Quick to make and tasty, these Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes come together in under 30 minutes. Great for busy weeknights, prepare the savory meat up to 3 days in advance--getting dinner on the table fast!
There's a reason Sloppy Joes are a classic American dish. They're delicious, easy to make, and perfect for feeding a crowd. And this saucy Sloppy Joe recipe is no exception!
This easy homemade Sloppy Joe recipe is perfect for family gatherings or dinner parties. The sauce is flavorful and the beef is juicy, making it a hit with everyone at the table.
Plus, this recipe can be made ahead of time, so you don't have to worry about last-minute preparations. So, if you're looking for an easy and delicious Sloppy Joe recipe that will please a crowd, give this one a try.
With ground beef, bell peppers, onions, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and some seasonings, you can have a tasty meal on the table in no time.
Just make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand when you serve these classic Sloppy Joes because they can be a little messy!
Is a Sloppy Joe a sandwich?
Yes, a Sloppy Joe is typically considered to be a type of sandwich, as it is made with a filling (ground beef and tomato sauce) that is served on a bread product (a hamburger bun).
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Ground Beef: Lean ground beef or ground turkey work great!
- Small Diced Onion: To save time, I always save extra diced onion in a double-bagged sandwich bag in the freezer. Add to your skillet frozen and it cooks quickly.
- Diced Green Bell Pepper: Remove the seeds, then dice. I always dice bell peppers small--picky eaters don't notice the veggies as much!
- Ketchup: This is the base for the sauce and adds a lot of rich flavor.
- Tomato Paste: Helps build the tomato flavor and thickens the sauce.
- Yellow Mustard: Adds a crisp and tangy taste without heat.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Brightens up the sauce with a sweet and sour taste.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Just a little, but it adds a nice sweetness to the sauce!
- Salt: An important flavor enhancer.
- Garlic Powder: This recipe tastes great with garlic powder instead of minced fresh garlic--I always appreciate a shortcut that doesn't sacrifice flavor!
- Hamburger Buns (for serving): Any type you prefer. Toast them if you have time.
How to Make This Easy Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe
- Prep. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef with green pepper and diced onions. Cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.
- Cook. Add in ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Stir; then add in the brown sugar, salt, and garlic powder. Stir to combine well. I like to combine the brown sugar, salt and garlic powder in a single small bowl while the ground beef starts cooking. Then I can quickly pour it in the mixture when it's time!
- Finish. Bring the Sloppy Joe mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
- Assemble. While the mixture is simmering, I prep the hamburger buns. If I'm toasting them, I'll butter them at this stage, or I simply line them up on a foil lined baking sheet. I then toast them and once the Sloppy Joe sauce is done cooking, spoon on to the buns and serve.
Yes! The Sloppy Joe mix can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. To reheat, just place the mixture in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until it's heated through.
The Sloppy Joe is a popular sandwich in the United States that typically consists of ground beef and tomato sauce. While its origins are somewhat unclear, some sources suggest that the dish was created at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1930 by a cook named Joe, who added tomato sauce to his loose meat sandwiches.
Manwich is a brand of pre-made Sloppy Joe sauce that can be purchased in grocery stores. It is a commercially marketed version of the sauce that is commonly used in Sloppy Joe dishes. However, this version of easy homemade Sloppy Joes uses ingredients you already have in your fridge or pantry and tastes delicious!
Tips for Success
Here's how to make sure your Sloppy Joe meat mixture turns out perfect!
- Use lean ground beef to skip draining the fat in Step 1.
- Ground turkey substitutes beautifully in this recipe.
- Freeze Sloppy Joes for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as usual before serving.
- Add Worcestershire sauce or even bbq sauce to the ground meat for an extra punch of flavor.
- If you like your Sloppy Joe mix on the sweeter side, add more brown sugar.
- Try adding chili powder or smoked paprika to the mix for a smoky kick.
- Making this for kids? Sneak in some hidden veggies to the mix for extra nutrition.
- Serve the Sloppy Joe filling on a toasted hamburger bun.
- If you want your Sloppy Joes to be spicy, you can add some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce.
- If you find that your sauce is too thick, try adding a little water to thin it out.
Easy Sides for Pairing With a Loose Meat Sandwich
If you want to keep things super simple, pair your Sloppy Joe sandwich with potato chips or tater tots. If you're up for putting in a little more effort, here are some easy side dish ideas that will go well with the flavors in this recipe:
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Side Salad
- Baked Beans
- Macaroni Salad
- Potato Salad
- French Fries
- Sweet Potato Fries
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat: Place the Sloppy Joe mix in a saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until it's heated through.
Alternatively, you can put it in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes! Once it's cooled, place the sloppy joe mix in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual before serving.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Sign up for my email newsletter so you don't miss any recipes.
Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion (about ½ medium onion)
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- ⅔ cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef with green pepper and onions. Cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.
- Add in ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Stir; then add in the brown sugar, salt, and garlic powder. Stir to combine well.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
- Spoon onto toasted hamburger buns and serve.
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To reheat: Place the Sloppy Joe mix in a saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until it's heated through. Alternatively, you can put it in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Freezing: Once it's cooled, place the sloppy joe mix in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual before serving.