Homemade Sloppy Joes

More Ways to Search: Recipe Index

Home » Main Dishes » 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, this homemade sloppy joes recipe is one for the books!

closeup: homemade sloppy joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe

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?!

Sure, they are messy (they don’t call them sloppy for nothing!), but they are so satisfying. They’re family-friendly too — I’ve never met a kid that won’t eat a messy and delicious ground beef sandwich.

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!

But, before I get ahead of myself — today I want to share my easy sloppy joe recipe with ketchup! The addition of everyone’s favorite condiment makes these sandwiches oh-so-tasty. Let’s jump right in.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe for Homemade Sloppy Joe Mix

  • 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
overhead: ingredients needed for this homemade sloppy joes recipe

Key Ingredients to Make A Homemade Ground Beef Sandwich

  • 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 it out.
  • WORCESTERSHIRE – Don’t leave this out….it’s that secret ingredient that makes it taste so good! Soy sauce is also a decent substitute.
  • BROWN SUGAR – Adds just a touch of sweetness.
  • MUSTARD – For more complex savory flavor.
  • CHILI POWDER – For a bit of heat! If you don’t like spicy foods at all, you can always replace this with some paprika.
overhead: process shots of making a ground beef sandwich in a skillet

Instructions to Make Homemade Sloppy Joes

COOK THE GROUND BEEF: Add the ground beef to a large skillet and brown with the onion and garlic. When the meat is no longer pink, drain any excess grease.

ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS: Incorporate the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, chili powder, and mustard and stir until combined. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.

SEASON TO TASTE AND SERVE: Taste your homemade sloppy joe mix and add some salt and pepper if needed. Serve on hamburger buns along with your toppings of choice!

overhead: homemade sloppy joe mix on a hamburger bun with sliced pickles and potato chips on the side

Tips for Making The Best Ground Beef Sandwich

  • 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.
  • Add some toppings! Try a slice of cheese or pickles or both. Even slices of red onion are tasty.
  • Have a roll of paper towels handy….you know you’re going to need them.
  • Don’t skip the ketchup. This wouldn’t be an easy sloppy joe recipe with ketchup without, well, ketchup! Remember that you can replace it with tomato paste and sugar if you have to, but ketchup really is the best.
easy sloppy joe recipe with ketchup on a blue plate

Uses for Homemade Sloppy Joe Mix

Don’t stop at sandwiches! There’s so much more you can do with your homemade sloppy joe mix:

  • Spoon over fries or tater tots.
  • Use it to top a baked potato and top it 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. It’s the perfect poppable snack!
  • Make it into a quesadilla instead of a sandwich.


Do you drain hamburger meat for sloppy joes?

I typically do, but it really depends on the ground beef you use. Leaner cuts have less fat, so you don’t need to worry about draining, whereas fattier varieties will require some drainage. The best (and easiest) way to remove all of that excess grease is to transfer the meat to a colander to drain. Put it back in the skillet when you’re done!

What’s the best way to thicken sloppy joes?

There are a few different options. Make a slurry with cornstarch or flour, or you can use potato starch. If you don’t want to add any extra ingredients, simply let your homemade sloppy joe mix simmer until it reduces.

What is the difference between sloppy joes and manwich?

Manwich is the brand name of the most popular store-bought sloppy joe mix. While the canned version can be used in a crunch, I definitely recommend making my homemade sloppy joes recipe instead!

What’s a good side dish for sloppy joes?

There are tons of possibilities!

– Potato chips….of course!
Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. Both are family favorites!
– And don’t forget dessert! Try these No Bake Peanut Butter Bars or these S’more Cookie Bars.

I’m sharing even more serving suggestions for this ground beef sandwich on the recipe card below.

More Sandwich Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about my homemade sloppy joes!

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram for all my latest updates!

Close up of a sloppy joe.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Course: Beef, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joe recipe
Homemade Sloppy Joes are a quick and simple recipe that replaces that store-bought can of sauce! Hearty, messy, and so delicious, this homemade sloppy joes recipe is one for the books!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe


  • 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…


  • 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.


  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


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg

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

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!


Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating