Chicken Sloppy Joes Are Seriously Underrated

A lot of us tend to stop eating sloppy Joes once we're done with elementary school; it's easy to get sick of this school cafeteria staple when it gets served in a heavy rotation. However, Sloppy Joes are a pretty underrated dish and may be undergoing somewhat of a renaissance as they get re-imagined for adult audiences as food truck fare. They also have a lot of pros to consider as a make-at-home meal, too, as they are cheap, quick, and filling, thus hitting the trifecta for busy-day meals on a budget. There is one sloppy Joe upgrade that we recommend above all others, however: Swap the ground beef for chicken.

There are several reasons you may want to choose chicken instead of beef. In some cases, depending on where you shop and what is on sale, ground chicken could be cheaper, and in times of rising food prices, it's nice to save a buck or two. Chicken, too, is lighter-tasting than beef, so can allow the flavor of the sauce and any added veggies to shine through. That said, perhaps the best reason to consider making this change is because ground chicken has fewer calories and fat than beef. While chicken burgers and meatballs tend to be dry due to the lower fat content, using leaner meat in a saucy sloppy Joe should present no problem whatsoever.   

Update your favorite sloppy Joe recipe with ground or shredded chicken

Yet another reason to embrace the concept of chicken sloppy Joes is that it can provide a great way to use up leftovers before they go to waste. Whether it's a Costco rotisserie chicken or last night's baked chicken drumsticks, you can simply cut the meat off the bone, remove the skin, and get to shredding. For an easier way to shred chicken, try using an electric mixer. 3 cups of shredded chicken can be used in place of 1 pound of ground meat and is enough for about four people. 

If you're pressed for time, you could make these sandwiches with a premade mix, such as Manwich, but we've got a sloppy Joe recipe that's ready in 30 minutes. Or, you can swap shredded or ground chicken for ground beef in your go-to recipe and use the same steps. However, if you're opting to use shredded chicken, stir the meat into the cooked vegetables along with the sauce, as it is already fully cooked and only needs to be heated through. 

Most standard recipes you'll find online call for using ground beef, but ground or shredded chicken is versatile and can take on many different flavor profiles, including those used to make traditional sloppy Joes. If you want to get creative, consider experimenting with different flavor profiles, like ginger, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil for an Asian-inspired twist.