This Sloppy Joe Recipe is a quick and easy family-pleasin’ kind of meal.
Browned ground beef is cooked with onion and simmered in an extra tangy tomato sauce and then piled on toasted buns.
These homemade sloppy joes taste so much better than the canned version and they don’t need much extra time!
A Favorite Easy Dinner
Sloppy joes are one of those classics that never go out of style. These are loved by my kids but they’re also one of my husband’s favorites (he sometimes requests them as a birthday dinner).
It is suggested that sloppy joes were created by a chef named Joe in the ’30s in Sioux City, Iowa, and are based on the loose meat sandwich.
- A homemade sloppy joe sauce uses ingredients you likely have on hand already.
- It’s almost as fast as opening a can of mix but tastes so much better!
- The meat mixture can be prepared ahead of time and reheated for quick meals.
Sloppy Joe Ingredients
A sloppy joe is good and saucy to make sure it’s…. sloppy! True to their name, they are finger-licking delicious, so be sure to serve with plenty of napkins!
- Meat – Use 80/20 lean ground beef or any ground meat like ground turkey (I’ve even made sloppy joes with lentils before, they’re great and even meat lovers love them).
- Sloppy Joe Sauce – This sauce is a zesty and slightly sweet tomato-based sauce made with tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar for a bit of sweetness, and some cider vinegar for some zest.
- Optional Additions – Adding veggies adds flavor and nutrition, and it helps to stretch the meat a little bit further! In addition to green pepper, try chopped celery, shredded carrot, or other finely diced veggies. Add some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
How to Make Sloppy Joes
This is an easy recipe to make sloppy joes on the stove!
- Brown Meat: Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat with onion and garlic. Drain any fat and add bell pepper if using.
- Simmer in Sauce: Add the sloppy joe sauce ingredients to the browned beef and simmer. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Serve on Buns: Toast the buns (add garlic butter if you’d like) and pile high with sloppy joe meat.
If you want a thicker sauce, just simmer a little bit longer but not too long, they should be saucy and sloppy. If you’re serving a crowd, make a bigger batch in the slow cooker and keep them warm so your guests can serve themselves!
Serve Them With…
Unlike hamburgers, this hearty sandwich doesn’t need any condiments. The yummy full-bodied sauce takes care of all that. You can top it with a bit of cheddar cheese if you’d like!
Then sit back and watch as those Sloppy Joes disappear fast!
If you have leftover sloppy joe filling, it can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze sloppy joe mixture in freezer bags and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Great Ways to Enjoy Leftover Sloppy Joes
- add it to grilled cheese sandwiches
- spoon over hot dogs for zesty chili dogs
- spread it over pizza dough, top with cheese and bake until bubbly
- scoop it on macaroni and cheese
- tuck it into tortillas or taco shells
Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- hamburger buns
- butter or olive oil for brushing
Sloppy Joe Sauce
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ½ green bell pepper finely diced
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered or until sauce is thick.
- While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to broil. Brush the inside of the hamburger buns with butter or olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil 1-3 minutes or just until lightly browned.
- Spoon meat mixture over the toasted buns and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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