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Bowl of "melted monster chili" in a white bowl and garnished with boccioncini and olive eyeballs.

Melted Monster Chili

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Melted Monster Head Chili is a deliciously ghoulish way to feed the family before they head out to trick-or-treat. This no-bean chili is full of vegetables and low-fat turkey, so you’ll feel good about serving it to them.



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds ground turkey

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large sweet onion, finely minced

1 large red bell pepper, finely minced

1 jalapeno, finely minced

1 celery stalk, very finely minced

4 large garlic cloves, finely minced

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not drink mix)

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with the juice

1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree

¼ cup brown sugar

3 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

For garnish:

16 bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)

32 pimento-stuffed green olives


In a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering.

Add the ground turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook, breaking up the turkey into very small pieces until browned and no pink meat remains.

Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, celery, and garlic.

Cook, stirring often until the vegetables have softened and aromatic.

Sprinkle in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, and oregano. Stir well to combine.

Stir in the tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato puree, brown sugar, and chicken broth.

Tuck the bay leaf into the pot and bring the chili to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, stirring often.

To serve, remove the bay leaf and taste to adjust for seasonings – salt, pepper, and sweetness.

Cut a hole in each bocconcini and stuff an olive into each so they look like eyeballs.

Ladle the chili into shallow serving bowls and place two ‘eyeballs’ in the center of each bowl.

Serve hot.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Main Dish - Beef
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Keywords: melted monster chili, Halloween, Halloween party ideas, Halloween recipes, chili recipes, kid-friendly, weeknight dinner ideas