The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe is for the old fashioned ones you adored as a kid; made from scratch, piled high on a toasted bun— every meaty bite messy and delicious. Grab some ground beef and get ready to win some awards at the dinner table tonight, all in under half an hour.

Need some lightening-fast, super-easy ground beef dinner ideas? Try Iowa’s original Loose Meat Sandwich, Cheesy Meatloaf, Turkey Meatballs, or pasta with Homemade Meat Sauce.

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe is for the old fashioned ones you adored as a kid; made from scratch, piled high on a toasted bun— every meaty bite messy and delicious. Grab some ground beef and get ready to win some awards at the dinner table tonight, all in under half an hour.

This is one of my all-time favorite ground beef recipes. My mom would make a huge batch of her homemade Sloppy Joes for our annual trip to northern Wisconsin, and freeze it for the car ride up.

When we got to the cabin, dinner was already made for the kids, cousins, aunts and uncles, and parents. The kids practically licked their plates clean—which is helpful, when you think about it—less to wash off the dish!

Just to be safe, better do what my mom would do, and triple the recipe.

The Best Sloppy Joes are even better in big batches, frozen until you need then for completely satisfying last-minute dinners. Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

A little Sloppy Joes wiki:

Like all famous recipes, there are many who claim responsibility for inventing the Sloppy Joe sandwich, including a bar down in Key West.

Much more likely, however, is that the original Sloppy Joe came from a type of sandwich popular in early 20th century and the Great Depression: cooked loose meat and onions on a bun.

For almost a hundred years, it’s easy to see why people have loved Sloppy Joes. It’s simply a  thrifty, filling, and delicious meal.

The addition of tomato sauce to the ground beef may have come from Cuban dish called picadillo, a sweet and spicy ground meat sauce eaten on top of rice.

Sloppy Joes ingredients:

Here’s what you need to skip the Manwich and go straight to the best.

  • Ground beef. Or ground turkey, for a healthy Sloppy Joe.
  • Onion. My mom always adds finely chopped celery, too.
  • Tomato sauce. Canned tomato sauce is perfect.
  • Ketchup. Buy organic if you like.
  • Brown sugar. Because it tastes so good!
  • Ground mustard. (An equal amount of Dijon mustard works if you don’t have it.)
  • White vinegar.
  • Worcestershire sauce. This fermented British condiment, packed with umami flavors, is your sloppy Joe secret weapon. Just a little bit gives the sauce extra body and makes it rich and savory. Look for Lea & Perrins brand, if you can. 
  • Salt and cracked black pepper.
  • Buns. Split and toasted, if you please.
    The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe is for the old fashioned ones you adored as a kid; made from scratch, piled high on a toasted bun— every meaty bite messy and delicious. Grab some ground beef and get ready to win some awards at the dinner table tonight, all in under half an hour.

How to make old school Sloppy Joes in a Slow Cooker:

When you want dinner as soon as you walk in the door, get out your crock pot.

  1. First, brown your meat in advance, then throw the rest of the ingredients in the cooker.
  2. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe is for the old fashioned ones you adored as a kid; made from scratch, piled high on a toasted bun— every meaty bite messy and delicious. Grab some ground beef and get ready to win some awards at the dinner table tonight, all in under half an hour.

How to make vegetarian Sloppy Joes:

The impossible is possible. Vegetarians can get messy, too! Make this recipe with your favorite plant-based protein, such as…

  • Crumbled firm tofu
  • Veggie patty
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Seitan or tempeh
  • Cooked lentils

Sloppy Joe sides:

What to serve with Sloppy Joes? This all-star sandwich is almost a meal, but needs a little something else to round out the menu.

Brilliant Sloppy Joe ideas:

