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The Best Easy Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

Enjoy an easy, nostalgic meal with our Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes recipe. Quick 30-minute meal, budget-friendly, and deliciously comforting, it’s perfect for busy families, potlucks, or feeding a hungry crowd!

Gumbo sloppy joe on a wood leaf platter surrounded by pickles and chips, sparkling juice in a fluted glass on a dark background

There’s no match for an easy homemade sandwich, from our Roast Beef po’ boy to our popular chicken salad sliders. This old-fashioned chicken gumbo sloppy joe recipe is definitely at the top of our list.

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❤️ Why It Is Our Favorite

These sloppy joes are made with Cambell’s chicken gumbo soup and Worcestershire sauce for a bit of southern sweet and zesty flare and are the perfect taste of home to leave you feeling nostalgic for your childhood. But that’s not the only reason why you will love this recipe.

Quick and Easy: Even though it is messy to eat, it is incredibly easy to make! It is made in a single skillet with minimal cleanup. Other than dicing an onion, there isn’t a lot of prep work, and you can even use frozen diced onions to save even more time. So you can easily have a delicious dinner ready in 30 minutes that the whole family will love!

Kid Friendly: This was always my favorite dinner when I was a kid. And not just my favorite. But also the favorite of all my friends, cousins, and neighbors. Every time we’d get together my mom would make this for our dinner. And now it is a favorite of my kids as well.

Simple for Teaching: Not only do kids love to eat chicken gumbo sloppy joes, but they are so simple to make that it is an ideal recipe for teaching kids to cook! Once we mastered making French toast, these sloppy joes were the next recipe my mom used to teach us to cook.

Great for Camping: Because you can make this ahead, it has been an idea meal we take camping every year. We simply freeze it, and then let it thaw just before our dinner. Then all you have to do is heat and serve!

Feeding a Crowd: You can easily double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe to feed a crowd. Make it on a large scale! It has never failed to please a crowd. It is great for game day, tailgating, Summer BBQ’s, potluck dinners, family reunions, social events, baby showers, and more!

Easy Freezer Meal: After you allow it to thoroughly cool, you can freeze this gumbo sloppy joe mixture for a quick and easy freezer meal down the road!

Gumbo sloppy joe on a wood leaf platter surrounded by pickles and chips, sparkling juice in a fluted glass on a dark background

🍗 Why Put Chicken Gumbo Soup in Sloppy Joes?

If you grew up with the classic sloppy joe, you might be scratching your head when you see that this recipe calls for chicken gumbo soup. No this is not the traditional sloppy joe. This is Southern GUMBO sloppy joes!

The idea is that chicken gumbo sloppy joes date back to about the 1950s. I haven’t been able to find very many details about the origins. It gets pretty murky and there isn’t a lot known about the origins. But as far as I have been able to tell, it originated from a very basic version that Campbells Soup released on the back of their chicken gumbo soup cans, and then again later in the 1970’s in a cookbook they released. 

The original recipe contained only hamburger, chicken gumbo soup, onion, and mustard. 

Gumbo sloppy joe mixture on a silver serving spoon with a blurred skillet in the background

As with all recipes, brilliant home chefs through the years have expanded on this basic recipe to make something truly magical! This is why now there are so many different recipe variations for chicken gumbo sloppy joes. 

My recipe is passed down from my mother and has been tried and tested for over 50 years in the kitchen of over 20 relatives and has been the star of hundreds of potlucks, camping dinners, summer BBQ’s, and freezer meals. It has the foundations of a traditional sloppy joe with tomato paste, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. But added a bit of southern zesty tang with the addition of the chicken gumbo soup and white vinegar. 

It is the perfect combination of sweet and zesty between traditional midwestern joes married to southern gumbo. And it is the king of the potluck scene! 

