Never buy sloppy joe mix out of a can again with this awesome, flavorful recipe for homemade sloppy joes!
Mike's Recipe Rundown
- Taste: Bold and flavorful, we start with a ketchup base and layer it with spices, peppers and onions to make a juicy bite.
- Texture: I mean, sloppy. Your meat is broken up into tiny pieces, but the sauce is cooked until thick to keep things together as best it can. It's saucy, delicious and definitely bib-worthy!
- Difficulty - Easy! I make this recipe with my four year old as my helper, so this is definitely one even a novice home cook can pull off. Everything gets made in a single saute pan (affiliate) and cooked to perfection!
- Pros: Definitely flavorful and totally more satisfying than dumping in a can of pre-processed stuff. Making it from scratch lets you control the flavor and gives you the piece of minding of knowing.
- Cons: I mean, it's sloppy, obviously. This is a 1-2 napkin meal and not white shirt friendly!
- Would I make it again? Oh yeah! This is a family favorite, quick to make and definitely a kid friendly dish!
What do I need to make Sloppy Joes?
I make my sloppy joe mix either in a large frying pan (affiliate) or large saute pan (affiliate). Either works fine here. From there, we'll just use a large baking pan to broil the inside of the bun. More on that tip below.
Sloppy Joe Tips and Tricks
- Since we're covering our beef in a sauce anyway, I'm all for a lean ground beef or ground sirloin here. This is different to when we make burgers, and fat content is actually a key to a perfect burger.
- As we said below, a key step here is placing the buns inside-up on a baking sheet and placing them under a broiler until they're golden brown. This will toast the inside of the bun, preventing the buns from getting soggy and gross. Meanwhile, the outside of the bun still stays soft and great. You can butter them first for a little bit of extra indulgence, too.
- I prefer red bell pepper to green bell pepper in a lot of my recipes, this being one of them. Them subtle sweetness of a red bell adds a nice balance to your sloppy joe mix. It will cost you about $1 more, but it's worth it. If budgets are tight though, feel free to go for the green (to save some green!).
- Want a little kick to your sloppy joes? Add in some hot sauce when it's done simmering for a little bit of heat! I recommend something like Frank's Red Hot, which has a nice slow burn.
Find out why people love our most popular recipes, like Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin, Instant Pot Chicken a la King and Homemade Beef Stroganoff. When it's burning hot in Tallahassee, I love to pop some Arnold Palmer Popsicles in the freezer, or cool off with Pomegranate Margaritas.
When to make Sloppy Joes?
This is definitely weeknight meal friendly. It's super awesome when you're looking for a kid friendly meal, especially when you're hosting after-school get-togethers or sleepovers.
But I won't lie, even without kiddos this is an awesome meal for adults only. Just don't tell anyone I said that, okay?
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How to make Sloppy Joes
Preheat a saute pan (affiliate) over medium high heat, then add olive oil. Allow 30 seconds to heat before adding ground beef. Using the end of the spatula, break up the meat into small chunks. Season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink, stirring as you go. Drain excess fat and return to burner.
Next, add diced onion and pepper and stir into meat, continuing to break up the beef into small chunks. Cook about three minutes, until veggies are soft. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Reduce heat to medium.
Add in ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, worcestershire sauce and water. Stir everything together, then taste for salt and pepper and if needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken as it cooks.
Meanwhile, preheat broiler in oven on high. Place Buns inside-up on a large baking pan. Place under pre-heated broiler for about 1-2 minutes. Make sure to keep a close eye on them, buns can burn quickly under a broiler if not watched closely.
Remove buns from oven. Spoon sloppy joe mix on top of bottom bun, then place top bun on top. Some people will top theirs with American cheese (I do not). I like a squirt of mustard on mine, but that's totally optional. Goes great alongside some air-fryer tater tots.Print
Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 sloppy joes 1x
The childhood favorite you love, made from scratch! Ground beef cooked in a bold, satisfying tomato sauce that you're whole family will love.
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 lb lean ground beef
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1.5 cups Ketchup
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup Water
- 8 Sesame Seed Buns
- Heat saute pan (affiliate) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and allow to heat before adding ground beef. Break beef into small chunks using spatula or wooden spoon. Season beef with salt and pepper. Stir in pan and cook until no longer pink, then drain excess fat and return to burner.
- Add diced onion and peppers to pan and stir together. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook one minute more. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, worcestershire sauce and water and stir together. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When sauce thickens, taste for salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, place buns inside-up on a large baking pan and place under a preheated broiler in oven. Broil for 1-2 minutes, until inside turns golden brown, but be careful to pull it before it burns! Remove buns from oven. Top bottom half with sloppy joe mix and serve hot.
Optional toppings include American Cheese and Mustard.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Sloppy Joes, Family Meals, Kid Friendly Recipes