Chicken Sloppy Joes

5 from 3 votes
45 minutes
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Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes are a healthy and Southwestern-inspired take on the classic American sandwich perfect for a weeknight dinner. The zesty and from-scratch filling is both easy to make and freezer-friendly! Serve with chips or roasted potato wedges on the side!

“Another great recipe. This is a great take on the Sloppy Joe!”

Chicken Sloppy Joes on plate with tortilla chips and jalapeno slices.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

These easy Chicken Sloppy Joes are bursting with Southwestern-inspired flavor for a delicious twist on the traditional sandwich. Unique ingredients like smoky Poblanos and a light citrus note from Mexican oregano elevate this version beyond the classic comfort food sandwich.

The from-scratch filling is made with wholesome ingredients and is not overly sweet like traditional sloppy joes. Swapping out the beef with chicken is a healthier alternative and also a more affordable option.

Easy Chicken Sloppy Joes are the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation that everyone in your family will love!

This Chicken Sloppy Joe recipe is:

  • A great family dinner kids of all ages will love!
  • Freezer-friendly! The sloppy joe filling can be made ahead of time and frozen, so it’s even easier as a weeknight dinner! Make up a big batch and store extras in the freezer for a quick and wholesome meal at the ready.
  • Healthy! The filling is made from scratch with chicken instead of beef.
  • Flavorful! Zesty Southwestern-inspired ingredients elevate this simple sandwich.
  • Affordable! Economical ground chicken replaces beef in this easy sloppy joes recipe.
  • Versatile! The ground chicken sloppy joe filling can also be enjoyed in other ways. Try it as a taco filling or on baked sweet potatoes for an even healthier and grain-free meal idea!
Chicken Sloppy Joes with grated cheddar cheese and jalapeno slices on top.

How to Make Chicken Sloppy Joes:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this ground chicken sloppy joes recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Chicken Sloppy Joes in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Poblano Peppers: Fresh Poblano peppers add a touch of smokiness to this easy sloppy joes recipe and perfectly complement all of the other spices. These flavorful, smoky and slightly sweet peppers are often used in Mexican cuisine. Green bell peppers can be used as a substitute if you prefer something milder.
  • Ground Chicken: You can use ground chicken that is all white meat, all dark meat, or a combination of the two. Ground turkey also works perfectly in this recipe, as does beef.
  • Chili Powder: Chili powder is a spice blend comprised of various dried chiles and spices. The flavor profile can vary depending on the specific blend. Anything labeled “ancho chili powder” is pure chili powder made from dehydrated Poblano peppers.
  • Mexican Oregano: Notes of citrus from Mexican oregano brighten up this hearty dish. While Mexican oregano may share a name with other oreganos (Turkish or Greek), they are actually different herbs. Mexican oregano has citrusy undertones that are key to complimenting the other spices in this recipe. Other oreganos are not a good substitute. 
  • Tomato Sauce: No tomato sauce?  No problem.  Combine 1/2 cup tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups water.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the Poblano peppers and continue cooking over medium heat for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions and peppers are soft.
  • Add the garlic and cook briefly, 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Add the ground chicken, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until the chicken is browned and no longer pink.
Cooked ground chicken, onions and poblano peppers in nonstick skillet.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander and oregano. Stir to distribute the spices evenly throughout and onto the ground chicken.
  • Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve on hamburger buns with optional add-ins like cheese, jalapeno slices, or corn chips.
Chicken Sloppy Joes on bun with grated cheese and jalapeno slices on top.
  • That’s it! These easy, healthy Chicken Sloppy Joes are sophisticated enough for adults yet mild so that kids of all ages can enjoy them!

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • The poblano peppers in this healthy sloppy joes recipe are seeded and chopped. While technically edible, the seeds add bitterness and an unpleasant texture to the dish.
  • When adding the garlic to this ground chicken sloppy joes recipe, be careful that it doesn’t burn. Burned garlic is bitter garlic. Only sauté the garlic for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • When adding spices to a dish, as in this Chicken Sloppy Joe recipe, I like to add them directly to the cooked meat/poultry while still warm so they thoroughly season it and the spices “bloom.” Just stirring them into the sauce won’t give you the same depth of flavor.
Chicken Sloppy Joes on plate with tortilla chips and jalapeno slices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What exactly is a Sloppy Joe?

As the name alludes to, the Sloppy Joe is believed to have been invented by a chef named Joe in the 1930s when he added tomato sauce to his ground meat sandwich. The dish became popular throughout the 1940s and 1950s because it was a great way for families to stretch their meat budget. The sloppy joe remains a popular and hearty comfort food in America. Recipes like this Chicken Sloppy Joe elevate the traditional sandwich to something that is truly delicious and healthy.

What are the regional names for sloppy joes?

Depending on where you’re from, this type of sandwich may go by a different name. If made with ground turkey, sloppy joes are known as Sloppy Janes. In Wisconsin, they’re often referred to as “barbecue.” In places like Rhode Island, the sandwich is called “Dynamite.” Other popular names include slush burger, yum yums, spoonburgers, tavern sandwich and best known is the Manwich, named for the sloppy joe sauce that comes in cans.

How do you reheat sloppy joes?

You have the option to reheat sloppy joes either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place the sloppy joes into a skillet or saucepan on a burner set to medium heat. You can incorporate a small amount of water or broth if the sauce has thickened. Stir frequently until the filling is thoroughly heated.

Can I make ground Chicken Sloppy Joes in a slow cooker?

Use 1/2 cup chicken broth or water because the steam produced in a slow cooker will produce additional liquid.  Get everything prepped, browned and combined through Step #7.  Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.

Chicken Sloppy Joes on plate with grated cheese and jalapeno slices.

Storage:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze them for up to three months.

What to Serve With Sloppy Joes:

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Chicken Sloppy Joes on plate with grated cheese and jalapeno slices.

Chicken Sloppy Joes

5 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes are a healthy and Southwestern-inspired take on the classic American sandwich that's perfect for a weeknight dinner. The zesty and from-scratch filling is both easy to make and freezer-friendly!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 227 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 2 medium Poblano peppers - seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken - or turkey (white meat, dark meat or a combination)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 cup chicken broth - or water
  • 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Hamburger buns - for serving

Optional Topping and Add-Ins

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Corn chips
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers

Instructions
 

  • Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the Poblano peppers and continue cooking over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions and peppers are soft.
  • Add the garlic and cook briefly, 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the ground chicken, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until the chicken is browned and no longer pink.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander and oregano. Stir to evenly distribute the spices throughout and onto the ground chicken.
  • Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve on hamburger buns with optional add-ins such as cheese, jalapeno slices or corn chips.

Notes

SLOW-COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:  Use 1/2 cup chicken broth or water.  Get everything prepped, cooked and combined through Step #7.  Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.
TO REHEAT:  You can reheat sloppy joes in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place the sloppy joes into a skillet or saucepan on a burner set to medium heat. You can incorporate a small amount of water or broth if the sauce has thickened. Stir frequently until the filling is thoroughly heated.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool completely.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 750mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 716IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4 Comments

    1. Hi, Jane, Thanks for your question. No, it doesn’t include the carbs because I just stated “hamburger buns for serving.” If you’re concerned about carbs, numerous companies now make “keto” hamburger buns. We often buy Lewis, but there are other good brands. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!!