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Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joe Recipe (Without Canned Soup)

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These Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes are totally from scratch using wholesome ingredients for a spicy, saucy and scrummy sandwich that is sure to be a crowd favorite recipe!

A chicken gumbo sloppy joe sandwich garnished with green onions.

Homemade Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were a staple when I was growing up, from quick dinners at home to the school lunch line. The challenge always being to see who could eat it without making a complete mess. They certainly bring me back to another time! 

Like so many recipes, the origin story of the sloppy joe varies, but the basic ingredients stay roughly the same: ground beef, onions, green bell peppers, brown sugar, tomato sauce or ketchup, and yellow mustard…then, a few other dashes of this or that depending on the cook. Somewhere along the way, canned sloppy joe sauce became available and made it even easier to whip up these loose meat sandwiches. But, there’s another version of the sloppy joe that relies on a can of chicken gumbo soup, creating a spicy, southern version of the classic sandwich. 

This isn’t that version, however. This is Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes from scratch! Now, let’s not get into a debate about whether this is based on Creole or Cajun gumbo, because quite honestly, it’s a perfect blend of both and then some…I took some liberties. The result though, is a deliciously saucy blend of chicken, veggies and spices that celebrate the great flavor of gumbo! 

If you love chicken gumbo, this is a recipe your whole family will love. It’s a great alternative to traditional sloppy joes when you want to mix up your dinner rotation. It’s also great for game days and parties for a fun twist that’ll be a big hit with hungry guests! 

A cast iron skillet with ground meat mixture next to a sandwich filled with that mixture.

Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes Recipe Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – the only ingredient needed to make flavorful dry roux to thicken the sauce.
  • Olive oil – for sautéing the holy trinity of vegetables and the chicken.
  • Yellow onion –  is caramelized separately to concentrate flavor and add the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Green bell pepper + celery – the other members of the trinity, add an aromatic base.
  • Garlic – for another aromatic note.
  • Andouille sausage – a smoked pork sausage, usually on the spicy side. For less spice, use another type of smoked sausage, like kielbasa.
  • Ground chicken – look for dark meat ground chicken or a variety that has at least 8% fat. Lean ground breast meat (with only 2% fat) may get rubbery.
  • Chicken broth – I like to use a low-sodium broth so I can control the amount of salt.
  • Tomato paste – for an umami punch.
  • Diced tomatoes – bring just enough acidity to help balance the overall taste.
  • Herbs + spices – bay leaf, smoked paprika, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Hamburger buns – I love a soft, brioche bun, but use your favorite bun!
A sheet pan filled with raw ingredients for making gumbo sloppy joes.

How to Make Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

While the dry roux bakes, all the other components of the recipe are cooked on the stovetop in a large skillet (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet).

  1. Make a dry roux – toast the flour in a baking dish or oven-safe skillet in a 400°F oven until golden in color; stirring occasionally.
  2. Caramelize the onions – sauté onions in a little olive oil over medium to medium-low heat until they are deep, golden brown. Give them a rough chop; set aside.
  3. Sauté the vegetables – sauté the green peppers, celery and garlic until tender; add to the onions.
  4. Fry the sausage – brown thin slices of sausage in the skillet just a couple minutes per side to warm through and add a little color. Set aside.
  5. Sauté the chicken – brown meat in olive oil over medium heat until there is barely any pink left.
  6. Bring it all together – add the vegetables to the chicken, stir in dry roux, then add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Assemble + enjoy – remove the bay leaf before assembling. Add some of the sloppy joe mixture to the bottom bun. Top with a few slices of andouille sausage then the top bun. 

Other Uses For Dry Roux

You can use dry roux to add flavor and thicken stews, gravy, and braised dishes without butter or oil, eliminating excess fat. Simply mix some with a liquid (like broth or water) to create a slurry and stir it into your dish, or mix some into sautéed veggies or meat before adding liquid.

Recipe Quick Tips

  • The dry roux can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. 
  • I like to finely dice the green pepper and celery so it’s similar in size to the chunks of ground chicken once cooked. If you’d rather, rough chop the veggies and use a food processor to create a finer texture.
  • If the mixture becomes too dry as it stews, add a little water or broth.
  • Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
  • This is a freezer friendly recipe – ideal for a quick meal on busy weeknights. Double the recipe so you can enjoy one batch now. Completely cool the second batch then transfer to a freezer-safe container for 3 to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and heat on the cooktop or microwave.  
A brioche bun with ground chicken and sausage slices inside on parchment paper.

