Sloppy Joes Recipe

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This Sloppy Joes Recipe is truly the best I’ve ever had! It features the ultimate tangy, sweet, and savory sauce, plus a few “hidden” veggies. Pile the meaty sauce high on toasted buns and prepare to crave Sloppy Joes daily!

For an even healthier version, try these Turkey Sloppy Joes.

Sloppy Joe filling heaped on a warm, buttery bun, ready for enjoyment.

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe

Get ready to revolutionize the way you think about a Sloppy Joes recipe! This recipe is not just a game-changer; it’s a crowd-pleaser that has people everywhere obsessed.

Imagine the classic, comforting flavors of Sloppy Joes, but elevated to a whole new level of deliciousness. Packed with nutritious ingredients cleverly hidden within its mouthwatering sauce, this dish is a delicious surprise for your taste buds.

Sautéing veggies, ground beef, and seasonings being incorporated for the sloppy joe recipe.

Ingredients In This Sloppy Joes Recipe

  • Olive Oil and Butter: Used to cook the veggies, they make them soft and flavorful.
  • Yellow Onion, Garlic, Carrot, Red Bell Pepper: These veggies add great taste and nutrition. They make the base of this Sloppy Joes recipe, giving a nice mix of sweet and savory flavors.
  • Lean Ground Beef: This is the main part of the dish, providing a hearty meaty texture.
  • Tomato Paste and Crushed Tomatoes: They create the thick, rich sauce. The paste gives a strong tomato taste, while the crushed tomatoes make the sauce chunky.
  • Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce: These add a sweet and tangy kick to the sauce, making it more flavorful.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to balance out the other flavors.
  • Mustard Powder and Beef Bouillon Powder: These spices make the sauce taste even better, adding depth and a savory touch.
  • Brioche Buns: Soft and slightly sweet, these buns are perfect for holding the Sloppy Joe mixture.


What is brioche? Brioche (pronounced bree-OSH) is a  soft, lightly sweet, rich bread. It gets the famous yellow color from the eggs used to make it.

How To Make Sloppy Joes

  1. Sauté Veggies: Cook onion, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper until soft for added sweetness and texture.
  2. Cook Beef: Add ground beef to the veggies and sear without stirring for about a minute for extra flavor.
  3. Add Tomatoes and Paste: Mix in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to enhance sweetness in this Sloppy Joes Recipe.
  4. Add Remaining Ingredients: Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, and mustard powder for a rich, tangy flavor.
  5. Simmer and Serve: Let the mixture simmer to the right consistency, then serve on buttered buns.

Thick, savory Sloppy Joes mixture simmering in a skillet, with a spoon for serving nestled inside.


Why Do They Call It A Sloppy Joe?

It’s believed the name “Sloppy Joe” possibly comes from Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Florida, a saloon in Havana, or an Iowa cafe where a cook named Joe made a messy sandwich with tomato sauce. It evolved from the 19th-century Midwest practice of stretching ground beef with fillers like tomato for economical, nutritious meals.

Is This Sloppy Joes Recipe Freezer Friendly?

Yes, Sloppy Joes are freezer-friendly. You can freeze the meat mixture for later use.

What’s The Difference Between Manwich And Sloppy Joes?

Manwich® is a trademarked Sloppy Joe sauce by ConAgra and Hunt’s, often used as a generic term for Sloppy Joe sauce in the US. However, making your sauce from scratch is easy and tastier.

What Sides Go With This Sloppy Joes Recipe?

We love serving these Sloppy Joes with potato chips, onion rings, french fries, sweet potato fries, baked beans, bread and butter or dill pickles, pickled red onions, elote (or plain grilled corn on the cob), roasted broccoliroasted asparagus, or a pasta salad like this Greek pasta salad.

More Ground Beef Recipes

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Sloppy Joes

4.80 from 5 votes
This Sloppy Joes Recipe is truly the best I've ever had! It features the ultimate tangy, sweet, and savory sauce, plus a few "hidden" veggies. Pile the meaty sauce high on toasted buns and prepare to crave Sloppy Joes daily!
Sloppy Joe filling heaped on a warm, buttery bun, ready for enjoyment.
Print Recipe

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe filling heaped on a warm, buttery bun, ready for enjoyment.
4.80 from 5 votes
This Sloppy Joes Recipe is truly the best I've ever had! It features the ultimate tangy, sweet, and savory sauce, plus a few "hidden" veggies. Pile the meaty sauce high on toasted buns and prepare to crave Sloppy Joes daily!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword sloppy joes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 -6 sloppy joes
Chelsea Lords
Calories 301kcal
Cost $7.21


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated yellow onion (~1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (~1 medium carrot)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (~1 bell pepper)
  • 1 pound lean (90/10) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (Heinz recommended)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, (See Note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, optional
  • brioche buns (or your favorite hamburger buns, for serving)
  • Optional: butter for toasting buns


  • PREP VEGGIES: Peel an onion and grate it on the large holes of a cheese grater. Mince the garlic, finely chop (or grate on the large holes) a carrot, and finely chop the red pepper. Alternatively, add a coarsely chopped carrot, coarsely chopped red pepper, and garlic to a food processor and pulse into diced pieces.
  • COOK VEGGIES: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large cast-iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté for 6-8 minutes or until liquid from the veggies has evaporated and veggies are mostly tender. Using a wooden spoon, press the veggies to the edges of the skillet and add 1 pound of ground beef to the center of the pan. Let stand for 45 seconds in the heat and then stir and crumble the meat into small pieces. Cook until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. As you crumble and cook the meat, incorporate the veggies into the mixture.
  • SAUCE: Add the 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1 can crushed tomatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Add the 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar (See Note 1), 1 teaspoon ground mustard/mustard powder, 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir well and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the mixture until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Prepare the buns while the sauce is cooking. Once thickened, stir in the 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar if desired. Season sauce if needed.
  • FINISH: Remove the skillet from the heat. Spoon the mixture on top of toasted buns (See Note 2) and enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Brown sugar: Depending on the tomatoes and ketchup you use (some are sweeter than others) you may want more or less brown sugar; add to personal preference.
Note 2: Buns: I like to toast the buns; it adds flavor and keeps the buns from getting soggy too quickly. Spread some softened butter over the inside of the top and bottom buns. Either grill the buns on a hot grill for 20-30 seconds, gently toast in a 350 degree F oven until buns are warmed through and barely crispy (about 5 minutes), or brown in a sauté pan for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6sloppy joes | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 22.4g | Fat: 8.3g | Cholesterol: 50.3mg | Sodium: 588mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 12.2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Chelsea, I made your Sloppy Joe recipe, and it was a big hit with my husband and I! Well worth the extra effort to add the veg mixture. Definately a keeper!

  2. Question on the calorie count: is it 301 calories with or without a bun?

    Haven’t made this yet, but have made many of your others and loved them all!

    1. Thanks for asking! It’s without the bun, since buns vary so much depending on type, brand, etc. 🙂 I hope you love this recipe if you give it a try 🙂

  3. 4 stars
    These were delicious!
    A more nutritious version of a classic comfort food. These had lots of flavour and were simple to make.
    We left out the brown sugar entirely (sweet enough from the ketchup).
    Will make again.

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