If you’re looking for a healthy family pleasing dinner recipe that can be ready in under a half hour then look no further than these Chicken Taco Sloppy Joes! They have the flavors of spicy southwest ground chicken tacos in the form of a messy saucy comfort food sandwich.

side view of two sandwiches with colorful toppings

Why You’ll Love These Chicken Taco Sloppy Joes

They’re great for weeknight dinners because the filling comes together in minutes and then gets loaded up on soft sandwich buns with with pickled jalapenos, cabbage and avocado!

I know the idea of a taco sloppy joe is probably a new one to you, and I maybe actually made the idea up, but stick with me on this! They’re amazingly good and my whole family loved them!

The way I would explain these Southwest Chicken Sloppy Joes is that if Ground Chicken Tacos and Sloppy Joes fell in love and had a baby, this recipe would be their love child! It has the classic taco flavors from spices like chili, cumin and cilantro but the saucy meat is all piled on a soft sandwich bun just like a sloppy joe!

Ingredients For This Recipe

ingredients for the chicken taco sloppy joes
  • Garlic
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • Ground chicken
  • Spices: Ground cumin, Chili powder, Salt and Ground chipotle powder
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Deli sandwich buns
  • Shredded purple cabbage, pickled jalapenos and sliced avocado for garnish

How To Make This Recipe

If you’ve been hanging around here on Healthy Seasonal Recipes for a while you know that making weeknight dinners more healthy means sneaking a lot of extra veggies into all my recipes! This one is no different! It has lots of stealthy veggies and is bursting with fresh flavors!

How To Easily Cut The Veggies

Today I used my food processor to quickly chop the bell pepper, onion and garlic. The veggies cook right into the chicken meat.

The veggie add texture, fiber and bulk up the serving size with less calories which makes this a healthier option than regular sloppy joes!

the vegetables cut into large pieces before they are chopped in the food processor
  • Remove the cores from the bell pepper and cut them into pieces.
  • To cut them up, lightly smash the garlic and remove the peels.
  • Remove the onion skin and core and cut them into large chunks.
the garlic in the food processor after it is finely chopped
  • Fit the food processor with the steel blade attachment.
  • Turn on the food processor.
  • Drop the garlic through the feed tube with the motor running and the cloves will get finely chopped!
the texture of the chopped veggies in the food processor
  • Open the lid and add in the onion and pepper and then pulse them several times until no large pieces remain.
  • The texture will be a rustic but relatively fine chop.

Make The Filling

To make the filling, follow the below steps. It is helpful to use a non-stick skillet for this recipe.

the browned ground chicken in the non-stick skillet

First brown the ground chicken meat in the oil. Simply break it up as it cooks, and wait until there are no longer any pink parts remaining before adding in the veggies.

the cooked ground chicken with the veggies after they have been softening for about 5 minutes

Then add the veggies and cook them for about five minutes to soften them.

stir the canned tomato into the chicken and veggie mixture

Add in the canned tomato sauce and let it thicken while stirring it pretty often. It thickens up quickly!

the skillet with the filling and the cilantro on top

Stir the cilantro after the filling comes off the heat for best flavor. This will prevent the volatile olfactory compounds from cooking out of the cilantro.

seasoned and cooked chicken meat in the skillet for the sandwiches

Assemble and Serve

topping the bun with filling
  1. This recipe makes enough for 6 sandwiches, about 2/3 cups of filling per bun. Top each of the buns with the filling.
  2. Layer a small amount of shredded purple cabbage on top of the meat for crunch and color.
  3. Top with sliced avocado, and pickled jalapenos.
  4. Enjoy immediately!
a side view of sloppy joe on a cutting board.

How To Make These Southwest Sloppy Joes Less Spicy

This recipe is not as spicy as you may fear. I do love spicy Mexican food though! On a one to ten I would give it a four or five. My daughters both thought it was just fine and not too hot.

All that said, if you or your family member is not tolerant to spice here are a few tips:

  • To make these less spicy, omit the ground chipotle chili powder.
  • Either skip the pickled jalapenos or look for the mild ones.
  • Add a bit of shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese to the sandwiches. Dairy makes spicy food less hot.

Make Ahead Instructions

This is a great meal prep recipe. The filling can be made up to three days in advance. Chill and seal shut. Refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.

Heat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water blended in. Make sure the filling is steaming hot before serving.

What To Serve With This Recipe

I would recommend serving these with Mexican Coleslaw, Mexican Corn Salad or Mexican Pasta Salad. I also love this Mexican Four Bean Salad too!

More Ground Chicken and Ground Turkey Recipes To Try

More Southwest and Mexican-Inspired Dinner Recipes

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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a closeup of the sloppy joe from the side

Chicken Taco Sloppy Joes

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


If you are looking for an easy healthy weeknight dinner the whole family will love, look no further than these Chicken Taco Sloppy Joes! They take less than a half hour, they have sneaky veggies added in and they taste delicious! 



3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled

1 red bell pepper, core removed and chopped into five or six pieces

1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters

1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 14-ounce can tomato sauce

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

6 soft deli sandwich buns, split and toasted if desired

Shredded purple cabbage, pickled jalapenos and sliced avocado for garnish* See note


1.     Set up food processor with steel blade attachment. Turn on motor. Drop garlic through feed tube and allow to mince. Remove lid. Add pepper and onion. Cover and pulse several times until the onion and pepper are finely chopped.

2.     Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are starting to softened, about 4 minutes.

3.     Add cumin, chili powder, salt and chipotle and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute to toast the spices. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the mixture is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.  Serve on the buns with garnishes if desired.


To Make Ahead

  1. The filling can be made up to three days in advance. Transfer to a glass storage container. Chill and seal shut. Refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.

  2. Heat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water blended in. Make sure the filling is steaming hot before serving.


Garnishes are optional and not included in nutritional analysis. 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 2/3 cup filling, 1 bun plus optional garnishes
  • Calories: 295
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 19 g

Keywords: Chicken Sloppy Joes,Turkey Sloppy Joes,Taco Sloppy Joes