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30 Minute Healthier Turkey Sloppy Joes with Homemade Sauce!

Healthy turkey sloppy joes with an easy homemade sauce made with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Everyone loves this recipe because it can also be made in the slow cooker and doubled… or tripled for a crowd.

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I went through a phase in high school where I was constantly asking my beautiful mama to make me sloppy joes for dinner.

Mom, forgive me but those things were gooooodd.

Healthy turkey sloppy joes topped with jalapeño slices

Of course, back then we loved Manwich. Extra sloppy, extra sweet. But then one day while whisking around Trader Joe’s like a crazy woman on a mission with a small red cart, I stopped to ask myself (and you): why buy an extra can of Mr. Sweet Manwich when you most likely already have all the ingredients you need for a homemade sloppy Joe sauce?

Oh sorry excuse me, I meant to write THE BEST SLOPPY JOES EVER.

Healthy turkey sloppy joes topped with jalapeño slices next to sweet potato fries

Yes that’s right, today I’m teaching you how to make leaner turkey sloppy joe’s with a legit homemade sloppy joe sauce. You can double the recipe, serve it to the kids, eat it as an adult, throw it in Mac and cheese, serve it on toast, eat it by the spoonful, or as I prefer, load it up with pepper jack cheese and a few pickled jalapeños.

So why are these a lil better for you? Well first off, they’re a bit leaner thanks to lean ground turkey, but they also are significantly lower in sugar thanks to a homemade sauce made with ketchup and BBQ sauce and no additional sugar added. It’s perfectly sweet and spicy.

Uhhh huhhh honey. We gettin’ sloppy.

Healthy turkey sloppy joes topped with jalapeños

Okay enough with that. I’m writing this on the plane with a few glasses of terrible plane wine in me. Always a good time.

Truth be told, Sloppy Joe’s can come to the rescue for an easy 30 minute meal that literally anyone can make. I also see this being very popular for game day, but we’re not quite there just yet so cook ’em up on the stove top and once fall hits, transfer them to the slow cooker.

I hope you get a chance to make these ASAP and let me know what you think. I’ve got options to keep it gluten free and dairy free below, so you do you.

xoxo gossip girl

JK it’s Ambitious Kitchen on wine. Byeeeee.

More healthy dinner recipes to try:

Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos

The Best Healthy Turkey Chili

Cheddar-Stuffed Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

Small Batch Green Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Jalapeño Curry Turkey Burgers

30 Minute Healthy Turkey Sloppy Joes with Homemade Sauce

5 from 100 votes
Healthy turkey sloppy joes
Course 30 min or less, Dinner, Gluten Free
Keyword turkey sloppy joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 4
Healthy turkey sloppy joes with an easy homemade sauce made with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Everyone loves this recipe because it can also be made in the slow cooker!


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound 94% lean ground turkey (can also use 99% lean ground turkey)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup ketchup (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup)
  • ¼ cup spicy low sugar BBQ sauce (I used Stubb’s Spicy BBQ sauce)
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Optional: ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • For serving:
  • 4 sprouted/whole grain or gluten free hamburger buns
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Optional: Jalapeno slices


  1. Add olive oil to a medium skillet and place over medium high heat. Add in the garlic, white onion and bell pepper; saute for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Transfer ingredients to a small bowl.
  2. Next add ground turkey to the skillet and season with salt and pepper; break up the meat as it cooks. 
  3. Once turkey is cooked, add the onion/bell pepper mixture back in. Then add in ketchup, bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar and mustard. If you like a little heat, add in cayenne pepper. 
  4. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes longer. If sauce looks too thick, add in a tablespoon of water.
  5. Next add cheese on top of meat mixture, cover with a lid and let the cheese melt for 2 minutes (or until melted). Transfer meat onto hamburger buns and top with jalapeno slices.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with pepper jack cheese.

Recipe Notes

To make this in the slow cooker: simply brown the turkey, then throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6 hours.

To make it gluten free: Make sure all ingredients you use are GF and also be sure to use gluten free buns.

To make it dairy free: Leave cheese off, or use a dairy free cheese option.

Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 sloppy joe
Calories: 422kcal
Fat: 16.3g
Saturated fat: 5.7g
Carbohydrates: 36.6g
Fiber: 4.1g
Sugar: 9.8g
Protein: 31.7g

Photography by: Sarah Fennel

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