Homemade Sloppy Joes

It’s time to ditch the canned stuff—these homemade Sloppy Joes are the real deal! They’re made from scratch in just 30 minutes.

Every mom needs a handful of 30 minute meals for busy weeknights. This is one of those quick dinners that I whip out frequently—almost as often as Pesto Tortellini or Mongolian Stir Fry

A stack of homemade sloppy joes with melty cheese.

From Scratch in 30 Minutes!

If you’ve never had a sloppy joe before, it’s a sandwich made with a sweet version of marinara sauce. This childhood classic has always been a favorite of mine, but it has to made from scratch, with real ingredients. 

While the ingredient list below may seem a little long, I promise everything listed is there for a reason… mainly FLAVOR! 

Are you ready to get cooking? 30 minutes is all you need to make these delicious, messy sandwiches. Let’s get started.

How to makes sloppy joes in a skillet

How to Make Sloppy Joes

What kind of meat can you use for sloppy joes? Traditional sloppy joes are made with ground beef. That’s what I’ve used in this recipe, however, ground chicken or even ground turkey can be a slightly healthier alternative. 

Making sloppy joes is easy. All you need is one pan. I suggest grabbing an extra large skillet or a dutch oven.

COOK. Start by sautéing the onion and bell pepper, then add the ground beef and cook until browned. Sprinkle on the seasonings and minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Note: Adding the seasonings now and not after the liquid ingredients helps toast them which enhances their flavor.)

SIMMER. Pour in the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture simmer for at least 10 minutes. I like to let mine go a tad bit longer so that the sugars start caramelizing. It tastes even more amazing!!

Sloppy joe recipe inside a hamburger bun

Serving, Making Ahead + Storing

Serve the sloppy joe filling on top of toasted, buttered buns. You can use plain hamburger buns, potato buns, kaiser rolls, brioche buns, or even toss it into a grilled cheese sandwich. We like to add a thin slice of Swiss or Monterey jack on top… because everything is better with cheese!

You could add some sides, especially traditional BBQ side dishes like chips, coleslaw, or sliced veggies. We served ours with potato chips, pickles, and a big glass of lemonade. These are perfect for hot summer nights or when you’re in the mood for comfort food!

Making Ahead: Homemade sloppy joes are best served right away. The filling is incredibly moist, so as soon as it hits the bun, it starts getting soft. Just another reason why toasting the bun is a good idea. You can make the filling ahead of time and either refrigerate and reheat, or keep in a crockpot or Instant Pot on warm. This is especially useful when serving at potlucks, BBQs or game day parties.

STORE your leftover sloppy joes in the fridge in an airtight container. It should last 3-5 days. REHEAT it in the microwave until warmed through. 

To FREEZE, place the sloppy joe filling into a freezer safe bag and lay it flat in the freezer. Then after it’s solidified you can store it standing up. It should last for about 3-6 months. When you’re ready, reheat low and slow on the stove or in the crockpot.

Homemade sloppy joes served with chips and dill pickles.

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Homemade sloppy joes are a childhood favorite made with real ingredients.

Sloppy Joe Recipe

It's time to ditch the canned stuff—these homemade Sloppy Joes are the real deal! They're made from scratch in just 30 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Recipes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 -8 sandwiches
Calories: 549kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the filling:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion - diced
  • 1/2 c. finely diced green bell pepper
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 14 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Additional Ingredients:
  • Hamburger buns - toasted and lightly buttered
  • Sliced cheese - optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet or dutch oven set over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the onion and bell pepper, saute for 3 minutes, then add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, and minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, dijon, Worcestershire. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Serve the filling on toasted, buttered buns. Add cheese, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 1211mg | Potassium: 896mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1298IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 5mg

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. This is going on my meal plan today!  They are also great with pepperoncini peppers which aren’t spicy but add awesome crispy flavor!❤️  I love your blog, everything is so beautiful and delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Homemade Sloppy Joes are the BEST! The flavor is wonderful and it so quick to make too! Adding this to our monthly dinner rotation.