The VERY BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe recipe is not only delicious, but it's quick and easy to make using real ingredients instead of a store-bought can of sauce. Hundreds of raving reviews agree!
There aren't many dinners that you can get on the table faster than whipping up 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.
So what's a Sloppy Joe-lovin' family to do? Why, put together your own quick and easy, all-natural sauce, of course! Once you make homemade Sloppy Joes, y'all, you won't go back.
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.
- Tomato sauce.
- Ketchup. I prefer using an all-natural recipe without too much added sugar, because as you'll see below, I like to control that. 😉
- Brown sugar. Use as much or as little as you like. Some people prefer totally savory Sloppy Joes while others like these sandwiches on the sweeter side. You can also substitute a squeeze of honey in place of any brown sugar (which I often do).
- Worcestershire sauce.
- Mustard. Believe it or not, a little squirt adds depth of flavor.
- Garlic powder + onion powder + fresh black pepper.
How to Make This Sloppy Joe Recipe
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, make this tried-and-true Sloppy Joe recipe!
- Simply brown some ground beef (or turkey).
- Stir together a simple sauce.
- And then combine the two.
- Allow the mixture to simmer on the stove for a few minutes and then slap it on some buns.
There's really not much more to say about this recipe, folks.
Kids adore it, but adults love it, too.
It's so simple but oh-so-good.
Homemade Sloppy Joes Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- If you're making your own homemade Sloppy Joes in order to avoid processed ingredients, be sure to use all-natural ketchup.
- The sauce in this Sloppy Joe recipe is intended to be slightly sweet, but it's really a matter of taste. If you prefer a more savory sauce, feel free to use less brown sugar. Additionally, you may use unrefined sugar (or even a squeeze of honey) in place of the brown sugar, if you wish.
- If you like your Sloppy Joe recipe 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.
- Along those same lines, 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.
- My family loves Sloppy Joes so much that I've also come up with a zesty Tex-Mex version...olè!
- If, like me, you make a lot of ground beef (or ground turkey) recipes, this tool is pretty darn handy for breaking up your meat.
More Yummy Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Shredded Beef Sandwiches
- Bacon & Blue Cheese Egg Salad Sandwiches
- The ULTIMATE Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders
- Caprese Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef (OR turkey)
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Hamburger buns
- Sliced pickles
- 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.
- 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 heated through (or longer, if you have time, to allow the flavors to meld).
- Serve on hamburger buns or rolls with sliced pickles on top.
- This Sloppy Joe sauce is intended to be slightly sweet, but it's really a matter of taste. If you prefer a more savory sauce, feel free to use less brown sugar. Additionally, you may use unrefined sugar (or even a squeeze of honey) in place of the brown sugar, if you wish.
- If you like 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.
Post originally published on January 13, 2015 (back when a certain two-year-old couldn't keep her little marker-stained mitts away long enough for me to snap a few pictures) and updated on November 2, 2017, and January 5, 2021.