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Homemade Sloppy Joes

Ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy Homemade Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives…and they taste better, too!

Homemade Sloppy Joes ~ ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy, all-natural Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too! | FiveHeartHome.com

There aren’t many dinners that you can get on the table faster than whipping up a batch of Sloppy Joes. And while the store-bought sauce that rhymes with San-wich might make this meal even quicker, it’s got some less-than-ideal ingredients. After all, I tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup in my sweets, much less my dinner.

Homemade Sloppy Joes ~ ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy, all-natural Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too! | FiveHeartHome.com

So what’s a Sloppy Joe-lovin’ family to do? Why, put together your own quick and easy, all-natural sauce, of course! It only takes a couple of minutes, it tastes soooo much better (in fact, you get to control how sweet and/or salty you want it), and you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary additives.

Homemade Sloppy Joes ~ ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy, all-natural Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too! | FiveHeartHome.com

I shared my Slow Cooker Chicken Sloppy Joes awhile back, which feature this same sauce, but sometimes you don’t have the forethought (or time) to toss something into the crock pot first thing in the morning. So if you still want an effortless, family-pleasing meal come 5 o’clock, simply brown some ground beef and stir in this homemade sauce. Easy peasy.

There’s really not much more to say about this recipe, folks. Kids love it, as evidenced by the fact that my two-year-old couldn’t keep her little mitts away from it long enough for me to snap a few pictures. But adults love it, too. It’s so simple but oh-so-good.

Homemade Sloppy Joes ~ ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy, all-natural Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too! | FiveHeartHome.com

Oh, and if you’d like to make this meal even healthier by packing in some extra veggies unbeknownst to your kids (or your hubby), be sure to check out my How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies post, which specifically addresses Sloppy Joes!

A side salad, some baked beans, and — of course — some thickly-sliced pickles on top of your Sloppy Joes, and…dinner is served!

Homemade Sloppy Joes ~ ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy, all-natural Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too! | FiveHeartHome.com

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Ditch the store-bought can of sauce for these quick and easy Homemade Sloppy Joes with no additives or preservatives...and they taste better, too!

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Hamburger buns
  • Sliced pickles

Directions

  1. Set a large pot over medium-low heat. Add a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil, and saute the garlic for a minute or two until just fragrant and very light golden brown. Add ground beef, increase heat to medium/medium high, and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as meat cooks. Drain grease from meat.
  2. While meat is browning, make sauce. In a medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, until well combined. Pour over browned meat, stir, and simmer for a few minutes until warm.
  3. Serve on hamburger buns or rolls with sliced pickles on top.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

If you're making your own Sloppy Joe sauce in order to avoid processed ingredients, be sure you use all-natural ketchup. :)

This Sloppy Joe sauce is intended to be slightly sweet. If you prefer a more savory sauce, feel free to cut back on the brown sugar.

If you prefer your Sloppy Joe meat with onions and peppers, you may dice up half an onion and half a bell pepper and cook them in a tablespoon of olive oil until softened (about 5 to 10 minutes) before browning the beef. Remove the onions and peppers from the pot and proceed with the recipe, cooking the meat and then stirring the onions/peppers back in at the same time you add the sauce.

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Comments

  1. Those sloppy joes (and the pickle!) look wonderful….. that is pretty much how I make them also and I agree they are better…and better for my family than the canned stuff….. I really think the flavor is much better. Thank you for sharing this. πŸ™‚

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Joy…I can hardly eat a sloppy joe without pickle slices! Thanks so much for stopping by and for the thoughtful comment. Hope your week is off to a wonderful start! πŸ™‚

      • When my daughter still lived at home sloppy joes were on e of her favs, but we always added shredded sharp cheddar. Yummy!

  2. I love sloppy joes, I don’t know why I don’t think of eating them more often. Yours look delicious! And I love that picture of your 2 year old trying to grab the sandwich!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Aimee…she’s such a stinker, always inserting herself into my food photos and stealing my props! πŸ˜‰ Soon enough, your cute baby boy will be doing the same! Thanks for stopping by and enjoy these sloppy joes if you have a chance to try them… πŸ™‚

  3. My mom looooves sloppy joes but I hate the overly sweet taste of the canned sauce. I haven’t found a homemade sauce I like yet but I think I just did! Adding this to the list and pinning!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      That’s what’s nice about this sauce, Meaghan…you can make it as sweet or savory as you like! I don’t think it’s as sweet as the canned stuff but it does include some brown sugar, so you can certainly cut back on that if you prefer. Hope it’s a hit if you have a chance to try it, and thanks so much for the pin! πŸ™‚

  4. You know what’s funny? I went grocery shopping and almost bought a can of sloppy joe mix because well… its one meal the entire family won’t complain about. But I didn’t buy it because I thought, “I might be able to find a homemade recipe somewhere… And here I have it! I can’t wait to try it. Pinning.

