Smoky Turkey Chili (No beans!)(In the Instant Pot!)

Okay all my Instant Pot fans… this is SO GOOD. And so very perfect for these blustery cold days. It is FRIGID where I live! Who doesn’t crave comfort food in the winter? This is also a perfect recipe for a Super Bowl upcoming shindig- who are you rooting for?

Sometimes we are pro bean in this household… sometimes anti. So I love that this is a no bean chili that gets bulked up a bit with addition of zucchini (I promise your kids won’t know it’s there!). When you peel and seed the zucchini it allows it to break down and become for of a thickener to the chili. It’s pretty awesome. You can certainly throw in a can of your favorite beans if you like too!

I love that this all comes together in my Instant Pot (read why I love it here), there are a few steps to this recipe but only one pot to clean!

*You could certainly make this on the stove top/oven as well. Just allow several hours of cook time for flavors to meld together and the zucchini to cook down! 

Smoky Turkey Chili


  • 2 Pounds ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
  • 12 Oz thick applewood smoked bacon diced (I like Trader Joe’s!)
  • 3 Zucchini peeled, seeded and small diced
  • 1 Sweet onion diced
  • 4 Garlic cloves minced
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz Can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz Can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 – 1 Teaspoon chipotle chili powder (based on you taste for heat- add even more if you like!)
  • 1/2 – 1 Teaspoon liquid smoke ( I like this brand) (optional)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of one lime


  1. Using the saute function on your Instant Pot saute your diced bacon until crisp.
  2. Remove bacon from pot and reserve for serving and drain off all but 2 tablespoons (almost all) of the rendered fat.
  3. With the saute function still on, add your diced zucchini and onion to instant pot.
    Peeled & Seeded Zucchini

    Diced Zucchini
  4. Cook until the vegetables have softened and becoming a golden color- 10 minutes or so. Then add the minced garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes more.
  5. Add ground turkey, tomato paste and pinch of salt. Once it starts to brown add in your spices and saute for another 5 minutes.
  6. Then add in your tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes and liquid smoke if using.
  7. Stir it all together so it is well incorporated.
  8. Turn off the saute function and place lid on Instant Pot. Lock lid and switch toggle to sealing. Set to manual high pressure 15 minutes.
  9. Once time is up allow for a natural release and then remove lid and stir.

    Finished Chili!
  10. Portion chili into bowls and top with bacon and your other favorite toppings. We love cheddar cheese, avocado, raw onion, sour cream, chips, cilantro, hot sauce and scallions! Also wonderful served over rice!

This freezes really well too!


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