Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

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These 15-minute Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes have all the flavor of buffalo wings in a healthy, easy-to-make dinner! Ground chicken, lots of veggies, and spicy buffalo sauce. Make sandwiches, lettuce wraps, and more.

223 CAL 5g CARBS 13g FAT 21g PROTEIN

When it comes to weeknight dinners, sloppy joes are a classic BUT sometimes it's fun to spice things up! These Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes do just that with all the flavor of buffalo wings in an easy, healthy dinner. 

Over the weekend there was a lot of football watching and wing eating happening in our house. But having vowed to stay away from fried foods for the month of January, I knew I needed a yummy alternative for when the wings showed up. I decided to make these delicious and incredibly simple Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes. Let me tell you, they disappeared just as quickly as the wings. 

The recipe really couldn't be easier - ground chicken, carrots, celery, buffalo sauce, and some spices - but stuffed into a sandwich with some ranch slaw and it makes one satisfying meal.

Why We Love Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

There are so many reasons to love this delicious dinner. 

  • Affordable: This recipe is very budget-friendly with ground chicken, buffalo sauce, and basic vegetables.  Stretch the protein by serving this as sandwiches or even adding some chickpeas or white beans to the sloppy joe mixture. 
  • Healthy: Traditional buffalo wings and buffalo chicken sandwiches are high in fat and calories since they are usually fried. This lightened up version uses lean ground chicken but has all the same great buffalo flavor. 
  • Versatile: While we usually eat this as a sandwich like traditional sloppy joes, it is also great for lettuce wraps, grain bowls, quesadillas, tacos, and more. The leftover meat is also delicious over greens for a quick salad. 
  • Quick and easy: This recipe comes together from start to finish in about 20 minutes. That makes it perfect for a midweek meal.

Key Ingredients

  • Ground chicken: The base of this recipe is ground chicken. Any fat content will work including ground chicken breast or ground chicken thighs. It will also work with ground turkey or chopped cooked chicken. 
  • Buffalo sauce: Most of the flavor in this recipe comes from buffalo sauce. The classic option is to use Frank's Buffalo sauce, which has the classic buffalo wing flavor. With that said, swap in any buffalo sauce with a flavor you enjoy.
  • Carrots and celery: To add some veggies and mimic the classic wing side dish, these sloppy joes start with some sauteed carrots and celery. This is optional but its a great way to add flavor and sneak in some veggies.
  • Butter: Classic buffalo wings are almost always made with butter. That's the secret to making the rich, delicious sauce. This recipe uses just one tablespoon to add some of that rich flavor. It can be left off if you prefer to make it without butter. 

Recipe Ideas and Tips

This easy chicken sloppy joe recipe can be modified to fit your taste buds or simply use up what's in your pantry.

  • Swap in any mild ground meat for the chicken. It will work with ground turkey. pork, or vegetarian crumbles. 
  • If you have leftover cooked or rotisserie chicken, simply chop it up and let it simmer in the sauce. The texture will be different than traditional sloppy joes but it is just as delicious.
  • If you don't like spice, make these with barbecue sauce instead of buffalo sauce.
  • Kick up the flavor by seasoning your chicken with ranch seasoning.
  • Serve this dish with a drizzle of ranch dressing or blue cheese. Blue cheese crumbles are also delicious.

Side Dish Ideas for Buffalo Sloppy Joes

Here are some tasty dishes to serve on the side. 

Storage and Freezing

These make delicious leftovers. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the frideg for up to 4 days. They can be frozen as well for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight and reheat in a skillet. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making these sloppy joes.

Absolutely! This recipe works great with ground turkey instead of chicken. Both lean ground turkey and dark meat ground turkey will work.

Buffalo sauce comes in many varities and can be mild or very spicy. Make sure to choose a mild option if you don't want things too spicy. Wing sauce tends to be mild in general.

This recipe will turn out great without the onion, carrots, and celery if you prefer to make it with just chicken and sauce. 

The Recipe
Buffalo chicken sloppy joes with ranch coleslaw in a hamburger roll.

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

223 CAL 5g CARBS 13g FAT 21g PROTEIN
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  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp butter (more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

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Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook for 4-6 minutes until they begin to soften.


Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes until completely cooked through and beginning to brown.


Stir in the tomato sauce, buffalo sauce, cumin, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes until sauce thickens. Add butter and stir until melted.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223
Calories from Fat 121
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 105mg
Sodium 236mg
Total Carbohydrate 5g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 21g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes
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February 17, 2024 - 10:10
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I make this recipe several times a year. My family & I love it!
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July 19, 2022 - 15:46
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Love this recipe. So easy and delicious. I serve this in taco shells with diced tomatoes, avocado or shredded cheese! So good!
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Chris Smith
January 23, 2017 - 16:14
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We made this without tomato juice, and it was great. Can't wait to do it again once we have all the ingredients.
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Freda Potter
January 16, 2017 - 05:26
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My husband was less than enthusiastic when I told him I was making healthy "football food." However, while eating it he kept saying that it was "outstanding!" It was spicy but delicious. I also chopped the veggies finely in mini food processor. Will definitely make again.
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Christine Catone
March 5, 2016 - 06:45
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Not a true fan of sloppy joes.. I would leave out the tomato sauce so that it was more authentic Buffalo Wing flavored! Loved the addition of the veggies.
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Sarah Nau
February 15, 2016 - 16:21
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This was a winner! 5/5 thumbs up. I diced the onions, celery and carrots up tiny to "hide" them from my children. It worked like a charm. So glad to add something new to my recipe repertoire!
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Traci King Yakimisky
February 3, 2016 - 11:09
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My husband and I enjoyed this, it was a healthy alternative to regular sloppy joes.
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Kriston Crisler
January 27, 2016 - 14:44
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Super easy to make! My husband loved this! Healthy has never tasted so good!
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