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Kalyn's Kitchen

Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime

Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime will be delicious with ground turkey, but use leftover turkey if you have some! This delicious chili is gluten-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Diet Phase One. Check out Chili Recipes for more tummy-warming chili ideas!

Click to PIN Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime!

Leftover Turkey (or Ground Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime found on KalynsKitchen.com

Thanksgiving is only two days away, yikes!  If you’re still looking for Thanksgiving recipes, I’ve shared 25+ Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Holiday Side Dishes, Appetizers, and Salads as well as my Top Ten Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes (and honorable mentions).  I hope you have the menu narrowed down and are busy with holiday food prep.

I know you’re not looking for leftover turkey recipes just yet, but in a little while I have holiday guests arriving and I wanted to share the updated photos for this Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime before I get too busy with Thanksgiving activities.I’ve made this tasty chili with leftover turkey, ground turkey (like you see in the photos), and even leftover chicken, and all the versions were delicious.  Whether or not you need it for a Thanksgiving leftovers idea, this is a great chili recipe to add to your collection, but please, please, please don’t skip the lime juice. That’s the secret ingredient that makes this chili over-the-top good.

(Ground Turkey or Leftover Turkey and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime was updated with better photos, November 2014. Check out 25+ Deliciously Healthy Recipes using Leftover Turkey or Chicken if you need more ideas!)

Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime found on KalynsKitchen.com

If you’re making this with ground turkey, cook that separately until the turkey is nicely browned. Both versions start the recipe by sauteing a chopped onion, minced garlic, and a can of diced green chiles.  Then add dried cilantro (if using), ground cumin, Mexican Oregano, and Epazote and cook a few minutes more. Don’t stress if you don’t have all those herbs, use the ones you have.

Then add pinto beans and the liquid from the beans, homemade turkey stock (or homemade chicken stock) or use canned broth) and one cup water.  Let this mixture simmer about 30 minutes at very low heat, until the mixture is slightly reduced and the flavors are well blended. If you’re using ground turkey, add it after the soup has simmered 30 minutes and cook the chili 15-30 minutes more, then stir in the fresh lime juice and salt and pepper right before you serve the chili.

If you’re making this diced leftover turkey, simmer the onions, garlic, herbs, beans, and stock about 45 minutes, then add the chopped turkey (or chicken)  and simmer  only about 5-10 minutes. Then add the fresh lime juice and salt and pepper to taste right before you serve the chili.

Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Ideas with Leftover Turkey (or Chicken):

Low-Carb Turkey Casserole with Mushrooms, Mozzarella, and Cauliflower Rice ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey White Chili ~ Simply Recipes
Leftover Turkey (or Chicken) Shepherd’s Pie with Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Topping ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken or Turkey Fried Rice ~ The Perfect Pantry
Slow Cooker Lemony Turkey (or chicken) Soup with Spinach and Orzo ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Leftover Turkey (or Ground Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime

Ground Turkey and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime will be delicious with ground turkey, but use leftover turkey if you have some!


  • 1 onion, diced into small pieces (about 1 cup diced onion)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (plus more for sauteing ground turkey if using)
  • 2-3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 can diced green Anaheim chiles with liquid (4 oz. size, or use a 7 oz. can if you like it spicy)
  • 1 T dried cilantro (optional but recommended)
  • 1-2 tsp. ground cumin (I used 2 tsp., but I love cumin)
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano (I wouldn’t substitute Greek oregano for this, but you could use dried marjoram)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Epazote (optional but recommended)
  • 2 cans pinto beans with liquid
  • 1 quart (4 cups) homemade turkey stock or homemade chicken stock (or use canned broth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups diced leftover chicken or turkey or 1 lb. cooked ground turkey
  • 3 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • grated Monterey Jack cheese or Four Cheese Mexican Blend for serving, optional
  • fresh chopped cilantro or sliced green onions for serving, optional


  1. Chop onion into small dice. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan big enough to hold all the chili, add onion and saute on low heat 3-4 minutes, or until onion is starting to soften.
  2. Add minced garlic and canned green Anaheim chiles and saute about 2 minutes more. Then add dried cilantro (if using), ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and Epazote and saute about 2 minutes more.
  3. If using ground turkey, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a separate frying pan and brown turkey well while you are sauteeing the onion, garlic, chiles, and herbs.
  4. Add 2 cans pinto beans with liquid. (The dried epazote helps make beans less gas-producing. Normally I rinse canned beans, which also helps with this, so if you don’t have epazote I would probably rinse the beans.)
  5. Add turkey or chicken stock and water and let chili simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times.
  6. If you’re using the ground turkey, add that and simmer 15-30 minutes longer.  If you’re using diced leftover turkey, add that but simmer only 5-10 minutes more.  (If you cook the chili too long after you add the diced turkey, the meat breaks apart too much.)
  7. Add fresh lime juice and season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper right before you serve the chili.
  8. Serve hot, with grated cheese melted on top and sprinkled with fresh chopped cilantro or green onions if desired.


This recipe was originally posted for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Beans are a wonderful low-glycemic food, and everything about this Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime is great for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you’d like a lower-carb version of this recipe I would double the amount of turkey and use only one can of beans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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37 comments on “Ground Turkey (or Leftover Turkey) and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime”

  1. Made this tonight with leftover turkey and it was delicious! Didn't even have any left for lunch tomorrow! 🙁

    This is definitely a keeper and would work great with chicken or ground meat as well. I didn't even have all the ingredients on hand, but it's easy to adjust as needed. Thanks for posting it!

