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Turkey Chile with Mexican Mole Sauce

Turkey Chile with Mexican Mole Sauce
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Turkey chili with a Mexican mole sauce is a stellar dish that can be made in large batches and taken out of the freezer for quick dinners for busy families. The mole sauce pairs wonderfully with turkey and makes it a special and unique chili. Either homemade or purchased mole sauce works in this recipe.

Turkey, carrot and black bean chili with mole sauce in a black bowl.
Turkey chili with mole sauce

Jump to: RECIPE | Ground Turkey vs Turkey Breast | Homemade vs Prepared Mole | Ingredients & Substitutions

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What Kind of Turkey to Use in Chili?

If you are making the chili with leftover turkey from a big feast, a combination of dark and white meat adds depth and richness of flavor. The leftover turkey can be shredded or just cut into bite-size pieces.

If you don’t have leftover turkey on hand, you can just purchase a package of turkey breast from the store and cut it up into pieces. It will be quite tender in the chile this way and makes an excellent chili.

Tip: Some cooks like their chili with ground turkey, and that works too. Just cook the ground meat ahead of adding the other ingredients until it is no longer pink.

Last but not least, you can even combine both ground beef and ground turkey to add a little more depth.

Homemade Mole Sauce vs Prepared Mole Paste

Mole, pronounced ”MOH-lay” is a dark reddish-brown Mexican sauce typically made by roasting a variety of chile peppers and simmering with onion, chocolate, sesame or pumpkin seeds, and other spices. An easy recipe for an excellent mole sauce can be made with a mole spice blend if you don’t want to roast and peel the peppers.

Prepared mole is a thicker paste, which usually cooks together with some added chicken broth. The turkey chili recipe below was made with homemade mole rojo and then again with a prepared mole paste. They were both robust and made stellar batches of turkey chili.

I bought some excellent prepared mole pastes in Denver and from Amazon. Here are my favorites:

1 jar and 2 packages of prepared mole pastes: negro, rojo and coloradito.
3 kinds of prepared mole pastes: negro, Rojo, and coloradito

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here are the ingredients used in the recipe below, with ideas for substitutions following the photo:

Ingredients for Mexican turkey mole chili.
Ingredients: turkey, broth, mole paste, onion, carrots, beans, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, garlic

As noted above, prepared mole paste can be substituted for homemade mole rojo sauce. Other common substitutions might include:

  • Packaged turkey breast instead of leftover turkey pieces
  • Bell peppers instead of (or in addition to) carrots
  • A mole spice blend instead of mole sauce
  • Cojita or other cheese instead of queso fresco
  • Kidney beans instead of black beans
  • Vegetable broth or homemade turkey broth instead of chicken bouillon

Slow Cooker Chili vs Stovetop Chili

This is a one-pot meal and it doesn’t matter if you cook it in a crockpot or a Dutch oven on the stovetop. The process is the same: add all the ingredients to the pot, stir, and cook.

The slow cooker has the advantage of being able to set it and then leave and do other things.

The Dutch oven has the advantage of being able to taste and adjust at various stages of cooking. I prefer the Dutch oven, but I work in my home so it is easy to tend it.

Illustrated Step by Step:

Here are the steps lined out with photos. For the details of the recipe itself, see the recipe card below.

Chopped carrots and onions
Step #1: Chop carrots and onions into small pieces.
All ingredients for turkey mole chili in the slow cooker.
Step #2: Add all the ingredients for the turkey mole chili to the slow cooker and then stir together.
Turkey mole chili ingredient in a crockpot.
Step #3: Cover the crockpot and turn the slow cooker to low for 6 hours.
Turkey, carrot and black bean chili with mole sauce in a black bowl.
Step #4: Serve the chili with a side of sour cream and tortillas.

How to Freeze & Thaw:

The beauty of chili is that you can make it in a big batch and then freeze it for quick and easy weeknight meals.

It is especially advantageous in the busy holiday season to pull something out of the freezer that you know will be delicious and please a hungry family.

Once the chili is done, let it cool completely. You can then transfer it into your preferred portion size containers and seal it tightly.

It can freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw for about 12-14 hours in the fridge and then reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop until thoroughly heated through. Serve with crumbled cheese, sour cream, or chopped scallions.

If you enjoy all types of Mexican food, check out this category of ALL Mexican recipes, where you will find over 40 Mexican recipes, from casual, to low carb, to fancy.

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Turkey Chili with Mole Sauce

Turkey, carrot and black bean chili with mole sauce in a black bowl.
Use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and make a big batch of turkey chili. Add some mole sauce to take it over the top. Freezes well.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 10
Calories 257


  • 2 ½ pounds leftover turkey meat chopped or shredded; can use purchased turkey breast also
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth fresh or canned
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to-taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans drained
  • 1 cup mole paste
  • ½ cup Cojita cheese crumbled as garnish
  • 1 cup sour cream optional
  • chopped scallions optional for garnish


  • Chop the onions and cut the carrots into bite-size pieces.
    Add all of the ingredients except the cheese and sour cream to a dutch oven or to the slow cooker. Stir everything together.
    In the slow cooker turn it on to low and cook for 4 hours. In the dutch oven, bring everthing to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over med-low heat for 2 hours or until turkey is no longer pink and ingredients are all melded together.
    2 1/2 pounds leftover turkey meat, 1 large onion, 3 large carrots, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 15-ounce cans black beans, 1 cup mole paste
  • If you are freezing, let the chili cool completely and then package into smaller containers and seal tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months.
    To reheat, thaw the chili in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Serve with crumbled Mexican cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions.
    1/2 cup Cojita cheese, 1 cup sour cream, chopped scallions



** If you are using a mole paste, read the directions to reconstitute it first to a sauce. If there are no directions, just whisk mole into the chicken broth, a spoonful at a time until you get the taste you prefer.
If you enjoy all types of Mexican food, check out this category of ALL Mexican recipes, where you will find over 40 Mexican recipes, from casual, to low carb, to fancy.
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Calories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 34gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 919mgPotassium: 480mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3839IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 2mg
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