Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (2024)

This classic and easy Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (my Great Grandma's!) goes back generations in my family, and it’s as easy as it is delicious. The epitome of easy weeknight meals, this old school favorite is on the table in under 20 minutes. The easy homemade Sloppy Joe sauce makes it!


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A delicious, fast and easy Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes recipe the whole family will love!

An easy dinner that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes! This Sloppy Joe recipe is fast and easy to make, with a handful of basic pantry ingredients like ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. The scratch-made sweet and tangy sauce is lightyears better than the canned stuff!

Serving the Sloppy Joes

I love to serve my Sloppy Joes on a soft, pillowy bun with a side of fries, chips, or a pickle! This recipe can also be made ahead, and kept on warm in a crockpot for tailgates and bbqs!

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (1)

What goes into the Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe?

To make these super easy Sloppy Joes, you will need:

  • 1lb80/20 ground beef.
  • A small onion.
  • A green bell pepper.

What goes into making the easy homemade sloppy joe sauce?

  • Some Worcestershire sauce. Lea & Perrins is my favorite.
  • A bit of sugar, ketchup and yellow mustard. Don't use other varieties of mustard, as they will not work well in the sauce.
  • A touch of canola oil, for cooking the veggies.
Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (2)

Looking for more great beef recipes?

Try my Shredded Beef and Smoked Gouda Enchiladas, World's Best Pot Roast, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Creamy Baked Bean Gravy, or Thai Burger Sliders with Green Curry Mayo!

Easy, fast and delicious

This Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe recipe couldn’t be any easier; made quickly without any fuss with ingredients you probably have lying around the kitchen. Sauté some onions and green pepper, brown the ground meat, and add the ketchup, mustard, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Once your meat is cooked and sauce is thickened, grab your hamburger buns, and voila- a family-friendly dinner is on the table (in under 30 minutes).

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (3)

The best homemade sloppy joes, for generations

No Sloppy Joe (in my humble opinion) is as good as my Great Grandma's recipe. Her homemade Sloppy Joes from scratch were super easy, and super satisfying. I grew up eating them, and have always been a HUGE fan. Her Easy homemade sloppy joe sauce is SOOOO good, I am always craving it, especially in summer BBQ season.

For such a simple recipe, you’d be surprised how many times my Mom and I have laughed over losing the recipe for this Sloppy Joe AGAIN and AGAIN. My mom likes to joke that it’s my Great Grandma’s way of looking down and messing with us from time to time. When I decided to add this recipe to the blog, I was excited that we would finally have it in one place for safe keeping (bookmark this page, mom!).

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (4)

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

You could, but I would stay away from ultra-lean turkey. If you want to go with a leaner option, I’d go with ground bison or lean ground beef. I use 80/20 ground beef for this recipe, but you could go with 85/15 or bison and this would still be super flavorful.

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (5)

How to make Sloppy Joes- Video

Can I use a different kind of mustard for the Old fashioned sloppy joes recipe?

Please don't! I have tried Dijon and spicy mustard trying to be fancy, and it completely changes the flavor of the dish (not in a good way). Stick with tried and true classic yellow mustard and you won't be disappointed.

Best bread for Sloppy Joes

  • Classic hamburger buns. Seeded or unseeded both work!
  • Brioche buns
  • Potato Rolls
  • Kaiser Buns
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Topping the Sloppy Joes

This Sloppy Joe recipe is great as is on a fresh, soft bun. If you want to give it a little extra oomph, add a slice of cheddar or American cheese right before serving, or a few pickle slices!

What to serve with Sloppy Joes

  • Chips
  • French Fries
  • Broccoli Salad with Bacon
  • Macaroni or Potato Salad
  • Piled on Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Cornbread
  • Baked Beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Baked Mac and Cheese
Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (7)

Storing leftovers


Allow the dish to cool completely, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.


Store in a ziplock bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months!

Reheating your leftover Sloppy Joes

Reheat in a skillet or saucepan over medium low heat until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes. If reheating from frozen, thaw first before reheating for best results.

Made this recipe? I'd love to hear from you!

If you make my Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Recipe, please be sure to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you, and value your feedback! Lastly, if you make the recipe and love it, please tag me onInstagram! I love to see your photos!

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (8)

Print Recipe

5 from 22 votes

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (Great Grandma's)

Prep Time5 minutes mins

Cook Time15 minutes mins

Total Time20 minutes mins

Course: Dinner, game day, lunch, Main Course

Keyword: easy weeknight dinner, ground beef, sandwiches, sloppy joe

Servings: 6


  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef*
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


  • Sauté onions and pepper in 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. 

    2. Move onions and peppers to outer edge of pan and increase heat to medium-high. Spread ground beef out in center of pan in an even layer and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes, or until meat begins to brown.

    3. Season beef with salt and pepper, and flip over. Continue to cook, breaking meat apart into small pieces as you go with a wooden spoon or spatula, until meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. 

    4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in ketchup, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Cook 2-3 minutes until flavors are melded. Serve on burger buns, brioche buns or potato rolls. 

The same portion of lean ground beef or bison could replace the 80/20 ground beef.

©Jawns I Cooked. All images & content are the sole property of Jawns I Cooked. Please ask permission prior to using my photos. If you would like to share one of my recipes, please link back to this post and re-write the instructions in your own words.

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes Recipe (2024)


What is the sloppy joe sauce made of? ›

What is the sloppy joe sauce made of? It's made with ketchup, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire, chili powder, garlic, dry mustard, and a little Tobasco (if you want). That sauce coats the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper to make the filling.

