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Yummy Homemade Sloppy Joes

When I think back to when I was a kid, one of my **FAVE** dinners was Sloppy Joes! And I am proud to admit that this classic sandwich is still one of my go-to meals. Why? Sloppy Joes are easy to make, full of flavor, and relatively affordable. So skip the canned sauce. In this post we’re going to show you how to whip up a big batch of saucy, tangy-sweet sloppy joes using basic pantry ingredients.

Sloppy Joe Recipe

Homemade Sloppy Joes = Easy Family Dinner the Whole Crew will Love.

Don’t get me wrong. I love fancy dinners and working with unusual ingredients. Exploring different cuisines and meals is a passion of mine.

But can I tell you something? It is hard to beat good, All-American, messy + saucy, sweet + tangy, piled high on a bun Sloppy Joes. And let’s be honest…sometimes this gal wants EASY. A no fuss family dinner that no one wrinkles their nose at.

Canned sloppy joe sauce has some perks. Open can, stir, done. No judgment here, ladies and gents. I’m all about it.

In this post, however, we are going to show you how to whip up your own sloppy joe sauce using things you likely already have in your pantry. I love making my own Sloppy Joe sauce. Why? I get to control what goes in it. I can make them spicy or mild…sweet or savory…thick or thin. Keep reading to get started with the basics. After that, make them your own.

overhead picture of a skillet of ground beef, bell pepper, onion, and spices

Ingredients Needed to Make Sloppy Joes:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Tomato paste
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar – Just a splish splash.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Again, just a splash or two.
  • Spices – Chili powder, paprika, onion powder, salt + pepper.

TIP: You can add or take away the flavor additions based on your personal taste preference. Our recipe at the bottom of this post gets you a great, all around tasty sandwich. Feel free to get creative. (I like to taste as I go, reseason, taste again.)

I really really really am a fan of using lean ground beef in this easy recipe. Why? You don’t have to worry about all the grease and draining. Just fry up the ground beef with the bell pepper, onion, and garlic and add in the ingredients.

a skillet of sauce and ground beef

How to Make Sloppy Joes from Scratch:

  1. First, in a large skillet on medium high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef with the chopped bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle in half the salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  2. Then, stir in the remaining ingredients. Use the spoon to work the tomato paste into the liquid until it creates a thick sauce.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Add more water as needed to reach the desired consistency. If your sauce is “too thin”, continue to cook until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Taste and reseason to your liking.
  5. Finally, serve hot on toasted buns and top with cheese if desired. Yum!

Sloppy Joes are one of those easy throw-together dinners that I can’t do without. Out of canned sauce? No worries. Now you know how to make your own.

TIP: This recipe can be made ahead of time and reheated. Just store in an air tight container in the fridge until ready to use.

More Recipes You Might Like:

Homemade Corn Chowder

Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce

Hearty + Healthy Cabbage Soup

Reuben Slider Sandwiches

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Tips + Ideas:

  • Feel free to experiment with your sloppy joes by adding hot sauce, other spices, etc. For example, give them a Mexican flair by adding in a little cumin, oregano or taco seasoning. Or make them Southern by using a little BBQ sauce instead of the ketchup and mustard and stir in a drop or two of liquid smoke.
  • Counting carbs? Skip the buns, hon and eat this straight. Delish.
  • Serve your sloppy joes open faced and load them up with shredded cheese. Pile them high and eat them with a fork. So good!
  • Toast those buns before serving. It helps keep the bread from getting too soggy.
  • Not a fan of ground beef? No worries. You can make this recipe using ground turkey, too.
  • Taste and reseason as you go to your preference. For example, add half of the seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sugar…taste, then reseason if desired.
Sloppy Joe Recipe

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Homemade Sloppy Joes
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Make your own sloppy joes from scratch with this easy, sweet + tangy recipe.
Course Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword sloppy joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 to 10 Sandwiches
Calories 221kcal
Author Buy This Cook That

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Lean ground beef
  • 1 Bell pepper small diced
  • 1 Onion peeled and small diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 cup Water more or less to desired thickness
  • 6 ounces Tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

Instructions

  • First, in a large skillet on medium high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef with the chopped bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle in half the salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  • Then, stir in the remaining ingredients. Use the spoon to work the tomato paste into the liquid until it creates a thick sauce.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Add more water as needed to reach the desired consistency. If your sauce is “too thin”, continue to cook until the liquid has reduced.
  • Taste and reseason to your liking.
  • Finally, serve hot on toasted buns and top with cheese if desired. Yum!

Notes

Nutritional information is only for the sloppy joe meat / mix and does not include bun or additional toppings.
Taste and reseason as you go to your preference. For example, add half of the seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sugar…taste, then reseason if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 747mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1396IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 4mg

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