Homemade Sloppy Joes

by Rachel

There is something so nostalgic and satisfying about sloppy joes! They remind you of your childhood and careless days when you didn’t have to worry about anything other than the sauce running down your arms. That can really take you back!

If you have children or were once a child yourself, chances are sloppy joes are/were a regular guest in your house. If so, then you can agree that store-bought sauce is not as good as the homemade stuff.

Believe it or not, there are different ways to make this dish and everybody will tell you that their way is the best. You have to find your own way around a sloppy joe. Allow me to point you in the right direction!

How to make Homemade Sloppy Joes?

Start by heating butter and oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

Add beef to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes or so. While you’re cooking, break it apart in the skillet.

Once you’re done, drain it.

In the same skillet, cook the onion and bell pepper until they start to get soft, for 2-3 minutes.

Add some garlic to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, until you can smell it.

Add tomato paste and stir to integrate.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet: ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder,

Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Stir well.

Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Once the mixture has thickened, it’s ready to be served.

Serve your beef over toasted buns.

Is there a difference between manwiches and sloppy joes?

Technically, Manwich is the name of canned sauce that’s used for sloppy joes. You can buy this sauce in the store and use it in your next batch. The contents of the can are limited to tomato sauce with some herbs and spices. You still have to cook the ground beef yourself. You can combine the sauce with some beef and create an easy one-pan meal for the whole family. It can probably save you lots of time, but who’s to say if the sauce will be good? For your own safety, it’s always better to cook from scratch.

Are sloppy joes bad for you?

Sloppy joes are made mainly from ground beef, which is high in protein. At the same time, the dish is often associated with a high number of calories and saturated fat. If that bothers you, you can substitute the ingredients for healthier alternatives. For example, use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Either way, the dish won’t make or break your diet, but it’s not recommended for daily consumption.

What can I serve sloppy joes with?

When it comes to sloppy joes, you can go one of 3 ways: veggies, potatoes, or a creamy salad. The best veggie for barbecue style food is corn on the cob. Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose whether you prefer them baked, fried, boiled, and so on. For a creamy salad, serve coleslaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad.


Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 266 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/3 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of hot sauce (optional)


Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over MED/MED-HIGH heat.
Add beef and brown, breaking apart into crumbles as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Add onion and bell pepper to the same skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, until soft.
Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.
Add beef back to the skillet and add tomato paste. Stir well.
Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes (if using), and black pepper.
Stir well to combine.
Cook over MED heat for 10-15 minutes, until mixture has thickened to your liking.
Remove from heat and serve over toasted buns

Did You Make This Recipe?
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