Get a healthy 20-minute dinner the whole family will love on the table tonight with these Turkey Sloppy Joes!
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These Turkey Sloppy Joes are easy to make, delicious, and ready in under 20 minutes! They also don’t have any processed sugar or other processed ingredients and are easily made gluten-free. You will love these hot sandwiches because the family will gobble them up but they won’t take a lot of time or stress to make.
This recipe is also an amazing summer recipe because you don’t need to heat up the oven or kitchen to make them! Make these sloppy joes this week -- you’ll be so glad you did!
Sloppy joes are one of my favorite comfort foods. But, up until recently, I didn’t make them much because all the weird ingredients in the canned sloppy joe sauce, though super tasty, freaked me out.
I figure I ate enough of those weird ingredients with the premade sauced sloppy joes growing up that I’m better holding off on it for a bit.
(I also drank enough diet coke and ate enough processed foods in high school to pickle by body for 50 years, so the fresher the better for me these days, but I digress…haha)
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This all changed last week, however. Hungry after spending what felt like the whole weekend outside, I grabbed a package of ground turkey out of the fridge and decided I would try my hand at a homemade, non-processed, and even processed sugar free sloppy joe sauce that I felt good about and craved!
I tinkered around with the recipe a few times (just ask Chris how many sloppy joes he’s eaten this past week) and came up with my new favorite go-to sloppy joe recipe.
Though the ingredient list might initially appear a bit long, please don’t be intimidated -- a lot of them are pantry staples that you’ll most likely be able to use in other recipes, and every single ingredient does its own amazing part in making this recipe so special.
I also recommend getting all your ingredients measured out before you turn on the stove top of electric skillet. Cooking will go fast and measuring the ingredients ahead of time will help it stay that way while not overcooking your food in any of the steps.
So, turn on your music, grab your spices and measuring spoons, and get ready for a delicious and easy dinner that will bring you all the comfort without any of the processed ingredients.
I know we sure love these joes (even after eating them almost nightly for a week) and I hope you love them just as much.
These Turkey Sloppy Joes are…
- Naturally sweet
- Full of tomato goodness
- Ready in under 20 minutes
- Processed sugar free
- Free of other processed ingredients
- Easy to freeze (see notes below)
- Easy to double or triple (see notes below)
- Made with almost any kind of ground meat (and of course, I provide notes below on that, too!)
There’s almost no reason not to make these juicy joes. No-fuss dinners are worth their weight in gold these days. Make your week that much richer with these remade classic dinner sandwiches.
Ingredients in these sloppy joes:
Ground turkey -- I like a mixture of ground breast and leg.
Sweet onions -- use whatever kind of sweet onion you have -- yellow, white, or even red onion.
Minced garlic -- gives the dish a nice dimension.
Tomato sauce -- we’re talking the basic canned pureed tomato here, not any kind of jarred pasta tomato sauce.
Tomato paste -- the concentrated tomato flavor in tomato paste adds so much depth to the sloppy joe sauce!
Maple syrup -- what’s a sloppy joe recipe without a touch of sweetness? Maple syrup adds this without adding any processed sugar. It’s perfect!
Molasses -- trust me on this one: if you don’t currently have molasses, it’s worth finding it for this recipe! It adds this fullness of flavor to the sloppy joes that just can’t be replicated with any other ingredient.
White vinegar -- this classic distilled vinegar adds the classic zip to this sloppy joe recipe.
Worcestershire sauce -- similar to molasses, the worcestershire sauce adds a unique depth to the sloppy joe sauce. If you don’t have it, it’s worth finding it, but you can also omit. Likewise, if you are making this recipe vegetarian, you will want to omit it.
Special note: if you are making this recipe gluten-free, double-check your Worcestershire ingredient list to make sure it doesn't have any wheat ingredients like malt vinegar or soy sauce. If it does, just omit this ingredient and this recipe will be gluten-free!
Dried spices -- the mixture of onion powder, yellow mustard powder, paprika, and chili powder are the final layer of flavor we add to the sloppy joe sauce, making it 100% multi-dimensional and addicting!
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Recipe adaptations or substitutions:
Ground meat or ground chicken -- Don’t have ground turkey? No problem, just substitute in ground beef or ground chicken. Also, see my notes below on how to make these sloppy joes vegetarian!
Oils -- you can also use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or even refined coconut oil in this recipe.
Garlic -- if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can use the same amount of minced jarred garlic or ½ teaspoon dried garlic. If using the dried garlic, however, add it in with the rest of the spices at the later step and omit the fresh garlic sauteing step in the recipe.
Sweetener -- if you don’t have maple syrup for this recipe, you can substitute in the same amount of honey or agave syrup.
Vinegar -- if you don’t have distilled white vinegar, you can also use apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar in its place.
Dried mustard powder -- if you don’t have dried yellow mustard powder, you can substitute in 1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard in its place.
Can I make these sloppy joes with ground beef or ground chicken?
You can most definitely make these sloppy joes with ground beef or chicken. They will likely taste a bit richer with the beef and a bit more mild with the chicken, but both will be tasty. You can follow all the recipes as directed and just substitute the ground beef or chicken in place of the ground turkey.
