Homemade Sloppy Joes

Doesn’t everyone love homemade Sloppy Joes? Skip the canned sauce and make these meaty sandwiches yourself at home. They’re easy to make and fun to eat – what’s not to love? Pass the napkins and dig in!

Homemade sloppy joes on a burger bun on a blue plate

Meaty, saucy homemade Sloppy Joes are my kind of sandwich, and I especially love how easy these are to make. You probably have everything in your fridge and pantry to make these beefy sandwiches. Plus, this easy Sloppy Joes recipe is a quick fix so you can have dinner ready in a jiffy! 

I also love that I can control the sugar in this recipe. Canned Sloppy Joe sauce is loaded with sugar, but you can control how much you put in when you make the sauce from scratch. I suggest starting with about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and adjusting it.

An Easy Meal

Sloppy Joes are one of my go-to easy meals, and the kids love them! I will make a double batch, and then the kids can eat the leftovers after school or for snacks. 

You can also change up this recipe, and I’ve called out some of my favorite variations below. 

Hungry? Grab a skillet, and let’s get cooking!


Lean ground beef – Using lean ground beef means you’ll have less fat you need to drain.

  • Onion – Yellow or white onion works fine.
  • Garlic powder – I love a bit of garlic in this recipe!
  • Yellow mustard – Regular hot dog mustard is all you need.
  • Ketchup – This is most of the homemade Sloppy Joes seasoning, so make sure you’ve got a fair bit of ketchup on hand.
  • Brown sugar – Light or dark brown sugar works fine.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds a bit of savoriness to the dish!
  • Salt and pepper – To taste.
  • Buns – For serving the Sloppy Joe mix on.
Homemade sloppy joes on a burger bun on a blue plate On an outside wire table

What Kind Of Buns or Bread Do I Need For Sloppy Joes?

Sloppy Joes are a sandwich, so you need some bread to hold it all together. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Italian rolls – Big appetites call for big buns, and large, crusty Italian rolls will hold lots of filling!
  • Hoagies – Soft hoagie rolls soak up all the sauce making these Sloppy Joe sandwiches especially delicious.
  • Sandwich bread – Sometimes, all I’ve got in the house is sandwich bread, and that works, too! 
  • Sliders – Make Sloppy Joes sliders! They’re cute, fun to eat, and delicious! 
  • Hot dog buns – These will hold a good bit of filling, so they’re also a great option.
  • Garlic bread – Yes, that’s right! Toast some garlic bread, then spoon this Sloppy Joe mixture on top for an open-faced meaty sandwich.
  • Toasted hamburger buns – These work fine, too!

How To Make This Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe

  1. Brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet, then drain the excess fat.
  2. Add the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar. Mix well.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the Sloppy Joe meat mixture on your favorite buns or bread.


This is the best Sloppy Joes recipe, but you can change it up several ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add green pepper when browning the beef and onions.
  • Use tomato sauce instead of ketchup. If you’re in a pinch, you can also use tomato paste but start with 2-3 tablespoons and go from there. You’ll need to add broth or water, too.
  • Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Even ground pork will work.
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add some spice.
  • You can make these really fun Sloppy Joe Monster Sandwiches with this recipe!
  • Try making a Sloppy Joe Pizza with this recipe!

Serving Ideas

If these hearty Sloppy Joe sandwiches aren’t enough for your meal, you can pair them with corn on the cob, broccoli, or a salad with your favorite dressing.

Homemade sloppy joes on a burger bun on a blue plate


Once the sandwiches have been assembled, they won’t keep long – so only build as many sandwiches as you’ll eat right away. Leftover Sloppy Joe meat can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are homemade Sloppy Joes low carb?

Yes, the mixture itself is low in carbs. To make this a keto recipe, you’d need to use a sugar substitute instead of regular brown sugar. And of course, your choice of buns or bread would add carbs, but the meat mixture itself is low-carb.

Can you make Sloppy Joes with no peppers?

Yes! This recipe doesn’t have any green bell peppers in it. You can add them if you like, but I find it is pretty tasty without any.

Is this a quick recipe for homemade Sloppy Joes?

Yes! It’s a quick and easy Sloppy Joes recipe. Everything is cooked in one skillet, too, for minimal cleanup.

Homemade sloppy joes on a burger bun on a blue plate
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Homemade Sloppy Joes


  • 1 Pound Lean ground beef I use ground chuck
  • 1 Small onion minced
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp yellow mustard
  • 3/4 Cup ketchup
  • 2-3 Tbsps brown sugar depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • buns or something to serve the sloppy joe mixture on


  • In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and onion. Drain off the grease.
  • Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve on your bun of choice. 


If you like your sloppy joe mixture a little saucier, add a little more of the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, & Worcestershire sauce. 

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