Instant Pot White Turkey Chili recipe, made with dried white beans. Thanks to pressure cooking, this hearty white bean chili with ground turkey and dried navy beans is ready in about an hour. (As long as you remember to soak the beans.)
White chili seems like an oxymoron. Isn’t chili supposed to be red? Well, not if you make all the ingredients white. This white bean turkey chili recipe uses white(ish) turkey meat, white navy beans, and white(ish) spices to give us our pale chili. (I use diced green chilis to add an actual chili to the proceedings without adding any red color.)
But don’t assume a pale chili is a bland chili. This white chili recipe is full of flavor and a family favorite.
I’m sure the chili purists are sharpening pitchforks and lighting torches. (Chili without chili powder? Heresy!) I know they consider this a turkey and white bean soup, but I’m a big tent chili fan. It’s got green chiles in it, right? It’s chili to me. And chili is always good.
There is a common theme in my chili recipes. Once you learn this recipe, you’ll know how to make Instant Pot Ground Pork and Bean Chili, Instant Pot Turkey Chili with Small Red Beans, or Pressure Cooker Ground Beef and Bean Chili. They all use the same basic technique; the difference is in the specific ingredients and spices.
Which White Bean Should I Use?
Navy beans are the quickest choice; after soaking, they take only 10 minutes to cook through. Great Northern beans or Cannelini beans are good substitutes, but increase the cooking time at high pressure to 15 minutes for these larger beans. Marcella beans are Rancho Gordo’s variety of Cannelini beans and a great substitute. (Again, increase the cooking time to 15 minutes for Marcella beans.) Baby lima beans will take 20 minutes at high pressure.
If you use any larger white beans, make sure to soak them; the larger beans will overcook the turkey if you try to cook them from dried.
Can I use canned beans?
Yes, you can. (Get it? Can? I’ll see myself out.) But…
This recipe is much better with dried beans, but sometimes you must use what you have. Use 4 (14- to 16-ounce) cans of navy beans (or great northern beans, or cannellini beans), drained. Skip the soaking step, add the drained beans when the recipe says to add the beans to the pot, and cut the chicken broth to 2 cups. (Most of the broth is bean cooking liquid in the regular recipe.) Also, cut the cooking time at high pressure back to 10 minutes. Canned beans are already cooked, and we don’t want to turn them into mush.
Can I Use Lean Ground Turkey?
If you’re trying to cut calories or fat, you can use lean ground turkey (a 95/5 lean-to-fat ratio). I prefer “regular” ground turkey, with an 85/15 lean-to-fat ratio, because it stays moister during cooking. (I’m always a fan of the dark meat on a bird. Sorry, that’s just who I am.) Lean turkey will dry out a little more than the regular meat, but it will still make a great chili.
Also, I make sure I soak the beans if I’m using lean turkey. The extra cooking time for unsoaked beans will definitely overcook the lean turkey. (Again, if you have lean turkey and unsoaked beans on hand, it will still be a good chili.)
Can I use Chicken?
Yes, you can substitute ground chicken for ground turkey; everything else works the same. (I have a white chicken chili recipe, if you want to check it out.)
How hot is this chili? Can I cut the heat?
This chili has a medium heat level thanks to the cayenne pepper. If your diners can’t take the heat, you can leave the cayenne out entirely. And if they are really, REALLY against heat, you can replace the (mild) diced chilies with diced fresh green bell pepper. (Add the bell pepper with the onions since it needs to sauté.)
If you want to up the heat, go to 1 teaspoon of cayenne for medium-hot chili. Or 2 teaspoons for hot. Above that, you are a chile-head and know your heat tolerance. You can add cayenne until it feels right.
Do I have to use chicken broth?
