This Sloppy Joe Recipe takes 20 minutes to whip up. It’s saucy, delicious and messy, just like classic Sloppy Joes should be!
The best part of this sloppy joe recipe is just how easy it is to make. Okay, well actually, the best part is how tasty it is. But the second best part is how easy it is to make. 😉
Seriously, these sloppy joes are so darn good and take no time to throw together. An easy, yummy, dinner everyone (picky kids included) will love? I’ll take seconds please!
What are sloppy joes?
Sloppy Joes are a classic hot American sandwich made up of ground beef and a sweet tomato sauce served on a toasty bun.
Pork may be used if that’s what you have on hand and veggies and seasonings may very from recipe to recipe, but the basic idea is ground meat in a rich tomato sauce!
- Ground Beef – use a lean ground beef to keep the calories and fat down, and bonus: you won’t have to drain any extra grease! Want an even leaner version? Check out our turkey sloppy joes!
- Yellow Onion and Green Bell Pepper – adds flavor, texture, and a boost of nutrients!
- Ketchup – the base for the sauce. I like using a no sugar added variety, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
- Tomato Paste – adds a rich, very concentrated tomato flavor.
- Brown Sugar – balances out the acidity of the ketchup with a rich, molasses, sweetness!
- Worcestershire Sauce, White Vinegar, and Yellow Mustard – all add a delicious tang and spice to offset the sweetness from the brown sugar.
- Hot Sauce – provides a little spicy kick. Omit if you’re sensitive to heat.
- Garlic Powder and Salt – the classic seasoning combo to add and enhance flavors.
How to make
Twenty minutes until dinner? Recipes just don’t get any easier than this!
- Heat oil in a large skillet then stir in beef and veggies.
- Sauté until beef is cooked and veggies are soft.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients (ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, garlic powder, and salt.)
- Stir the sauce into the beef/veggie mixture and let simmer then serve and enjoy!
These sloppy joes couldn’t be quicker or easier to make.
- Don’t overcook. Simmering the sauce too long or at too high of heat will cause it to cook down too much. You don’t want the sauce to be overly thick. It should be sloppy. 😉
- Double the recipe. Sloppy joe meat and sauce keep well in the fridge, can be stored in the freezer for several months, and reheat beautifully. Why not make extra?
- Toast your buns. The crispness of a toasted bun provides a nice crunch to the tender, saucy filling!
- Customize your sandwich. Add more brown sugar to make it sweeter. Add more hot sauce to spice it up. I also love to add a slice of cheese for creaminess and flavor!
What to serve with sloppy joes
Serve these sloppy joe sandwiches with a side of fries, tater tots, or a simple salad. Here are some other easy recipes you can make to bulk up your meal!
- Easy Italian Pasta Salad
- Healthy Coleslaw
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Easy Roasted Vegetables Recipe
- German Potato Salad
You could also try serving your sloppy joe mixture on a homemade pretzel bun!
Other ways to use sloppy joe meat
- In biscuit cups. Use my pizza rolls recipe as a guideline to make sloppy joe stuffed biscuits.
- Over spaghetti squash. A great low carb alternative to a bun and bonus: extra veggies!
- As tacos. Add a little taco seasoning and serve in a taco shell with your favorite taco toppings.
- On grilled cheese. Add it into your grilled cheese sandwich for an extra saucy twist on a classic.
- Over nachos. Serve it on some loaded nachos.
How to store
Sloppy joe meat can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
To reheat, just pop it in the microwave or heat it on the stovetop. If the mixture is too thick, try adding a little bit of water to thin it out, then taste and re-season!
Sloppy Joe Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add in beef, onion, and pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the beef as you go, until the beef is cooked and veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.
- While the meat mixture is cooking, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the sauce: ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, garlic powder, and salt.
- Stir the sauce into the cooked beef/veggie mixture and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to keep at a simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.
- Taste and re-season if necessary.
- Enjoy on toasted buns!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.