  • Homemade Sloppy Joes with BBQ sauce. Your favorite barbecue sauce can be added in place of ketchup for a smoky version of a classic Joe.
  • Mix up the meat. In case you’re wondering, ground chicken, turkey, or even lamb can get sloppy, too. Got a venison connection? By all means, get wild and use it.
  • Sloppy Joes with peppers and onions. Diced bell peppers, extra onion, even garlic make this simple recipe a little more unique.
  • Tomato soup. A can of tomato soup can be added to the ground meat if that’s what you have. Add a little extra ketchup to give it some extra tomato flavor.
  • Sloppy Joe without ketchup. Substitute out barbecue sauce or tomato paste.
  • Healthy Sloppy Joes. Sneak some extra veggies in there. Go on, do it! Get your kids to eat more vegetables  by sneaking in shredded zucchini, carrots, or finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. No one will be the wiser!
  • Spicy. If you love some heat, throw in a tablespoon of ancho chili powder, a teaspoon of ground cumin, or a half teaspoon of chipotle powder; it might bring your Joe to the next level.
  • Wine is fine. As it does in a bolognese sauce, a splash of wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor and some acidity to balance the natural sweetness of a Sloppy Joe. Don’t worry, the alcohol will cook out over time.
  • No sugar Sloppy Joe recipe. Leave the sugar out, and make this recipe with no-sugar-added ketchup. If you want a little sweetness, try monk fruit sugar or a tiny bit of honey.
  • Sandwich toppings. Because I’m from Wisconsin, a Sloppy Joe wouldn’t be complete without a thick slice, or wonk, of Wisconsin cheese, put right on top of the meat to melt.

But when it comes to other Sloppy Joe toppings, the sky is the limit: chopped scallions, pickles, green olives, a dollop of sour cream, or even a handful of crushed potato chips. This is your sandwich, after all!

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe is for the old fashioned ones you adored as a kid; made from scratch, piled high on a toasted bun— every meaty bite messy and delicious. Grab some ground beef and get ready to win some awards at the dinner table tonight, all in under half an hour.

Best bread for Sloppy Joes:

I love soft, toasted buns for Sloppy Joes, especially when they’re buttered. Some readers prefer pretzel buns, or pillowy soft brioche rolls.

But don’t let that stop you if you forgot to buy buns at the store: Serve it on pasta or rice (I even have a crazy One Pot Sloppy Joe Casserole).

Embrace the herbs: A touch of thyme or oregano from the garden can only be a good thing.

Don’t forget the toppings: Because I’m from Wisconsin, a Sloppy Joe wouldn’t be complete without a thick slab of Wisconsin cheese (referred to as a “wonk” in my family), set right on top of the meat to melt.

How to freeze Sloppy Joes for meal prep and last minute dinners:

  1. Leftover Sloppy Joes can be turned into a casserole with a tater tot crust, but the filling also freezes beautifully.
  2. Once cool, freeze the ground meat mixture into smaller portions to thaw when you’re craving the best dinner ever.
  3. Or freeze one giant batch and serve it up at your own cabin, as soon as you get there!


The Best Sloppy Joes

The Best Sloppy Joes are easy to make, so delicious, and ready in 30 minutes or less! Triple or quadruple the recipe for parties, backyard barbecues, and giant family vacations.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword sloppy joe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 274 kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 Sandwich buns, split


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine beef and onion. Cook until the meat is mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. 

  3. Pour sauce ingredients over drained beef and stir until evenly coated. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in buns.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Some popular reader variations including adding finely chopped celery, bell pepper, or carrots.

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  1. I can’t believe I have never thought to add cheese to my sloppy joe. These look great. The messier the better!

  2. I have a spatchcocked chicken brining for roasting today, but these are definitely on deck for tomorrow – drool.

  3. I’m a Texan living in Singapore. This was a taste of home. Yum! My husband raved about these. Thanks for the recipe. Subbed Dijon for the dry mustard. Didn’t add cheese. Buttered and grilled the bun first. I’m a Pinterest follower now. Shared on Facebook.

  4.  Was excellent! I added bacon and diced onions. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Would like to make these…any special change if I wanted to double the recipe?
    Thanks :)

    • No changes, Bonnie! Just double everything. :) And that’s a good call, doubling it. I hope you love it as much as I do! Take care!

  6. This. Was. A. Maze. Ing. So good. I tripled the recipe for us, 2 grown kids, son-in-law and 5 grandkids. Our daughter said we just wrecked sloppy joes for her. No more packaged mix for her! Everyone loved it. Only down side…no leftovers :(
    Thank you for a great, quick and pretty darn cheap, keeper. 

  7. Excellent! I adjusted the seasonings to taste.My adjustments…1/2 a minced onion,1/2 diced green pepper saute then add 1lb organic grass fed beef.salt pepper and worchestire.In a small bown combine 8oz can tomato sauce 1/2 c ketchup 1tbsp worchestire 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp yellow mustard salt and pepper to taste,pour over beef and simmer 20 minutes.I like Manwich,but try and avoid any processed food.This KILLS Manwich!! So good,My Husband licked His plate! He is very picky! Thank you,really is the best sloppy joes!