    I would love if you linked this up to Totally Terrific Tuesdays which goes LIVE tonight at 9pm CST. Hope to see you there!

    Sharon
    herorganizedchaos.com

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Sharon…sounds like it was meant to be! My family is the same way in their universal love of all things sloppy joe, and it’s nice to be able to whip some up with regular ingredients from the fridge and pantry! πŸ˜‰ Hope you enjoy these, thanks so much for the pin, and hopping over to your link party now. πŸ™‚

  5. This is such a great looking sandwich and so easy to put together. I know what you mean about the can version…there’s a whole lot going on in them. My husband likes to add canned chili to his hot dogs on our quick and easy dinner nights. I tease him that it looks like cat food.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Ha, Thao…I may never look at canned chili the same away again (although I have to admit that I agree with you)! Hope this homemade version of sloppy joes passes the test with your husband if you have a chance to try it… πŸ˜‰

  6. Carolyn Crouchet says:

    I made these tonight and found the sauce to be so easy and such a great balance of exciting favors. Great recipe– even with onions! Thanks for another winner.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Yay, Carolyn! I’m so glad that y’all enjoyed these…and I will even forgive you for tainting them with onions! Ha. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’re having a fabulous week and hope to see you all soon!

  7. These were so good and super easy! I used ground venison. Instead of making a sauce and then stirring it in, I just poured all the ingredients straight into the pot. Worked great! My kiddos loved it.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So glad y’all enjoyed these, Stacy! And I’m glad you pointed out that you can measure the sauce ingredients straight on top of the cooked/drained ground beef…I’ve made this recipe that way before as well. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the comment and hope you’re having a great week!

  8. I made these tonight and they are so good! My husband and older son might not get any if they don’t get home soon!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Oh, I’m so happy you liked these, Sara! Hopefully your hubby and son didn’t miss out on the yumminess…and if they did, I bet they’ll learn to get home more quickly next time! πŸ˜‰ Ha.

  9. Barbara says:

    I don’t have any tomato sauce on hand but I do have canned tomatoes. Do you think that would work instead?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Barbara! I apologize for my delayed reply. I think canned tomatoes would work just fine in lieu of tomato sauce in this recipe, as long as you don’t mind little pieces of tomato in your Sloppy Joes. πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy!

  10. Chelsea says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Have you tried doubling or tripling the recipe? I’ll be feeding a brood next week!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Chelsea! You should be able to double, triple, or multiply exponentially this recipe with no problems. πŸ™‚ Hope your brood enjoys these sandwiches!

  11. The recipe calls for a teaspoon of mustard. Is that liquid or powdered?

    Thanks

    Nate

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Good question, Nate! I use liquid mustard in this recipe, so I just went back and clarified the ingredient list to call for “prepared mustard.” I always indicate ground mustard if I’m talking about the powdered stuff, but I appreciate you letting me know that this recipe wasn’t clear. πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

  12. This was so good! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      You’re very welcome, Ashley…I’m happy to hear that it was a hit! πŸ™‚

  13. This is such an easy and great recipe! I used less brown sugar because I don’t like my food to sweet, overall, it was fantastic!! I added onion lettuce tomatoes and cilantro!!! So good!!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this, Lori! And I’ve never tried cilantro on a sloppy joe…what a great idea!

  14. Made these tonight and the family loved them. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      You’re very welcome, Tracy! I love hearing that your family loved these…and I appreciate you taking the time to come back and let me know! πŸ™‚

  15. How many does one recipe serve?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Julia! Sorry…the yield is in rather small print in the top, left corner of the recipe. This recipe makes about four loaded Sloppy Joe sandwiches. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps, and hope you enjoy!

  16. I just made these recently and they are fantastic. We love sloppy joes but the canned has definitely gone down in terms of quality and amount of ingredients. Glad to find a simple recipe that tastes so wonderful.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that these were a hit, Katie! It’s hard to go back to the canned stuff after seeing how yummy and easy it is to make your own sauce. Hope your family enjoys this recipe for years to come! πŸ™‚

  17. Now that I am no longer working evenings, I am cooking supper for my family every night! We tried sloppy joes two nights ago and it was amazing! I have beef stroganoff in the crock pot now and it smells heavenly! Going to make cheeseburger macaroni tomorrow. Thank you Samantha, I am so glad I found you!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      What a sweet comment, Kristen…I’m so glad you found me, too! πŸ˜‰ You are awesome for cooking dinner for your family every night, and I’m thrilled to hear that my recipes are making that job easier. I hope that everything you’ve tried — and plan on trying — is a hit!

