Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe -
Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe
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How to Make Turkey Sloppy Joes
See how to make a delicious Sloppy Joe with ground turkey! See more
  • READY IN 40 mins

Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes

Recipe by  

"This made for a very enjoyable lunch, and kept warm in a slow cooker, could also work very nicely for a Super Bowl party. It tastes enough like a traditional beef Sloppy Joe to provide that satisfying comfort food fix, yet seems much lighter."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 sandwiches Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    40 mins


  1. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until onion starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black.
  2. Mix ground turkey and 1/2 cup cold water into onions. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat, until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring frequently and adding up to 1 cup water if needed, until meat is cooked through and liquid is reduced and thick, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Toast hamburger buns until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove turkey mixture from the heat and mix in green onions and Cheddar cheese. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 17, 2012

My wife and I made these last night. My wife is typically not a sloppy joe person, but she and I both absolutely loved them. Great flavor with a little bit of zip, and not overly heavy like some sloppy joes can be. We cooked the turkey a couple of extra minutes at the start, and only added 1/4 cup of extra water later in the recipe just to make sure the mixture had enough liquid to get some good cooking time. We had them with some watermelon, made for a great meal.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 18, 2013

I added 2 tsp. of white vinegar and garlic power, made a world of difference!

Jun 25, 2012

Hubby is giving 'Sheriff John's" recipe 5 stars! (Is this another Sheriff John recipe?) LOL...He is a happy man. This took me a bit longer than stated - probably not the recipes fault, it was just me wanting to make sure the seasoning was gently cooked into the meat. I served this on a toasted whole wheat bun with spicy sweet potato fries. It was a hit!

Nov 13, 2012

This recipe was very very good!! We cut it down to 2 servings for my husband and myself. Followed everything exactly. I've made it twice now and was licking the plate! Thanks Chef John :-)

Apr 02, 2014

If you are anything like me you often cruise these reviews to see what can be added or left off. I don't have a functioning stove so let's start right there. I made this in the crockpot. I probably wouldn't add the water next time because it came out really watery but OMG, it's so freakin good! I added some green pepper cause I had to use it, in lieu of brown sugar I used 1T white sugar with 1T maple syrup, but otherwise I cooked it as directed. I ate it straight out of the pot without cheese, green onion, or the roll. I will make this again, and again, and again. Maybe it will even make it onto a bun or two ;)

Apr 08, 2013

It's obvious that this recipe was designed by a chef. The combination of ingredients, even the seemingly unconventional ones such as cocoa powder, make this recipe sing. The sweet, almost exotic flavor make it a very interesting recipe. That it's made from ground turkey and as such, presents a healthier eating option, is purely a bonus.

Oct 17, 2012

This was FANTASTIC! I will definitely be making this again...and again...and again.

Sep 08, 2012

I wasn't in the mood to cook tonight. Made this recipe following Chef John's video, adding ingredients to taste rather than following this recipe. I was surprised it tasted so good considering the amount of effort I put in. That rarely happens! Don't omit the cayenne or cocoa.


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  • Calories
  • 394 kcal
  • 20%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 36.8 g
  • 12%
  • Cholesterol
  • 90 mg
  • 30%
  • Fat
  • 16.5 g
  • 25%
  • Fiber
  • 2.1 g
  • 9%
  • Protein
  • 25.9 g
  • 52%
  • Sodium
  • 724 mg
  • 29%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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