    • Thank you so much Michelle! I love that you added green pepper. I like that a lot (my mom always added that) but my husband isn’t a fan, so I miss out. And hooray for grass fed beef!!! Anyway, this all makes me really happy and I really appreciate that you tried it and so glad you liked it. And I’m glad you made it your own, too. :) Take care!!

  8. I just made this sloppy joe recipe. This is by far the best I’ve ever made! So delicious and so easy to make. I can’t wait to serve my sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much Jeanne! I really appreciate your kind words and I’m so happy you liked the sloppy joes. I agree – it’s the best! But I’m biased. :) Thanks again and take care!

  9. I just served them for mu husbands Birthday party,I made 5 lbs of meat,and about 20 people showed up(there was plenty of other food too) That was destroyed,and recieved MANY compliments!! eVEN mY gRANDMOTHER LOVED IT…THANKS AGAIN!

  10. I made this tonight for a last minute family (low-key) dinner – IT WAS AMAZING! Thank you for publishing this recipe! 

  11. This looks so good! I plan to try it this weekend for a camping trip. The group you talk about up at the cabin is exactly the size I’m planning for this weekend. Do you know how large of a batch you would make? Triple?

    • Hi, Kandace! I would say triple AT LEAST. I think my mom quadruples the batch, but that way we can eat leftovers for a few days. Leftovers might not work as well camping! But I’d still say triple it, it’s so good I personally eat at least 2 sandwiches immediately. I hope you love it!

  12. So so good! First time making this recipe and everyone loved! Thank you!

    • Thank you so much Jill! So grateful for your support. And glad it was a success! Thanks again and take care. :)

  13. Hey there. I am going to make this for my baby shower!!! I was wondering if it would be alright to cook everything the night before and then just heat it up the day of? Am I going to lose any of the goodness?

    • Hey Jacqui! DO IT! It will actually taste better if you do it that way. That’s the genius of the recipe! My mom always does that for our trip up north to the log cabin. She makes it ahead, freezes it solid so it survives the 6-hour car ride, and then we heat it up when we get there and it’s THE BEST. I hope you love it! Thank you for your question and for visiting the site. :) Take care!

  14. The sauce is amazing, I tried it before I added it to the mixes, only thing I felt missing was a bit of garlic. It tasted amazing with both the lentil, onion, and pepper mixture and the meat and mirepoix mixture.

  15. Hi, I’m going to make this tonight. Do you think apple cider vinegar would be a good substitute for white vinegar?

    • Hi Anne, yes! Absolutely. It’s a great substitution and one I’ve made myself many times. I’ll add that info to the recipe. Thank you for your question, and I hope you like the recipe! Take care.

  16. Looks delicious. Just curious the reason for the ketchup? I have a huge pot of fresh thick tomato sauce I just made from tomatoes from my garden and thought I would pressure can some sloppy joe sauce in jars to have on hand. I have ketchup but just wondering if I really need it with all this fresh sauce I have?

    • Hi Cathy! I’d say the ketchup adds sugar, for better or for worse. It’s definitely NOT required, you could certainly substitute your amazing fresh tomato sauce! It will taste great and be healthier. Obviously ketchup adds its own flavor, but that doesn’t mean it’s required. Consider this recipe a blank canvas for your own (and probably better) ideas! :)

    • Had to let you know I made these in the summer with my garden tomato sauce and did use the ketchup. Canned about 12 jars of this and we are out. Just thawed out 50 pounds of tomatoes from the garden and I am making an even bigger batch to can this time around. Gave a few away as gifts at Xmas and am already getting orders for more. I gave them the recipe and told them they are on their own this time. Thanks again!!

  17. These were delicious! Only thing I added was some sauted chopped bell pepper and a tbsp of molasses in the sauce to cut the acid in the tomato. Turned out to be a winner. Husband ate left overs with chips so had to be good. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Confession: I love to cook & bake from scratch, but when it comes to sloppy joes I take the Manwich way out. Except for when my kids beg for them at 7:00 at night & I’m fresh out of Manwich, I went with plan B…do a Google search for best sloppy joe recipe! Yours popped up right away. And although I substituted a jar of sweet chili sauce for the tomato sauce, & a packet of Lipton beefy onion powder mix for a real onion, I followed the rest of the recipe to a tee. The result was outstanding, & I’ll never buy another can of Manwich again!

    • THIS IS THE BEST STORY EVER!!! I can just picture you rummaging through your pantry to find anything you can to make it work, and you obviously did the job. Your version is probably better than mine! So exciting. Thanks for sharing Kristin!

