Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

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These easy Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes are a healthier version of classic sloppy joes with all the same great flavor! Made with lean ground turkey, bell peppers, and a homemade sloppy joe sauce.

199 CAL 13g CARBS 4g FAT 28g PROTEIN

Are you a fan of beefy sloppy joes for dinner? Well, prepare to turn a classic family-favorite into a healthy and tasty dish that’s made using ground turkey and other ingredients you probably already have. Best of all, these turkey sloppy joes are ready in 30 minutes or less, so it’s perfect for those hectic weeknights!

Ground turkey sloppy joes are one of my favorite dishes to make for the kids (okay, for me too). Not only do they love how it tastes, but I feel good giving it to them because it’s healthy and packed with hidden veggies.

Sloppy joes became popular with the introduction of that famous canned version several decades ago. It was quick and easy to make and tasted addictively good, so kids scarfed it down and asked for more. I know I did growing up when my mom would make it for dinner.

Unfortunately, that canned version is filled with ingredients that are far less than ideal which gave sloppy joes a reputation for being unhealthy. But, not anymore!

This version of sloppy joes is packed with lean ground turkey meat and veggies in a tomato sauce that’s loaded with flavor and tastes every bit as good as the canned version that shall remain nameless.

My favorite part is that this whole dish comes together in under 30 minutes, and you probably already have everything you need to make it in your kitchen already. Plus, it’s easy to make and quick to disappear!

Sloppy joe sandwich with ground turkey, bell peppers, and tomato sauce served in a whole grain bun on a plate.

Key Ingredients For Turkey Sloppy Joes

Besides the apparent ground turkey, here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this mouthwatering recipe for ground turkey sloppy joes at home:

  • Onion and Garlic: I highly recommend mincing up fresh onion and garlic because the flavor is superior. However, if you’re in a time crunch or need to get to the store, just use dried minced onion and garlic. It’ll still taste great!
  • Bell Peppers: Some kids don’t like peppers’ flavor, so I tend to mince these pretty small so they get soft and the flavors blend perfectly. I used red and green bell peppers but use whichever colors you like. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of pepper you include based on your family’s preferences.
  • Tomato Sauce: I used a can with no sugar added since it’s just not necessary when the recipe calls for additional brown sugar already. We don't want the sauce to be overly sweet.
  • Sauces: In this sloppy joe recipe, I like to add ketchup sauce (low sugar ketchup tastes great here) as well as some barbeque sauce. It adds a rich, peppery flavor with smoky notes that brings this entire recipe together into one lip-smacking good dish. Also, don't forget the Worcestershire sauce because it adds incredible flavor to almost any meat dish! It’s a subtle addition but well worth it.
  • Brown Sugar: This sweetener lends a delicious sweet flavor to the turkey sloppy joes while also cutting the acidity of the tomato sauce.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Provides a nice tangy flavor to this dish, so try not to leave it out.
  • Yellow Mustard: No sloppy joes recipe is complete without some tangy yellow mustard!

Note: For a complete list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this turkey sloppy joe recipe, check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Recipe Tips and Ideas

Here are some ideas for variations you can make to this recipe so that it always feels fresh and exciting!

  • If you don't like ground turkey, you can swap it out for some ground beef instead.
  • Make this dish vegetarian by swapping out the meat for a plant-based option.
  • Add extra veggies with diced zucchini, cauliflower rice, diced carrots, or some shredded carrots.

Side Dish Ideas

Anytime I make this dinner recipe, I like to serve it two different ways:

  • As a traditional sloppy joe sandwich between two hamburger buns. For a healthier option, use a whole regain bun. Sloppy Joes also taste delicious served open-faced on toast, wrap in low carb wraps, or on a slice of garlic bread.
  • Over rice, couscous, baked potatoes, polenta, or spaghetti squash.

Any way you choose will taste delicious!

Now, when it comes to the side dish, all you need is something simple to pair with this sloppy joe recipe to make a complete meal you’ll love.

Here are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve:

Healthy turkey sloppy joes in two glass bowls with barbecue sauce and hamburger buns on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

Here are some common questions I get asked by some readers…

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! If you like to meal plan and prep for the week, this is a terrific recipe that will last and taste just as delicious when you reheat it (maybe even better!) as it did the day you made it.

You can either cook this entire recipe for the sloppy joes in advance and freeze it or you can prep all of the ingredients to have on hand when you are ready to make this dinner recipe. It's up to you!

How long will this sloppy joe recipe last?

If you store this recipe in an airtight container in your fridge, it will stay fresh for up to 7 days.

Can I make this turkey sloppy joes in the slow cooker?


To make this recipe in the slow cooker:

  1. Simply saute the veggies and brown the meat in a pan.
  2. Then, transfer all of the ingredients to the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high for about 3 hours or on low for about 6 to allow all those flavors to come together.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

More Delicious Family-Favorite Recipes You’ll Love

The Recipe
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Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

199 CAL 13g CARBS 4g FAT 28g PROTEIN
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  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 red pepper, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce ( no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (low sugar)
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

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Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes until tender.

Peppers and onions being cooked in a skillet.

Add the turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes until browned and no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and mustard. Stir together.

Tomato sauce, spices, barbecue sauce, and brown sugar being added to ground turkey.

Simmer for 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Sloppy joes being seasoned with salt and pepper in a pan.

For a traditional sandwich, serve with a whole-grain hamburger bun. This is also delicious served with rice, spaghetti squash, quinoa, or open-faced on toast.

Turkey Sloppy joes on a hamburger bun being picked up by two buns.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 199
Calories from Fat 38
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 62mg
Sodium 355mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 10g
Protein 28g

* 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 Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes
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July 25, 2023 - 18:51
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Been doing ground turkey,awhile,love it …rarely do GB anymore
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August 25, 2022 - 13:28
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Made us love sloppy joes again! We like this turkey version more than our normal beef recipe!
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