Turkey Sloppy Joes

The first time I saw sloppy joes was when I was watching a movie during my Elementary school years. The sandwich looked messy, gooey, and delicious. However, my mother rarely ever made American food. It wouldn’t be until years later I tried sloppy joes for the first time when I made them myself. I really liked the yummy balance between meat and ketchup sauce. I don’t make sloppy joes often but I usually make them with ground turkey meat for a healthier alternative.

It was Chai’s first time eating sloppy joes recently since he’s from Germany. He really enjoyed it and said it reminded him of Bolognese sauce. Chai’s favorite condiment is ketchup so I was pretty confident that he would enjoy them. These turkey sloppy joes are so easy to make and are perfect for a weekday meal when there’s not much time to cook! I hope you enjoy them as well!


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Yield: 4 Sloppy Joes
Time: 36 minutes

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Sea salt and ground pepper for seasoning
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce or Okonomi sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp brown sugar or sugar in the raw
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese, shredded (may add more if needed)
  • 4 Kaiser or Vienna rolls, halved


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with racks placed on the middle of the oven.
  2. Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce or Okonomi sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  3. Put olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion becomes translucent and garlic is fragrant or about 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and ground pepper.
  4. Add ground turkey and cold water to the frying pan with the onions. Break up the meat and stir well for about 2 minutes. Season again with sea salt and pepper. Add the ketchup sauce mixture into the pan and stir frequently until the meat is completely cooked and the sauce thickens for about 15-20 minutes. Be careful not to let it overcook and the meat become too dry.
  5. In the last 4-5 minutes before the meat is done, toast the Kaiser or Vienna rolls in the oven for 4 minutes.
  6. Place a good amount of the turkey meat mixture onto the bottom half of the roll and top with a generous amount of cheese and then place the other half of the roll to complete the sandwich.

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