    • Ahhhh! Now there’s a real cook – digging through the pantry and the spice rack to see what you come up to make this recipe work when you don’t have all the ingredients called for. Remember, a recipe is just one person’s idea of how to make a dish. Never be afraid to be creative!

    • I totally agree with you Brian! I always consider a recipe a starting point for negotiations. I love when people can tweak a recipe based on their own ingredients and taste because let’s face it – people are different! They like different flavors! Different amounts of spice or sugar! Whatever it is. I wish I could hold everyone’s hand and tell them it will be okay if they change something out in a recipe. :D Thank you for being such a lovely soul!

  19. Might make these tonight for my wife and I. Sounds good. Thanx

  20. I want to make this tonight, but I bought tomato paste instead of sauce thinking I was making a different recipe, then stumbled upon yours and it looks so much better! Think it would be ok to substitute? Should I maybe add water? Thanks!

    • Hi Savannah, I’m so sorry I didn’t respond to you in time! I hope you were able to proceed. Tomato paste is fine, and yes you could thin it with water if you like. It’s a very forgiving recipe and it’s REALLY hard to screw up, ha ha! I hope it worked for you. Take care and thanks for the question!

    • It came out delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    • I always use tomato paste.. makes the mixture thicker!

  21. Okay, I’m never using Manwich again, this recipe is perfection! I had some beef that needed to be cooked but I’d totally forgot to grab a can of Manwich at the store. I googled a recipe and this came right up. I checked my pantry and whatever I didn’t have, I subbed very easily: onion powder, yellow mustard for the ground, and A1 for the worcesterire (even though as I was putting everything  away, I saw a bottle of it in fridge lol), and I added garlic powder. Per.fec.tion! My family loved it. 

  22. i wanted to try this recipe but the ingredients confused me because here in australia tomato sauce and ketchup are the same thing, so i was wondering if tomato paste here is tomato sauce there? btw it looks amazing

    • Hi Raf! Tomato paste is a thicker version of tomato sauce. In the US, ketchup has vinegar and sugar in it where as tomato sauce is just plain tomato (like tomato paste but more watered down). If you have tomato paste, you could certainly substitute that and just add some water (maybe 1/2 cup?) to thin out the paste. I hope that makes sense, let me know if it not. It’s REALLY hard to mess up the recipe though, so I think you’ll be okay! I appreciate your kind words and hope you give Sloppy Joes a try! Thank you so much!

    • Tomato puree would be the equivalent to tomato sauce in Australia.

    • Hi Raf. I’m from Canada and now live in Australia. What I’ve found to be closest to tomato sauce .. North American style .. is Passata. Recipes with tomato sauce listed really confused me as well when I first moved here :)

  23. We are going to try this recipe tomorrow night but I think it will make more than we need. Do you just put the filling into a freezer bag and freeze and then reheat and add to buns when needed?

    • Hi Erin, yes absolutely! My mom always makes this for our up-north adventures and she actually just sticks the whole pot in the freezer and freezes it rock solid – that way it can survive the 6-hour trek up north. But I digress – a freezer safe bag is fine! Great, even. Thank you for your question and take care.

  24. Can this be made in a crock pot?  If so any adjustments?

    • Hi Cindy, yes to a crockpot! I probably wouldn’t make any adjustments. I’d brown the beef and onion first and combine it with all the other ingredients in the crockpot. Then you just heat it for however long it takes to get hot. If you wanted to speed that process up, combine all the ingredients with the beef and bring it to a boil and then transfer it to the crock – basically just keeping it warm. But then you don’t have to wait for your crockpot to bring everything up in temperature. Depends on your schedule though. I hope this helps! Thanks.

  25. This looks so good.   Do you think you can add celery in the mixture?  I’ve made sloppy joes with celery before, and my kids loved it.   

    • Yes! My mom *always* does. The only reason I don’t have it in the recipe is because my husband doesn’t like the texture of celery in it. Or, at one point he did. I feel like if he read this right now he’d be like… what do you mean I don’t like celery?! So yes, please add it. It’s also good with green pepper if that’s your jam. I hope you love it! Thanks Kim!

