Homemade Sloppy Joes

  • Homemade Sloppy Joes are a quick and simple recipe that replaces that store bought can of sauce! Hearty, messy, and so delicious!

    I love a hearty meal that doesn’t take much effort to put together. These homemade sloppy joes are so easy to make and perfect for busy days when you don’t want to cook.

    Another super quick meal idea is this Spaghetti Aglio e Olio…it requires pantry staples and tastes phenomenal! Or try my Homemade Hamburger Helper!

    Close up of a sloppy joe.

    *Originally published May 2016. Text and photos updated.*

    Who remembers sloppy joes from their childhood??? Honestly, I don’t feel your childhood is complete without eating them at least once, am I right?!

    Yeah, sure they are messy but they are so satisfying. They are family friendly and I don’t know a kid that won’t eat them.


    Reasons to love this American classic

    • Super easy and quick to make
    • Uses a few pantry staples to create an amazing tasting sandwich
    • The perfect combo of sweet and savory
    • Can be made in the slow cooker
    • Make a double batch and freeze for later
    Process shots of making sloppy joes.


    • Ground Beef: Use whatever % lean you have. You can also use ground turkey or chicken too.
    • Onion and Garlic: Adds flavor
    • Tomato Sauce: If you’re out you can sub in a can of tomato soup
    • Ketchup: Use tomato paste if you are out and add a tiny bit more sugar to balance.
    • Worcestershire: Don’t leave this out….it’s that secret ingredient that makes it taste so good! If your out sub with soy sauce.
    • Brown Sugar: Adds just a touch of sweetness
    • Mustard
    • Chili Powder
    Top down of a sloppy joe on a plate with chips and pickles.

    Top Tips for the best sandwich:

    First: Toast your buns. I know it seems like an extra step but it is so worth it. It protects the bottom bun from getting soggy so quickly and takes the sandwich to the next level.

    Second: Add some toppings! Try a slice of cheese or pickles or both. Even slices of red onion are tasty.

    Third: Have a roll of paper towels handy….you know you’re going to need them.

    Sloppy joe on a blue plate.

    Uses for Sloppy Joe meat other than sandwiches

    • Spoon over fries or tater tots
    • Use it to top a baked potato and top with toppings
    • Use a heaping tablespoon on top of crescent dough. Wrap up with a little cheddar and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
    • Make it into a quesadilla instead of a sandwich

    Serving Suggestions:

    4.79 from 14 votes
    Close up of a sloppy joe.
    Homemade Sloppy Joes
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins

    Homemade Sloppy Joes are a quick and simple recipe that replaces that store bought can of sauce! Hearty, messy, and so delicious!

    Course: Beef, Sandwich
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: easy sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joe recipe
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 165 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    • 1 pound (500g) ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 (15oz)(425g) can tomato sauce
    • ¼ cup (70g) ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • Hamburger buns
    • Toppings of choice: pickles, cheddar slices…
    1. In a large skillet brown the ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any grease. Add in the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, chili powder and mustard. Stir well to combine and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve on hamburger buns and toppings of choice.
    Recipe Notes
    1. CROCKPOT VERSION: Brown the ground beef and add to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for up to 8 hours and HIGH for 3-4 hours. The texture will be a little softer. 
    2. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Cool completely and store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
      • chopped bell pepper
      • chopped carrot
      • minced celery
      • bbq sauce
      • cayenne pepper
    4. Be sure to toast your buns! 
    5. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition calculated without the buns. 

    What to serve with Homemade Sloppy Joes

    Nutrition Facts
    Homemade Sloppy Joes
    Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
    Calories 165 Calories from Fat 72
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 8g12%
    Saturated Fat 3g19%
    Cholesterol 49mg16%
    Sodium 184mg8%
    Potassium 336mg10%
    Carbohydrates 8g3%
    Fiber 1g4%
    Sugar 5g6%
    Protein 16g32%
    Vitamin A 149IU3%
    Vitamin C 3mg4%
    Calcium 19mg2%
    Iron 2mg11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
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