  18. This is a great recipe. I’ve never had the canned stuff, my mom always made homemade and so have I. I love trying new recipes, esp if they are quick and easy. My kids loved this recipe. I’m not exaggerating when I say my daughter refuses everything I put in front of her for dinner, (unless it’s cheese pizza) and she devoured these sloppy joes. Thanks for shearing

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      As a fellow mom of a cheese pizza (and not much else) aficionado, that’s the greatest recipe compliment ever, Rhea! So happy to hear that your family enjoyed these sloppy joes so much. πŸ™‚

  19. I thought these were bland. All I could taste was sweet ketchup. I actually had to add half of a can of organic sloppy joes mix to my batch to salvage it. Not sure how my family is going to react to these as the two sample spoonful I add made my stomach sick from the sweet.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Julia! I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy these, as this is a recipe that typically gets very positive reviews. I wonder if the brand of ketchup you used had extra added sugar? You may certainly reduce the amount of brown sugar in the sauce to compensate for a sweeter brand of ketchup, or to suit your tastes in general. At any rate, I hope you have better luck with the next sloppy joe recipe you try! πŸ™‚

  20. I made this and it came out amazing!!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed it, Christine! Simple as it is, my family never seems to get tired of this recipe… πŸ˜‰

  21. Made these tonight and it was pretty much perfection! Great recipe. And i get to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Win!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Leftovers are the best when you really enjoyed a meal the first time! πŸ˜‰ So happy to hear that these Sloppy Joes were a hit, Sarah…thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know! πŸ™‚

      • I can’t figure out how to comment so I hope you don’t mind me piggy backing your post!
        Anyway, I found them to be slightly sweet so I tried to counter the sweetness by adding some vinegar. I think because tomato sauces vary so widely in the amount of hidden sugar in them I would probably use tomato paste next time and dilute up with some water, or just reduce the amount of brown sugar. I think it’s important to simmer these longer than just heated through sot he flavors meld together so I simmered them on low about an hour. But they smell great and I think they won’t go to waste.

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Kami! I totally agree that sweetness is subjective and that certain brands of ingredients can affect how much sugar the final dish has…but it sounds like you were able to make the right adjustments to tweak the recipe to your liking. πŸ™‚ Hope it was a hit!

  22. I don’t want to buy a bottle of yellow mustard if possible since I won’t use it for anything else and it will end up expiring. I already have a bottle of stone-ground brown mustard and I also have mustard powder. Could I use either of those instead? If so, would one be a better substitute than the other?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Leanne! You can definitely use mustard powder instead of prepared yellow mustard in this recipe. Just cut the amount in half, since the powder is more concentrated. πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy!

  23. This is pretty much the best homemade sloppy joe recipe EVER. And I’ve made a LOT of sloppy joes since we love them soooooooo much! This one is going straight into my printed Favorites binder. My kids inhaled them!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      That’s so great to hear, Stacy…thank you for the compliment! These sloppy joes are a hit with my kids as well…and the parents of the household rather enjoy them as well! πŸ˜‰

  24. Do you need Worcester sauce?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Thomas! Worcestershire sauce is an important ingredient in this sauce, so leaving it out is probably going to somewhat affect the final flavor. But if you need to leave it out, the recipe will still work…you just may want to adjust the seasonings to taste to make up for it. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  25. Thanks for sharing your recipe. We loved it! I used turkey meat and added finely chopped zuchini to add to our veggie intake. Served with sweet potato fries. Very good dinner, quick and easy!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So glad this was a hit, Cindy! And I often sneak shredded veggies into the meat, too…it’s easier than fighting my kids — ha. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’re having a great week!

  26. These sloppy joes are the best homemade variety I’ve ever had. They are really flavorful and fantastic. I did use only half the sugar and half the ketchup; I added sautΓ©ed onions and peppers and some salt. I’ll save this recipe and make often! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed these, Hollie, and I love that you were able to tweak the recipe to your tastes. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment and I hope you have a great weekend!

  27. Been making these for awhile now..still love the recipe. The other day I didn’t have any ketchup so I used BBQ sauce instead. Still declicious

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Sounds yummy, Katie…thanks so much for sharing! And very happy to hear that you enjoy these so much. πŸ™‚

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