  26. Best recipe ever for sloppy joes!

  27. Made this tonight for a quick pre trick or treating dinner!! It was a huge hit!! 

  28. This is now my “go to” recipe for sloppy joes. I made the recipe for my husband and me to try [yum] and then made the recipe x 5 to take to work. I had 32 buns and it’s amazing but it came down to one bun left and just enough mixture to make one sandwich. One suggestion is to use frozen chopped onions. I use them in most recipes and it really saves time and mess. With using frozen onions this recipe is just measure, mix and cook. After cooking the hamburger and onions, I added everything to the skillet without mixing it all separately in a bowl. Thanks!

    • Gayle, the frozen chopped onions are GENIUS! Such a good idea, it’s the perfect recipe for that. Thank you so much! And I’m glad you like the recipe. Makes my heart sing!

    • Agreed. My reason for using frozen onions is I buy onions in 2 or 3 lb bags because it’s more economical. But since it’s just the two of us I usually come home and process at 3/4 of the bag and freeze it. Saves me some time in busy weeknights and saves money.

      Will use some of these great suggestions Ifound in the comments.

      Gonna make these next week.

  29. My husband and I tried this and it was excellent. Definitely a do again.

    • Thank you so much Nancy, I appreciate your kind words and I’m glad your husband agrees. I could literally eat this every day! Take care and thanks again.

  30. Hi! I’m in England and I really want to make this for my kids but our shops don’t sell cans of tomato sauce.

    We call ketchup ‘tomato sauce’, and it only comes in bottles. We have something called Passata which comes in a carton or glass jar which people cook with. Would that be a good substitute? Then there’s tomato purée that comes in tubes but I know that would be way too concentrated. I hope you can help! Thanks!! 

    • Hi Portia! Passata is really close to tomato sauce! We have it here too. I would use that and hopefully you love it. Please report back if you can – I’d love to know what you thought! Thank you so much for trying my recipe. :D

  31. Omg I’ve just made them and they were so good! All my kids loved them and it’s not easy to please them all! The passata worked fine too instead of the tomato sauce. I’ll definitely make these again! 

  32. This was awesome, I think it’s even better than the can stuff. Thanks so much for sharing

  33. Made the Joe’s ,great used half turkey burger and half 85% ground round really good no one knows that is has turkey burger in it and cuts fat great Don

  34. Megan, this recipe is amazing. My husband “Mr. Picky” said this is amazing. I made it for today (New Years Eve) I’m sure my kiddos and grands will love it. I have it on my screan so it’s just a click away. Thanks again. Mary from Shawano Wisconsin

    • Hi Mary!!! Have you guys warmed up yet? I was in Wisconsin for 2 weeks and it was SO STINKIN’ COLD (I was in Waukesha and Racine). But fun and lovely also. :) Anyway, thank you so much for trying my recipe and I’m excited and relieved that your husband gave his approval. I appreciate that you came back to leave a comment and I hope it’s a success for tonight. Happy new Year Mary! Take care.

    • Wisconsin had 2 warm days this It was in the 40’s, but today back in the low 20’s. We are waiting eagerly for March. Take care Megan and happy you enjoyed Wi while you were here. We have family in Milwaukee.

  35. This just tastes like beef smothered in ketchup. Was extremely disappointed with this recipe. 

    • I made this today for my family… sooo delicious . I cut the ketchup in half and added more tomato sauce , diced green peppers and finely chopped mirepoix . All gone in a heartbeat ! 

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad everyone loved it! :D

  36. I like to use the Heinz Ketchup that has the Tabasco sauce in it……….and that really gives the flavor profile a bit more depth for my tastes w/out being hot to taste. This recipe is super easy and so tasty.

  37. This was just ok, I added celery, white beans, an extra tablespoon of brown sugar and a splash of Frank’s red hot sauce, then it was perfect 

  38. It was my turn to make dinner for our Girls High School Soccer Team – we always have a team dinner the night before a home game. I wanted to do something other than the usual spaghetti or pizza. I prepared this during the day and then put it in the crock pot to keep warm. My husband was my “taste tester” and he asked me to keep the recipe so that I can make it for our family as well. The soccer team (and the coaches) loved it! There was nothing left to bring back home and I saw several of the girls going back for seconds!

    I did not make any variation to this recipe and it was DELICIOUS! Thank you!

    • Thank you so much Marci! You made my day/week/month/life! I am so glad the recipe was a hit. Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review, it means a lot! Take care and thanks again. :D

  39. Made these tonight and they were great! Finally found a good recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    • HIGH-FIVES SASHA! This makes me so happy. “Finally found a good recipe.” Please put this on my tombstone. Thanks so much and take care!

