Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes

healthy homemade sloppy joe in hand

These homemade Sloppy Joes are made with lean ground turkey, filled with veggies and smothered in a delicious homemade tangy sauce. Load it on a bun and you’re ready for dinner! They’re sloppy, easy, and delicious!

Confession guys: Sloppy Joes normally don’t make the cut on my meal plan for the week. In fact, prior to making this post, I bet I hadn’t eaten a Sloppy Joe in at least 5 years.

This is probably due to the fact that we ate these at least three times a week when I was growing up. I lovingly blame this on my wonderful Dad. My parents divorced when I was young, and when I stayed with him, there were only three things that he knew how to cook: frozen corn dogs, frozen pizzas and SLOPPY JOES.

healthy homemade turkey sloppy joe on white plate with fries

Yup, he could easily open up a can of Manwich Sauce (you know what I’m talking about, right?) and throw it in a pan with some beef, slap it on a sesame seed bun with some mayo and call it a night. Oh, and you can’t forget the melted slice of provolone cheese. And also the frozen french fries. Man, those were the simple days, right?

Anyway, I knew that I wanted to celebrate this Father’s Day by dedicating a post to my wonderful Dad – so, when it came to what I should make, deep down in my heart, I knew I had to revisit my childhood. I knew I had to make Sloppy Joes.

healthy homemade turkey sloppy joe with skillet of meat

However, I knew I had to make them a little bit on the lighter side. After checking the ingredients on the Manwich can at the store and seeing that the second AND fourth ingredient was high fructose corn syrup, I knew that I had to make my own homemade sauce. I also figured that using lean ground turkey would be a great alternative to using ground beef – I love that you still get a huge amount of protein (25 grams!) per serving!

So, let’s talk about the homemade sauce. It’s super easy and only requires ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen! You’ll need:

  • ketchup (i recommend using Hellman’s new ketchup that’s only sweetened with honey!)
  • worschetshire sauce (how in the world do you pronounce that?! asking for a friend.)
  • yellow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • basic spices like onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper

Yup, that’s it. It has the most amazing flavor – it is like a barbecue sauce on steroids; tangy, zippy and has a major kick to it.

homemade healthy sloppy joe sauce

Unlike my childhood, where vegetables were scarce, I used an an entire green bell pepper, onion and two cloves of garlic for extra flavor in this meal! It gives it a delightful crunchy texture! After sautéing the veggies, cook the meat all the way through. Add your cooked veggies back in, along with your homemade sauce and let it simmer all together, all of the ingredients melding into one giant flavor bomb. I even sprinkled in a little cheese at the end for some extra oooomph!

sloppy joe meat in cast iron skillet

Finally, after buttering some buns, I schmeared mayo on one half of the bun and loaded the rest with a hearty scoop of Sloppy Joe mixture. Totally optional but I even threw on some jalapenos for a pop of color and a kick of spice! Oh, and I did serve it with frozen fries! But they were organic. That means they’re better for you, right? 

And there you have it. A Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joe. And boy oh boy, did they live up to their name! So sloppy. So delicious. So hearty. EVERYTHING I WANTED IT TO BE. This is bound to be a crowd pleaser! I know because my husband ate two of them in one sitting…(don’t tell him I told you that!)

healthy homemade turkey sloppy joe with a bite taken out of it

I can’t wait to share this recipe with my Dad in hopes that he will ditch the canned sauce + ground beef and try out this healthier version. I always find that when I try to make something from scratch versus using the canned version, I never go back to the cans. The made from scratch is always a million times more fresh and delicious!

Find the full recipe below! Enjoy and if you’re celebrating this weekend, Happy Father’s Day! If this weekend is hard for you, I’m sending you lots of love.

Here’s a photo of me and my old man <3

happy father's day, dad

Dad, you’ve always taken care of me and made sure I had everything I ever wanted. You taught me the value of being a hard worker and loving your family more than anything. You would give the shirt off your back to anyone and you are truly the most amazing father I could ask for. Love you SO much, Dad! I can’t wait to make these for you when I come visit. Happy Father’s Day! <3 

Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy sloppy joe, sloppy joe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 402 kcal


Sloppy Joe Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp worcheshire sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Sloppy Joes

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice)
  • optional: mayo, jalapeno, butter to toast the buns


  1. Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Dice your veggies and throw them in a cast-iron skillet with some olive oil on medium heat. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Once done, transfer them to your bowl of sauce.

  2. Add your ground turkey to the same skillet, and break the meat apart with a spatula. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until done. When done, add the veggies and the homemade sauce. Mix thoroughly until combined. Add water to thin it down and let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, adding the cheese halfway through to let it melt. 

  3. Optional: While the Sloppy Joes are simmering, add a schmear of butter to your buns and toast them in a skillet on the stove-top until golden brown and crisp. 

  4. Once the Sloppy Joe meat is done simmering, add to hearty spoonful to your bun and eat it while it's hot! 

Recipe Notes

Optional: Serve with french fries or kettle chips! 

The nutritional facts do not include the fries. 



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