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.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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.


  • 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

4.96 from 1815 votes
Author: Valentina Ablaev
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


Servings: 4 servings
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 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
  • 1/4 cup water, optional, or added to desired consistency
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired


  • Finely chop the onion. Seed and finely dice the green pepper.
  • In a bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, and tomato sauce.
  • 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 no 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.
  • 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 10-15 minutes or until thickened to your liking. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add water if you prefer a looser consistency. Serve on toasted buns for Sloppy Joe Sandwiches.

Nutrition Per Serving

365kcal Calories35g Carbs31g Protein11g Fat3g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat5g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat70mg Cholesterol1197mg Sodium916mg Potassium3g Fiber12g Sugar521IU Vitamin A23mg Vitamin C119mg Calcium6mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
The BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joes
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 365
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating


  • Melissa
    June 20, 2024

    FANTASTIC! I have never made homemade sloppy Joe’s before. I am using up what I had today for dinner. Looking at my pantry ingredients and produce, I was sure I had the makings for them. I just didn’t know how. I am not a fan of sweet Joe’s, this recipe was pretty good though. Ty! I’m sure I’ll make them again. Now let’s see what the family thinks- and the picky toddler!


    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 20, 2024

      I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.


As Featured On

Never Go "Hangry" Again!

Get weekly updates on new recipes, exclusive giveaways plus behind the scenes photos.