Serving Suggestions

  • Feel free to use additional garnishes when assembling your sandwiches, like fresh chopped parsley or green onions, or spear a piece of pickled okra on top. 
  • Serve with side dishes like potato chipspotato salad, fries, corn on the cob, crisp green salad, or anything you like!
  • Turn these into chicken gumbo sloppy joe sliders using slider buns or Hawaiian rolls.
  • Instead of buns, serve over rice or Texas toast, as an open-face sandwich.
  • To feed a crowd, double the recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker on a buffet table; let guests assemble sandwiches themselves.

Substitution Ideas

Have fun customizing this recipe to suit your palate with some of these ideas…

  • Use peeled, cooked shrimp (in some lovely spices) instead of sliced andouille as the topper. 
  • I prefer the texture of this recipe without okra, but if you’re a die hard fan, add 1/2 cup of sliced okra. 
  • Use shrimp stock instead of chicken broth for a more seafood forward flavor.
  • Try this with ground turkey instead of chicken (especially if you’re having a hard time finding dark meat ground chicken).
  • Instead of serving smoked sausage on top, brown some fresh sausage (removed from casings) along with the ground meat. Chorizo, Italian or bratwurst would work.
  • Skip the caramelization and cook finely diced onion at the same time as the green pepper and celery. 
A chicken gumbo sloppy joe sandwich topped with slices of andouille sausage.

What to Sip With Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joes

If you’re including the andouille and cayenne, a slightly sweet white wine or pale ale beer is just right to help tame the spice. A lemonade would be really nice, too!

When You Can’t Get Enough Sandwiches!

A chicken gumbo sloppy joe sandwich garnished with green onions.

Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joe Recipe

Linda Feller
This Chicken Gumbo Sloppy Joe recipe is totally from scratch using wholesome ingredients for a spicy, saucy and scrummy sandwich that is sure to be a crowd favorite recipe!
Prep time.5 minutes
Cook time.1 hour
Custom time.30 minutes
Total time.1 hour 35 minutes
Course.Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine.American
Number of servings.6
Calories per serving.359 kcal

Equipment

  • 12-inch skillet with lid

Ingredients

Dry Roux

  • ½ cup all purpose flour

Sloppy Joes

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • ½ onion, cut into 1/4-in slices
  • kosher salt + fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 ounce andouille sausage, sliced thin (about 2 links, or any smoked sausage)
  • 1 pound ground chicken, 92% lean, look for dark meat
  • 2 tablespoon dry roux
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, whisk this into the broth
  • ½ cup petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 burger buns

Instructions

  • Make the dry roux: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add 1/2 cup flour to a heavy oven safe skillet or pie plate and toast in the oven for 35 minutes, stirring every 10, or until it becomes the color of peanut butter powder. Allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container. (While the flour is toasting, you can begin the sloppy joes.)
  • Caramelize the onions: Add 1 tsp of olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat (I used a cast iron skillet). Once shimmering, add the onions and toss to coat. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Adjust the burner down if needed to prevent burning. Stir the onions every few minutes for even cooking. After 20 minutes, or when they are deep golden brown, remove them to a cutting board and give them a rough chop. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Sauté the veggies: Add 2 tsp of olive oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove them to the bowl of onions.
  • Fry the sausage: Add the sliced sausage to the skillet and cook for two minutes on each side to brown. Remove from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Sauté the chicken: Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the ground chicken, breaking it up as it cooks. When there’s barely any pink left, return the vegetables to the skillet. Stir in 2 tbsp of dry roux to coat. Stir in the broth and tomato paste. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, paprika, thyme, cayenne and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  • To assemble: Spoon sloppy joe mixture onto a bottom bun, top with a few slices of sausage, then the top bun.

Notes

  1. The dry roux can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. You can use dry roux to add flavor and thicken stews, gravy, and braised dishes without butter or oil, eliminating excess fat. Simply mix some with a liquid (like broth or water) to create a slurry and stir it into your dish, or mix some into sautéed veggies or meat before adding liquid.
  2. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
  3. This is a freezer friendly recipe – ideal for a quick meal on busy weeknights. Double the recipe so you can enjoy one batch now. Completely cool the second batch then transfer to a freezer-safe container for 3 to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and heat on the cooktop or microwave.  
  4. See the full blog post for substitutions, garnish and side dish ideas.

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 654mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords.freezer-friendly, game day, stove top
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!

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