Home Dinner Homemade Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes

by insanelygood

Throw out the canned stuff and give these Homemade Sloppy Joes a try! It’s a simple, classic recipe that’s sure to remind you of the good-old-days.

One bite of this deliciously messy sandwich will transport you back into childhood. And, since it’s affordable and easy to make, you can take a trip down memory lane any day of the week.

This sweet and savory combo is one that the whole family will enjoy. And it’s sooooo much better than the canned stuff, without all the questionable ingredients.

Top it off with a bun, a few pickles and you’ve got a quick and easy dinner that’s ready in no time. Plus, the leftovers are to die for!

Homemade Sloppy Joes

How to Make Homemade Sloppy Joes

This is a fantastic dish to share with the entire family. It’s quick, easy, flavorful and takes only 30 minutes to make. So even if you’re busy, you can still whip up a classic dinner for everyone to enjoy.

  1. Start by cooking the ground beef, onion, and green pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off liquids.
  2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn the stove off, and Voila! It’s ready to go into the buns.
  5. Pile a generous amount of meat onto toasted and buttered buns. Top it with a nice thick slice of Cheddar cheese and broil for a minute to melt. Serve while hot.


  • Ground beef. The star of the dish is the meat. Apart from ground sirloin, you can also opt for other cuts of beef (like 85% Angus beef). Turkey is a good alternative for healthy eaters, too!
  • Onion. Yellow onion is packed with flavor. While it’s good on its own, you could also combine it with chopped celery for even more zest. Use a food processor to quickly and easily chop up the veggies.
  • Brown sugar. This is one of those “not-so-secret” ingredients that makes all the difference. Adds just enough sweetness to really make this meal pop.
  • Ketchup & Mustard. Buy all-natural or organic to avoid the high-fructose corn-syrup and other hidden ingredients. That’s why we love homemade. We’re able to make it with all-natural ingredients.
  • Barbecue Sauce. Adds a sweet, tangy flavor that’s hard to resist.
  • Worcestershire sauce. The not-so-secret ingredient in the best-tasting sloppy Joe’s. The condiment originated from England and is made of fermented liquid. It brings a nice umami flavor to your meat. Lea and Perrins is always the most reliable brand.
  • Bell Pepper. I prefer green bell pepper over red because of the savory flavor. But green and red both work well in this recipe.
  • Garlic Powder. Salt. Pepper. These classic seasonings help bring out the full flavor in this dish.
  • Crusty bread. Best served buttered and toasted.

What to Serve with Homemade Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes can easily make a meal all by themselves, but here are some great side dishes to kick things up a notch!

  • You can’t go wrong with a good old bag of potato chips. The lightness and crispness of each chip brings a nice balance to the soft and filling sandwich. You can even use the meat as a dip! You can also counterbalance the flavors of the meat and chips with some spicy and crunchy dill pickles.
  • Macaroni salad is creamy, refreshing, and pairs perfectly with a savory sloppy joe.
  • Corn on the Cob. Break out the bib and grab some napkins! Since sloppy joes are already deliciously messy, why not add to the fun with some corn on the cob. Slap on some melted butter and these two pair perfectly together.
  • Onion rings are another perfect side. They’re sweet, savory, and crunchy, all at the same time. The secret to making them light and crunchy? Cornstarch! 
  • Baked beans are perhaps the most iconic side dish to sloppy Joe’s. Perhaps it’s because they have the same red shade, or that they are both packed with flavor, but whatever it is, they’re always better together than apart. Just season the beans with brown sugar and bacon bits and they’re ready to go.

Best Bread for Sloppy Joes

My personal choices are either brioche or pretzel, but any crusty bread will do.

No matter what bread you choose, the most important thing is that it’s toasted. It only takes a few minutes, and it makes all the difference. If you don’t toast the bread, it will turn soggy pretty quickly. 

To toast bread, turn the stove to high heat, and drizzle some vegetable oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bread and toast for a few seconds. If you want to give it more flavor, you can’t go wrong with butter. 

Tips & Tricks for the Best Sloppy Joe’s

  • If you want a healthier version, add some veggies like carrots, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes. I promise your kids won’t even notice them there!
  • If you want a spicier flavor, just add some chili powder, cumin, and chipotle powder to the mix.
  • You can also pour some wine to give your meat some acidity. Don’t worry, you can still serve it to kids as the alcohol will evaporate as it cooks.
  • Watch the sauce as it cooks to make sure you get a nice, thick mixture. You don’t want the sauce to reduce too much because you’ll end up with a dry sloppy joe.
  • Top it off with some cheddar or American cheese for an extra tasty sandwich. Melted is always best of course 🙂
  • If you want your meat to have a crusty edge like a burger does, turn the stove to high heat instead of medium-high as you brown it.
  • When reheating sloppy Joe’s, add some tomato sauce and water to avoid drying the sauce out. 

Homemade Sloppy Joes



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • salt to taste

  • ground black pepper to taste


  • Cook the ground beef, onion, and green pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off liquids.
  • Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  • Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place onto toasted and buttered buns and enjoy!

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