The VERY BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe (TOP RATED!!!)

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The “original sloppy joe recipe” is a well-known and loved dish. It’s easy to make and always hits the spot!

The VERY BEST Sloppy Joe Recipe (TOP RATED!!!)

Samantha Skaggs published this on January 31, 2022 and modified it on January 31, 2022. There may be affiliate links in this post.

The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe ~ these amazing Sloppy Joes are not only delicious, but they're quick and easy to make using real Ingredients instead of a store-bought can of sauce. Hundreds of rave reviews agree! | via @fivehearthome

Not only is this recipe for the BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe tasty, but it’s also fast and simple to create using genuine Ingredients. Hundreds of glowing reviews concur!

Best Homemade Sloppy Joe recipe with text overlay.

Sloppy Joes are one of the few dishes that can be prepared in under 30 minutes. While the store-bought sauce that rhymes with San-wich may speed up the dish, it contains some less-than-ideal components. After all, I try to stay away from high-fructose corn syrup in my desserts, much alone my meals.

So, what’s a family of Sloppy Joe fans to do? Of course, you may make your own fast and simple all-natural sauce! You’ll never go back after you’ve tried this incredible homemade Sloppy Joe recipe.



It simply takes a few minutes to make this sloppy joe sauce, it tastes so much better (in fact, you can choose how sweet and/or salty it is), and you don’t have to worry about any unneeded ingredients!


  • Beef that has been ground I normally use 85/15 ground beef, but depending on what you have on hand, you may use a leaner or fattier ratio. In either case, the grease will be drained. Alternatively, ground turkey may be used to make these wonderful homemade Sloppy Joes.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic is delicious, but I frequently use minced garlic in water that I store in my refrigerator to save time.
  • Sauce made from tomatoes. For this dish, one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce is plenty. If I already have a jar of tomato puree (passata) in the fridge, I’ll use it instead.
  • Ketchup. I like ketchup that is all-natural and doesn’t have a lot of extra sugar. As you’ll see below, I like to keep my sugar intake under control.
  • Brown sugar is a kind of sugar that has a brown Please note that you may use as much or as little brown sugar as you desire in this recipe. Some folks like completely savory Sloppy Joes, while others prefer sweeter sandwiches. You may also use a squeeze of honey instead of brown sugar, which I often do.
  • Worcestershire sauce is a condiment that is used to flavor food. To give it a more savory undertone.
  • Mustard that has been prepared. A splash of mustard, believe it or not, adds depth of taste.
  • Fresh black pepper + garlic powder + onion powder For additional seasoning.


Sloppy Joes: How to Make Them

I previously published my Slow Cooker Chicken Sloppy Joes, which use the same sauce, but sometimes you don’t have the foresight (or time) to throw something in the crockpot first thing in the morning.

Make this tried-and-true Sloppy Joe recipe if you still want an easy, family-pleasing supper around 5 p.m.

I prefer to start by making my sauce and leaving it aside so it’ll be ready when my meat is done browning.

  1. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, add all of the ingredients for the Sloppy Joe sauce and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
  1. Drain the fat from the ground beef (or turkey).
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce and the drained ground beef.
  1. Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring periodically, on the heat.



Additions that are optional

My family like their Sloppy Joes to be on the easy side. If your family like onions and/or peppers, they’re simple to include!

  1. Cook half an onion and half a bell pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened before browning the ground meat (about 5 to 10 minutes).
  2. Remove the onions and peppers from the saucepan and continue with the recipe, cooking the meat first and then adding in the onions and peppers as you add the sauce.

How Long Should Your Sauce Simmer?

This Sloppy Joe recipe is adaptable and delicious whether you need it in a hurry or have plenty of time to let it stew.

After you’ve blended the sauce into the meat, you should let it simmer for at least 10 minutes to cook completely. If feasible, I’d suggest simmering for 10 minutes.

Allowing your combination to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes will let the flavors to truly mingle and develop if you have the time (or even longer). To avoid sticking or burning, keep the heat low and stir periodically. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water to give it a little more time to simmer.

Making this dish on the burner and then transferring it to a slow cooker (set to WARM) shortly before picking up my kids from school is a method I sometimes utilize. Dinner will be ready when it’s time to dine that evening, plus the taste will be extra delicious…double win!


