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Sloppy Joes

These Sloppy Joes are truly the best I've ever had! They've got the ultimate tangy, sweet, and savory sauce plus a few hidden veggies. Pile the meat sauce high on some toasted Brioche buns and be prepared to crave sloppy Joes on the 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
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 ground beef in 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 and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. As you crumble and cook the meat, incorporate the veggies into the meat.
  • 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.


Note 1: 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: 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.


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