Can you make sloppy joes vegetarian?
Yes, you can make sloppy joes vegetarian. You can do so with canned beans. Black beans, pinto beans, or navy beans are my favorite to use.
To make them with canned beans, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly in a colander. Saute the onions in the oil for 4-5 minutes and then add in the beans with the garlic and saute for just 1 minute. From here, continue with the rest of the recipe as directed, but omit the Worcestershire sauce, and you’ll have tasty vegetarian sloppy joes.
Can you freeze sloppy joes?
Yes, you can definitely freeze cooked sloppy joes. Let the meat cool to room temperature and then place in freezer-safe containers. The meat should last in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Are these sloppy joes gluten-free? Dairy-free?
Yes, these sloppy joes can easily be made gluten-free. Just make sure your Worcestershire sauce doesn’t have wheat or malt vinegar in it or omit the sauce and you’re good to go!
These sloppy joes are easily made dairy-free, too. Either omit the cheese on the burger or use a nut cheese and you’ll have a healthy dairy-free dinner!
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How long do sloppy joes last?
Sloppy joes will last in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Can you double or triple this sloppy joe recipe?
Yes, it is super easy to double or triple this sloppy joe recipe. Just multiply all the ingredient quantity by the amount you’d like to increase the recipe size by and follow the recipe steps as directed. You may need to saute the ground meat a few minutes longer until it’s cooked through, but you can the rest of the steps will go as directed.
What kitchen tools do you need to make these sloppy joes?
How do you serve sloppy joes?
The most classic way to serve sloppy joes is on a toasted hamburger bun with shredded cheese on top-- like I’ve pictured here -- but I also like serving them the following ways:
- On a baked potato
- Over a baked sweet potato
- Over hashbrowns
- With tater tots
- On freshly baked cornbread
- On top of macaroni and cheese
- On a bean and rice bowl with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, and avocado
What do you serve with sloppy joes?
Sloppy joes go so well with a variety of sides. Here are some of my favorite:
- Roasted broccoli
- Green salad with corn, dried cranberries, and sliced carrots
- Air Fried Green Beans
- 3 Bean Salad
- Corn on the cob
- Creamed corn
- Fresh sliced tomatoes
- Pomegranate Sea Breeze Cocktails
- Kombucha Whiskey Sours
How do you make these easy sloppy joes?
Step 1: Heat a large saute pan or electric skillet to medium or medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, and ground meat and saute for 3 ½ -5 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the onions are starting to turn translucent.
Step 2: Add the minced garlic to the pan and saute, stirring every 10 seconds or so, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is getting fragrant.
Step 3: Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, vinegar, molasses, worcestershire sauce, and dried spices to the pan. Stir the mixture thoroughly or until the spices and molasses dissolve into the tomato sauce.
Step 4: Cook the sloppy joes for 7-10 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until the sauce has thickened up and started to turn a darker red. Note: if the sauce boils too hard or looks like it’s starting to burn around the edges turn the heat down to medium-low to cook.
Step 5: Remove the pan from the heat and serve on toasted buns (or your other favorite base-- see my notes above!) with shredded cheese or cheese slices on top!
More healthy and QUICK dinner recipes:
- Sheet Pan Cuban Mojo Chicken
- Jamaican Jerk Turkey Burgers
- Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken and Rice
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Mom’s Tuna Macaroni Salad
- Instant Pot Risotto
- One-Pot Orecchiette with Italian Sausage
Or, check out this round-up of the 100 Best 30-Minute Dinner Recipes my friend Cara put together!
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Get a healthy & quick dinner the whole family will love on the table tonight with these Turkey Sloppy Joes!
They are easy to make, delicious, and ready in under 20 minutes! They also don’t have any processed sugar, gluten, or other processed ingredients. You will love them because the family will gobble them up but it won’t take a lot of time or stress to make them.
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large sweet onion -- white, yellow, or red -- diced into ¼” pieces
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard powder
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 hamburger buns, toasted
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese or 6 cheddar cheese slices
Heat a large saute pan or electric skillet to medium or medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, and ground meat and saute for 3 ½ -5 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the onions are starting to turn translucent.
Add the minced garlic to the pan and saute, stirring every 10 seconds or so, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is just getting fragrant.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, dried spices, and salt to the pan. Stir the mixture thoroughly or until the spices and molasses dissolve into the tomato sauce.
Cook the sloppy joes for 7-10 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until the sauce has thickened up and started to turn a darker red. Note: if the sauce boils too hard or looks like it’s starting to burn around the edges as it cooks, turn the heat down to medium-low.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve hot on toasted buns with shredded cheese or cheese slices on top!
Leftover sloppy joes last in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight container. They also freeze in a freezer-safe container for 2-3 months.
If you don’t want to serve your sloppy joes on a bun, you can serve them on baked white or sweet potatoes, on macaroni and cheese, over hashbrowns, or even on a bean and rice bowl.
To toast your buns: as the sauce is finishing up, pop them in the toaster oven or toaster on low for 1 ½- 2 ½ minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden brown.
Amount Per Serving Calories 405Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 87mgSodium 869mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 3gSugar 13gProtein 26g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.