Serving Sloppy Joes in Different Ways

Everyone knows how delicious Sloppy Joe filling tastes when heaped high on hamburger buns! But there are plenty of more delicious ways to eat it, whether you’re looking to spice up a new batch or just use up leftovers:

  • Make a “casserole” out of it. For example, like this Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole, you may stack tater tots on top, or bake a crust on top, similar to Cheeseburger Pie or even a cornbread casserole.
  • Stir into mac & cheese or other pasta.
  • Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper and serve with nachos.
  • To make quesadillas, fold the tortillas in half.
  • Toppings for baked potatoes (and then melt cheese over the top).
  • It may be used in lieu of chili on hot dogs (like Chili Dogs).
  • Alternatively, dollop it over French fries and top with cheese (like Chili Cheese Fries).
  • To make a hearty dip with tortilla chips, mix it into queso.
  • Bake it after stuffing it inside bell peppers.
  • Make grilled cheese sandwiches with it.

Have you attempted any other original concepts?


Folks, there’s a reason why this Sloppy Joe recipe is one of the most popular on the web.

It’s popular among children, but it’s also popular among adults.

It’s so basic, yet oh-so-delicious.

Dinner is served with a side salad, baked beans, and, of course, thickly cut pickles on top of your Sloppy Joes.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • If you want to avoid using processed ingredients in your Sloppy Joes, be sure you use all-natural ketchup.
  • This Sloppy Joe recipe’s sauce is meant to be somewhat sweet, but it’s truly a question of personal preference. Feel free to add less brown sugar if you like a savory sauce. If you like, you may use unrefined sugar or a squeeze of honey for the brown sugar.
  • In a similar vein, if you want to make this dinner even healthier by sneaking in some additional vegetables without your kids (or your spouse) knowing, check out my piece on How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies, which explicitly covers Sloppy Joes.
  • Sloppy Joes are such a hit with my family that I’ve created a fiery Tex-Mex version…olè!
  • This gadget comes in helpful for breaking up ground beef (or ground turkey) if you cook a lot of ground beef (or ground turkey) dishes like I do.



Sloppy Joe Recipe at its Finest

The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe is not only tasty, but it’s also fast and simple to create with REAL ingredients rather than a canned sauce. Hundreds of glowing reviews concur!

Pin Rate for Printing

Course Description: Main Course

American cuisine

Time to prepare: 5 minutes

15 minutes to prepare

20-minute total time

4 sandwiches per serving

calorie count: 258 kcal

Mode of Preparation Stop your screen from turning black.


  • In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, make the sauce (or a medium bowl). Set aside the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and freshly ground black pepper, which have been well blended.

  • Preheat a big saucepan over low heat. Add a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil to the pan and cook the garlic for a minute or two, until it is aromatic and light golden brown. Increase the heat to medium/medium high and cook the ground beef until it is beautifully browned and no pink remains, breaking it up and stirring as it cooks. Remove the grease.

  • Pour the sauce over the browned meat, swirl to mix, and cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until cooked through.

  • Serve with sliced pickles on top of heated hamburger buns or rolls.


  • This Sloppy Joe sauce is supposed to be a little sweet, but it’s all a question of personal preference. Feel free to add less brown sugar if you like a savory sauce. If you like, you may use unrefined sugar or even a squeeze of honey for the brown sugar.
  • If you want your Sloppy Joe meat with onions and peppers, cube half an onion and half a bell pepper and sauté them until softened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes) before browning the beef in a tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the onions and peppers from the pot and continue with the recipe as written, cooking the pork and then adding in the onions and peppers as you add the sauce.
  • You have complete control over the simmering time. If you’re in a rush, 10 minutes will suffice. If you have extra time, boiling the sauce for 30 to 45 minutes (or more) will let the flavors to blend and develop. Simply whisk periodically to avoid sticking or burning, and add a dash of water if the sauce becomes too thick.

calorie count: 258 kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 714mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 3.7mg


The first version of this post was published on January 13, 2015 (back when a certain two-year-old couldn’t keep her marker-stained hands away long enough for me to capture a few photos), and it was revised on November 2, 2017, January 5, 2021, and January 31, 2022.

“The Sloppy Joe Recipe” is a recipe that has been rated as the “very best” by many people. This easy sloppy joe recipe is perfect for those who want to impress their friends and family with a delicious meal.

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