  40. I stumbled on this recipe and decided to try it due to all the positive reviews. 1 warning though. I substituted dry mustard for Dijon. The problem there is that Dijon has vinegar in it so at first try the sauce was terrible. I added more ketchup and brown sugar to try and even out the vinegar taste. Once I did that, however the sloppy Joe’s were amazing. My 14 year old daughter, who’s very picky said these were the best ones I’ve made. This recipe is very similar to what I normally do, but this ones far better! And SO simple. Just watch out for that added vinegar taste if your subbing out the dry mustard. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It’s a definite keeper!

  41. We ate this for dinner last night and it was a hit! Never buying canned again. Thank you!

    • This is amazing, thank you so much Caroline! I’m glad you liked it. :) Take care and thanks again!

  42. This is such a great recipe Meggan! Thank you! As a Wisconsin girl myself, I loved to see the Wisconsin cheddar mentioned :) My husband loves this recipe and it tastes really similar to what I grew up on! We are having this for the second time in a week because we just can’t stop craving it!

  43. I made Sloppy Joes using your recipe and added green peppers.  EVERYBODY loved them.  These were so easy to prepare.  Thanks!

  44. I have usesd this recipe twice. both times i added the small red, yellow & orange sweet peppers to the onion. My family like so many others says “no more Manwich” so much better. I can never make a big enough pot everyone wants to take the leftovers for lunch. Thank you so much for sharing. And I agree with you about not being able to mess this recipe up you just follow your basic recipe and add what your family likes. We love it. Tell your Mom.


  45. How much ground beef?

  46. It cracks me up when people worry about adding or subtracting a seasoning (onion/garlic) use tomato sauce or soup etc. I’m a kitchen sink cook. Whatever’s handy goes in. The more stuff the merrier! Just taste as you go along basically. Don’t think I ever used an actual recipe for Joe’s. Even the chicken gumbo soup instead of tomato for “super burgers” like I had as a kid in the 40’s works great!. So guys, ad lib it and have fun!

  47. That’s “in the 50’s, not 40’s”. Just added 10 years to my age!

  48. I usually hate sloppy joes, but wanted to make something quick for the family and I LOVE this recipe. It isn’t too sweet or too vinegary. It’s just perfect. I did sub Dijon mustard for the dry mustard and apple cider for the white vinegar, but this is a keeper.

  49. This is way too sweet! How do I cut the sweetness down quickly before I try and serve this to my family? I followed the recipe to a T! Help! What do I do? Tripled the recipe cuz I thought it’d be good based on all the comments. 

    • Hi Elizabeth, you can add tomato paste to cut the sweetness. You may have to simmer longer to thicken. I’m sorry it was too sweet for you. It must be the ketchup, I’m guessing it’s not to your taste. Sorry about that! Yes most of the people who try the recipe seem to like it, but we all have our own individual preferences for food of course. Good luck and sorry about that!

    • I did a quick google search which recommended lemon juice, which I just happened to have, and that did it! Now it tastes great! (Minus the salt which I added just a little too much of.) We’ll see if my family likes it! I think it tastes great now! I think I’m so used to eating manwich so the flavor was alien to me. Lol. I change my rating to 5 stars! 

    • Oh my gosh, you didn’t need to change your rating! The 2-star rating reflects how well my recipe served you, LOL! I’m glad you tried lemon juice and that it worked. I feel like I should have known that, but now I do. I will add a note to the recipe. I really appreciate your kindness and honesty and I’m glad you fixed the recipe. Take care!

    • I’ve subbed barbeque sauce for half of the ketch and cut the he sugar by half, because my family (I don’t eat meat so can’t really comment) tends to like things a little hotter. They LOVED it. Just a thought. 

    • …please pardon the typos…should’ve edited Before hitting POST. They LOVED it. 

  50. Hi Megan,
    This is Mary from Wisconsin. Yes, we got hit hard with the white nasty stuff. 31″ to be exact. You must have been sending someone else a response, but I accidentally received it. Your sloppy joe recipe is to die for. My husband was the picky eater and absolutely loved your recipe.
    Take care and hope you have no need to come to Wisconsin anytime soon. So sick of snow, I’m over this. Possibly 50s and 60s this weekend though. Again take care!
    Mary Reyes

  51. great recipe! opted to try yours over many others on the internet based on half the amount of ketchup and less sugar than other recipes. i ended up modifying the recipe slightly. added 2 garlic cloves(minced) instead of regular salt, I used 1/2 tsp (ish) of celery salt. used 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce instead of 1, a few tbsp of red wine. seemed like it was missing a little something in the end so I added 1-1/2 tsp of liquid smoke and it was perfect! thank you very much!

