See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.

These sloppy joes are meaty, saucy and tangy, piled high on soft toasted burger buns. The whole family will love this quick and easy dinner idea!

Looking for more ground beef recipes? Try my Taco Recipe, Hamburger Casserole or Chili Recipe next.

Side view of sloppy joes served on a burger bun.

This Sloppy Joe Recipe is a House Favorite

Growing up, when sloppy joes were for dinner, we relied on the sloppy joe sauce that you buy in a can at the grocery store. No one complained, but now that I’ve tried sloppy joes from scratch I’ll never go back to the canned sauce. These homemade sloppy joes have a richer base of flavors and they’re so incredibly easy to make that there’s no reason not to go the homemade route.

My sloppy joe recipe features a homemade sauce made with a handful of simple ingredients, most of which you probably keep on hand in your kitchen. It’s a perfect blend of savory and sweet that flavors the meat as it simmers in the skillet.

I make this recipe often when I need dinner to be especially quick and easy, which happens frequently around here with 5 kids and their various sports and activities schedules! I love that I can have these sloppy joes on the table in 25 minutes, start to finish, and that everyone, kids and adults, enjoys this kid-friendly dinner idea.

Made these tonight and they were so good. I will make again—many times. I used dinner rolls and enjoyed them as sliders. ❤️



  • Ground Beef: Sloppy joes are traditionally made with ground beef. You can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
  • Onion: For flavor.
  • Green Bell Pepper: Or substitute another color of bell pepper that you have on hand.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce: Creates the base of the sauce.
  • Ketchup: For sweetness and tomato flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: For sweetness. You can adjust the amount of brown sugar to your tastes.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds savory, umami flavor.
  • Mustard: Adds a bit of tangy flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: To enhance all of the flavors.
  • Hamburger Buns: We love these Brioche Buns, or use store-bought buns.

How to Make Sloppy Joes

Here’s an overview of the recipe steps. You’ll find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts at the end of this post.

Brown the meat. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet until browned.

Browned ground beef in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes until softened. Then stir in the garlic.

Browned ground beef, onion, green bell pepper and garlic in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Make the sloppy joe sauce. Add all of the sauce ingredients to the pan: tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Then cook until thickened.

Tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper added to skillet with meat and veggies.

Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

Sloppy joe meat mixture in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Recipe Tips

  • To ensure that the meat mixture stays moist, don’t simmer it too long. Cook it just until it has reached your desired thickness.
  • Toast the hamburger buns before piling on the sloppy joe meat to keep the buns from getting soggy. You can toast them in a toaster or in the oven under the broiler (watch them closely so they don’t burn).
  • Assemble sloppy joes right before serving so that the sauce won’t soak into the buns too much.
  • Sometimes I like to add more vegetables to the sloppy joe meat. Carrots, mushrooms and zucchini all work well. Chop the veggies up small and add them to the pan along with the onion and green bell pepper.
  • If desired, top your sandwich with pickles or sliced cheese.
Sloppy joe mixture served on a toasted burger bun with potato chips on the side.

Serving Suggestions

Wondering what else to make to round out the meal? Here are my favorite side dishes for sloppy joes:

This meal is sure to satisfy your craving for good old-fashioned home cooking. If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear how you liked it in a comment below!

Sloppy joe sandwich with potato chips on the side.
5 from 2 ratings

Best Sloppy Joe Recipe

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
These sloppy joes are hearty, saucy and flavorful! Serve the ground beef filling on top of toasted burger buns. On the side, I like to serve baked French fries or sweet potato fries.


  • 1 pound ground beef, or ground turkey
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted, for serving


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook, crumbling. Drain off any excess grease (this may not be necessary if using lean ground beef).
  • When the beef has started to brown but hasn't cooked fully, add the onion and bell pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until beef is no longer pink and vegetables have started to soften.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir. Cook at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the mixture reached your desired thickness.
  • Serve Sloppy Joes on toasted hamburger buns.


  • Try adding more vegetables to the sloppy joe meat. Carrots, mushrooms or zucchini all work well. Chop the veggies up small and add them to the pan along with the onion and green bell pepper.
  • Recipe serves 4 generously or 6 smaller servings.
  • Nutrition information is for sloppy joe meat mixture only, because hamburger bun nutrition will vary by type/brand.
Serving: 1/4 meat mixture, Calories: 320kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 962mg, Potassium: 695mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 459IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
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