work as would vegetable or beef broth. And I love to deglaze the bottom of the pot before simmering with a little dry white wine or amber ale.
- Spices & Herbs – Break out the chili spices with chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. You can also stir in green chiles or chipotle peppers in adobo. Oregano and Italian seasoning are additional options. I like to add fresh cilantro and squeeze of lime juice at the end to brighten the entire dish.
- Sweetener – If you’d like to accentuate the sweet n’ spicy profile, add a little brown sugar, molasses, honey or maple syrup to the chili.
Once you have your ingredients lined up and prepped, it’s time to get things fired up! I tend to make this recipe on the stove but included Crockpot and Instant Pot instructions as well.
- Start with the veggies: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Onions and peppers are cooked until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and spices: Lower burner to medium heat. Stir frequently for about a minute or two until the garlic begins to caramelize and the spices are toasted and aromatic. This step adds lots of flavor to the chili!
- Add Turkey: Brown ground turkey, breaking up larger pieces with a wooden spoon.
- Deglaze: Pour in wine to deglaze the pot and scrape up any browned flavorings on the bottom.
- Add the rest: Stir in beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste and broth.
- Simmer: Give the chili a good stir and bring to a low simmer for 10-15 minutes until heated through. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Prep toppings while it simmers. So easy!
How to Make the Chili in a Crockpot
Brown the ground turkey first then add the remaining ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, place a 2-pound boneless turkey breast in the crockpot, add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low 4-6 hours. When done, shred the turkey with a couple forks and stir back into the chili.
Making the Chili in an Instant Pot
Turn on the Instant Pot and select Sauté. Heat olive oil and brown ground turkey until crumbly or cook chopped turkey cutlets until browned on all sides. Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Deglaze bottom of pot with wine. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then close and lock the lid. Cook on Beans/Chili setting for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally when done. Stir and serve!
There's nothing like topping off a delicious chili with a variety of options so here are some thoughts on how to set up a chili bar that has something for everyone.
- green onions
- red onion
- lime wedges
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- tortilla chips
Side Dishes to Serve
Here are complementary side dish ideas to add to the menu!
Bread – Get dipping with warm tortillas, naan or cornbread!
More Favorite Chili Recipes!
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. Freeze extra chili in resealable freezer bags up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw chili completely if frozen and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, or microwave in an appropriate dish.
You sure can! Using leftover turkey will shorten the cooking time since you can skip the step of browning the meat. Just add the cooked turkey in along with the other ingredients. If you want to use your slow cooker, reduce the time to just 2-3 hours on low.
Absolutely! Simply add extra beans and vegetables or add in cubed, browned tofu. The chili is already dairy free so don’t add any sour cream or cheese when topping your vegetarian chili to make it vegan.
Panera Turkey Chili (Copycat Recipe to Make at Home!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper , chopped, seeded and ribs removed
- 1 bell pepper , chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 15-ounce can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans or lima beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans or garbanzo beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh corn or frozen kernels , thawed
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice , do not drain
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Toppings: sour cream, cheddar or pepper jack cheese, scallions, red onion, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, lime wedges, nachos
- Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and sauté over medium heat stirring occasionally until soft and translucent, 5 minutes.
- Mix in garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently.
- Add ground turkey and break up large pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown for about 7 minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot and scrape up brownings with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in beans, corn, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste and broth. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot and top with suggestions above, as desired. Enjoy! (See notes for Storage & Reheating)
Crockpot InstructionsBrown the ground turkey first then add the remaining ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, place a 2-pound boneless turkey breast in the crockpot, add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low 4-6 hours. When done, shred the turkey with a couple forks and stir back into the chili.
Instant Pot InstructionsTurn on the Instant Pot and select Sauté. Heat olive oil and brown ground turkey until crumbly or cook chopped turkey cutlets until browned on all sides. Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Deglaze bottom of pot with wine. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then close and lock the lid. Cook on Beans/Chili setting for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally when done. Stir and serve!
Storage & ReheatingStore any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. Freeze extra chili in resealable freezer bags up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw chili completely if frozen and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, or microwave in an appropriate dish.
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