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Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes

Ground chicken sloppy joes are the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. These gluten free sloppy joes are ready in just about 15 minutes and are a healthy, filling family favorite that everyone is sure to enjoy! The homemade sloppy joe sauce is slightly sweet, slightly tangy, rich in flavor and so easy to make!

Ground chicken sloppy joes in a stainless steel skillet.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy to make – this ground chicken sloppy joe recipe is so easy to make. Simply assemble the sauce in a bowl while the chicken is cooking on the stove. Then add the sauce, and simmer for a few minutes before serving hot. Kids and parents alike are going to love this recipe!
  • Simple, healthy ingredients – this healthy sloppy joe recipe is made with ground chicken instead of ground beef, but you could also use ground turkey if you cannot find ground chicken. The healthy sloppy joe sauce is made with simple, gluten free ingredients that you can find at any grocery store and the sauce comes together in just a minute. This is a gluten free recipe that everyone in your family will enjoy.
  • Feed a crowd with a one pan meal – The healthy chicken sloppy joe’s cook up in one pan, making clean up a breeze, which is always great on busy weeknights!
  • Great for meal prep – you can easily double or triple this recipe to make in advance during your weekly meal prep. It freezes well too, so you can also freeze a batch for nights when you know you won’t have time to cook.
Ingredients to make sloppy joes with ground chicken.
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Ingredients

  • Ground chicken (or ground turkey) – ground chicken is a fun swap to the traditional American classic of sloppy joes with beef. Using the ground chicken makes the recipe lower in fat and calories than ground beef and makes it so you don’t have to worry about the excess fat cooking off the meat before adding the sauce. You could also use ground turkey for this.

Healthy Sloppy Joe’s Sauce

  • Ketchup – ketchup provides that tangy flavor that most people associate with sloppy joe’s. You can use a no added sugar ketchup if you are trying to keep this recipe low in added sugar. You could also make your own ketchup and sweeten it with maple syrup or dates.
  • Tomato Paste – tomato paste helps add a deep richness to the sauce without overpowering.
  • Coconut Aminos (or gluten free tamari) – coconut aminos are a gluten free, soy free alternative to soy sauce. They help provide a depth of flavor to the sauce. You could also use gluten free tamari or soy sauce if you are not gluten free.
  • Water – water helps to thin out the sauce and provides a little extra liquid so that when the ground chicken and sloppy joe sauce is simmering together, the water can evaporate as it cooks.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – this helps create that tangy flavor (along with the ketchup) that you expect in sloppy joes. It also helps ensure that the sauce is not too sweet. You could also use rice wine vinegar or regular vinegar here.
  • Maple Syrup – maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness and really helps make this taste like the sloppy joe’s from your childhood. If you want to make this recipe Whole30 friendly, replace the maple syrup with a few pitted dates soaked in hot water and blend the sauce before using it.
  • Spices: Salt, dried chives (or garlic powder) – these simple spices help to give the sloppy joe mixture the perfect seasoning. I use dry chives to keep this lower in FODMAPS but you could also use garlic powder (1 teaspoon) if you can tolerate that.

How to make ground chicken sloppy joes

Start by preheating a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.

When the skillet it hot, add the ground chicken and cook 4-7 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.

Before and after cooking ground chicken in a skillet.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the healthy sloppy joe sauce in a bowl. Stir well to ensure the sauce ingredients are all fully incorporated.

Before and after stirring together the ingredients to make sloppy joe sauce.

Once the chicken is done cooking, pour the sloppy joe sauce over top and turn the heat down to medium. Cook 4-5 minutes longer, letting the sauce reduce slightly.

Sloppy joe sauce being poured over ground chicken in skillet.

Top tips

  • If you want your ground chicken to brown, break it up from the brick then let it cook 4-5 minutes before moving it around in the pan anymore. This helps create the caramelization of the naturally occurring sugars. Once it starts to brown, you can move the meat around to ensure it’s fully cooked through.
  • You can add more vegetables to this dish. Cook together onion, bell pepper and carrots until soft before cooking the meat. You can leave the veggies in chunks or blend them up with the rest of the sauce ingredients to hide the veggies in the sauce.
  • This recipe easily doubles or triples without much extra cooking time (as long as you have large enough skillets). You can easily double this recipe or triple it (you will need two skillets going at once) so that you can serve a large crowd.
  • Use your instant pot! You can make these ground chicken sloppy joes in the instant pot in about 15 minutes. You will sauté the chicken first then add the sauce and cook for 3 minutes before quick releasing the pressure.
White plate with rice and ground chicken sloppy joes, with fork on the side.

Other additions to sloppy joes with ground chicken

  • Veggies: You can add onions, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower rice to the sauce. Be sure to sauté these first to soften them. You can leave them whole or blend them into the sauce.
  • Spice: Add crushed red pepper flakes, sriracha, cayenne pepper or jalapenos.
  • Beans: Stretch your grocery budget by adding some cooked lentils or beans (white beans, black beans, pinto beans) to the ground chicken mixture to help stretch it out a bit further. Add legumes (beans or lentils) also helps add more fiber and will help make this healthy sloppy joe recipe even more filling.

How to serve

  • Serve on a hamburger bun (this is the traditional way to serve sloppy joe’s)
  • On sweet potato toast
  • Serve along side of cooked rice or quinoa (this is a great option for gluten free meals, as cooked rice and quinoa are often more budget friendly and easier to find than gluten free buns).
  • Stuff inside a cooked sweet potato or cooked baked potato for a fun twist

What to serve with gluten free sloppy joes

Sloppy joes with ground chicken on white plate with rice in the background.