🥘 How to make Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

  • Ground Hamburger
  • Onion
  • Tomato paste
  • Brown sugar
  • Chicken Gumbo Soup
  • Mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • White Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
Ingredients for gumbo sloppy joes on a dark background with text overlay labeling each ingredient

Heat and Brown: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and diced onion and cook breaking the meat apart with a meat chopper or wooden spoon, until the meat and onions are browned.

raw ground hamburger and diced onions in a stainless steel skillet on a black burner

Combine: Stir in the tomato paste, brown sugar, chicken gumbo soup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white vinegar, salt and pepper.

browned ground hamburger and all other ingredients  before they are stirred together dumped into a stainless steel skillet on a black burner

Simmer: Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavors have blended, about 15-20 minutes.

cooked gumbo sloppy joe mixture in a stainless steel skilled on a dark background

Serve: Serve warm on a toasted bun.

Sloppy Joe mixture on a brioche bun on a wood platter next to pickles and chips

🍽️ Serving Tips

For the perfect finishing touch to your chicken gumbo sloppy joe, spoon your sloppy joe mixture onto a toasted brioche bun, top it off with shredded cheese, and pair it with your favorite chips! It is also widely popular to serve with sliced dill pickles and jalapenos.

Alternatively, you can also serve it with homemade french fries, and a fresh green salad or light jello salad. Enjoy!

Gumbo sloppy joe with melted cheese in a brioche bun on a wood leaf platter surrounded by pickles and chips and a fluted glass with sparkling juice on a dark background

SLOPPY JOE VARIATIONS:

Make it Spicy: If you like your sloppy joes spicy you can add in some red pepper flakes, chili powder, a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce, or even fresh diced jalapenos! If you are really adventurous you can even try chopped habanera peppers.

Add Some Cheese: One of my husband’s favorite additions is adding freshly shredded cheese! He loves using cheddar cheese, Monterey jack, Colby jack, or pepper jack.

More Veggies: if you want more of a crunch to your texture you can add other veggies to the mixture at the same time as the gumbo soup. Popular choices include diced celery, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and shredded carrots.

Sloppy Joe mixture topped with shredded cheese on a brioche bun on a wood platter next to pickles and chips

👩🏻‍🍳 Serve up Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

There are so many different ways to enjoy sloppy joes. Here are a few more ideas of how you can serve up your chicken gumbo sloppy joes:

  • Classic: Serve with toasted hamburger buns for the traditional sloppy joe experience.
  • Southern Cornbread: Serve next to or on top of a piece of southern cornbread., just like you would a traditional chili.
  • Grilled Cheese: Incorporate the meat mixture into a grilled cheese sandwich for a satisfying twist.
  • Southern Nachos: Make nachos with tortilla chips as the base, spread the mixture in place of ground hamburger, and top with cheese, fresh jalapenos, salsa fresca, and sour cream.
  • Pizza: Use homemade pizza dough as a base and add cheese and sloppy joe filling for a unique sloppy joe pizza.
  • Loaded fries: Enhance your fries by topping them with cheese and sloppy joe filling for an irresistible treat.
  • Chili dogs: Elevate your hot dogs by adding the meat sauce as a flavorful topping.
  • Baked potato: Transform a loaded baked potato by adding this savory meat sauce as a topping.
  • Hamburger Topping: Take your hamburger to the next level and use your sloppy joe mixture as a topping at your next BBQ!
  • Stuffed Croissants: Use your sloppy joe mixture as a filling! Place a small spoonful of the mixture in the center of the croissant dough and then roll it up and bake!
Gumbo sloppy joe with melted cheese in a brioche bun on a wood leaf platter surrounded by pickles and chips on a dark background

🫙Storage Suggestions

  • Refrigerating – Let the sloppy joe mixture cool to room temperature then cover in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Freezing – Once the sloppy joe mixture is completely cool, place it into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheating – A good rule of thumb is that it’s best to reheat a recipe the same way it was cooked.
    • For the best results and taste Heat the sloppy joe mixture in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a little water to prevent sticking and help loosen the mixture. Stir occasionally until heated through. This method takes a bit more time but will give you results closest to freshly made sloppy joes.
    • If you’re short on time: Add the sloppy joe mixture to a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water. Microwave on medium power until heated through, stirring once or twice during heating. This method is quicker but may not preserve the texture and flavor as well as the stovetop method.

