Everyday Meals

Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1onion, 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
  • 6hamburger buns, split
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • Directions

  • Step 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.


  • Step 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.

  • Step 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.

  • Step 4

    Remove turkey mixture from the heat and mix in green onions and Cheddar cheese. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

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