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This is my mom's recipe for Sloppy Joes and it always gets compliments! Made with lean ground beef and common pantry items, these crowd-pleasing Sloppy Joe sandwiches will take you back to your childhood.

Recipe Summary

prep:
5 mins
cook:
35 mins
total:
40 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 sandwiches
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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

Ingredients

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

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir lean ground beef in the hot skillet until some of the fat starts to render, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; continue to cook until vegetables have softened and beef is cooked through, 3 to 5 more minutes.

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  • Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and garlic powder; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Divide meat mixture evenly among hamburger buns.

Tips

If using a ground beef with a higher fat content than lean, be sure to drain it before starting Step 2.

Nutrition Facts

243 calories; protein 14.1g; carbohydrates 10.9g; fat 15.8g; cholesterol 56.8mg; sodium 397.3mg. Full Nutrition
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