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Published January 8, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Homemade sloppy joes are much easier to make than you may have thought, so learn how simple it is to do right from your own kitchen.
If you’re like me, you grew up eating sloppy joe sandwiches as it’s a great simple weeknight meal for the family. Instead of popping a can of who knows what’s in there, learn how to make it from scratch. It’s way more delicious and easier than you’re thinking, and if you love cooking with ground beef, then definitely check out my meatloaf recipe or my loco moco.
Why is It Called Sloppy Joe?
It’s been around since the 1950s and was created by a cook named Joe at a restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa, who put a bit of tomato sauce onto some ground beef and served it up on a bun, and simply called it a “sloppy joe.”
A homemade sloppy joe consists of a few ingredients, including:
- Ground Beef
- Tomato Puree
- Tomato Paste
- Brown Sugar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Chili Powder
- Salt and Pepper
You most likely have most of these ingredients already in your pantry, making it really easy to pull off.
Is Manwich The Same Thing?
Manwich is a processed and canned sauce that has attempted to replicate the original sauce with its own take. It can be purchased from the grocery store, but I can promise you the homemade version is far superior to this.
How to Make a Sloppy Joe
Follow along below for quick how-to steps for making this recipe.
- Sweat some garlic and bell peppers in some oil in a large pot.
- Add in your beef and cook until all the pink is gone.
- Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder and simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Finish with salt and pepper and serve on a bun.
My recommendation is to take this a step further and add on all the delicious toppings I did, such as cheese, caramelized onions, and pickles.
Is It Healthy?
I’m not sure I would classify this recipe as “healthy” because it has a high sodium content, but there are ways to reduce that in this recipe by not using Worcestershire sauce and going light on seasoning with salt.
Make-Ahead and Storage
How to Reheat: Simply add the desired amount of sloppy joe into a saucepan and cook over low heat until hot. You can also heat it in the microwave until hot.
How to Store: Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Freeze: Keep it covered in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating it.
More Beef Recipes
Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe
For the Sloppy Joe:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 each seeded and small diced red and yellow bell peppers
- 6 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 4 pounds ground beef
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- ¼ heaping cup light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- 10 buns
For the Toppings:
- caramelized onions
- dill or bread and butter pickles
- Colby jack cheese
- pepper jack cheese
- Add oil to a large pan over low to medium heat and sweat the peppers and garlic for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add in the ground beef, turn the heat to medium and cook until all of the pink is gone, about 7-9 minutes.
- Next, pour the tomato puree, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, and chili powder and simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Finish by stirring in salt and pepper and serve on buns with optional toppings.