When it comes to easy homemade dinners, it doesn’t get any better than the best Sloppy Joes, my family’s most requested recipe. Every bite is meaty, messy, and delicious.

The best sloppy joes on a plate with pickles and chips.

Sloppy Joes take me back to the good old days of summer vacations. Every year my mom would make a giant batch of this recipe, freeze it, and stow it in the car during our annual trip to northern Wisconsin. When we got to the cabin, dinner was already made. All we had to do was toast up some buns and set the table. Summer meant lots of Sloppy Joe sandwiches, which was fine by me.

Of course, you can fiddle with the recipe. Make it spicy, with some green chilies. Keep out the sugar if you prefer things less sweet, or add some smokiness with a little BBQ sauce. Fill it full of hidden veggies, or leave it as-is. Throw in some ground turkey, lamb, or venison. There’s simply no wrong way to make a Sloppy Joe.

Recipe ingredients:

Sloppy joe ingredients labeled and in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Ground beef: Or substitute ground turkey or venison.
  • Onion: Finely chopped celery and bell peppers are great too!
  • Brown sugar: Even a tablespoon is too much for some people. If you don’t like the sound of brown sugar in your Sloppy Joe, please leave it out!
  • Worcestershire sauce: In a pinch, you can substitute soy sauce.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Depending on the amount you’re making, you need a Dutch oven, large saucepan, or big pot. To start, over medium-high heat, brown the meat and onion together until the meat is almost cooked through–about 5 minutes or so.
    Ground beef and onion cooked in a sliver skillet.
  2. While the meat is cooking, mix together the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar in a separate bowl. Season the sauce with some salt and pepper.
    The best sloppy joe sauce ingredients in a clear glass bowl.
  3. Pour the sauce over the meat in the pot, stir well, and turn down the heat to a simmer.
    The best sloppy joe sauce being added to cooked ground beef and onion mixture.
  4. Let the meat simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes or so. Longer if you want drier, less sloppy Joes.
    The best sloppy joe meat in a sliver skillet.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • BBQ sauce. Your favorite barbecue sauce (or my favorite bbq sauce, based on Sweet Baby Ray’s) can be added instead of ketchup for a smoky version of a classic Joe.
  • 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. Or, splash on your favorite hot sauce to taste.
  • Slow cooker: In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well and add the bottom of a slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients (except the buns), cover, and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • Freezer: Cool completely, then add to freezer containers (one big batch or individual portions), label and date, and freeze for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to eat, let the Sloppy Joes thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove (or reheat from frozen).
  • Casserole: For a fork-friendly version, try my One Pot Sloppy Joe Casserole.

The best sloppy joes with chips and pickles on blue plates.

More classic recipes:

The best sloppy joe sandwich on a white plate.

The Best Sloppy Joes

When it comes to easy homemade dinners, it doesn’t get any better than the best Sloppy Joes, my family’s most requested recipe. Every bite is meaty, messy, and delicious. 
5 from 200 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 294


  • 1 pound ground beef (see note 1)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (see note 2)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (see note 4)
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 Sandwich buns split


  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper). 
  • Pour sauce ingredients over drained beef and stir until evenly coated. Simmer uncovered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (cover if you prefer a sloppier Sloppy Joe). Serve in buns.

Recipe Video


  1. Ground beef: Or substitute ground turkey or venison.
  2. Onion: Finely chopped celery and bell peppers are great too!
  3. Brown sugar: Even a tablespoon is too much for some people. If you don't like the sound of brown sugar in your Sloppy Joe, please leave it out!
  4. Worcestershire sauce: In a pinch, you can substitute soy sauce.
  5. BBQ sauce. Your favorite barbecue sauce (or my favorite bbq sauce, based on Sweet Baby Ray's) can be added instead of ketchup for a smoky version of a classic Joe.
  6. 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. Or, splash on your favorite hot sauce to taste.
  7. Slow cooker: In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well and add the bottom of a slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients (except the buns), cover, and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  8. Freezer: Cool completely, then add to freezer containers (one big batch or individual portions), label and date, and freeze for up to 4 months. When you're ready to eat, let the Sloppy Joes thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove (or reheat from frozen).
  9. Casserole: For a fork-friendly version, try my One Pot Sloppy Joe Casserole.


