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This is the recipe my mother used for sloppy joes and it always gets compliments!

Recipe Summary

10 mins
30 mins
40 mins
6 servings

There's nothing quite like sloppy joes to satisfy your comfort food cravings. This crowd-pleasing sloppy joe recipe will make you nostalgic for simpler times. Plus, it comes together quickly with ingredients you likely already have on hand. 

What Is a Sloppy Joe? 

A sloppy joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef and onions in a tomato-based sauce served on a hamburger bun. 

The sandwich likely originated in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930s. According to legend, the "loose meat sandwich" was the creation of a cook named Joe. 

How to Make Sloppy Joes

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make these classic sloppy joes: 

1. Cook the beef, onion, and green pepper. 
2. Drain the liquids, then stir in the remaining ingredients. 
3. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. 

up close sloppy joes with potato chips
Credit: Allrecipes Video

Nicole's Top Sloppy Joe Tips

"There's no need to pull out any of that canned stuff," according to Nicole McLaughlin (a.k.a. NicoleMcMom), who says you've already got everything you need to make a perfect sloppy joe sitting in your pantry. Here are a few of her favorite sloppy joe tips and tricks: 

· Nicole doesn't like to drain the meat after she cooks it (she likes to use the rendered fat to saute the onions and bell peppers), so she prefers using a lean meat. 
· "When it comes to the bun," Nicole says, "the cheaper the better." For the classic sloppy joe experience, you want it to absorb all the excess liquid. 
· Make sure to overfill the bun so that some meat spills out. Why? So you can scoop it up with potato chips, of course!

What to Serve With Sloppy Joes

Recipe creator Tamara suggests serving these sloppy joe sandwiches with homemade sweet potato fries. They also pair well with all kinds of diner-style side dishes! For instance: 

Explore our entire collection of Side Dish Recipes

Can You Make Sloppy Joes Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make sloppy joes ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe instructions, let cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave and serve on fresh hamburger buns. 

a close up, low angle view of a single sloppy joe
Credit: Dianne

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I wanted a sloppy joe recipe that was quick and easy, a little sweet, but not unbearably sweet," says momof2ingeorgia. "This was AWESOME! I make it once every 2 weeks. Quick and easy, especially on a day when we have soccer practices!"

"Great balance of flavors and as easy as opening a canned mix," according to WithaC. "I've made it exactly as described and also in the Crock-Pot (brown and drain the beef first). This is now a family favorite."

"Terrific recipe," raves steve22. "Ended up using ground venison instead of beef. Couldn't tell the difference. Will definitely make again. Quick and easy."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.

  • Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Editor's Note:

Serve these Sloppy Joes with homemade sweet potato fries.

Nutrition Facts

189 calories; protein 15.1g; carbohydrates 11.2g; fat 9.4g; cholesterol 49.6mg; sodium 416.3mg. Full Nutrition