Homemade Sloppy Joes are a classic, family-friendly favorite. The sweet and savory sauce made from scratch makes for a satisfyingly messy meal!
Kids love it; adults love it - Sloppy Joes are simply a delicious and easy to make family dinner!
Sloppy Joes are one of the fastest meals to whip up. While plenty of pre-made Sloppy Joes sauces exist, this homemade recipe is so much better and still so easy. Plus, you can control how sweet, spicy, or salty you like the sauce.
Baked beans pair perfectly with a Sloppy Joe sandwich, and a side salad would be a fresh way to lighten up this meaty meal. To sneak even more veggies in, add bell peppers to the sauce. Substitute ground turkey for beef for leaner fare.
Sloppy Joes Ingredients
- Ground beef
- Tomato sauce
- Brown sugar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- White vinegar
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Hamburger buns
The tried and true way to serve up Sloppy Joes is on a hamburger bun, however, there are many other ways to dish it up. Spoon over french fries with some melted cheese. Add some sloppy joe to a grilled cheese sandwich. Make a Sloppy Joe burger for a meat lover’s dream. You could even bake some inside of a roll or crescent.
Getting the sauce right is key. A Sloppy Joe should, in fact, be a bit sloppy and saucy. A toasted bun will hold up to the sauce, but you don’t want it too wet. When cooking, watch for the right consistency. The sauce should part and take a few seconds to flow back when a spoon is dragged through it.
How to Make Sloppy Joes
FIRST STEP: Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain the extra grease and remove the ground beef, and set aside.
SECOND STEP: In that same skillet add the 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium-high heat and add the onions and saute until transparent, about 3 minutes.
THIRD STEP: Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, prepared mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, vinegar, and spices.
FOURTH STEP:: Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Watch for bubbling and splattering tomato sauce!
FIFTH STEP: Add the ground beef to the sauce in the skillet and stir together and cook until all is reheated.
SIXTH STEP: Butter the inside of the buns and toast them on a griddle pan.
SEVENTH STEP: Spoon the meat mixture on to the prepared buns and enjoy.
Don’t skip over toasting the buns: toasted buns will hold up to the sauce much better.
Watch for the right saucy consistency. The sauce should leave a trail when a spoon is dragged through and not just run back together.
You can even make the Sloppy Joes recipe in a crockpot: brown the beef first, then add all remaining ingredients (minus the buns). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Storing this Recipe
Save any leftover filling in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Cool the mixture completely then freeze in freezer containers for up to 4 months.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp prepared mustard
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1-2 tbsp Softened butter to toast the hamburger buns
- Hamburger buns
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain the extra grease and remove the ground beef and set aside.
- In that same skillet add the 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium high heat and add the onions and saute until transparent, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Watch for bubbling and splattering tomato sauce!
- Add the ground beef to the sauce in the skillet and stir together and cook until all is reheated.
- Butter the inside of the buns and toast them on a griddle pan.
- Spoon the meat mixture on to the prepared buns and enjoy.