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 14gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 412mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 77IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 3mg
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  1. This is the darn best Sloppy Joe recipe I have ever eaten!!The only other item to the burger is a1/4 cupof chopped green or red pepper whatever I have handy. I have lost the saved recipe on Pinetrest a few times and my husband goes searching for it for me. Today he found other ones and found other ones but I remembered most of the items and I said not it. And I remembered more of what was in the recipe. And I said no not that one. And he finally got in to his Google search and put this in Sloppy Joe made with tomato sauce. And there it was the only one made with tomato sauce. We won’t lose that excellent Sloppy Joe recipe again.5 stars

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I will NEVER EVER BUY CAN SAUCE AGAIN! This was the best sloppy joe I have ever eaten! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

    1. Hi Terri, I haven’t tried it for this specific recipe, but I usually mix tomato paste and some water in a 1 to 1 ratio to substitute for tomato sauce. Enjoy – Meggan

  3. Love this recipe. I add some chopped green and red sweet peppers. Love the flavor of this recipe. Just as easy to make than the packet.

  4. Great recipe. I added carrots and red pepper as well add sautéed those for 5 minutes before adding beef.5 stars

  5. I made this recipe for my family and they finished off the whole pan. My kids told me this was a keeper and that I could throw my other recipes away. Thanks for the new recipe 🙂5 stars

  6. Isn’t it lovely when simple is delicious? A great recipe and my family loves it. I love the suggestion in the notes about bell pepper, we love the crunch. 5 stars for a comfort food meal!5 stars

  7. I’ve had this recipe saved in my “Standbys” folder and wondered why–couldn’t remember last time I made it. Well, I made it on 2-22-21 and remembered why. It reminds me of the Sloppy Joes my grandmother made when I was young–she used Campbell’s tomato soup but everything else was the same. Comfort food.5 stars

  8. This is delicious! To stretch it a bit I used 1.5lbs ground beef, used balsamic vinegar instead of white, then added an extra 1TBS brown sugar (so 2TBS total), plus 1/4c BBQ sauce and 1TBS spicy mustard. Thank you!5 stars

  9. Used a can of tomato soup instead of the sauce. And to heat it up 3/4 tsp cayenne.
    Made it using the BBQ sauce.
    Shredded some cheese over the whole bun before eating.
    My wife loved it. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you!!!

  10. I am the pickiest chef/eater there is. This is by far the Best Sloppy joe recipe. I am known for altering recipes, and with this one, there is no need. Call America’s test kitchen…this is the winner.

    1. Thank you so much Bryana! I made this before Thanksgiving because I just love it. It’s such a quick meal. Thank you! -Meggan

  11. Came out pretty thick, but I used tomato paste like in the picture of the ingredients. The recipe at the bottom says tomato sauce.

    1. Hi Ryan, I’m so sorry! It definitely should be tomato sauce. The picture is not correct, I’ll fix it. Sorry about that, I hope it didn’t ruin your day. – Meggan

  12. Great recipe, I’ll never buy canned SJ mix again! Thanks for sharing!
    I made a few changes to the recipe above; substituted white vinegar for apple cider vinegar for some more depth of flavour (I did 1.5 Tbsp Cider vinegar for some extra tang), added another tbsp Brown sugar (I like it sweet) and some Saracha hot sauce to taste for some heat. Also added some garlic powder and salt and pepper to the meat in the pan while it was cooking to season the meat. Turned out great!5 stars

  13. Haven’t made sloppy joe’s for a long-time, and I don’t know why because it’s SO simple and quick! Glad I found your recipe, it was perfect and my husband really liked it. I only omitted the brown sugar, but didn’t tell him:) Not sure why anyone wouldn’t make this meal from scratch.5 stars

  14. This is a fantastic recipe and even my picky eaters love it. This recipe is so much better than the canned stuff and worth the extra 2 or 3 minutes it takes to chop up the onion. We love slight tang from the vinegar. I’ve substituted yellow mustard for the dry mustard in a pinch and it’s still delicious!5 stars

  15. Made this exactly as written except added 1 minced stalk of celery! Very, very good and I liked that it was thick and not runny. Toasted the buns and my wife said to make sure I saved the recipe so I did and I will be making it again!5 stars

  16. Liked this very much. I added a little more worcestershire sauce and a touch more vinegar. We’ll definitely make this again!

