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The classic, comforting, easy, sweet, flavorful Sloppy Joes….

…that I haven’t made in my apartment until just last week.

This is partly due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of Sloppy Joes as a kid. It wasn’t the taste, but the mess. I didn’t like eating something in a sandwich bun with a fork and knife — either that or get the food all over my face when I bit into it. I think the texture weirded me out, too.

But alas.

Just as I got over my strange hummus aversion, I have overcome my mild dislike towards Sloppy Joes. This is partly due to my maturation into my fabulous adulthood, and partly due to the fact that the sauce is 100% homemade. Those McCormick packets are great in a pinch (and to make things even more simple for you), but I promise, making the sauce for this took about 5 minutes of chopping and measuring.

It’s worth it.

Sloppy Joes (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier)
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 20 minutes
Serves 6 -8
>> Click here for printable recipe


  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small/medium sized onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of Tabasco sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 – 8 hamburger/sandwich buns


  1.  Brown the ground turkey in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drain off the fat.
  2. Add in the green pepper, onion, and garlic; stir. Then add in the ketchup and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine.
  3. Finally, add the brown sugar, chili powder, mustard, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper. Give it one more stir, then cover, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Toast or warm the burger/sandwich buns, then place a heaping spoonful of the ground turkey mixture on the bun. Close shut, try to eat with your hands, resort to fork and knife. Enjoy.

My Two Cents: This is several notches healthier than the Pioneer Woman’s original Sloppy Joe recipe, which called for ground beef, more ketchup, more sugar, and buttered buns.

This is a great, quick meal to make for the family or a hungry (moderately-sized) dinner crowd. To spruce up the meal, serve with a spinach salad (complete with pecans, mandarin oranges, and balsamic vinegar dressing).

But this also makes great leftovers — so if there’s just 1 or 2 of you in the house, half of your meals will be whipped up all week ;)

P.S. Ever wonder why they’re called Sloppy Joes? Much to my surprise, I have never looked this up until now! According to Wikipedia:

A sloppy joe is an American dish of ground beef, onions, sweetened tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings served on a hamburger bun. Commercially made sauces are also available. Textured vegetable protein may be used as a vegetarian substitute for the meat. The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented by a cook named Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, as a variation of the popular “loose meat” sandwich (which does not contain tomato sauce).

And there you have it! Thank you, Joe, from Iowa, for inventing such a tasty dish.