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posted April 28, 2015

Turkey Sloppy Joes

These are not your average weeknight turkey sloppy joes! This turkey sloppy joe recipe add a little bit of smoke and grown up flavor to that old classic recipe! Get ready to fall in love with the turkey sloppy joe again!

Turkey Sloppy Joe on a white plate with green beans.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sometimes, weeknight meals that are simple and fast can often also fall under the category of flavorless and boring but not these Smoky Turkey Sloppy Joes! You think you know sloppy joes, but if all you’ve ever done is browned some ground beef and opened a can of pre-made sauce then you don’t reeeaaalllly know sloppy joes.

I’ve kept the basic flavor profile with a tomato based sauce and ground meat but I’ve added in flavor. Real life actual flavor! First, I smoked the seasoned ground turkey out on my grill (I spread the turkey out on a wire baking rack positioned on top of a foil lined baking sheet) before breaking it up and adding it to sauteed onions and peppers. Oh, I didn’t already mention that these lean turkey sloppy joes are full of healthy veggies like bell peppers?! Well, they are! And my kids who can spot a pepper in a dish from a mile away, consume these sloppy joes with nary a blink of their eyes.


ground turkey sloppy joes on a white plate.

Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

The smoky turkey, sauteed peppers and onions, and tangy sweet sauce all come together in these turkey sloppy joes from heaven. Serve on buttery toasty buns (my absolute favorite are the Torta ciabatta rolls from Costco) and your family will be blissing out on a Wednesday. 

Bonus information! If you don’t have a wood fired grill you can still make these turkey sloppy joes, just brown the meat and seasoning in a skillet and add in 1 tsp of liquid smoke when you stir in the sauce ingredients. I have used this basic recipe from Rachel Ray for a while now, but I’ve adapted it for my own tastes!

Turkey Sloppy Joes overflowing on a white plate.

Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe

turkey sloppy joe on a plate

Smoky Turkey Sloppy Joes

The smoky turkey, sauteed peppers and onions, and tangy sweet sauce all come together in these sloppy joes from heaven. Serve on buttery toasty buns
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Total Time : 25 mins
Servings : 4 people


  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Prepare your smoker for indirect grilling. Target temperature is 180 to 200 degrees F. Spread the ground turkey onto a wire cooling rack and place over a foil lined baking sheet. Season with the steak seasoning and place on the grill for 30 minutes.
    uncooked ground turkey arranged in a rectangle shape, about a half inch thick with seasoning on top, on a cooling rack atop a cookie sheet with foil inside the grill
  • While the turkey is smoking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil then add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers have softened but not caramelized, about 6-8 minutes.
    close up shot of frying pan full of chopped white onions and chopped red bell peppers
  • When the turkey has finished smoking, add it to the vegetable mixture and use the sharp edge of the spatula to break the meat into smaller pieces and finish cooking through.
    cooked ground turkey patty resting atop chopped onions and peppers in a frying pan on stovetop
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and salt.
    Cooked ground turkey in pan on stovetop with red sauce on top
  • Bring the sloppy joe mixture to a simmer and cook for 5-8 more minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is at your desired thickness.
    close up shot of ground turkey, chopped onions and peppers, and sauce all mixed together
  • Pile the sloppy joe mixture on top of toasted buns and serve with your favorite condiments, if desired.
    close up shot of turkey sloppy joe mix served on a bun
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