#1 Homemade Sloppy Joes

#1 Homemade Sloppy Joes with lean turkey and hidden veggies are so easy and delicious you’ll never reach for another recipe.

We set our patio table and chairs up a few weeks ago, but it’s been raining 95% of the time since then.  Did you also know 85% of all statistics are made up?  In case my numbers are off, my point is I really hoped to be eating this finger-licking good sloppy joe sandwich outside.  Something about a messy sandwich and corn on the cob screamed “take me outside!”  Instead we moved crayons, hot wheels coloring books, math homework, and an Easter basket out of the way to enjoy them indoors.  Real life people.

homemade turkey sloppy joes

My favorite utensil in the kitchen is my Pampered Chef mix-n-chop.  Best money ever spent at a home party.  Apparently the trend caught on because you can find them at Kohl’s and Target now.  Makes any dish with ground meat a breeze to chop up while it cooks.

In a large skillet goes 1 small chopped onion, 1/2 a chopped green pepper, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey. 
ground turkey
Back in the day I used to crank open a can of sloppy joe sauce only to be left disappointed with the outcome.    That’s not how you make #1 homemade sloppy joes!  Ditch the canned stuff! This recipe has been in the making for over 4 years now, tweaking each time to get it jussst right.  You won’t be disappointed. 

After adding the sauce mixture cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 10 minutes; remove lid and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until sauce is mostly condensed.
turkey sloppy joes

There’s a few secret hidden ingredients in this sloppy joe mixture too.  While you can leave them out and not compromise on flavor, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more veggies or nutrients.  Mwahahaha.

*Mushrooms:  can be added to any ground meat dish to bulk it up.  They absorb the flavors around them and go undetected.  They’re also becoming popular for cancer fighting properties!  They pack more potassium than bananas and are an excellent source of the antioxidant Selenium.

*Roasted Red Peppers: Are high in vitamin C and A!  Look for a variety that’s in water without additional salt or additives.  They’re not necessary for flavor in the sauce, just a nutrition boost!

#1 Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes

To make these sandwiches over the top delicious, butter some buns and lightly toast in a skillet.  It gives the sandwich more structure and who doesn’t love a toasted buttery bun??  C’mon.  These are super healthy, so a little butter won’t hurt…and them top them with some cheese.  Zee Cheese!!!  One bite and you’ll see why I call these #1 Homemade Sloppy Joes!

#1 Homemade Sloppy Joes


  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jar or 1/4 cup roasted red peppers (packed in water), drained and diced
  • 8 white button mushrooms, finely chopped stems included
  • 3/4 cup ketchup (use a non HFCS variety)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping TB brown sugar
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat add onions and green pepper; cook for 3 minutes stirring continually.
  2. Add ground turkey, mushrooms and garlic to skillet and cook until no longer pink and most juices have been absorbed. Reduce heat to low.
  3. While turkey is cooking prepare sauce mixture. In a small bowl add ketchup, water, roasted red peppers, chili powder, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and pour over turkey.
  4. Place lid on skillet and allow to simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or until sloppy joe mix has thickened and most moisture has been absorbed.
  6. Serve on top of buttered toasted buns with a slice of cheese!
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  1. Patty said:

    Do you think this could work without worcestershire sauce?

    December 10, 2015
    • Beth said:

      sure! It does add good flavor but I’ve skipped it on accident and thought it was excellent.

      January 5, 2016
  2. Debra said:

    Add a bit of vinegar. Yes, vinegar. About 1 tablespoon. Brings all these favors in this recipe together.

    January 20, 2016
    • Beth said:

      thanks for the tip! Not sure I’m a huge fan of vinegar, but never hurts to try.

      February 17, 2016
  3. Susan W said:

    I totally agree with the vinegar comment. Add just a splash of cider or white vinegar and just a very tiny bit of dijon mustard and adjust the sweet and sour taste by adding a little more sugar or vinegar or mustard. It’s wonderful. Great recipe, it’s better than my old one, thank U 🙂

    February 18, 2016
    • Beth said:

      wow, you ladies rock! I can’t wait to finish my current meal plan and make some sloppy joes with vinegar!

      February 18, 2016
  4. Cynthia Hatten said:

    I made this today and had to use white sugar instead of brown and payday is next week! I also had to use soy sauce instead of Wor chester. I amNOT a cook and wondered if I was really screwing up! I thi k it tastes pretty darned good–all you home ec teachers out there–how many rules did I break with these subs?? ?

    January 19, 2017
    • Beth said:

      I’m impressed you tried substitutions…I would have ordered pizza! White sugar wouldn’t be much of a change but soy sauce would be. Glad it wasn’t a total disaster. Try it again after payday and let me know 😉

      January 19, 2017
  5. Emily said:

    BRAVO! This was amazing and my incredibly picky eater sons actually ate it! This is a keeper for sure. Thank you!

    May 8, 2017
    • Beth said:

      Fantastic! My son has started to request it like a grilled cheese…whatever works!

      May 15, 2017

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