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The BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe

Saucy, beefy and so satisfying. We’re convinced this is the BEST recipe for a homemade Sloppy Joe. Ground beef in a hearty tomato sauce served on toasted hamburger buns is a great idea for lunch or dinner.

There’s no match for a warm homemade sandwich, from Grilled Cheese to our famous Philly Cheesesteak. This Sloppy Joe Recipe is definitely at the top of our list.

Sloppy joe sandwich on a plate with chips and pickles.

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This delicious sloppy joe recipe is such a simple recipe and so inexpensive to make, a budget-friendly family dinner. The tender and juicy ground beef are sauteed with green peppers and onion then cooked in a hearty tomato sauce.

Having some go-to ground beef recipes like Cheeseburger Sliders, Taco Salad, or Sloppy Joes will make dinner time a breeze. If you have some ground beef in the freezer and need an easy meal idea, this is a must-try.

Sloppy Joe Ingredients

  • Ground Beef – use lean ground beef (85-90% lean). If using a higher fat content, you will need to skim off the extra fat once the beef is cooked.
  • Bell pepper – we used green, but you can substitute a different color in a pinch.
  • Onion & Garlic – these aromatics add great flavor and disappear into the sauce so picky eaters won’t complain.
  • Homemade Sauce – just a few simple pantry ingredients will make a sauce that’s better than any store-bought sauce. The combination of tomato sauce, brown sugar, yellow mustard, and Worcestershire hits all the right flavor notes; sweet, savory, and tangy.
Ingredients for making sloppy joes

How to Make Sloppy Joes

  1. Chop veggies – Finely chop the onion and green bell pepper.
  2. Make sauce – In a bowl, combine worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, water, brown sugar, and tomato sauce.
  3. Saute beef – In a deep skillet, heat oil over med/high heat. Add the ground beef and break up as it is being cooked. Season with salt and pepper and add in the finely chopped onion and green pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add sauce – Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the sauce and cook over medium high heat until the sauce comes to a soft boil.
  5. Simmer – Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Serve – spoon the saucy beef mixture on toasted buns and serve as sandwiches.

Pro Tip: If you prefer a spicy Sloppy Joes, add some hot sauce or sriracha to the sauce.

Step by step collage of how to make homemade sloppy joes from scratch.

To Serve

There are so many different ways to enjoy a sloppy joe. You’ll make to try them all:

  • Classic – Serve this with toasted hamburger buns for the classic sloppy joe recipe.
  • Grilled Cheese – Add the meat mixture when making a Grilled Cheese for a hearty sandwich.
  • Pizza – Add on homemade pizza dough and top with cheese for a delicious sloppy joe pizza recipe.
  • Loaded fries– There is nothing better than loaded fries, top your fries with some cheese and sloppy joe filling.
  • Chili dogs – Add the meat sauce to your hot dogs.
  • Baked potato – Take loaded baked potato to the next level by topping with this meat sauce.
Sloppy Joes in-between toasted sandwich buns toasted to perfection.

Common Questions

What type of ground beef do I use?

For this recipe, you want to use 85% or 90% lean ground beef.

Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

These EASY sloppy joes are GREAT to make in the crockpot. Once the meat is browned on a skillet, just add it along with all the other ingredients into the crockpot and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

What is the difference between a sloppy joe and Manwich?

This sloppy joe recipe is homemade and made from scratch. Manwich is a pre-made store-bought sauce used to make sloppy joes.

How can I spice up my sloppy joe?

If you like spicy foods, add some jalapenos along with the green peppers.

Make-Ahead

  • Refrigerating – Let the meat sauce cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • Freezing – Once the mixture is cooled, add to freeze-friendly containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheating – A general rule of thumb is that it’s best to reheat a recipe the same way it was cooked. Warm the meat sauce on the stovetop in a skillet or saucepan until hot. You can microwave, but use a microwave shield to catch messy splatter.
Sloppy joe meat sauce made ahead

Love Ground Beef Recipes? Try these:

The BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe

5 from 24 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Sloppy Joe sandwich served with chips and pickles

The BEST recipe for a homemade Sloppy Joe! Ground beef in a hearty tomato sauce on toasted hamburger buns. The perfect recipe for lunch or dinner.

Author: Valentina Ablaev
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$12
Keyword: sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joes
Cuisine: American
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Calories: 365
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb lean ground beef 85%-90% lean
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper or to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 hamburger buns toasted if desired

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the onion. Seed and finely dice the green pepper.

  2. In a bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, water, brown sugar, and tomato sauce.

  3. Place a large skillet or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add olive oil and ground beef. Saute the beef for about 5 minutes until cooked through and longer pink, breaking it up with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and add in the diced peppers and onion. Cook another 5 minutes until the veggies are tender and beef is browned.

  4. Add the minced garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add in the sauce and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve on toasted buns for Sloppy Joe Sandwiches.

Nutrition Facts
The BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 1197mg52%
Potassium 916mg26%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 521IU10%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
Calcium 119mg12%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Valentina Ablaev

I am Valentina, the creator behind the food blog Valentina’s Corner where I share our family’s favorite recipes. When I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and 5 children. We invite you to join us on our blogging journey!

Read more posts by Valentina

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Connie
    September 18, 2021

    Thanks to you, Natasha, we enjoyed your Sloppy Joe recipe on a rainy Florida evening! We haven’t ate this sandwich in years so it was it was like taking a step back in time. And…it even tasted better the next day for lunch. Thanks so much for posting this great recipe.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 18, 2021

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Connir!

      Reply

  • Rick Johnson
    September 15, 2021

    I must try this!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 16, 2021

      Please let us know how it goes.

      Reply

  • Anissa Marie Castillo
    September 15, 2021

    Just made this today. Was so quick, easy, and delicious. I love using your recipes because they are simple and not too complicated. I have yet to find a recipe of yours that I do not like. Hoping to make your chicken scampi recipe tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll taste amazing.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 15, 2021

      Thank you for your wonderful feedback! The Shrimp Scampi is so good, and I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Wendy A. Keady
    September 14, 2021

    I use ketchup instead of tomato sauce. I don’t use worcestershire but instead a tablespoon of horseradish. Gives it a little kick!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      Nice, thanks for sharing that with us, Wendy.

      Reply

  • Cynnamon Stanford
    September 14, 2021

    This was much better than the canned variety. I always add noodles and corn to sloppy Joe leftovers top with mashed potatoes and cheese then bake, makeshift Shepherd’s Pie.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      That’s a great idea!! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Krystle
    September 14, 2021

    The homemade sauce is a game changer. A new family favorite in our house!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      It really is the best!!

      Reply

  • Nicolette Castillo Constance
    September 14, 2021

    Hi Natasha Kravchuk
    I enjoy your recipes so much,I like your frosting and more I always watch on youtube to see many more…Have a bless day.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      Thank you for that wonderful compliment, Nicolette! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my videos!

      Reply

  • katerina @ diethood.com
    September 14, 2021

    My kids would love these!! SO GOOD!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      That is the best when kids love what we moms make. That’s so great!

      Reply

  • Natalie
    September 14, 2021

    We love sloppy joe’s!! Thank you for this easy & delicious recipe!! It’s great any night of the week & all year long!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2021

      You’re welcome, Natalie! Thank you for your great review!

      Reply

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