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Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe – Spend With Pennies


This Sloppy Joe Recipe is a quick and easy family-pleasin’ kind of meal.

Browned ground beef is cooked with onion and simmered in an extra tangy tomato sauce and then piled on toasted buns.

These homemade sloppy joes taste so much better than anything you’d get from a can and it doesn’t take much extra time!

close up of Easy Sloppy Joes on a plate

A Favorite Easy Dinner

Sloppy joes are one of those classics that never goes out of style. These are loved by my kids but they’re also one of my husband’s favorites (he’s even requested them as a birthday dinner before).

It is suggested that sloppy joes were created by a chef named Joe in the ’30s in Sioux City, Iowa and are based on the loose meat sandwich.

  • A homemade sloppy joe sauce definitely makes the best sandwiches ever.
  • It’s almost as fast as opening a can of mix but tastes so much better!
  • The meat mixture can be prepared ahead of time and reheated for quick meals.

Sloppy Joe Ingredients

A sloppy joe is good and saucy to make sure it’s…. sloppy! True to their name, they are finger-lickingly delicious, so be sure to serve with plenty of napkins!

  • Meat – Use 80/20 lean ground beef or any ground meat like ground turkey (I’ve even made sloppy joes with lentils before, they’re great and even meat lovers are shocked).
  • Sauce – This sloppy joe sauce is a zesty and slightly sweet tomato-based sauce made with tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar for a bit of sweetness, and some cider vinegar for some zest.
  • Optional Additions – Adding veggies adds flavor, nutrition, and helps to stretch the meat a little bit further! In addition to green pepper, try chopped celery, shredded carrot, or other finely diced veggies. Add some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.

sloppy joe ingredients in a skillet

How to Make Sloppy Joes

This is an easy recipe make quick on the stove!

  1. Brown Meat: Brown the ground beef over medium high heat with onion and garlic. Drain excess grease and add bell pepper if using.
  2. Simmer in Sauce: Add the sloppy joe sauce ingredients to the beef and simmer. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Serve on Buns: Toast the buns (add garlic butter if you’d like) and pile high with sloppy joe meat.

If you want a thicker sauce, just simmer a little bit longer but not too long, they should be saucy and sloppy. If you’re serving a crowd, make a bigger batch in the slow cooker and keep them warm so your guests can serve themselves!

cooked sloppy joes in a skillet

Serve Them With…

Unlike hamburgers, this hearty sandwich doesn’t need any condiments. The yummy full-bodied sauce takes care of all that. You can top it with a bit of cheddar cheese if you’d like!

To round out the meal, serve Sloppy Joes with your fave side dishes from potato chips to creamy potato salad, coleslaw, tater tots, or baked french fries.

Then sit back and watch as those Sloppy Joes disappear fast!

Make Tidy Josephs

When my kids were little we’d make tidy josephs, same great taste but a little bit less messy!

Purchase whole rolls and instead of cutting rolls in half, use your finger to create a cavity in the roll and fill with sloppy joe mixture.

Sloppy joe on a plate with coleslaw

Leftover Sloppy Joe Meat?

Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze sloppy joe mixture in freezer bags and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

You can also:

There is no end to what can be made with leftovers so don’t be afraid to double up this recipe!

Easy Ground Beef Meals

Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe

These Sloppy Joes are perfect for a quick and tasty supper!

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  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  • Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered or until sauce is thick.

  • While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to broil. Brush the inside of the hamburger buns with butter or olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil 1-3 minutes or just until lightly browned.

  • Spoon meat mixture over the toasted buns and serve.

This sloppy joe recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Keep the mixture warm in a crockpot to serve guests.
To make sloppy joes tidy, purchase whole rolls. Instead of cutting rolls in half, use your finger to create a cavity in the roll and fill each with the sloppy joe mixture.
To freeze, cool completely and place in a freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Calories: 223, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 499mg, Potassium: 695mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 393IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 4mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Beef, Dinner, Main Course

Cuisine American

close up of cooked Sloppy Joes with a title
cooked Sloppy Joes on a plate with a title
plated Sloppy Joes with writing
filling for Sloppy Joes cooking in the pan and plated dish with a title


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