Common questions

Can you make this in advance

Yes, you can make this ground chicken sloppy joe recipe in advance. It reheats really well on the stove or in the microwave so if you need to make it in advance, you can.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days total. Reheat on the stove over low

Can you double the recipe

Yes, this recipe doubles well, just make sure you are using a really large skillet to cook the chicken. You should not need to add any additional time to cooking the recipe assuming you have a large skillet.

Can you add veggies to these sloppy joes

Yes, you can add veggies to this sloppy joe ground chicken recipe.

Sauté 1 onion, 1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, and 2 carrots together in a skillet for 10 minutes or so until the carrots begin to soften.

Once the veggies are soft, you can either leave the veggies in chunks or blend them up with the rest of the ingredients for the sauce to make a hidden vegetable sloppy joe recipe.

Stainless steel skillet filled with ground chicken sloppy joes.

Can you make chicken sloppy joes in the instant pot?

Yes, you will want to brown the chicken first then cook with the sauce in the instant pot for 3 minutes.

  • Start by turning on the sauté function and sauté the ground chicken until no longer pink.
  • Turn off the sauté function. Add about ¼ cup of water to the instant pot and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, making sure you get up any brown bits from cooking the chicken.
  • Make the sloppy joes sauce in a bowl (omit the water since you used it to scrape the bottom of the pan) and pour it over the ground chicken. Do not stir.
  • Put the lid on and cook 3 minutes high pressure. Quick release (manually release) the pressure once it’s done cooking. Stir well and serve hot.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: Store leftover sloppy joes with ground chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Reheat on the stove over low to medium low heat until warmed through. You could also reheat in the microwave 1-2 minutes.

Freezer: Store in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or cook on low to medium low heat, covered until cooked through.

Substitutions

  • Ground chicken – you can also make this with ground turkey or even ground beef (be sure to remove excess fat from the pan before adding the sauce) or even lentils or chickpeas in place of the ground chicken.
  • Ketchup – ketchup adds a depth of flavor and helps add to that tangy, sweet flavor you expect in sloppy joes. If you don’t have ketchup on hand, you can make your own ketchup or you can use tomato paste + more maple syrup in place of the ketchup.
  • Tomato paste – if you don’t have tomato paste on hand, you can use more ketchup.
  • Coconut aminos – coconut aminos add a depth of flavor. You can also use gluten free tamari or soy sauce (which is not gluten free).
  • Apple cider vinegar – this helps to cut through some of the sweetness from the maple syrup and ketchup and also helps add some tang to the dish. You could also use rice wine vinegar or or white vinegar.
  • Maple syrup – maple syrup naturally sweetens the recipe. You could also use honey or date syrup in place of the maple syrup. Alternatively, if you want these gluten free sloppy joe’s to be Whole30 friendly, replace the maple syrup with 4-5 pitted dates that have been soaked in hot water. You will have to blend the sauce in a high speed blender.
Fork filled with ground chicken sloppy joes on a plate next to rice.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Buffalo Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot Cajun Chicken and Rice

Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken

Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

Chicken Shawarma Rice

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White plate filled with rice and sloppy joes with ground chicken.

Ground Chicken Sloppy Joe’s

Ground chicken sloppy joes are so easy to make and ready in just 15 minutes. These healthy gluten free sloppy joes are perfect for feeding a crowd and come together in one pot. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free sloppy joes, ground chicken sloppy joes, sloppy joes with ground chicken
Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken

Healthy Sloppy Joe's Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add ground chicken to the skillet and cook 7-10 minutes until fully cooked through.
  • While the chicken is cooking, combine the ingredients to make healthy sloppy joe's sauce. Stir well to fully incorporate.
  • When the chicken is done cooking, add the healthy sloppy joes sauce then cook 3-4 minutes to let the sauce simmer.

Notes

How to make gluten free sloppy joes in the instant pot
  • Start by turning on the sauté function and sauté the ground chicken until no longer pink.
  • Turn off the sauté function. Add about ¼ cup of water to the instant pot and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, making sure you get up any brown bits from cooking the chicken.
  • Make the sloppy joes sauce in a bowl (omit the water since you used it to scrape the bottom of the pan) and pour it over the ground chicken. Do not stir.
  • Put the lid on and cook 3 minutes high pressure. Quick release (manually release) the pressure once it’s done cooking. Stir well and serve hot.
Top tips
  • If you want your ground chicken to brown, break it up then let it cook 4-5 minutes before moving it around in the pan anymore. Once it starts to brown, you can move the meat around to ensure it’s fully cooked through.
  • You can add more vegetables to this dish. Cook together onion, bell pepper and carrots until soft before cooking the meat. You can leave the veggies in chunks or blend them up with the rest of the sauce ingredients to hide the veggies in the sauce.
  • This recipe easily doubles or triples without much extra cooking time (as long as you have large enough skillets). You can easily double this recipe or triple it (you will need two skillets going at once) so that you can serve a large crowd.
  • Use your instant pot! You can make these ground chicken sloppy joes in the instant pot in about 15 minutes. You will sauté the chicken first then add the sauce and cook for 3 minutes before quick releasing the pressure.
Storing leftovers
Fridge: Store leftover sloppy joes with ground chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat on the stove over low to medium low heat until warmed through. You could also reheat in the microwave 1-2 minutes.
Freezer: Store in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or cook on low to medium low heat, covered until cooked through.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
209
Fat
 
9
g
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
Fiber
 
1
g
Sugar
 
7
g
Protein
 
20
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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