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Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey

8 Reviews

We’ve been selling people on our Best Sloppy Joes recipe for years and years and thought it was about time to make a Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey recipe!

A quick and easy healther sloppy joe recipe with turkey

Ground turkey makes a great healthy substitute for sloppy joes, however they are they so much lighter than a ground beef sloppy joe that you’ll want to adjust the recipe slightly. This healthier sloppy joes recipe can be made stove top, in a slow cooker or even an instant pot!

How Healthy are Sloppy Joes?

While ground beef packs great protein, it along with the sugar, condiments and fats in sloppy joes along with the bread for the sandwich can make for a not so lean meal. However, there are some easy changes you can make to lighten up the calories.

Healthier Substitute for Sugar in Cooking

Brown sugar really makes for a delicious sloppy joe, the sweet the smoky and that wonderful umami flavor, but for those watching their sugar carrots are a wonderful substitute. Just grate some carrots into the mixture and you won’t miss the sugar at all.

 

A quick and easy healther sloppy joe recipe with turkey

Healthy Substitute for Ground Beef

Ground beef is not actually unhealthy, but you can cut on the calories and fat by using ground turkey. When you use ground turkey you’ll notice that there isn’t as much fat, so you’ll want to add a little oil while the meat is browning so it doesn’t over cook or dry out.

How to Make Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey

To make healthier sloppy joes with turkey start off with a diced onion which is a great way to add flavor without adding many calories. This is a great time to add the oil, but only start with a small amount as we aren’t looking to boil the onion in oil.

As the onion cooks it will become tender and at this point you should add the ground turkey. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of oil to keep the ground turkey from burning.

From here, add all other ingredients, stirring as you go until everything is combined.

Now you just let the sauce simmer and cook!

A quick and easy healther sloppy joe recipe with turkey

How to Cook Sloppy Joes in a Slow Cooker

You can make sloppy joes in a slow cooker if you first saute the onions and cook the meat. At this point, pour everything into the slow cooker or crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

How to Cook Sloppy Joes in an Instant Pot

An instant pot is really the way to go for sloppy joes as it brings out the flavor in a fraction of the time and you only have to dirty one bowl!

Turn the instant pot onto saute and add the onion and oil and proceed just as the original recipe states. Continue with the recipe as normal and then turn the instant pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes.

Allow a natural release for 5 minutes and then turn to vent and remove the lid. Serve as normal.

Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey

A quick and easy healther sloppy joe recipe with turkey

Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey

3.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
We've been selling people on our Best Sloppy Joes recipe for years and years and thought it was about time to make a Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey recipe!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Onion diced fine
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic minced
  • 1 Pound Ground Turkey
  • 1 Carrot grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Whole Wheat Buns for serving

Instructions

Stove Top Method

  • Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once its hot, quickly add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent.
  • Add the peppers and garlic and stir occasionally for 1 minute then add the ground turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring it all together. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the carrots, mustard, worcestershire, liquid smoke, chili powder, and paprika.
  • Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper.
  • Allow to cook for 5 minutes, season to taste and serve or cook up to 1 hour on low and then serve. (The longer it cooks the better the flavor.)
  • Scoop onto buns that have been brushed with butter.

Slow Cooker Method

  • Prepare the onion and meat as per above. Turn a crockpot on to low heat and add the meat, onions and all remaining ingredients. Place the lid on and cook for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Instant Pot Method

  • Turn the instant pot onto saute and add the onion and oil and proceed just as the original recipe states. Continue with the recipe as normal and then turn the instant pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow a natural release for 5 minutes and then turn to vent and remove the lid. Serve as normal. 
Nutrition Facts
Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 484 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 22g
Cholesterol 120mg40%
Sodium 875mg38%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 32g64%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A quick and easy healther sloppy joe recipe with turkey

Best Sloppy Joes

All these years I’ve thought sloppy joes were the worst dinner and then we spent months testing and now it’s the best sloppy joes recipe you’ll ever make!

All these years I've thought sloppy joes were the worst dinner and then we spent months testing and now it's the best sloppy joes recipe you'll ever make!

Looking for another comfort food that uses ground turkey?  Try this crockpot meatloaf!

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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18 comments

  • Just tried this and it was good! There is just two of us, so I used my leftovers to top a sweet potato for another easy weeknight meal.  Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
    • On top of a sweet potato…what a great idea! Thanks for the feedback Cheryl!

      • Reply
  • The ingredients and instructions don’t match up but it is still a great recipe!

    • Reply
    • Oh shoot! Thank you! We will get that fixed!

      • Reply
  • I’m totally making this!!!  Why does it say to add butter in a Dutch oven?  The recipe calls for olive oil.    I do love some butter!!!

    • Reply
    • Yes, we need to fix the instructions to match the ingredients. So sorry about that!!

      • Reply
  • Wow! This food looks so delicious! My child also loves sloppy joes and wants to eat. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
    • Yay! Thank you! Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this homemade version! 🙂

    • Reply
    • You’re going to love it!!

      • Reply
  • My kids love Sloppy Joes and to find a healthier version is a total win for me! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
    • Totally! And they will never know the difference!

      • Reply
  • Hello, Just made your “Healthier Sloppy Joes” this morning. Wanted to mention that the directions need to be revised. The butter is Olive Oil, there is no ketchup in the ingredients, but is in the directions, and the carrots don’t show up in the directions. I adjusted for the healthier version and look forward to tasting them for lunch today. Packed hot in a thermos and served on rolls with a little chedder cheese and some raw veggies on the side makes a wonderful lunch. Thank you! Mary Beth

    • Reply
    • Let us know what you think! And thank you for the corrections on the recipe. We will get right on fixing that!

      • Reply
  • Looks delicious! A great weeknight meal option!

    • Reply
    • Thanks Jamielyn!!

      • Reply
  • I love swapping out turkey for beef. These look fantastic.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Beth!

      • Reply

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