  52. I was browning some ground beef to make sloppy joes last week & found I did not have my trusty package of sloppy joe mix. I did not want to go to the store so I found your recipe online. I had all the ingredients on your list so I decided to give it a try. The extra 3 minutes to make this from scatch is so worth it. These sloppy joes were way beyond my old way of making them. I will never buy the packaged mix again. I served mine open faced on hamburger buns with a slice of colby jack cheese melted on top. I will be back to try some of your other recipes.

    • Dear Roger, THANK YOU! You made my day. And you ate it just like we do in Wisconsin – with a slice of Colby jack. :) And I’m glad it was easy for you to make. I really appreciate you! Have a great rest of your weekend.

  53. so im not done making the accual sloppy joe 
    but i tried the sauce 🤤👌it will be good 
    we having a small party so i tripled the size 

  54. I have prepared this recipe numerous times. It is a crowd pleaser. I add diced cellery(finally chopped)or a little crunch.

  55. Makes 6 servings but recipe calls for 8 buns?

    • Typo. Makes 8 servings!!! Sorry about that. I should say, it makes 8 servings on those cheap junky white buns… if you are doing something more substantial, like kaiser rolls, you might only get 6.

  56. I just made it and it was delicious.

  57. Found this recipe while on a mission trip with my church to Cumberland, MD. Had an awesome time with two friends preparing the sloppy joes as the main course for dinner in the kitchen of the Bruce Outreach Center in Westernport, MD. Bookmarked this site for future meal ideas. Awesome recipe, everyone loved the sloppy joes.

  58. Meggan, my husband is from Wisconsin Rapids and he calls this recipe barbecues! I had always called it sloppy joes growing up. Just like macaroni in his chilli recipe!

    • Toria, this makes my day! LOL! I know exactly where Wisconsin Rapids is and used to have my cross country State meets there in high school. :D Have a lovely weekend!

  59. I made this with ground turkey and it was Delish!!!! I won’t be buying canned sloppy joe mix any more.

  60. Hi Meggan! I had to blog about this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing! Drop by sometime!


  61. Hi! I don’t usually comment on recipes I find online, but I have to say that this was so EASY and turned out so delicious, that I had to thank you! So Thank You! I added a finely grated carrot to the onions and meat to sneak some veggies in for my kids and everyone loved it. I almost cried because it is never that easy for me to cook something that yummy so quickly and easily. This will now be in rotation with our regular meals. Thank you again and again!

  62. Hi!  Does the nutrition show for one serving size? If so how much is a serving size? I’m guessing 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Also, does it include the bun (guessing not)? Thanks!!

    • Hi Britt! Sorry to take so long getting back to you, I finally got around to testing this so I can tell you the answer! The recipe makes just under 4 cups total, so there are 8 servings of approximately 1/2 cup each. That was based on the size of my onion though. I am going to change the recipe to say 1 medium onion, instead of a small onion, to hit that even 4-cup mark. If that makes sense. And the calories iare based on including a bun, yes (a Pepperidge Farms hamburger bun). Without the bun, 1/2 cup sloppy joe meat is 190 calories. If you need anything else please let me know! Sorry again for the delay.

  63. Great sloppy joe recipe! So easy and delicious. Mine was a tad bit acidic (may have been the ketchup or tomato sauce I used), but an extra 1 tbsp of brown sugar cut the acidity down, and it was so yummy. Thank you for this recipe! 

  64. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and my family loves it. This time I used ground Turkey instead of beef. A-maz-ing!!

  65. OH EM GEE! I just made this, didn’t change a thing, as it is wonderful!!!! My guy liked Manwich – until now!! He’s already upset that we only had 1 pound of ground beef on hand, lol, so guess what?? Because of you and your darned good recipe, I’m trekking it to the store for more ingredients!!! Thanks Meghan, this is truly my go to from now on!!!

  66. I’m eating these right now as we speak (type)!  These are so nummy!!!  I used lean ground turkey. Didn’t have onion or green pepper on hand. Added a little garlic (I’m a garlic freak)!!!  Absolutely delicious!!! 

