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The Ultimate Homemade Sloppy Joe

Get ready to enjoy a classic American sandwich with this delicious and savory Sloppy Joe recipe. Packed with flavors and easy to prepare. This recipe is perfect for a simple, quick, and satisfying family dinner any day of the week.

Elevate Your Dinner Game with Sloppy Joes

Are you in search of a meal that’s not only hearty and satisfying but also brimming with flavor and doesn’t take hours to prepare? Look no further than our classic Homemade Sloppy Joes recipe. It’s a simple yet satisfying meal that is perfect for any day of the week!

The beauty of this sandwich recipe lies in its simplicity – it’s a one-pot dish that you can whip up in about 30 minutes. Perfect for those busy weeknights, family gatherings, or game-day feasts – pairing excellently with coleslaw or our refreshing restaurant-style Caesar Salad to balance out the flavors.

Sloppy Joe – Classic comfort meal

Sloppy Joe is a classic American comfort food that consists of ground beef cooked with vegetables and a sweet, savory, and tangy sauce, served on a toasted hamburger bun. It’s a quick and easy meal that will surely please the whole family.

Our homemade Sloppy Joe’s recipe is far more flavorful and well-rounded than any canned mix. And it’s as easy to make as it is delicious. It has a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors!

While it may seem like a simple dish, the combination of savory meat, savory sauce, and soft bun creates a fusion of flavors and textures that’s impossible to resist.

With its highly customizable and delicious quality, you can always serve sloppy joe with varieties of toppings and sides. My favorite side to enjoy Sloppy Joe with is French fries with coleslaw

Zoomed in detail of the Sloppy Joe filling, featuring ground beef, onions, and tangy sauce

Why it’s so good

  • Flavor Explosion: The rich, umami flavors of the meat meld perfectly with the sweet and tangy sauce, creating a mouthwatering taste sensation.
  • Texture Variety: From the tender meat to the soft bun, and the crisp pickles or coleslaw you can add as toppings, Sloppy Joes offer a delightful mix of textures.
  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is a go-to for busy weeknights as it’s ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Customizable: You can adapt the recipe to suit your taste by adding ingredients like chopped onions, bell peppers, or even a touch of heat with some hot sauce.

Ingredients for Homemade Sloppy Joe 

  • Ground beef: Ensure to use lean ground beef for this recipe. If you use ground beef with a higher fat content, be sure to skim off any excess fat after cooking. 
  • Bell pepper, Onion, and garlic: They add a satisfying crunch, and the sweet and tangy flavor complements the savory ground beef.
  • Ketchup, Tomato Paste, and Brown Sugar: This mix creates a balanced, tangy-sweet sauce that’s a signature of Sloppy Joes.
  • Mustard and Worcestershire Sauce: These ingredients contribute a layer of complexity to the taste, giving it a touch of tang and savory “oomph.”
  • Chili Powder: This optional ingredient brings a warm heat to the dish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hamburger buns: Soft, lightly toasted buns serve as the perfect vessel for the rich, sloppy filling.
  • Optional toppings: pickles, grated cheese, chopped onions (Add as desired)

How to make sloppy Joe 

  • Cook ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink. 
  • Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix ketchup, water, brown sugar, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. 
  • Add to the skillet and let the mixture simmer for 10-12 minutes. Toast hamburger buns and spoon the Sloppy Joe mixture onto the bottom halves. 
  • Add desired toppings.

Pro Tips

  • Don’t skip the Worcestershire sauce; it adds a unique depth of flavor.
  • Use a lean cut of ground beef to minimize excess fat and keep your sandwich healthier.
  • Toasting your hamburger bun before piling on the filling will prevent it from getting soggy.
"A juicy Sloppy Joe sandwich dripped with tangy sauce on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Sloppy Joe?

Sloppy Joe is a classic and popular American comfort dish made with ground beef cooked with onions, peppers, and a tomato-based sauce, served on a toasted hamburger bun. The recipe can be customized with additional seasonings and toppings, and vegetarian variations are available.

