Recipe By Chef John
Published Jun 6th
Prep 10m Cook 30m Additional - Ready In 40m
Servings 6 sandwiches Calories 394

This made for a very enjoyable lunch, and kept warm in a slow cooker, could also work very nicely for a Super Bowl party. It tastes enough like a traditional beef Sloppy Joe to provide that satisfying comfort food fix, yet seems much lighter.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  • 6 hamburger buns, split
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until onion starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black.
  2. 2 Mix ground turkey and 1/2 cup cold water into onions. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat, until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring frequently and adding up to 1 cup water if needed, until meat is cooked through and liquid is reduced and thick, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. 3 Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Toast hamburger buns until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. 4 Remove turkey mixture from the heat and mix in green onions and Cheddar cheese. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 394
  • Carbohydrate 36.8 g
  • Cholesterol 89.9 mg
  • Fat 16.5 g
  • Fiber 2.1 g
  • Protein 25.9 g
  • Saturated Fat 6.8 g
  • Sodium 724 mg
  • Sugar 11.9 g


  1. What a delicious recipe. A very nice change from what has become very boring sloppy joe night. Everyone in the family devours it. I double it to feed our 3 almost grown kids and there is enough leftover for hubby's lunch the next day.
  2. If you are anything like me you often cruise these reviews to see what can be added or left off. I don't have a functioning stove so let's start right there. I made this in the crockpot. I probably wouldn't add the water next time because it came out really watery but OMG, it's so - Read more ...
  3. It's obvious that this recipe was designed by a chef. The combination of ingredients, even the seemingly unconventional ones such as cocoa powder, make this recipe sing. The sweet, almost exotic flavor make it a very interesting recipe. That it's made from ground turkey and as such, presents a healthier eating option, is purely a - Read more ...
  4. I added 2 tsp. of white vinegar and garlic power made a world of difference!
  5. This recipe was very very good!! We cut it down to 2 servings for my husband and myself. Followed everything exactly. I've made it twice now and was licking the plate! Thanks Chef John:-)
  6. This was FANTASTIC! I will definitely be making this again...and again...and again.
  7. I wasn't in the mood to cook tonight. Made this recipe following Chef John's video, adding ingredients to taste rather than following this recipe. I was surprised it tasted so good considering the amount of effort I put in. That rarely happens! Don't omit the cayenne or cocoa.
  8. Chef John, my family loved your Turkey Sloppy Joes. I increased the recipe to make 24 servings to feed mine and two other families with whom I do a weekly meal swap. My family, including my daughter who does not like traditional Sloppy Joes, agreed this recipe is a repeat. Bravo from one turkey lover - Read more ...
  9. My wife and I made these last night. My wife is typically not a sloppy joe person, but she and I both absolutely loved them. Great flavor with a little bit of zip, and not overly heavy like some sloppy joes can be. We cooked the turkey a couple of extra minutes at the start, - Read more ...
  10. Hubby is giving 'Sheriff John's" recipe 5 stars! (Is this another Sheriff John recipe?) LOL...He is a happy man. This took me a bit longer than stated - probably not the recipes fault, it was just me wanting to make sure the seasoning was gently cooked into the meat. I served this on a toasted - Read more ...