Homemade Sloppy Joes

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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:

4.8 from 15 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.

56 thoughts on “Homemade Sloppy Joes”

  1. I’ve been making this for about a year now, and I make sloppy joes at least once a month. It’s delicious! The only thing I changed is I used ground turkey. Thanks for this recipe!

    • Thank you so much Debbie!! I am so glad you like the sloppy joes and thank you for sharing about using ground turkey!

  2. 5 stars
    These were probably the best Sloppy Joes I’ve ever had, and I’ve made a lot of Sloppy Joes, trying to find the perfect recipe. I think I’ve found it! The only thing I changed was that I used ground turkey breast in place of ground beef to make it more WW friendly. It came out wonderful! My kids enjoyed it as much as I did. I served them with some Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges.

  3. 4 stars
    When I was little my mom made BBQ (our answer to Sloppy Joe) for special occasions like my sister and my Summer Birthdays. It was more economical than hamburgers and hot dogs and everyone loved it. My cousins called my mom Aunt Barbeque! We would have sides of potato salad and baked beans with pickles and olives! Oh the fond memories.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I love hearing everyone’s stories and I love it when food brings back memories!! Thanks again!! 🙂

    • I am so glad that you liked the sloppy joes and thank you for letting me know about substituting ground beef with deer meat!! I’ll have to get some from my brother so I can try it out!

  4. Found your recipe today and made it tonight. Will never go back to the canned stuff again. The kids even it loved it. Served with sweet potato fries. The best Friday night dinner!

    • YAY!! I’m so glad you and your family like this!! I’m going to have to make sweet potato fries now, I haven’t had those in forever!! 🙂

  5. Making this right now!! Looks and smells yummy. And I love that I can make it in the microwave with my tupperware stack cooker!!

  6. At first my 6yr old daughter said “that looks nasty”. After getting her to help me finish it off and make her plate she loved it!! She even had seconds! I know this is her new favorite and mine too. It’s so much better than that canned stuff!!!

  7. Great recipe. Nothing is better than homemade. Taste like it did when Mom made it for the family, but just a little better. Sorry Mom. Love you.

  8. Could you please tell us how we would make it in a crock pot? I’d love to try and make it that way if I could. Thank you very much.

  9. The epitome of good, hearty, delicious family food! I’ll never outgrow a good sloppy joe (no one should!), and this recipe looks amazing!

  10. 5 stars
    thx for this recipe. certainly takes me back to my childhood too. I thought one could sub. chicken or turkey or a mix of ground meats.. depending on what u have on hand.

    i’m making tis tonight.

    • You certainly could substitute in ground chicken or turkey, great idea!! Hope you enjoyed it as much as we do! Thanks for the comment!


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