Turkey Sloppy Joes

April 28, 2015

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

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

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 Image

Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe

turkey sloppy joe on a plate
Print Recipe

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 Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keyword: Turkey Sloppy Joes
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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and salt.
  • 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.
  • Pile the sloppy joe mixture on top of toasted buns and serve with your favorite condiments, if desired.
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