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Cheesy Sloppy Joes

Since I started this blog, I have been experimenting with classics and this is the most recent dish I have re-discovered. Sloppy joes were a staple at my home while I was growing up. You all know what I am talking about. Ground hamburger cooked with onions, simmered in savory and slightly sweet tomato sauce all piled high on a crusty hamburger bun. They were messy and delicious and I loved them.  When I made them for dinner this week, I decided to venture off the beaten path just a little bit. First off I used ground turkey, it is a lot better for you and trust me you and your family won’t be able to taste the difference. Second, I made my own sloppy joe sauce, which is easier than you might think. Third, I like the flavor of the whole wheat hamburger buns with this better than the traditional white bread. Finally,  since I was saving some calories by using ground turkey and a whole wheat bun, I figured I could afford to throw some homemade cheese sauce on top and let me tell you it was probably one of the most delicious ideas I have had.

A basic cheese sauce recipe is a good thing to have in your repertoire. I have found a variety of uses for it including dips, topping for broccoli but especially sandwiches.  For this recipe I used the same cheese sauce that I used for my Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches.

I served these with my Homemade Potato Chips and Ryan and I devoured them. Just be sure to have a lot of napkins handy, they are called sloppy joes for a reason.

Cheesy Sloppy Joes Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • sprinkle of cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used non-fat once too and that worked just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste



In a bowl whisk together tomato sauce, white wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, granulated garlic, ground mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and salt and pepper.


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and ground turkey until brown and cooked through. (Note: Unlike hamburger, there is no real need to strain the fat from the turkey, there will not be much at all.)


Add tomato mixture to the pan, stir to combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low and allow to cook 30-40 minutes, or until sauce reduces and is thick. (Note: Mixture should not be overly saucy. The meat will be coated in the sauce, but you won't have sauce dripping from the spoon when you scoop up the mixture.)


While the meat mixture is cooking, make the cheese sauce. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter has melted, whisk in flour. Cook 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk. Stir in cream cheese and shredded cheddar and cook until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Preheat your broiler. Toast the hamburger buns.


Scoop the turkey mixture onto the bun, top with cheese sauce. Serve.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    April 12, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    My fam LOVED this! I made a jack cheese sauce instead as that was the only cheese in the house…yummmmmmm!!!! Another great recipe…thank you!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      You’re welcome Anne!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    These were AMAZING!!! My 4 year old asked for seconds :o) I did omit the sugar though. Definitely going to check out your other recipes. Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2009 at 10:17 am

    These sandwiches look amazing! I’ve never had cheese sauce on a sloppy joe, but am looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Great recipe! I substituted ground chicken for turkey though. I took the leftovers both sloppy joe and cheese sauce and made a casserole with it the next day. Delicious! Gave it to a friend who loved it as well.

    • Reply
      December 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

      Thank you David! I never would have thought to change the leftovers into a casserole. What a great idea!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks Kevin and Kristen!
    You’re welcome Carrie!
    Savor: They are pretty tasty and probably healthier without the cheese sauce, but there is just something about melty cheese that makes my mouth water ;-)

  • Reply
    April 21, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I truly apprecaite how you made this a bit healtheir using turkey! I am goign to make these without the cheese to start as they look for tasty and juicy on their own.

  • Reply
    Carrie Oliver
    April 21, 2009 at 6:35 am

    We were just talking the other day about making sloppy joes. The turkeys around here are gross but I do have some great beef chuck that I can chop up. This will be fun, thanks.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2009 at 6:15 am

    What a great idea! These sound like a much tastier version of regular sloppy joes.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Adding a cheese sauce to sloppy joes sounds really good!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks Rita!
    Mindy: A tomato slice would be super yummy on this!
    RecipeGirl: Haha I think you are right, everyone grew up on these!
    Thanks Esi!
    Thank you Sara!
    Thanks Rmg12!
    I agree Karly!
    Thank you Carrie!
    Theresa: funny how cheese sauce can have that effect on you huh? ;-)

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I never liked sloppy joes growing up, but I think I would like this version a lot! I’ll admit, it’s the cheese sauce that won me over :)

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 7:19 am

    That cheese sauce looks amazing! I always thought that sloppy joes were so much better with cheese!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Ooh, anything with cheese sauce just has to be delicious!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Ok we don’t have these over here (n such thing in the UK) and I was looking at what they were. Most looked foul, this one looks quite tasty however.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    These look so yummy. I love sloppy joes and it’s great to see another version!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I love how you made these a little healthier, but still used the cheese sauce! They look great!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2009 at 5:58 am

    I grew up with sloppy joe’s too… I think everyone did LOL! Looks like you made some fun changes to make it a bit more up-to-date!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    When I was a kid, my mom used to make sloppy joes open-faced. She’d then put a slice of American cheese and a slice of tomato on top and then broil them until the cheese was all melty. I may have to try your version to recreate this childhood memory now that I don’t eat American cheese!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Nice photo! I’ve made those before for Andrew, didn’t add cheese though, nice thought

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Have new recipes emailed to you.