No, you can use water. (See the recipe card for details.) Dried beans add a lot of body to the chili. But, if you have homemade chicken broth, chicken stock, or store-bought low-sodium broth, use them. Broth adds extra flavor and body, making an even better pot of chili.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. (I love my Instant Pot)
This recipe scales up and down easily. Cut all the ingredients in half, and this recipe will fit in a 3-quart pressure cooker. If you want to double the recipe, you need at least an 8-quart pressure cooker; the regular size recipe fills up a 6-quart pressure cooker. When you scale up or down, the cooking time does not change; it takes the same amount of time to cook the beans, no matter how many there are in the pot.
Chili is a great make-ahead meal. Make a pot the day before, refrigerate the inner pot (covered), and reheat it to serve. Or, store it in 2-cup containers for a convenient lunch-sized serving. Chili will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or in the freezer for up to six months.
💡Tips and Tricks
Should I soak the Navy Beans for this chili?
Yes, I soak the navy beans for this recipe. It’s not for the beans; it’s for the turkey. Ground turkey overcooks if pressure cooked for more than 15 to 20 minutes, so I soak the navy beans to speed up the cooking time.
Now, if you forget to soak the beans and don’t even have time for a quick soak, you can cook the navy beans without soaking. Sort and rinse the beans as directed, skip the soaking, and increase the chicken broth or water to 6 cups and the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure. (The rest of the recipe works as written).
Salt your bean water!
“Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook. It also helps with older beans. Speaking of older beans...
If your beans are still tough when the cooking time is over, especially any “floaters” at the top of the pot, stir the beans, lock the lid, and pressure cook for another five minutes. (Or, scoop the floaters from the top of the pot.) Older beans take longer to cook, and if the beans have been aging on the shelf at the grocery store for a while, they may need extra time.
Simmer to thicken
If you have the time and want a thicker chili, simmer the pot for 10 to 20 minutes after releasing the pressure. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low heat, set the timer to 10 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
Beans are an agricultural product, and stuff tends to creep in when processed. Beans should always be sorted and rinsed before use to remove twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans.
What to Serve with White Turkey Chili
Serve with your favorite toppings for chili. Mine include:
- Diced green onions.
- Sour cream.
- Shredded cheddar cheese.
- Tortilla chips.
- Lime wedges for a squeeze of lime juice.
I also serve pickled jalapeños and a selection of hot sauces for anyone who wants to kick the heat up a notch.Print
- 16 ounces dried navy beans
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
White Turkey Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey (preferably 85/15 lean-fat ratio)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 cups chicken broth or water (preferably homemade broth or store-bought low sodium broth)
- 8 ounces canned diced green chilies (2 4-ounce cans)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth or water)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Sort and rinse the beans: Spread the navy beans on a rimmed baking sheet and discard any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight soak or a quick soak.
- Overnight soak: Cover the beans with 8 cups water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Leave the beans to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- OR: Pressure Quick Soak for 1 minute with a 30-minute Natural Release: Put the beans, 8 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt in an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), then let the pressure come down naturally for a full 30 minutes. (Quick release any pressure remaining after 30 minutes, but let the beans rest for the full 30 minutes, even if the pressure releases itself earlier.) Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- Sauté the aromatics and spices: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC). Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté, occasionally stirring, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Make a hole in the center of the onions and add the cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne. Toast for 1 minute, then stir the spices into the onions.
- Start the turkey, then everything in the pot: Add the ground turkey to the pot, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, then stir the turkey into the onions. Cook, stirring and breaking up the turkey until it loses its pink color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth (and ½ teaspoon salt if using homemade broth or water). Scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits of turkey, onions, or spices. Stir the drained navy beans and the diced chilies into the pot.
- Pressure Cook for 10 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 8 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20-30 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes of natural release.
- Serve: Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Stir in the brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls, and add your favorite chili toppings (mine are shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onions, and tortillas.) Serve and enjoy!
Cooking dried navy beans without soaking: Sort and rinse the beans as directed and skip the soaking step. Increase the chicken broth or water to 6 cups, and increase the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure. The rest of the recipe works the same.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot White Turkey Chili, Pressure Cooker White Turkey Chili
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My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes
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