💭 FAQs

What Kind of Hamburger do I use?

You will want a lean hamburger. I prefer using 90-97% lean ground beef. If you use anything with more fat like 75%-85% lean ground beef, you will need to drain the grease after you brown the hamburger before adding any other ingredients.

Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes. After you brown the hamburger, you can add all the ingredients into the slow cooker, mix, and allow to simmer on LOW for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Why are my Sloppy Joes dry?

If you allow your mixture to simmer too long or at too high of a temperature, this causes the sauce to reduce too much resulting in a dry sloppy joe mixture. If you happen to have a dry mixture, add a little water to the mixture and stir.

❤️ Love this Recipe? ❤️

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below.

If you made this recipe consider leaving a review in the comments section further down the page.

Yield: 8

Best Homemade Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes Recipe

Gumbo sloppy joe on a wood leaf platter surrounded by pickles and chips, sparkling juice in a fluted glass on a dark background

Enjoy an easy, nostalgic meal with our Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes recipe. Quick 30 minute meal, budget-friendly, and deliciously comforting, it's perfect for busy families and potlucks.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground 93% lean Hamburger
  • 1 Can tomato paste 6 oz
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Can Chicken Gumbo Soup (10.5 oz)
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and diced onion and cook breaking the meat apart with a meat chopper or wooden spoon, until the meat and onions are browned.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, brown sugar, chicken gumbo soup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavors have blended, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve warm on a toasted bun.

Notes

If your mixture seems a bit dry, simply reduce the heat to low and stir in a few tablespoons of water until everything is well combined.

Perfect for Potlucks! This recipe yields enough for a small group, but it's also easily multiplied by 2 or 3 to feed a larger crowd.

Make Ahead: Sloppy Joes can be conveniently prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheating: When you're ready to enjoy your Sloppy Joes, simply reheat them in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until they're hot throughout. If the mixture appears dry, add a few splashes of water and stir it in to achieve the desired consistency.

Freezing: For longer-term storage, homemade Sloppy Joes can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. When ready to eat, skip the thawing step and simply place the frozen mixture in a saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat until hot.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 718mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 35g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although Busy Creating Memories attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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Tammy

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

This is the only way I make sloppy Joes. It is so good!! All my friends and family love it!

Delicious Leftovers and How to Pack them Easily for Lunch

Thursday 6th of October 2016

[…] Homemade Sloppy Joes from Scratch […]

BEST HOMEMADE SLOPPY JOES RECIPE #instagood #homemade #DIY #love #homecooking #partyplanning #holidays

Monday 26th of September 2016

[…] Busy Creating Memories blog has a great sloppy joes recipe that she is allowing us to share! This is a great make-ahead meal! As you all know I love …ok I don’t LOVE, but I DO cook all our weeks meals in one day as often as I possibly can! It saves me time during the week. Plus people can eat when hungry. This means it also saves my sanity! There is no whining about who wants what and when. There are 3 choices. You pick one, grab some, heat it and eat it. End of story! Don’t like the three choices? You have the further option to eat cereal! I don’t care what meal it is, you eat what is made and you enjoy that I cooked for you, or you eat cereal! Sloppy Joes usually are a winning meal here! I’ll be making these this next coming round! Get the directions and more photos by heading –> -> HERE! […]

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Monday 7th of March 2016

[…] Easy Sloppy Joes – Nothing like a great dish you can make ahead and full of great flavor! […]

Anette

Sunday 6th of September 2015

I have saved this since we love a good Sloppy Joe. But quick question please - I have never seen Gumbo soup, what can I use as a substitute? Thanks

Amber Edwards

Sunday 6th of September 2015

The gumbo soup is harder to find on the shelves, but I have always been able to find it in any grocery store. It usually just takes a bit of looking on the shelf. Campbell's is the one I get most often. If you can't find it in the store I know amazon has it too http://amzn.to/1PVKeOD I haven't been able to find anything that gives the same texture and flavor for the Gumbo soup, so I don't know if there's a good substitute to the Gumbo Soup.

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