The Cozy Cook

Book cover graphicThe Cozy Cookbook is here! Order Now!

Homemade Sloppy Joes (Crock Pot Friendly!)

It is SUPER easy to make Homemade Sloppy Joes from scratch! This delicious 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 Creamy Beef and Shells and Baked Chili Cheese Dogs 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  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 here. (And that each ingredient was necessary. Trust me, everything is in perfect harmony.) 

Manwich vs. Sloppy Joes

  • Manwich sauce comes in a can and contains a combination of tomato paste, water, a few varieties of sugar, distilled vinegar, salt, dried bell peppers, dried garlic, chili pepper, spices, and a few other ingredients. 
  • My Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe was carefully created to ensure the perfect balance of flavors:
    • Tomato sauce, a little ketchup, and some apple cider vinegar for just the right balance of tomato flavor and acidity.
    • Yellow mustard adds depth of flavor, brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness, and Worcestershire sauce adds umami to balance it all out.

How to Make it

See recipe card at bottom of post for ingredient quantities and full instructions

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.
  • Add the meat to the Crock Pot and stir in remaining ingredients. (Minus the buns.)  
  • Cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.


  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Optional: Add a little more tomato sauce and water or beef broth if you would like it saucier once reheated.

Pro Tips

  • Optional Additions include celery, bell peppers, and ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
  • Add a slice of cheese on top of the meat before serving if desired.
  • Leftovers taste great over Homemade French Fries with Nacho Cheese Sauce. Or transform it into chili and make Baked Chili Cheese Dogs!

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

What To Serve with Sloppy Joes

Get My Free Meal Plan

I’ve got a Free Meal Plan with 7 of my super popular recipes (complete with grocery list)! Sign up for my email list and I’ll send it over now along with weekly dinner recipes!

And follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest!

Did You Make This Recipe?

I would love for you to leave a rating and a comment below! How’d you do?! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Homemade Sloppy Joes in a bulky roll.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

4.91 from 22 ratings
It is super easy to make Homemade Sloppy Joes from scratch! This delicious sauce has a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors. You'll never buy a can of Manwich again!


  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons 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


  • 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.
  • Serve on buns and top with cheese if desired. Serve with potato wedges!


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.

*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

Nutritional information includes the hamburger bun.


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
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!

Order The Cozy Cookbook!

Easy Recipes. Extra Comfort.

Order your copy today!

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published.

Click the Stars to Rate This Recipe

44 comments on “Homemade Sloppy Joes (Crock Pot Friendly!)”

  1. Excellent recipe. Making it for the second time. My family and I really loved it

    • I am so happy to hear that Frank! We love this so much too, it’s one of the only things my picky girl will request! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to let me know what you think of the recipe! -Stephanie

  2. This is a very good recipe, we made it a little more spicy but otherwise followed the recipe. It’s a keeper. 

  3. This was sooo easy and solo much better than the can! I will never buy the can again. My husband said this is what sloppy Joe would taste like if you got it at a restaurant.

    • I’m so happy to hear no more can for you Brit! My husband makes this one for our family and it’s always a hit. Thanks so much for the great comments and review Brit!

  4. These were amazing!  So much better than using the seasoning packets, and super easy.  The sauce was just delicious. And the tip to toast the buns was excellent!  Thank you Stephanie , this is going into my “favorites “ ❤️

  5. Delicious! I made it in my crockpot for 2 hours and stirred every 30 minutes. I added some more brown sugar, about 1 teaspoon since I love the sweetness, and served with some freshly baked rolls (store-bought) and some sides. Even my ‘vegetarian’ daughter who claims to be when she does not like a meal with meat devoured this. Don’t tell my mom but this was better than her recipe 🙂 

    • I’m so happy this was such a success Amy! You just made me lol when talking about your ‘vegetarian’ daughter liking this 😂! Thanks so much for the great comments and for taking the time to leave a review!

  6. I made this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING! I typically hate reviews where people say, “I made this except I changed a million ingredients” and yet I do want to add I made a few changes… nothing to the sauce ingredients though, so I’d imagine the taste is pretty much the same! I used ground turkey (because it’s what I had), a whole onion, and also diced up an entire bell pepper too. Served it on toasted Dave’s Killer Bread with some shredded cheese too! Will definitely make again!

    • Thanks so much for the great review and comments Courtney! I’ve been curious about making this with ground turkey. It’s great to know that it worked out for you!😍

  7. This is always my go to recipe for sloppy joes! The only thing I add is extra veggies! Shaved/ minced carrots, peppers, celery and more onion! My family always loves it!

  8. Does the nutritional information at the bottom include the bun or just the sloppy joe meat mixture ingredients?

  9. Not a review…just a question what kind of rolls are you using in that recipe??? They look delicious! Also, no bell pepper??? I will have to try your recipe…looks yummy!

    • Hey Pamela! I used Kaiser rolls from the bakery section of my grocery store! 🙂 And you can *absolutely* add a finely diced red or green bell pepper to this! 🙂 Enjoy, can’t wait for you to try it!

  10. Wow, what a recipe! Growing up, I never acquired a taste for Sloppy Joes (probably because it never tasted THIS delicious!); however it is one of my Husband’s favorite sandwiches so I decided to give this a whirl. I dove into this meal especially confident knowing it’s from Stephanie’s kitchen. OH MAN, this is the most perfect, hot sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Just thinking of how savory these Sloppy Joes taste is making my mouth water. You MUST give them a try! Perfect combination of flavor(s) and the meat/sauce balance is just right. Easy, fun meal to cook (I made on stovetop.)
    Another great aspect I’d like to mention is I already had all of the ingredients on hand. I just love a recipe that doesn’t require a special trip to the grocery store for one or two oddball items (I can see maybe the apple cider vinegar, but fortunately I already had a bottle in my pantry for occasions such as this!) We made these just four days ago and I am already in the kitchen now prepping the ingredients to cook again 🙂 Thank you.

    • I’m so happy you liked this one and found it easy to make!!! It’s one of my husbands favorite sandwiches too!😃 Thanks so much for the great review and comments!😃

As Seen On…