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This sweet and tangy Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe is even better than the ones you grew up eating! Made with real ingredients with the perfect balance of flavors, it’s a quick and easy recipe the entire family will love.
Sloppy joes are probably the most quintessential meal for busy weeknights! They’re super quick to whip up and everyone loves them, kids and adults alike. While you’ve probably made them before using the ready-made sauce, after you see how easy this homemade sloppy joe sauce recipe is, you’ll ditch the canned sauce forever!
It really doesn’t get much easier than this sloppy joe recipe! You just brown some ground beef, sauté the veggies and throw everything back into the same skillet until nice and bubbling hot. I mean, everyone loves an easy skillet meal, am I right?
Looking for more ideas? This Easy Chicken Piccata and this Philly Cheesesteak Pasta are two other really popular skillet recipes that are always a hit!
💖Why We Love This Recipe
- Easy recipe that’s perfect for a quick meal on busy weeknights that the whole family will love, even your picky eaters!
- Even though there are a good many ingredients, they are all basic pantry items you probably have on hand.
- The homemade sauce is such a simple recipe but taste so much better than the store-bought canned stuff you get at the grocery store.
- It’s fairly economical to make so you can double it or even triple it for a main dish at your next party or family gathering.
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Sharp knife
- Spatula or large kitchen spoon
🛒Ingredients for Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Ground meat– We use lean ground beef.
- Vegetables– Medium onion, green bell pepper, garlic cloves (add or omit the onion based on your preference).
- Sauce-Ketchup, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste creates the base of the sauce.
- Seasoning-Brown sugar to give it a little sweetness, plus dry mustard, salt and chili powder to balance out the flavors.
- Water– Used to thin out the sauce if needed.
- Hamburger buns– Regular hamburger buns work great.
- Butter– For toasting the buns.
How to Make Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes
Step 1. Place a large skillet over medium-heat and brown meat until cooked through, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the beef to a clean plate.
Step 2. Dice onion and bell pepper and mince the garlic.
Step 3. Next, cook the diced onion, green pepper and garlic in the beef fat and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the sloppy joe sauce. Taste and adjust, as desired.
Step 5. Return the meat mixture to the skillet over medium heat and add the sauce.
Step 6. Stir well to coat the beef and veggies in the sauce. Add water, as needed, to thin out the sauce to your personal preferences. (I added about 1/4 cup of water.)
Step 7. While the beef is rewarming and sauce is thickening, set your oven to broil and butter the sliced sides of your hamburger buns. Place the buns on a cookie sheet, butter side-up, and toast for 2 minutes under the broiler.
Step 8. Scoop a big spoonful of the sloppy joe mixture onto each toasted bun and serve hot.
You can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Can I Freeze the Sloppy Joe Mix?
Most definitely! These sloppy joe ingredients freeze really well for up to 3 months. Just allow the mixture to cool until room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer bag.
To thaw, all you have to do is place it in the fridge overnight and reheat in a skillet or the microwave. You can also do a quick thaw by placing the sealed bag in some warm water until the beef mixture has completely thawed.
What Side Dish Works with these Easy Sloppy Joes?
My kids love a sloppy joe sandwich with a simple side of potato chips, mac and cheese, French fries or tater tots. But, if you’re serving a crowd, you may want to make something a little extra special. Here are some other family favorite sides you should try:
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes Slices
- Broccoli Salad with Craisins
- Easy Baked Beans with Bacon
- Roasted Potatoes with Veggies
- Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries
Can You Make Sloppy Joes in the Slow Cooker?
You can definitely make this easy sloppy joe recipe in a Crock pot. This really comes in handy when you are serving them at a party where you’ll be feeding a crowd. This recipe makes about 6 sloppy joes, but you can easily double or triple the recipe.
The best way to do this is to just brown the meat and sauté the veggies, then add to the slow cooker with all the other ingredients. Turn it on low and allow the mixture to cook until hot and bubbly. The simmering time will vary based on how much you’re cooking at once.
Variations for the Best Sloppy Joes
- Meat: Ground beef is typically used to make sloppy joe meat filling but if you want something a little lighter, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken. If you’re using super lean meat, you may have to add a little olive oil to the skillet to help cook the veggies.
- Buns: Regular hamburger buns work great, but for a fun twist, you can make these mini sloppy joes by using mini-Hawaiian rolls. Or for a little extra special touch, you can serve them on onion rolls or brioche buns. The kids will even love them served on hot dog buns!
- Veggies: We use green peppers, but you can add a lot of fun color with red, yellow or orange peppers. You can use white, yellow or red onion or if your kids aren’t a fan, omit them all together.
- Sauce: If you want to add extra heat to your sauce ingredients, you can add a little bit of red pepper flakes or hot sauce. For a bit of a tangier flavor, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the sauce.
- Cheesy joes: Add a thick slice of cheese on top of the meat mixture. Cheddar, provolone and pepper jack are great choices. You can also add about a cup of shredded cheese to the meat mixture while its simmering.
Want More Easy Weeknight Meal Recipes?
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Mayo
- Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops
- Shrimp Stuffed Peppers
- Grilled Brie Cheese Sandwich
- Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Shells
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Water as needed
- 6 hamburger buns
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Place a large skillet over medium-heat and brown meat until cooked through, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the beef to a clean plate.2 pounds ground beef
- Dice onion and bell pepper and mince the garlic.1 onion, 1 green pepper, 4 cloves garlic
- Next, cook the diced onion, green pepper and garlic in the beef fat and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the sloppy joe sauce. Taste and adjust, as desired.1/3 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup BBQ sauce, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt
- Return the meat mixture to the skillet over medium heat and add the sauce.
- Stir well to coat the beef and veggies in the sauce. Add water, as needed, to thin out the sauce to your personal preferences. (I added about 1/4 cup of water.)Water
- While the beef is rewarming and sauce is thickening, set your oven to broil and butter the sliced sides of your hamburger buns. Place the buns on a cookie sheet, butter side-up, and toast for 2 minutes under the broiler.3 tablespoons butter
- Scoop a big spoonful of the sloppy joe mixture onto each toasted bun and serve hot.6 hamburger buns