Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes


These turkey Sloppy Joes make a very enjoyable lunch. Kept warm in a slow cooker, it could also work very nicely for a football party. This recipe tastes enough like a beef Sloppy Joe to provide those satisfying flavors, yet it seems much lighter.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
6 sandwiches


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 onion, diced

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey

  • ½ cup cold water

  • ¾ cup ketchup

  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 cup water, or as needed

  • 6 hamburger buns, split

  • ½ cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

  • cup chopped green onions


  1. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in butter until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

  2. Mix 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.

  3. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is cooked through and liquid is reduced and thick, 20 to 30 minutes, adding up to 1 cup water if needed.

  4. Preheat the oven's broiler. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

  5. Toast hamburger buns under the preheated broiler until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Remove turkey mixture from the heat; mix in cheese and green onions. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

    close up view of a Turkey Sloppy Joes sandwich on a white plate
    Amanda Potter

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

394 Calories
17g Fat
37g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 394
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 724mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 170mg 13%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 456mg 10%

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

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love