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Spicy Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes

These ground chicken sloppy joes are perfect for busy weeknight dinners or making in bulk for weekend meal prep. The jalapeño pepper sauce provides a nice little kick, and sugar free ketchup keeps the calories and carbs in check. With smart bun selection, you’ll have sloppy joes that work for just about any diet plan.

How to Make Sloppy Joes with Ground Chicken

You’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. Between here and there, I’ll walk you through the recipe and give a few extra tips and ingredient notes.

Browning Ground Chicken Like A Pro

Like I mentioned in my creamy Thai curry ground chicken and rice recipe, it’s my mission to raise awareness in home cooks to pay more attention to the browning of their ground chicken and meats. This browning is called the Maillard reaction, and it’s where amino acids and sugars in the meat react to create browning and a distinct flavor. You’re missing out on tons of flavor if you’re just throwing your meat in a pan and stirring it around the entire time.

browned ground chicken in a skillet

Tips for perfectly browned ground chicken:

  • use a paper towel to pat the chicken dry (moisture is the enemy)
  • get the pan HOT before adding the chicken
  • once the ground chicken is in the pan, don’t touch it
  • gently pressing the chicken into the pan creates more surface area and contact with the pan

And don’t flip until your ground chicken is golden brown. Don’t give up!

A Low Calorie Spicy Sloppy Joes Sauce

Sloppy joes sauce is a simple mix of ketchup, mustard, and other add-ins depending on the recipe. I used G Hughes sugar free ketchup, which has 5 calories per tablespoon. Feel free to use any ketchup but keep in mind, the nutrition facts of your chicken sloppy joes may be affected.

cooked ground chicken with spicy sauce in a skillet

Some recipes call for cooking down fresh onion and garlic with the meat, but I like to keep it simple by adding garlic and onion powder instead.

The spicy components of this sauce are hot sauce, pickled jalapeño peppers, and chili powder. If you want to increase the heat, you can add a bit more hot sauce instead of the two tablespoons of water, increase the jalapeño peppers or use a little brine, or add some cayenne or spicy dried chiles.

finished sloppy joes in a skillet

It will slightly change the flavor profile, but you could also add chipotle peppers in adobo like in my ground turkey and sweet potato skillet.

Buns for Sloppy Joes

There are tons of store-bought healthy bun options these days. For ideas, check out this roundup of the best low carb buns. Or if you’d like to make your own, try these keto hamburger buns or gluten-free keto buns.

spicy sloppy joe on a plate next to chips

In the photos for this post, I used plain white buns that I toasted in a skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil.

More Ground Chicken Recipes

If you’re looking for more healthy recipes with ground chicken, you can find 25+ in my ground chicken recipes roundup post. Here are some of my favorites from the list:

Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes

Ground Chicken Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4 Sandwiches

Extra lean ground chicken in a low carb sloppy joes sauce with a spicy jalapeño twist.


  • 1 pound Ground Chicken (97/3)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (8g) Olive Oil
  • 2/3 cup (170g) Sugar Free Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) Water
  • 1/4 cup (30g) Pickled Jalapeños, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and once hot, add the ground chicken.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown before flipping and browning the other side.
  3. Use a spatula to break apart the chicken and fully cook.
  4. While the chicken cooks, mix the remaining ingredients together.
  5. Add the sauce to the cooked chicken, stirring everything together. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the sauce thickens, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Serve on your choice of buns.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: about 5 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 26g


Wednesday 24th of August 2022

Can you make this in the instant pot like your other sloppy Joe recipe? (Brown meat, add sauce, don’t stir)

Mason Woodruff

Monday 5th of September 2022

Totally. I'd recommend adding a small amount (maybe 1/4 cup) of broth or water since this sauce is a little bit thicker.

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