What can I add to sloppy joe to make it taste better? ›

Add Veggies: Diced bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, or shredded carrot, can easily be added to this recipe and your kids won't even notice a difference. Hawaiian Sloppy Joes: Substitute more BBQ sauce for the ketchup and add 8 oz., drained crushed pineapple.

How many pounds of ground beef for sloppy joes per person? ›

In general, we call for 1 pound of ground beef to make 6 sandwiches in our sloppy joes recipes. That works out to 3 ounces of ground beef per sandwich. Depending on the size of your bun and how meaty you like your sandwich, you can increase or decrease that amount an ounce or two either way.

How do you thicken up sloppy joe sauce? ›

  1. Flour can be used similar to corn starch.
  2. Other thickeners used are bread crumbs, potato flakes and oats. ...
  3. Go gradually with these. ...
  4. Use oats to thicken sloppy-joes as to absorb the excess but it will be thicker the next day.
  5. Barley can be used but is more expensive.
Oct 29, 2021

What makes a sloppy joe taste like a sloppy joe? ›

A sloppy joe is made up of ground beef ( I have used turkey burger for mine), ketchup or tomato sauce,onions, slat, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce and whole host of other seasonings ( I've put habanero hot sauce in mine).

Can I use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste for sloppy joes? ›

How to Substitute Tomato Sauce or Puree for Tomato Paste. You don't have to dash out to the store if you're out of tomato paste; tomato sauce and tomato puree are both an excellent substitute. For every 1 tablespoon of tomato paste needed, use 3 tablespoons of tomato puree or sauce.

What's the difference between a Sloppy Joe and a sloppy Jane? ›

The stuffed pepper sloppy joe is another combo that mixes the sandwich with another popular dish, swapping buns for bell peppers. If you're aiming to eat a lower-fat diet, then consider fixing yourself a sloppy jane. This variant on the sloppy joe swaps out regular ground beef for leaner beef.

What's the difference between Sloppy Joe and Manwich? ›

Sloppy Joes are the sandwich, while Manwich is the store-bought canned sloppy joe sauce, produced by ConAgra Foods and Hunt's. While the brand markets this product as a quick and easy one-pan meal, I strongly recommend you make the sauce from scratch.

What is a substitute for tomato paste in sloppy joes? ›

Tomato purée (boiled and strained tomatoes) works well as a tomato paste alternative. Since purée is much thinner than paste, you'll get the best results if you cook it over medium heat for about 10 minutes before adding it to your recipe — this will give you a slightly thicker consistency and more intense flavor.

How many people will 1 lb of sloppy joes feed? ›

Because this easy sloppy joe recipe is loaded with ground beef plus an equal amount of veggies, one pound of ground beef is enough to make 8-10 sloppy joe sandwiches.

How many people does 2 lbs of sloppy joes feed? ›

My mom always made sloppy joes with sauce from a can. Remember that stuff? If you use that, you have to try this easy homemade version that is so much tastier! This recipe uses 2 lbs of ground beef and serves about 8 people.

What goes good with sloppy joes? ›

What to serve with Sloppy Joes (24 simple ideas)
  • Herb & Garlic Cheesy Mashed Potatoes.
  • Sweet Corn Salad.
  • Creamy Cucumber Salad.
  • Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Salad.
  • Hassleback Potatoes.
  • Potato Salad.
  • Mac and Cheese.
  • Coleslaw.
Apr 22, 2023

How do you doctor up Sloppy Joe mix? ›

15 Ways To Upgrade Canned Sloppy Joe Sauce
  1. Salsa brings a spicy twist. ...
  2. Try gochujang for Korean-inspired Sloppy Joes. ...
  3. Experiment with Worcestershire sauce. ...
  4. Red pepper flakes bring the heat. ...
  5. Miso provides the umami your Sloppy Joe sauce is missing. ...
  6. Liquid smoke enhances the meat's flavor.
Feb 19, 2024

Do you drain Sloppy Joe meat? ›

Cook beef in large skillet over medium-high heat 7 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in Sloppy Joe sauce; heat through.

Does sour cream help thicken sauce? ›

For an add-in that both thickens and enhances flavor, turn to a versatile, dairy-forward ingredient: sour cream. Sour cream is a common add-in for thickening soups and sauces, but it can also be stirred into gravy for a touch of tang and a smooth, creamy finish.

What are the ingredients in Del Monte Sloppy Joe sauce? ›

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Salt, Modified Food Starch (Corn), Worcestershire Sauce Concentrate (Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Garlic Powder, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Spices, Dehydrated Onions, Garlic Powder, ...

What's the difference between sloppy joe and Manwich? ›

Sloppy Joes are the sandwich, while Manwich is the store-bought canned sloppy joe sauce, produced by ConAgra Foods and Hunt's. While the brand markets this product as a quick and easy one-pan meal, I strongly recommend you make the sauce from scratch.

What exactly is a sloppy joe? ›

At its core, the Sloppy Joe consists of three basic elements — ground beef, tossed with a sweet, tomato-rich sauce (made with ketchup, chili sauce, or actual tomato sauce), and piled on a squishy white bun.

What are the ingredients in Hunt's Sloppy Joe sauce? ›

Ingredients. Tomato Puree (Water,Tomato Paste), Water, Sugar/Glucose-Fructose, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spices, Dehydrated Green Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Tomato Fibre, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Dehydrated Garlic, Citric Acid, Flavour, Spice Extracts.

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