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Turkey Sloppy Joes make for an easy dinner idea for busy weeknights that’s ready in 20 minutes. Tangy & sweet with ground turkey, onion, dried seasonings, tomato sauce, and brown sugar bbq sauce. Kids of all ages (and adults too!) will love these sweet and smokey sloppy joes. 

My family loves having sloppy joes for dinner. Our other favorites are these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes and Crockpot Turkey Sloppy Joes

A turkey sloppy Joe on a white plate stacked.

Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe

I just love dinner recipes that literally take minutes to make. These sweet & smokey turkey sloppy joes are on the dinner table in 20 minutes and they’re always a hit with the family. 

Sloppy joes made a little healthier with lean ground turkey and some easy inexpensive ingredients added to them. All you need is one skillet pan to make this easy sloppy joe recipe. 

If you like lean ground turkey dinner recipes then be sure and try my Turkey Taco Burrito Bowls, these Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs, and one of my favorites One Pan Turkey chili Mac & Cheese

A pan of sloppy Joe mixture with rolls in the background.

What You’ll Need

I’ll show you the simple list of ingredients you need to make these sloppy joes with ground turkey and bbq sauce.

  • Ground Turkey : I use lean ground turkey 93/7. They have even leaner ground turkey if that’s what you prefer. 
  • Onion : A yellow onion or white onion is best to use.
  • Green Pepper
  • Salt : I use kosher salt in this recipe which is a coarser salt. If using table salt be sure and use less (like 3/4 teaspoon). Table salt is much finer which means you need less of it. 
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
  • Dried Seasonings : You need a few dried spices like onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and brown sugar. 
  • Worcestershire Sauce : Even a little bit adds so much flavor. Don’t skip this. You can even add a little more if you want. 

A sloppy Joe in a hamburger bun on a stacked pile of white plates.

How To Make Turkey Sloppy Joes With BBQ Sauce

You only need one skillet pan to make these easy sloppy joes and they are ready in under 30 minutes. If you’re really fast they can be ready even sooner!

Step 1 : Ground Turkey – Cook and crumble the ground turkey in a skillet pan with onion, green pepper, and salt. Once the turkey is no longer pink, drain the excess grease/liquid.

Step 2 : Sloppy Joes – Add tomato sauce, bbq sauce, dried seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Mixture will be a bit thicker and the flavors will come together in that time. 

Step 3 : Serve – Serve with hamburger buns or rolls.

How to make turkey sloppy joes with two photos showing step by step instructions and ingredients.

Two photos showing step by step instructions for how to make turkey sloppy joes.

A pan of sloppy Joe mixture with two photos showing a sloppy Joe.

Tips For Success

Here are a few of my helpful tips that will make this recipe a hit in your own home. 

Warm Up The Buns : Sloppy joes are so much better on a soft, warmed bun. I microwave the buns inside the bag for 1 minute. This way they are super soft and warm. Which makes sloppy joes even better. 

Drain Excess Liquid/Grease : Make sure you drain the excess liquid and grease after cooking the ground turkey. 

Simmer : Simmer the sloppy Joe mixture for at least 10 minutes. This helps the flavors develop and it thickens up the mixture a bit. 

A wooden scoop of sloppy Joe mixture with a pan of it in the background.

Variation & Substitution Ideas

There are few ways to change up this recipe if wanted. 

  • Ground Meat : Ground beef and ground chicken can all be used in this recipe in place of the ground turkey. 
  • Tomato Sauce : Use a flavored tomato sauce, like Italian style tomato sauce, in this recipe in place of regular tomato sauce. 
  • BBQ Sauce : You can use any bbq sauce you want! I have made this recipe dozens of times, and it’s tested using the brown sugar bbq sauce. You can even use sugar-free bbq sauce if you’re looking to lighten the recipe up a bit. 

Serving Suggestions

There are many ways to serve sloppy joes.

  • I put the bag of hamburger buns inside the microwave to warm them up. Serve turkey sloppy joe mixture on a bun. 
  • You can butter each bun and then toast in the oven for a few minutes on broil. 
  • You can serve sloppy joes with a slice of cheese. If you want it melted then be sure and toast the buns with cheese on them in the oven before serving. 
  • My family loves to add some potato chips in their sloppy joes. Just plain potato chips are so good. 
  • Serve sloppy joes inside rolls instead of a hamburger bun. 

These are some side dish recipes that go great with this recipe. 

Sloppy Joes on a white plate with a bite taken out of it.

Turkey Sloppy Joe FAQ’s

How To Store Leftover Sloppy Joes

  • Leftovers will store well in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to 3-4 days. 
  • When ready to eat simply warm up a serving in the microwave and add it to a hamburger bun. 

Can I Freeze Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe Meat?

  • Yes you can! Cook and prepare according to recipe instructions. Once cooled to room temperature, add the sloppy joe meat mixture into a freezer-safe container or a Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • When ready to eat let thaw in the fridge overnight. Warm it up on the stove top. You may need some additional liquid (or not) when reheating. 

Sloppy Joe with filling on a white plate.

Supplies Needed For This Recipe

Here are a few supplies that you will need to make bbq turkey sloppy joes. These are an affiliate link, meaning that if you purchase, I will make a very small percentage from the sale. As always, I appreciate the support for the free recipes I post. I will only recommend things that I personally own and love! Promise.

Meat Chopper – I own 4 of these! These are amazing when cooking any ground meat. It crumbles it up into small chunks so easily. 

Deep Skillet Pan – I love this pan. It has high sides and it’s deep so it’s perfect for cooking easy one pot skillet recipes like these sloppy joes. 

A turkey sloppy Joe on a white plate stacked.
Together As Family Logo

BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes

Author Jessica - Together as Family
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 sloppy joes
Turkey Sloppy Joes make for an easy dinner idea for busy weeknights that's ready in under 30 minutes. Tangy & sweet with ground turkey, onion, dried seasonings, tomato sauce, and brown sugar bbq sauce. Kids of all ages (and adults too!) will love these sweet and smokey sloppy joes. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • In a large skillet pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, ground turkey, onion, green pepper, and salt. Cook and crumble ground turkey until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain. 
  • Stir in tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  • Serve with hamburger buns or rolls of choice. You can also serve with a slice of cheese and/or toast the hamburger buns as well.



Serving Size : This recipe makes enough for 6 hearty sandwiches. If you are feeding lots of kids then you can easily get closer to 8 servings. 
Ground Turkey : I use lean ground turkey (93/7). Some stores only sell a 1.25 lb package of ground turkey and that is fine to use as well in this recipe. 
Onion : Use a white onion or yellow onion in this recipe.
BBQ Sauce : This recipe has been tested and prepared with brown sugar bbq sauce. I love the sweetness it adds. You can use any bbq sauce you want in this recipe. 
Salt : I use kosher salt which is coarser than regular table salt. If using table salt then use closer to 3/4 teaspoon. You need less of it because the salt is finer than the coarse kosher salt is. 
Nutrition Information : Calories included are for one serving of the turkey sloppy Joe mixture. Hamburger bun is not included. 


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 878mg | Potassium: 473mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Yummy!!! Awesome flavor!!

  2. 5 stars
    The recipe is great!! It is so flavorful and we ate it up without hesitation. We’ll make it again for sure. It was quick and easy to make.