  17. Hi there, this is my first visit to your site. I just made this and, being vegetarian, used a vegan “ground meat”. Turned out super duper delicious! I didn’t have tomato sauce, so used equal amounts of tomato paste and water and whisked until combined. Worked a treat. Will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you – now excuse me while I browse your site for more deliciousness!5 stars

  18. This was excellent!! To be fair I did make a change or two. I left out the white vinegar, and added 3T sweet pickle relish. I was a bit heavy on the Worcestershire, and light on the brown sugar. ( a pinch of brown sugar) I did not add salt or pepper.5 stars

  19. Newbie cook and just want to double check. Is the white vinegar, white vinegar or white wine vinegar?

    1. Hi Lisa! No problem, we are all newbies at some point! :) This recipe is white vinegar. Take care! -Meggan

  20. My aunt made this recipe for as long as I can remember. The only difference is her recipe calls for 1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup green bell pepper, which is a nice addition. I still use the index card in my mom’s handwriting titled “Irene’s BBQ.” This recipe brings back such happy memories for me too. I like your suggestions for leftovers and will definitely try the “Joe in a Blanket” idea!5 stars

  21. Is it tomato paste or tomato sauce? I’ve seen both on this page! Looking forward to making this.

    1. Hi there Catherine, I’m very sorry, the paste was a typo. It is SAUCE in this recipe. Thanks! -Meggan

  22. My family loves this recipe. I’ve been looking for this for a long time. In the 80s craft shows served food and this recipe is the closest thing to the Sloppy Joe’s I remember.

  23. Fantastic recipe! I ran out of white vinegar so I used a zesty Italian dressing and it turned out great!!! I have made this 4 or 5 times. It’s a big hit in my house.4 stars

  24. I used balsamic vinegar, then Korean BBQ sauce in place of the Worcester sauce….I didn’t have any…..and a smidge more ketchup….it was amazing….definitely let it simmer to blend all the flavors. The leftovers were mixed with macaroni and fresh tomato……great flavor.5 stars

  25. I was very happy to find this web site. I need to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you book-marked to check out new things on your blog.5 stars

  26. I make this recipe with ground chicken. It is the best recipe for sloppy joes out there. My husband has never been a sloppy joe fan, but he really likes this revipe.5 stars

  27. This was just made in a ×10 (or so) batch for a large community weekly meal. I cannot claim to a follow the recipe perfectly, but no I did pretty closely… These were truly the best homemade sloppy joes! Everyone thought they were tremendous! I did not use the bell pepper, as we have a large child attendance and didn’t want them to be detoured. They were still amazing!5 stars

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of sloppy joes! I’m so glad that they were great for you and your group! Whenever I hear things like this it just makes my day. Thanks! -Meggan

  28. Made Sloppy Jo Jo Rabbit for an Oscar Pun Party and this recipe won Best Flavor! Thank you for sharing your recipe!5 stars

    1. Well THAT is the best feedback I’ve ever gotten on this recipe. Wow. :) I’m so delighted! Thanks for sharing. -Meggan

  29. It’s so much better than canned sloppy joe sauces from the store, and the ingredients are pantry staples.5 stars

  30. This was amazing! My whole family loved it (I have 6 kids and a picky husband!), and my son even called it his “new favorite” dinner. That is a win in my book! Thanks so much for sharing healthy, delicious recipes!5 stars

    1. So my family was skeptical when I said this was for dinner because the last time I made this it was too sweet (different recipe). This was a winner! Thanks so much!

  31. Thank you so much for this recipe. I homeschool four of my grandchildren ages 9-15 and they all said it is definitely “a Keeper!” I used ground turkey for a healthy alternative as you suggested and I also added in grated carrots and finely chopped kale to make it a healthier dish. I put it in my crockpot in the morning while they were eating breakfast and it was smelling delicious by lunch time. So easy, I will definitely be using this recipe as one of our rotation meals for lunch. Thank you again for sharing this with all of us.5 stars

  32. Of course I only had tomato-basil sauce! So I went for the tomato soup instead but all I had was PC Blue Menu tomato and roasted red pepper soup to use. Added 2T tomato paste and only 1/4C ketchup so it wouldn’t be too sweet. Next time I’ll leave the brown sugar out till the end to taste. I also added about 1/4C each of celery and cubanelle pepper. My husband says best sloppy joes I ever made – brilliant! I see much more of this in our future thanks5 stars

  33. Have made a few times, using 2 cups brown/green lentils instead of the 1 lb meat (my standard substitution). Thank you for the recipe, it is perfect. I had tried “vegan sloppy joes” recipes and they never hit the mark – for some reason always containing tablespoons of chili powder and never really being “sloppy joe” flavored. This sauce is just perfect sloppy joe sauce. I saute a sweet onion until nice and sweetly browned, then add the lentils, 4 cups water, a little salt, and cook until just about done. Then I add all the sauce ingredients. (Adding the acidic tomato sauce to the lentils while cooking will prevent them from softening). Then I let it simmer for a while to let the flavors blend. We serve it with fresh baked rolls or pitas, sliced pickle and onion, and for my husband – fritos. As written the recipe yields two big man servings for him and one serving for me – need to remember to double it next time so I get some of the leftovers.5 stars

