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Homemade Sloppy Joe

This delicious sloppy Joes recipe has my whole family begging for seconds! Best of all, it’s made with pantry-staple ingredients and ready in just 30 minutes!

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serving sloppy joe ground meat on a hamburger bun

These Homemade Sloppy Joes make the perfect comfort meal

This sloppy joes recipe was created for my son who couldn’t stop raving about the ones at preschool. He thought it was so cool that he could eat something so messy.

It took a few tries to get this recipe to taste amazing while taking little effort, but here you have my perfected recipe.

Yes, I use a can of Sloppy Joe sauce and doctor it to taste even better because a delicious weeknight meal is even better when it’s super easy.

Between these sandwiches, burgers, BBQ hot dogs, and corn on the cob, we’ve got all the summer staples covered in my house!

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What is a Sloppy Joe?

Sloppy Joes are one of those beloved American classics I just love. This sandwich features ground meat, usually beef simmered in a tangy and sweet tomato-based sauce, then piled generously onto a soft hamburger bun. 

As the name suggests, the sloppy Joe sandwich is famous for its signature messiness. It’s perfect for my kids on a normal weeknight or summer barbecue with friends and family!

Why you’ll love this Recipe for Sloppy Joes

  • Quick prep time
  • Classic, nostalgic taste
  • Simple ingredients
  • Kid-friendly
  • Customizable
ingredients needed to make sloppy joes

Homemade Sloppy Joe ingredients

  • Ground beef
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Sloppy Joe sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hamburger buns

How to make this Sloppy Joes Recipe

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, sprinkle with onion powder and garlic powder, and cook until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Use a spatula to break the beef apart.

STEP TWO: Add the Worcestershire sauce, canned sauce, salt, and black pepper to taste to the skillet and stir the ingredients until well combined. 

Tip: If the mixture is too thick, add water until it reaches your desired consistency.

browned ground beef in cast iron pan for sloppy joes
cooked sloppy joe meat

STEP THREE: Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

STEP FOUR: Once the sloppy Joe mixture is ready, serve hot on hamburger buns with cheese, pickles, and coleslaw, and enjoy!

open faced sloppy joe burger on a white plate

How to make this Sloppy Joes Recipe ahead of time

I love prepping ahead of time for summer picnics and backyard BBQs and these homemade sloppy Joes do a great job with that.

Simply follow the instructions to make the Sloppy Joe mixture, then let it cool completely. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve (but no more than 3 days).

I like to reheat the sloppy joes on the stove or in the microwave. If I’m heading to a potluck or party, I’ve even thrown the mixture in a slow cooker so I can keep it warm.

homemade sloppy joe sandwich with chips and a pickle

The Best Sloppy Joe Recipe variations

  • Swap in ground turkey or chicken in place of ground beef if you want something lighter.
  • Try different buns like brioche or ciabatta.
  • Add diced bell peppers for a nice crunch and a burst of flavor.
  • Spice it up with chili flakes if you prefer your sandwich with some heat.
  • Add shredded cheddar for a cheesy twist. The kids always go for this one!

What to serve with Homemade Sloppy Joes

On a normal weeknight with the kids, I love serving these messy sandwiches with French fries, tater tots, or chips.

For picnics, I typically whip up some traditional coleslaw or broccoli salad to serve on the side.

a sloppy joe sandwich on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

How to store this Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe

Allow the sloppy Joe mix to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to three days. 

I recommend reheating on the stove over low heat or in the microwave.

More Easy Weeknight Dinners

serving sloppy joe ground meat on a hamburger bun

Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe

Samantha Erb
Get the best of both worlds with this family-loved Sloppy Joes recipe. It's quick and easy to make, using simple ingredients for that classic nostalgic taste.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 183 kcal


  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water optional
  • 1 15-ounce can sloppy joe sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns


  • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat.
  • Sprinkle the cooked ground beef with onion powder and garlic powder and cook it until it’s no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper to taste, and canned sauce into the skillet with the seasoned ground beef. Stir the ingredients until everything is well combined.
    Note: If it is too thick for your liking, feel free to add water to the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the ground meat mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to develop and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  • Once the sloppy joe mixture is ready, spoon it onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun and then top it with the other half of the bun and serve hot.


Storage: Store any leftover Sloppy Joe mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Reheat the Sloppy Joe mixture on the stove over medium-high heat until it’s warmed through, or you could do it in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
Freezing: You can freeze the Sloppy Joe mixture in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. I recommend thawing it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.


Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 849mgPotassium: 414mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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