  2. Hi, K, this looks wonderful! I seem to be missing the "save recipe" button; is it me?

    • Glad you like the recipe. I am sorry to say that Ziplist is discontinuing the Recipe Box and Shopping List features effective December 10. You should have gotten an several e-mails about this from Ziplist at the e-mail address you signed up as. I removed the SAVE button because it's not going to work after December 10, but you can still access your saved recipes until then and after Thanksgiving I'll post some information about how to transfer the recipes and other options.

  3. The hit of fresh lime right before serving makes this soup absolutely wonderful! I'll be making it again this winter; I use a shredded rotisserie turkey or chicken.

  4. I chose South Beach to manage my weight so I would not have to calculate calories, points, carbs, or fat grams, so I don't have that information.

  5. by any chance would you know the calories for this dish. It looks great thanks.

  6. Thanks for the nice feedback! I do think petite diced tomatoes would taste great in this if you want a more tomatoey chili recipe. (Is tomatoey even a word. Anyway, you know what I mean!)

  7. Hi Kalyn!!! First, you rock, and your recipes ROCK my household!!! Thank you for sharing your great tasting recipes. With this recipe I used ground Turkey but wondered if it would be okay to add petite diced tomatoes? Or would that just throw it off? Wanted to add something else in there and saw in your Black Bean Chile recipe it included the petite diced tomatoes. Thank you.

  8. Hi Linda,

    Epazote comes from Mexico, and it's definitely optional in the recipe but it does add a nice flavor (and also supposedly reduces the gas-causing effects of dried beans. You can buy epazote from Penzeys, one of my favorite places to buy spices online.

  9. Hi, Kalyn, I made this over this past week. We really enjoyed it. However, where do you find epazote? Is there somewhere that I can order it online? Not too much is available here in Hilo. Thank you. I am enjoying your website. Aloha, Linda

  10. Claire, so glad to hear you enjoyed it; thanks for taking time to let me know.

  11. I made this tonight and we absolutely loved it. A definite repeat. Thanks!!

  12. Made this tonight, excellent! I love the combination of flavors and probably saved some leftover turkey that was a little bland (I didn't make it..). I will be having this for lunch for the next few days.

  13. Lori, I love fresh cilantro, but using both fresh and dried cilantro really gives nice cilantro undertones besides the fresh cilantro flavor.

    Marilyn, glad to be able to remind you of home! I can imagine turkey is hard to come by there.

    The Harings, so glad to hear it was a hit!

  14. I just made this recipe in the crock pot the other day. It turned out seriously good! I added some jalapenos for some extra spice and my husband loved it! Thanks for posting this.

  15. Love this! I've been seeing so many turkey recipes that I am starting to actually miss turkey! Yeah, it is very rare and expensive to buy turkey here. Most are imported from the states. This is a perfect way to finish off Thanksgiving :o)

  16. This looks very flavorful. I think the only thing I would change is to use fresh cilantro (my favorite too). It looks amazing. I like the marjoram suggestion.

  17. CJ, you're welcome. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, enjoy your leftover turkey!

  18. It's on my list for tonight's supper. I am craving soup.

    I love the total flavor transformation the turkey makes when you use it in chili or enchiladas. You don't think you're eating "leftovers".

    Thanks for the great recipe Kalyn!
    And happy belated Thanksgiving.

  19. Glad people are liking this, and yes any type of dried beans would be great here!

  20. I made this recipe with the turkey leftovers, it was amazing.

  21. instead of canned pinto beans how about cooking up some Rancho Gordo pinto beans for this recipe. A great idea instead of the usual turkey tetrazini.

  22. Looks delicious and a perfect way to use leftover turkey!

  23. Thanks for sharing this. Now I know what to do with the leftover turkey. 🙂 Sounds like a yummy soup.

  24. Thank you everyone for the nice feedback on this recipe. It was really good. Actually I froze about half the chili, but I've already pulled it out of the freezer and eaten most of it! (Just enough left for lunch today.)

    Now I'm just hoping my sister will give me the turkey carcass tomorrow so I can make more!

  25. Your soup looks wonderful. Full of so many good things. Love your bowls too.

  26. I just stumbled across your recipe for crockpot mashed potatoes and love it. I'm going to make it for Thanksgiving. Then I started looking around and your site is awesome. It's exactly the way I like to cook and eat — healthy and delicious, without too much hassle. Thank you!


  27. I'm not roasting a turkey this year, but I always have ground turkey in my freezer. And I always have dried epazote and Mexican oregano in my pantry, too. This will be a great chili for a cold December day!

  28. terrific set of recipes you are posting, very timely and they sound and look terrific.

    Hope I have some leftovers, may need to cook a second bird!

  29. This soup recipe looks so very good. I'll be saving that one. I'm such a fan of cilantro. Thanks for the post.

  30. A perfect way to enjoy some turkey leftovers. I always like using leftovers to create a completely new dish!

  31. You are getting me more and more excited about the leftovers. I am going to have to raid the dinner table once the meal is over just to make all these delicious things! This looks so hearty and flavorful.

  32. I want to try south beach diet!! do you have any experience!?!

  33. I'll be all ready this weekend with some good soup recipes to use with my left over turkey. Thanks!

  34. kalyn, this looks sooo good!

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