These ground chicken sloppy joes are a healthy take on traditional sloppies, and filled with delicious Asian flavors. Best of all, they come together in 20 minutes! 

Chicken sloppy joe mixture in whole wheat bun, topped with coleslaw.

My husband and I have a profound disagreement when it comes to how sloppy joes should be eaten.

You see, he insists on eating them with a fork and knife. Forks and knives are all well and good for say, almond crusted chicken or honey orange chicken.

But I say that the very essence of a sloppy joe sandwich is, well, sloppy, and thus should be required to be eaten as a sandwich in all of its messy glory. Just like I’m using my hands to eat a prosciutto Italian sandwich and wonton nachos, I’m picking up a sloppy joes, too.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to help us settle this debate!

White plate with burger bun filled with loose ground chicken saucy mixture and coleslaw.

Can you make sloppy joes with chicken?

I grew up eating sloppy joes the classic way – with ground beef (also the key ingredient in my kafta and taco mac and cheese recipes). In fact, I didn’t know there was any other way to make them until college, when Rachel Ray was in her heyday on the Food Network.

One day I was watching her show after class, and she made ground turkey sloppy joes. I went to the store that weekend and bought everything and made them for my roommates, and they soon became a staple meal in our house. I also love ground turkey for my turkey meatballs recipe air fryer.

So yes, just like you can make my recipe for chicken stroganoff instead of traditional beef, and you can make my vegetable lasagna recipe instead of using meat, you can make sloppy joes with just about any ground meat. The truth is, I made these Asian sloppy joes with ground chicken because I happened to have some in my freezer.

You can also make this Asian sloppy joe recipe (and my Korean meatballs!) with ground turkey or ground beef.

Wheat hamburger bun filled with Asian sloppy joe mixture and shredded vegetables.

This ground chicken sloppy joe recipe is infused with Asian flavors.

It seems like for traditional ground (beef) sloppy joes, I also stick with the traditional flavor profile for sloppy joes – tomato something (paste/ketchup/sauce), onion, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and maybe some green pepper.

But for chicken sloppy joes, I love coming up with new flavor profiles. My husband teases me because I am ALWAYS craving Asian food. I would choose sushi or Thai food or pho or Chinese carryout every single time we get carryout, if I had my way.

While I love making a batch of Asian noodle salad to have on hand for lunch, I’m still craving the same flavors at dinner, believe it or not!

For this ground chicken sloppy joe recipe, I was inspired by the flavors of moo shu chicken, one of our favorite dishes from any Chinese carryout. Moo shu chicken is usually a stir-fried combination of finely chopped or ground chicken, cabbage and various other veggies tossed together in a brown, umami-laden sauce.

This Asian sloppy joes recipe combines ground chicken and cabbage (coleslaw mix) with lots of Asian ingredients that I always have on hand – rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, fresh ginger, hoisin sauce and sriracha. And of course soy sauce, which is the secret ingredient in my best gravy recipe.

If you prefer not to use coleslaw mix, simply buy a small head of cabbage and thinly slice it. Any extra cabbage can be used to make cabbage potato soup or corned beef egg rolls.

Wheat hamburger bun filled with saucy chicken mixture and shredded vegetables.

How to make chicken sloppy joes:

For this ground chicken sloppy joe recipe, I rely on a bag of shredded coleslaw veggie mix from the store, for speed and ease. You’ll begin this recipe by making a quick slaw from some of the coleslaw mix, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. You’ll put this slaw on top of the sloppy mixture for serving.

Then, you’ll make your sloppy mixture in a big skillet. First, cook the ground chicken and green bell pepper until the chicken is cooked through (any extra green pepper can be made into fajita veggie). Then, add the garlic, tomato paste and fresh ginger (use extra fresh ginger to make pear muffins or miso ginger dressing!).

In goes the water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and more of the coleslaw veggies. Simmer this all together for a few minutes until it’s thickened.

Time to eat these Asian sloppy joes, perhaps with a side of maple Brussels sprouts?

Small white plate topped with hamburger bun filled with chicken sloppy joes and coleslaw.

Other options for serving this Asian sloppy joe recipe, beyond the bun:

Speaking of eating, how sloppy are we going to get here? How are we going to eat this chicken sloppy joe mixture?

Well, of course the classic way to eat a sloppy joe would be in a hamburger bun. Always a good option! But if you’re looking to go beyond the bun, I have some ideas for you:

  • Flour tortillas – reminsicent of the thin, savory Mandarin pancakes served with moo shu, flour tortillas are a great way to eat sloppy joes. They’re also a trusty serving idea for my Asian pulled pork.
  • Lettuce wraps – grab a head of iceberg lettuce or a few small heads of Boston or butter lettuce, and eat this sloppy mixture wrapped in lettuce leaves! I also love lettuce wraps for my red lentil sloppy joes and my best orange chicken recipe.
  • Baked potatoes – stuff the sloppy mixture in a big baked potato, like I did for my chicken stuffed potatoes. I can’t figure out how you’d eat this with your hands, so I guess I’ll have to allow you to eat it with a knife and fork (sigh). My husband would be so happy.
Wheat hamburger bun filled with orange hued chicken sloppy joe mixture and coleslaw.

Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes (Asian-Inspired)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These ground chicken sloppy joes are a healthy take on traditional sloppies, and filled with delicious Asian flavors. Best of all, they come together in 20 minutes! 


  • 1-1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups packed shredded coleslaw veggie mix, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 4 hamburger buns


  1. In medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and sesame oil. Add onions and 2 cups shredded coleslaw veggie mix; toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and bell pepper; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, breaking up chicken with side of spoon as it cooks. Add garlic, tomato paste and ginger; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha and remaining 2 cups shredded coleslaw veggie mix; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Divide sloppy mixture between buns; top with coleslaw.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 829Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 1616mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 8gSugar: 32gProtein: 36g

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