Homemade Sloppy Joes

These Homemade Sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and oh-so-good. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make — plus, kids love ’em and adults love ’em, so it’s a total win all the way around!

Looking for more ground beef recipes? Try my Easy Ground Beef Tostadas , or these Ground Beef Enchiladas !

These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef

Quick and Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe

Lest you think I only eat cupcakes and oatmeal cream pies, here is something not so sweet. I have just recently fallen in love with sloppy Joes. They come together in about 15 minutes with not a whole lot of ingredients, so I make them on nights I didn’t plan dinner out very well! I honestly make them just to have a reason to eat pickles, too. I love pickles. (Mom, if you’re reading this, did we eat sloppy Joes when I was a kid? I can’t remember eating a sloppy Joe until I was in college. Weird, huh?!)

Tips and Tricks on Making the Best Sloppy Joe:

This recipe is sweet, salty, and sloppy. And the pickles totally complete the sandwich. They give that perfect sour and acidic tang to complement the richness of the sweet meat. I don’t feel like they are optional, but if you are a true pickle hater, I suppose it could be eaten without them.

Also, don’t you dare get lazy and skip toasting the buns. Golden-brown toasted buns change everything (both on this sandwich and in life)! The crisp outside layer prevents the Joe insides from making the bread soggy. Soggy bread is a true crime in my kitchen, so toast the bun. It’s such an easy step, and your life *may just be* forever changed.

These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef

Why Are They Called Sloppy Joes?

A cook in Sioux City, Iowa, named Joe added tomato sauce to his popular ground beef sandwiches, which he previously called “loose meat” sandwiches, and the sloppy Joe was created, according to legend. Leave it to the Midwest to come up with a messy, meaty sandwich! (I can say that since I hail from the Midwest.)

What Sides Go with Sloppy Joes?

More pickles, of course! Also, potato chips, roasted cauliflower, fries, or sweet potato hash are lovely, hearty options to complement this big-flavor sandwich.

How Do You Thicken Up Sloppy Joes?

Be sure you drain any fat from the cooked ground beef before adding the other ingredients — this will ensure it doesn’t get runny or too sloppy. If it’s still thinner than you’d like, you can mix in a small amount of cornstarch or flour (a tablespoon or less at a time) until it reaches the desired consistency.

These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef

These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef

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Sloppy joe on a plate with pickles and chips

Homemade Sloppy Joes


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this mess
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 sandwiches 1x

Description

These Homemade Sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and oh-so-good. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make — plus, kids love ’em and adults love ’em, so it’s a total win all the way around!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean hamburger or ground elk
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 hamburger buns
  • Butter, at room temperature
  • Pickles for serving, optional (but not really optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, cook the meat over medium heat until cooked through and no longer pink. If using hamburger, drain off any extra fat.
  2. Return the pan to medium heat, and add your ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
  3. This recipe depends a lot on your taste. If the meat seems dry, add more ketchup. If it isn’t sweet enough, add a little more sugar. If it needs more salt, add a little more mustard. (Don’t be shy of the mustard, even if you don’t like it normally. It adds the acid and salt that this dish needs, and the dish doesn’t taste mustardy at all.) If it seems bland, give it another shake of garlic and onion powder. Taste and adjust as needed.
  4. For the buns:
  5. While the meat is browning, place a baking sheet in the oven, and preheat the sheet and the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the inside of the top and bottom of the bun. When the meat is almost done and your oven is hot, put the buns, butter side down, on the hot pan. Close the oven and allow the buns to toast until they are golden-brown, 4 to 8 minutes.
  6. When the buns are golden on buttered side, remove them from the oven. Place the meat mixture and pickles on top of the bun, and grab the napkins.

Notes

  • You can sub other types of sweeteners, like coconut sugar, for the brown sugar. I have also had great luck using maple syrup.
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: easy sloppy joe recipe, best sloppy joe recipe, homemade sloppy joe recipe, sloppy joe recipe sauce, how to make sloppy joes

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These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef These homemade sloppy Joes are quick, easy, and delicious. No canned food of any kind is needed for this recipe! Just ketchup, brown sugar, lots of flavor, and your favorite kitchen helpers. Sloppy Joes are such a fun treat and the absolutely easiest meal to make -- plus, kids love 'em and adults love 'em, so it's a total win all the way around! #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoe #sloppyjoerecipe #sandwich #easysandwich #groundbeef

More Easy Ground Beef Recipes:

This post was originally published in 2012, and has been updated and rephotographed in October 2019.

You will love having this sloppy Joe recipe in your back pocket for busy days when you need a hearty, warm meal that comes together fast!

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3 Responses
  1. deb c

    These are really good!! I mean really, really good!! Good-bye Manwich….Adios! And toasting the buns on bake in the oven….BRILLIANT! I have always been the place under the broiler, turn my back for a split second and burn the beejeebies outa things type of toaster. I can hardly wait for backpacking season, these sloppy joes will definitely be on the trail with me….gourmet eating at its best! These were excellent without the pickles….wasn’t up to the 50 mile round trip to the store which may or may not have the good ones in stock. Placed good pickles on the “when I go to the city” shopping list. Thanks for sharing a great recipe! 🙂

  2. Yes, you ate them as a kid. Manwich was what the name brand was called, only they were called ‘sloppy mamas’ at our house because I was as messy as the kids.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.