  67. Actually, tho’ I  may be a little biased,  the best Sloppy Joes I’ve ever had are my Mom’s!  And they are by far the easiest. The ingredients are One Of Everything’ in logical order. 
         One lb. of ground beef
         One onion diced
         One red or green pepper diced
         One cup of ketchup
         One tbs of yellow mustard
         One tsp of white vinegar
         One shake of black pepper to taste
         One shake of salt to taste
    Brown and Drain Ground Beef
    Sauté onion and pepper til translucent
    Mix all ingredients and simmer for forty-five
    Serve with American Cheese on a bun

  68. This girl knows what’s good. Period!

    I was doing fine until I scrolled past her Cincinnati Chili recipe.  Now I’m a wreck. GOTTA MAKE IT. It’s sooooo good!!

  69. So yummy the best we have ever had !! Thank You !!

  70. Serve it like they do everything in Pittsburgh – with French fries on it. lol

  71. How long can it be keeped in the freezer?

    • Hi Judith, indefinitely although eventually the quality will suffer. But as far as food safety goes, you can keep it in the freezer forever. I would say you’d want to eat it in 3 months, but I haven’t actually tested this to know for sure. I can if you want me to? Just let me know. But it will take a while to report back. :D

  72. Made and devoured the addictive chili – now time for the Joe’s. This looks like the same recipe my mom used to stir up. As a kid, I loved eating them on cold winter days while ice skating. That was a week or two ago. lol

  73. This is my third time making this. It is the best sloppy Joe’s I have ever made!!! I add a little siracha to it and it is very good. I also sub ground mustard for the dry mustard. Can’t wait to add bell peppers to it, may be carrots too.

  74. Making these for my brother’s birthday next week. It was his birthday dinner every year and this is the recipe that is his all-time favorite. Serve with potato chips and cottage cheese for dipping (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it)– he’s a sloppy Joe contest judge at our state fair, so he knows!!

  75. Decided to add a chopped poblano pepper instead of a green bell pepper (for those of you who like to add bell peppers) and, whoa! It kicks it up a notch! 

    Also, this is recipe is 2 just servings for me, with each serving consisting of 2 rolls served open faced. It’s so good that it’s easy to inhale 1/2 lb of meat without even blinking. Be forewarned! 😂

    • You might be my soulmate. First subbing poblanos (GENIUS) and then eating all the meat without blinking… yes. Totally my style. It cracks me up that for you, this recipe is just TWO SERVINGS. Best thing I heard all day. -Meggan

  76. I need to make this! 18 people for my husband’s police stafff….no issues to make ahead and keep warm in a crockpot, yes? I am counting on these reviews! No ti.e to test ahead of time!

    • Hi Maria, you will be set making it ahead and keeping it in a crockpot! I feel like they are going to LOVE the stuff… I hope they do. Just taste it once you have it done, and email me at if you hate it and want to know how to fix it. But I really think you’ll be fine. Trust the reviews – they aren’t from me! :D Good luck, and thank you!

  77. This looks great. I plan to feed about 15 people, any idea how many pounds of meat to use?

    • Hi Ann Marie, I think it depends on whether you are lunching with ladies or feeding a gaggle of guys. One pound of beef will make 8 sandwiches, so you would want at least 2 pounds. I’d go with 3, personally, unless the crowd is predominantly male, then they might all want at least 2 sandwiches. And is it the main entree, or a potluck situation where there are other entrees? I’d say you’ll want 3-4 pounds beef depending on these other factors. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks! -Meggan

  78. Loved this recipe! I doubled the sauce, used 5.5 lbs of beef,  added loads of veggies (shredded carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, celery) and it turned out perfect! I browned the beef the night before and then threw everything into the slow cooker in the morning and it made for a really easy Sunday lunch for 12 people with 6 servings for leftovers. Will definitely make again.

  79. Wow Alex didn’t think to add zucchini. Gonna have to try that. I love pumping up veggies I can any recipe. Thanks.

  80. I’ve tried a few Sloppy Joe recipes, none were quite right. This one is perfect. Slightly sweet. Sloppy, but not too much so. And it’s flexible… as our provider stated, you can add before, if you like. Thank you for this recipe!

  81. shredded carrots are a great idea.
    I never put ketchup in anything. Control the balance with vinegar and molasses.
    I added chipotle with Adobe (homemage) lots of garlic and a teaspoon of instant coffee.

  82. This is AMAZING!!! The only changes I made was I added the salt and pepper to the meat while it was cooking and per the suggestions I added one clove of garlic and a diced green pepper in with the meat. I will never again but the canned.

  83. This was super tasty!  Since my son doesn’t like onions, I added onion powder!

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