Fig Chili Made with Leftover Turkey

Figgy chili made with leftover turkey

This is the best Texas chili recipe — and a chili made with leftover turkey at Thanksgiving. We have substitutions too. Read on and then go simmer a pot of the stew.

Figgy chili made with leftover turkey is the kind of thing you'll want to eat with fresh cornbread or tortilla chips crumbled in.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you enjoyed your Thanksgiving menu there is probably going to be cranberry sauce for several days to come. When it comes to eating up leftovers after Thanksgiving, you could go in for Thanksgiving feast part 2, but we wanted to suggest veering from that course you’ve already traversed and perhaps your tastebuds are ready for a change too, so introducing our chili made with leftover turkey.

With Thanksgiving turkey there are a few unknown variables—did you brine your bird? What kinds of seasonings did you use? So, in this recipe, we start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt when sautéing the onions and carrots. We used around 3 teaspoons total salt, but season to your taste. Also, we add enough chipotle to add complexity to the sauce but if you want it spicier, feel free to add in one more chipotle.

Figs: The Secret to Your Sauce

Figs are the secret ingredient to this stew. The chili made with leftover turkey features pureed figs. They lend a sweetness and are a thickener that also introduces fiber into the mix. Sun-Maid and Orchard Choice Mission Figs have a jammy familiar flavor. Though you could always use Golden Figs with their tangy, delicate fig taste.

This turkey chili walks the line of a thick saucy Texas chili with the Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs naturally thickening up the sauce for the best Texas chili recipe with shredded Thanksgiving turkey. The unsweetened chocolate might seem a bit surprising, but it also adds just enough complexity to the sauce. Perhaps you don’t have turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving to use—feel free to brown 2 pounds ground turkey to stir in. Lastly, there’s nothing quite like eating cornbread with chili and this one is no exception.

Figgy Chili made with leftover turkey will warm you up and is the best Texas chili recipe to use after you shred the turkey from Thanksgiving.

Turkey Chili with Figs

The best chili recipe to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey is this Texas chili recipe. Thickened with dried figs, you can also use ground meat too.
fig turkey texas chili
Servings 12 cups


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 large white onion diced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 carrots peeled and large diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth divided
  • 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and diced
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers rinsed of adobo sauce
  • 1 canned tomato puree (28 ounce)
  • 1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed (28 ounce)
  • 1 large orange or red bell pepper seeded, cored, and diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cups shredded turkey white or dark meat
  • Greek yogurt
  • Green onions


  • Warm the oil in a stockpot set over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chili powder and toast for 1 minute. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt, onion and carrots, stirring occasionally until mostly softened, about 9 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat 1 cup of the chicken broth in a saucepan set over medium heat until steam rises from the top, about 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over the chocolate and set aside for 2 minutes. Then whisk the chocolate and broth together until combined. Toss in the mission figs.
  • Spoon the chipotle peppers, tomato puree, figs, and chocolate broth into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
  • Stir in the pinto beans, bell pepper, and turkey into the stockpot to tumble with the chili-coated onion and carrots. Pour in the pureed fig tomato mixture. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth. Season to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and chopped scallions if desired.


Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld

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