See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Sloppy Joe recipe is a delicious from scratch take on the classic comfort food meal that you may remember from your childhood. These homemade sloppy joes are quick to make with simple ingredients for an easy family dinner.
Best Sloppy Joe Recipe
Growing up, when sloppy joes were on the menu, 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.
These meaty, saucy sloppy joe sandwiches offer a tempting blend of savory and sweet. The filling is thick and hearty and can be made with either ground beef or ground turkey for a lighter option. These sloppy joes are incredibly kid-friendly, but adults will appreciate their addictive complement of flavors just as much as the kids.
We especially love to heap our sloppy joe filling onto these soft toasted brioche buns. This meal is a regular in our recipe rotation, and it’s sure to satisfy your craving for good old-fashioned home cooking.
How to Make Sloppy Joes
Making these sloppy joes takes less than 30 minutes. Besides toasting the buns, this recipe is made in one skillet on the stove so clean up is easy. You can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts at the end of this post.
- Cook ground beef in a skillet until it is almost browned. It will continue cooking after you add the veggies.
- Add chopped onion and green bell pepper to the pan and continue cooking.
- Add garlic to the pan.
- Add the sloppy joe sauce ingredients: tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, salt and pepper.
- Cook on low for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Serve on toasted hamburger buns.
What to Serve with Sloppy Joes
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Green Salad
- Roasted Broccoli
- Macaroni Salad
- Fruit Salad
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Recipe Tips & Variations:
- Don’t over-cook the meat and sauce mixture or it may turn out dry. Cook it just until it has reached your desired thickness.
- Toast the hamburger buns before piling on the sloppy joe meat. This helps to prevent the buns from getting soggy. I usually toast the buns in the toaster, but you can also toast them 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.
- Adjust the amount of brown sugar to your tastes. Use less if you prefer less sweetness in your sloppy joes, or more if you prefer them to be sweeter.
- You can substitute ground turkey or even ground chicken for the ground beef to make this recipe healthier. Or try my BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes.
- Try adding more vegetables to the sloppy joe meat. Carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, and red, yellow or orange bell peppers are good options. Chop the veggies small and add them to the pan along with the onion and green bell pepper. This is an easy way to sneak more healthy vegetables into your meal.
- If desired, top your sandwich with sliced cheese or pickles.
- 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 this recipe. Carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, and red, yellow or orange bell peppers are good options. Chop the veggies small and add them to the pan along with the onion and green bell pepper. This is an easy way to sneak more healthy vegetables into the meal.
- Nutrition information is for sloppy joe meat mixture only, because hamburger bun nutrition will vary by type/brand.
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