How to make sloppy joe sauce

All you need to make sloppy joe sauce includes ketchup, water, brown sugar, yellow mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper. 

Mix the ingredients well until fully combined. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the cooked ground beef and vegetables, stirring until everything is fully coated. Simmer the mixture for 10-12 minutes until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld together.

What sides go with sloppy Joe?

Sloppy Joes are often served with classic sides like potato chips, French fries, or a simple green salad. You can serve them with:

  • Onion rings: The combination of the tang from onion rings and the sweetness of sloppy joe is wonderful. 
  • Roasted potatoes: I love this pairing because it is one of the best ways to enjoy delicious sloppy joe.
  • Coleslaw: The creamy taste of Coleslaw and the savory flavor of sloppy joe pair well together. 
  • Corn on the cob: Whether grilled or boiled, corn on the cob is an excellent idea for a side to sloppy joe.
  • Green beans: Pair this with sloppy Joe if you want something healthy yet delicious. 


What to do with leftover Sloppy Joe meat?

Leftover sloppy Joe meat can be used in a variety of tasty and creative ways. One easy and quick idea is to mix the leftover meat with cooked pasta and shredded cheese, then bake until melted and bubbly. You could also use the leftover meat to make nachos or pizza or stuff it into bell peppers or baked potatoes. Another idea is to make a chili or a shepherd’s pie using the leftover meat as a base. Sloppy Joe meat also makes a delicious filling for tacos or quesadillas. The possibilities on what to use your leftover Sloppy Joe for are endless. 

How long is Sloppy Joe good in the fridge? 

Sloppy Joe can last in the fridge for 3 to 5 days if stored properly in an airtight container. Proper storage includes sealing the leftovers tightly and keeping them at or below 40°F (4°C). Consuming leftovers within this timeframe is recommended to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Additionally, homemade freezer sloppy joes can be frozen for up to six months.

How to store Sloppy Joe 

To store Sloppy Joe, place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, ensuring that it stays at or below 40°F (4°C) to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Can I make Sloppy Joes ahead of time?

Yes! Sloppy Joes can be prepared in advance and reheated when you’re ready to eat. Just store the meat mixture separately from the buns to prevent sogginess.

Can I use ground turkey instead of beef?

Absolutely. Ground turkey is a leaner option; the seasonings will infuse it with plenty of flavor.

How to reheat Sloppy Joe 

To reheat Sloppy Joe, it’s best to use the stovetop or microwave. Simply heat the leftovers in a skillet over medium-high heat or in the microwave until heated through while stirring occasionally.

Other delicious recipes to try out 

Close-up view of a homemade Sloppy Joe sandwich on a toasted bun.

Homemade Sloppy Joe

If you’ve been looking for a family-friendly lunch or dinner idea, Sloppy Joe is one to try. It is delicious, sweet and satisfying!
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Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 401.6kcal


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder optional for some heat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Optional toppings: pickles, grated cheese, chopped onions


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the ground beef. Cook, breaking the beef into crumbles, until it is no longer pink and fully cooked. Drain any excess fat from the skillet.
  • Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, and minced garlic to the skillet with the ground beef. Stir and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the onions and peppers have softened.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ketchup, water, brown sugar, tomato paste, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. Mix well until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet with the ground beef and vegetables. Stir until the beef and vegetables are fully coated in the sauce. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time, the sauce will thicken and the flavors will meld together.
  • While the Sloppy Joe mixture is simmering, toast the hamburger buns on the grill or in an oven/toaster until they are lightly browned.
  • When the sauce has thickened, season the Sloppy Joe mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cap off the cooking process by spooning an equal portion of the Sloppy Joe mixture onto the bottom halves of the toasted hamburger buns. Add your desired toppings such as pickles, cheese, or chopped onions.


Calories: 401.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.6g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 7.7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.9g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 70.3mg | Sodium: 870.3mg | Potassium: 789.2mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 29.1g | Vitamin A: 563.2IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 111.8mg | Iron: 5.2mg

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