Homemade Sloppy Joes

Once you try these Homemade Sloppy Joes, you’ll never use a can again! The tomato sauce has a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors. Your family will request this 30 minute meal every week!

Be sure to try my Sloppy Joe Casserole recipe next!

A hamburger bun filled with homemade sloppy joes on a wooden plate with chips in the background.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

When it comes to easy ground beef recipes, this one just jumped right to the top of my favorites list.

I did some serious recipe testing  to ensure that no ingredient overpowered another. (And that each ingredient was necessary. Trust me, everything is in perfect harmony.)

Some recipes call for as much as 3/4 cup of ketchup. I prefer to use tomato sauce, a little ketchup, and some apple cider vinegar for just the right balance of tomato flavor and acidity.

The yellow mustard adds depth of flavor, and the brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness, (but not too much). And of course, savory Worcestershire sauce balances it all out.

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Beef- 85% lean
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic- Mince fresh garlic at home for best results
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hot Sauce- Optional
  • Salt/Pepper

Optional Additions include celery, bell peppers, and ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.

How to Make it

Brown the top and bottom of the ground beef prior over high heat before breaking it up and cooking the middle. The texture will be similar to that of a hamburger and it’s very good in Sloppy Joes.

A pound of ground beef in a skillet before and after being cooked.

Cook and crumble the beef and add the onions until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

Ground beef in a skillet with tomato sauce added to make Homemade Sloppy Joes

Add the remaining ingredients and heat until thickened.

Don’t let the sauce reduce too much, especially if you’re going to reheat leftovers.

Serve with toasted hamburger buns.

Sloppy Joes being Cooked in a skillet.

Crock Pot Method

Prepare the ground beef, onions, and garlic on the stove top as instructed. Drain any excess grease as needed.

PRO TIP: I like to use this slow cooker as you can brown meat right on the stove top with it.

Add the meat to the Crock Pot along with all remaining ingredients. (Minus the buns.) 

Cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.


Storage

Refrigerator:

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezer:

Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. This makes a great freezer food. Defrost in the microwave or overnight in the refrigerator.

To reheat: 

Microwave or reheat in a saucepan on the stove top. Optional: Add a little more tomato sauce and water or beef broth if you would like it saucier once reheated.


Leftover Suggestions

A burger bun filled with homemade sloppy joes on a wooden surface.

What To Serve with Sloppy Joes

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Homemade sloppy joes in a buttery hamburger roll with potato chips in the background.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

5 from 3 votes
This Homemade Sloppy Joe recipe has a perfect tomato sauce filled with tangy, sweet, and savory flavors that combine perfectly together. You'll never use a can again!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, optional*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For Serving

  • 4 Hamburger buns, toasted

Instructions

  • Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet over high heat.
  • Add the beef but don’t break it apart yet. Allow a dark brown crust to develop on the bottom of the meat, about 4 minutes. This gives it a hamburger-like texture.
  • Flip the beef and allow a crust to develop on the reverse side.
  • Once browned, reduce heat to medium-high.
  • Add the onions and break the beef apart. Allow the beef to finish cooking through. Drain any excess grease if necessary.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add all remaining ingredients. And stir until heated through and thickened slightly. Don't let the sauce reduce too much, especially if you're going to reheat leftovers.
  • Serving suggestion: Spread butter over the top and bottom of your burger buns and toast them on a griddle or large skillet prior to serving. This adds nice flavor/texture and prevents the buns from becoming soggy.
  • For the Crock Pot: Prepare the ground beef/onions/garlic on the stove top as instructed above. Transfer to the Crock Pot and stir in remaining ingredients. heat on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Serve with toasted hamburger buns.

Notes

*I use Texas Pete Hot Sauce but any variety will work!

Feel free to top each with a slice of American cheese, or work some Velveeta cheese into the meat mixture itself!

Optional Additions:
Bell Peppers, Celery

Nutrition

Calories: 465kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1103mg, Potassium: 676mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 345IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 114mg, Iron: 5mg