  34. This turned out amazing. (I took a taste) I have it simmering right now but it seems too liquidity to put on a bun. Any suggestions on thickening I?5 stars

    1. Hi Emily, you can simmer it longer if it seems too sloppy. I think the way we eat it, it’s just like that (maybe not as thick as the stuff from the can). Also, did you drain your beef after browning it? If not, it might have more liquid. I think also, uncovering it while simmering will help a lot (I will change the recipe to simmer it uncovered). I hope this helps. And I am so glad you like it! -Meggan

    1. Hi Emily, you could actually do either. Normally I cook the onions with the beef so they would go in cooked. I have another recipe for Calico Beans in a slow cooker and the onions go in raw. I like that too, but the onion flavor ends up being stronger/more pronounced (not bad, not overly oniony, but it’s different). If you aren’t sure, I would say cook them first. But if you aren’t worried about it, or you like an adventure, throw them in raw. Thanks! -Meggan

  35. 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.5 stars

  36. 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.5 stars

  37. 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!5 stars

  38. 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.5 stars

    1. 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

  39. 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!

    1. 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 meggan@culinaryhill.com 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!

  40. 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! 😂5 stars

    1. 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

  41. 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!!5 stars

  42. 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.5 stars

  43. 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. lol5 stars

    1. 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

  44. 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!!5 stars

  45. 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

  46. 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!!! 5 stars

  47. 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!!!5 stars

  48. 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!!5 stars

  49. 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! 5 stars

  50. 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!!

    1. 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.

  51. 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!5 stars

  52. I made this with ground turkey and it was Delish!!!! I won’t be buying canned sloppy joe mix any more.5 stars

  53. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

  54. 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.5 stars

    1. 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.

  55. I have prepared this recipe numerous times. It is a crowd pleaser. I add diced cellery(finally chopped)or a little crunch.5 stars

  56. 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 5 stars

  57. 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.5 stars

    1. 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.

  58. 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!5 stars

  59. 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 Reyes5 stars

  60. 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. 5 stars

    1. 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!

    2. 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! 5 stars

    3. 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!

    4. 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. 5 stars

    5. …please pardon the typos…should’ve edited Before hitting POST. They LOVED it. 5 stars

  61. 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.5 stars

  62. 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!5 stars

  63. 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.

    Lisa5 stars

  64. I made Sloppy Joes using your recipe and added green peppers.  EVERYBODY loved them.  These were so easy to prepare.  Thanks!5 stars

  65. 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!5 stars

  66. We ate this for dinner last night and it was a hit! Never buying canned again. Thank you!5 stars

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

  67. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

  68. 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!5 stars

    1. 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

  69. 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 5 stars

  70. 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.5 stars

  71. 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 Wisconsin5 stars

    1. 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.

    2. Wisconsin had 2 warm days this weekend.lol 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.

  72. 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 Don5 stars

  73. 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! 5 stars

  74. 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!! 5 stars

    1. 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

    1. 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.

  75. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  76. 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.   5 stars

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  77. 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?

    1. 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.

  78. 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

    1. 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!

    2. 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 :)5 stars

  79. 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. 5 stars

  80. 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!

    1. 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!

  81. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

    3. 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!

  82. 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!5 stars

  83. 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?

    1. 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! :)

    2. 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!!5 stars

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

    1. 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.

  85. 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.5 stars

  86. 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?

    1. 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!

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

  87. 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?5 stars

    1. 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!

  88. I made this tonight for a last minute family (low-key) dinner – IT WAS AMAZING! Thank you for publishing this recipe! 5 stars

  89. 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!5 stars

  90. 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.5 stars

    1. 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!

  91. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!!

  92. 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. 5 stars

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

    1. 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!

  94. 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.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Jeanne!!! I imagine it was a quite a change from what you’ve been eating in Singapore. So happy you and your husband enjoyed these! Thanks again and take care. :)

  95. I have a spatchcocked chicken brining for roasting today, but these are definitely on deck for tomorrow – drool.5 stars

  96. I can’t believe I have never thought to add cheese to my sloppy joe. These look great. The messier the better!5 stars

  97. 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 ! 5 stars