Are you a fan of sloppy joes sandwiches? We are and this is one of our favorite quick and easy meals to make. In under 30 minutes, our sloppy joe recipe is ready to devour with the whole family. Kids love our sloppy joes meat mix.

sloppy joes recipe sandwiches on plate

What are Sloppy Joes Sandwiches?

These popular sandwiches are an classic American staple and are budget friendly, flavorful and delicious. They’re a ground meat filling flavored with a juicy, wet, slightly sweet and tangy tomato sauce. Kids love these and adults love them even more because it’s quite easy to make. The origin stories are varied with different interpretations on how this popular meat mix originated. Here’s a great article about the history of sloppy joes. What we know for sure is that they are delicious and super simple to make. We’re excited that you’re here to explore our recipe.

spoon of sloppy Joe recipe meat mix

Easy Stove Top Sloppy Joe Recipe

Why is our homemade sloppy joe recipe so easy and delicious? It’s because we add a good amount of spices in it. Also, it’s made in a pot on the stove top. Within 25 minutes, you can have a hot pot of sloppy joe meat mix to eat. Our version isn’t too sweet and we like it that way so we can still taste the flavors. But if you like your sloppy joes a little on the sweet side, you can always add about a Tablespoon of brown sugar.

Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker Version

We have a popular sloppy joes recipe version for the Instant pot or pressure cooker. It’s quick, simple and tastes just as great. So if you’re a pressure cooker fan or need to walk away from the stove, then try our Instant Pot Sloppy Joe Recipe Here.

Video: How to Make the Best Sloppy Joe Recipe

Best Ground Beef?

You can use whatever ground beef that you like. Personally we prefer a leaner ground beef, something around 85%-90% lean. If you’re using a leaner meat, you’ll have less fat floating on top. Less need to skim or drain excess fat. Don’t worry about the flavor if you have less fat because our spices and seasonings make up for that. If you like a higher fat content meat, then that’s fine too.

  • Ground chuck steak: some folks have asked about using ground chuck steak. Sure you can use that type of eat as well. Your sloppy joes meat mixture will be more coarse and chunky!
  • What ever ground beef you use, the chunks of meat depends on how much you stir and mix it while cooking. If you like chunkier bites of beef, then don’t stir it too much.
  • We actually prefer larger chunks of meat in our sloppy joes, so we don’t break down the meat too mix.

Tips on Making Easy 25 minute Sloppy Joes

  • Browning the onions is helpful to add more flavor. We like cooking the onions to be a little more caramelized and brown.
  • Add extra fresh minced garlic or garlic powder. The garlic powder adds so much flavor quickly.
  • There should be a nice balance of sweetness to the meat mix. We like to use a combination of ketchup and tomato sauce. That way, it’s not too sweet. But if you like your meat version sweeter, just increase the ketchup to replace the amount of tomato sauce or add a little brown sugar.
  • Let the meat brown before adding the sauces and spices. Don’t rush cooking the meat. If it browns a bit, there will be more flavor to the beef. Once it’s browned, then add the sauces and spices.
  • You can use a different combination of sauces and spice combinations. You can use vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead of yellow mustard. Add some soy sauce instead of worcestershire. Even some onion powder adds a wonderful savory flavor. Smoked paprika & red pepper flakes are great adds for a punch of flavor.
  • If you want to use crushed or minced garlic cloves instead of the garlic powder, add them in when you cook the onions.
  • If you want a lighter meat option, use ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • For extra veggies, add a chopped green bell pepper.
  • Toast the hamburger buns. It makes each bite more crispy and amazing.
  • All sloppy joe recipe details are in the recipe box below.
sloppy joes recipe sandwiches on plate

The Ultimate Homemade Sloppy Joes

Add extra seasonings if you want for a burst of extra flavor! When the meat cools down a bit it’ll be less saucy. So if you like saucy sloppy joes, then eat it while it’s still warm! If you like it on the sweeter side, you can use 1 1/2 cups of ketchup and eliminate the tomato sauce.
To cheese or not to cheese while cooking the sloppy Joe mix… Some on our team love and grew up with the cheese stirred and melted into the sloppy Joe mixture. Others aren’t used to it this way. Make it how you love it.
5 from 4 votes

{click on stars to rate}


  • 2 pounds (907 g) ground beef (preferably a leaner meat, 85-90% lean)
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion , diced
  • 1 cup (240 ml) ketchup , *see head note
  • 1/2 cup (123 g) tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) Kosher salt , or to taste
  • black pepper , to taste
  • 2 cups (226 g) shredded cheddar cheese , optional

For the sandwich:

  • 8 burger buns , warmed or toasted
  • Shredded cheese (if you didn’t add to sloppy Joe mixture already)
  • Pickles , optional


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil then add the onions. Sauté onions until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute.
    cooking onions in pan
  • Stir in beef and cook beef mixture for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. If you like it chunkier, don't break up the beef too much.
    beef and onions cooking for sloppy joes recipe
  • Stir in the ketchup, tomato sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix until evenly combined.
    stirring in sauces and spices
  • Continue to cook at a simmer for about 10 minutes. If your beef is on the fattier side, skim off some of the excess fat.
    simmering pot of sloppy Joe meat mix
  • Optional, if preferred, stir in the shredded cheese. Allow to cook for about 1 minute or until cheese is melted.
    Bowl of cheese
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving on sandwiches. It will help it firm up a little.
    spoonful of sloppy Joe recipe meat
  • Serve the beef mixture between the toasted buns with any preferred optional toppings.
    served in sandwich


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 382kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 879mg, Potassium: 615mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 301IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 5mg

How to serve sloppy joe meat mix instead of sandwiches?

Serving the meat in sandwiches is always the most popular ways of serving sloppy joes. It’s like making sloppy joe hamburgers. But it’s not the only option. If you want sloppy joes to be on your regular rotation, here’s some delicious ideas to eat it beyond the bun.

  • Sloppy joe pasta or spaghetti is fantastic. Or you can use any type of pasta that your family loves.
  • Other than the traditional burger bun or soft bun, make a grilled cheese out of this. A spoonful of the meat inside a grilled cheese sandwich goes a long way.
  • Nachos! Sloppy joe nachos are amazing.
  • Oooh, love chili dogs? Instead of topping with chili, top it with the sloppy joe meat mix. An air fryer hot dog with the sloppy joe meat mix is amazing.
  • Add a big spoonful over french fries or as a topping over a baked potato
  • Quesadillas are delicious with the sloppy joe mix. Cheesy, sloppy, flavorful and so good!
  • Serve the sandwich with a side of potato chips.
  • Sloppy joe over rice is divine. Such a quick, easy and delicious dish.
  • Add the sloppy joe to a mac and cheese is incredible.
plated sloppy joes with chips

How to Store Leftovers?

Just store them in airtight containers or bags in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, try to thaw them in the fridge the day ahead. Or for a quick from frozen re-heating method, just warm it in the microwave for a few minutes.

More Easy Recipes: