This homemade Sloppy Joes recipe is easy, inexpensive, and ready in just 30 minutes. It’s a kid-favorite, and packed with flavor.

Looking for more 30-Minute Meals? Try my Air Fryer Pizza, Taco Salad, or Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas!

A homemade sloppy joe on a plate, ready to eat.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Homemade Sauce: It has the perfect sauce/beef ratio that is packed with flavor.
  • Adaptable: There are so many ways to vary this recipe (see below) by adding veggies, switching the meat, etc.
  • Kid Friendly: My kids love this recipe (even when I add veggies) and it makes for a relaxing and fun family dinner.  Check out all my kid friendly recipes!

How to make Sloppy Joes:

Brown the Beef: Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender and translucent.

A skillet with cooked ground beef, chopped onion and garlic added on top.

Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir to combine.

Sloppy joe sauce ingredients added to a skillet with cooked ground beef.

Simmer for 30 minutes. The simmering time is a crucial part of the recipe because it allows the flavors to blend together.

Sloppy joe meat sauce simmering in a skillet.

Serve: After letting the sloppy joe mixture simmer, serve it warm on a toasted hamburger bun as a sloppy joe sandwich.

A hamburger bun bottom slice topped with homemade sloppy joe mixture.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The sloppy joe meat filling can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, depending on the freshness of the beef. Store in the refrigerator and reheat and serve on toasted buns when ready to eat.

To Freeze: Allow the mixture to cool completely and store it in an air-tight, freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove.

Recipe Variations:

  • Add Veggies: Diced bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, or shredded carrot, can easily be added to this recipe and your kids won’t even notice a difference.
  • Hawaiian Sloppy Joes: Substitute more BBQ sauce for the ketchup and add 8 oz., drained crushed pineapple.
  • Asian Sloppy Joes: Add 1 tablespoon ground ginger and substitute 1 tablespoons hoisin sauce for the Worcestershire sauce. If desired mix in thinly sliced cucumber slices, chopped water chestnuts or shredded carrot.
  • Turkey Sloppy Joes: Substitute ground turkey in place of ground beef and add chopped veggies.
  • Low Carb Sloppy Joes: Serve in a lettuce leaf, or serve open-face on a low-carb bun, with a piece of cheese placed on top, and broiled in the oven for 2 minutes.

Serve Sloppy Joes with:

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Recipe

A homemade sloppy joe on a plate, ready to eat.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 30 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup , or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauces
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 hamburger buns

Instructions
 

  • Add beef to a large pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, crumbling and stirring, until browned. Remove grease.
  • Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve warm, inside a toasted hamburger bun.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: The sloppy joe meat filling can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, depending on the freshness of the beef. Store in the refrigerator and reheat and serve on toasted buns when ready to eat.
Freezing Instructions: Allow the mixture to cool completely and store it in an air-tight, freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove.
Variations:
  • Add Veggies: Diced bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, or shredded carrot, can easily be added to this recipe and your kids won’t even notice a difference.
  • Hawaiian Sloppy Joes: Substitute more BBQ sauce for the ketchup and add 8 oz., drained crushed pineapple.
  • Asian Sloppy Joes: Add 1 tablespoon ground ginger and substitute 1 tablespoons hoisin sauce for the Worcestershire sauce. If desired mix in thinly sliced cucumber slices, chopped water chestnuts or shredded carrot.
  • Turkey Sloppy Joes: Substitute ground turkey in place of ground beef and add chopped veggies.
  • Low Carb Sloppy Joes: Serve in a lettuce leaf, or serve open-face on a low-carb bun, with a piece of cheese placed on top, and broiled in the oven for 2 minutes.
Serve with:

Nutrition

Calories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 24gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 850mgPotassium: 640mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 315IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 4mg

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I originally shared this recipe January 2018. Updated March 2022.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Another good recipe to add to the recipe box! I usually find sloppy joes a little too sweet for my liking, but this was just right. I’m looking forward to trying the Asian version in the future which looks like a refreshing & creative twist.

  2. Lauren, I’ve always made my Sloppy Joe recipe with ground beef, Heinz Chili Sauce and dried onions. I don’t have an exact recipe but it’s so, so easy and has few ingredients. Just start with browning the beef, then add part of a jar of the chili sauce and maybe a couple tsp dried onion flakes and stir. Sometimes I add a little water and/or some diced green peppers. Then serve on toasted buns or even toasted hot dog buns. It’s yummy! Hope you’ll try it sometime and let me know how you like it.

  3. 5 stars
    This was just perfect! Great flavor and so easy… I had all the ingredients in hand, too! Thanks for this recipe.

  4. I make Snoopy Joe’s but my I ingredients are a bit different then yours.I find that freezing adds to the flavor. Like chili its better the next day! Karen

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