Our Favorite Sloppy Joe Sandwiches
This post may contain affiliate links, which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Old fashioned comfort food at its best! Sloppy Joes are an easy weeknight meal that’s always a hit. Try switching the ground beef for turkey, bison, or vegan ground meat alternative and serve with roasted green beans and coleslaw.
Whenever I think of Sloppy Joes, I think of that school cafeteria scene from Billy Madison. While it’s true that Sloppy Joes can look less than appealing, there’s no arguing their status in the American Comfort Food Hall of Fame™.
OK, full disclosure, I just googled that to see if it was really a thing and it isn’t. But it totally should be! I’d take a road trip to see what type of exhibits would be on display at a place like that!
A while back, my my husband was digging through my old recipe posts and he came across our beloved (but often neglected) Sloppy Joes.
What a throwback INDEED! Sloppy Joes happen to be the very first thing I posted here on Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen back on August 1, 2006.
It’s a recipe that my mom used to make pretty often when I was a kid. The original version was from a Betty Crocker cookbook that she had at home. It’s also the base for a chili recipe that my family loves, which is also due for a revamp here on Big Flavors!
Since then, I have adapted the recipe a few times, including trying out several alternatives to beef. My family is a big fan of ground turkey in Sloppy Joes, and most recently, bison has been our go-to.
I decided that this was one of the posts that was in major need of an overhaul, so I’ve updated the recipe and images throughout. I mean, Sloppy Joes aren’t necessarily photogenic, ya know?
But I’ve revamped them and I think they look (and taste) better than ever now! And, just for kicks, here’s a photo progression so you can see my attempts at prettify-ing a plate full of Sloppy Joe Sandwiches over the last 10+ years.
I made these for dinner a few weeks back, and my husband was spot on – our son absolutely looooved them!
This time around I made cole slaw and baked some frozen sweet potato waffle fries to go alongside and it was the perfect comfort food meal.
I like serving Sloppy Joes either sandwich-style with the filling in between hamburger buns or brioche rolls, topped with some dill pickle chips. They’re also great served open-faced and eaten with a fork and knife.
My dad’s favorite way to enjoy them is piled high with shredded cheddar cheese, so I’m including that as an option here as well.
How do you like your Sloppy Joes? I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments section below!
Looking for more comfort food favorites? Check out these 5-star recipes:
- Waffle Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict
- Tex-Mex Meatballs with Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Our Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Instant Pot Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup
- Caramelized Banana Breakfast Porridge
- Instant Pot Herbed Pot Roast
- Sausage and Peppers
- Roast Chicken with Dijon Root Vegetables
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Sandwich
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Old fashioned comfort food at its best! Sloppy Joes are an easy weeknight meal that’s always a hit. Try switching the ground beef for turkey or bison next!
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 pounds ground meat (we like beef, turkey, or bison)
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard (also known as ground mustard or dried ground mustard seed)
- Hamburger buns, brioche rolls, or your favorite bread
- Dill pickle chips (optional)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- Melt butter in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add ground meat and continue cooking, breaking up the large pieces with a wooden spoon occasionally, until browned, draining any excess fat that accumulates in the pan.
- Add remaining ingredients (ketchup through dried mustard) and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve Sloppy Joe mixture piled atop your favorite bread and top with cheese and pickles, if desired.
Nutrition information is for sloppy joes only, not buns.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 250
- Sugar: 9.9 g
- Sodium: 717.9 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
- Fiber: 0.4 g
- Protein: 33.4 g
- Cholesterol: 95.5 mg
Keywords: sloppy joe, easy meal, dinner for two, ground beef, freezer meal
re: sloppy joes
How much ketchup?
Love this recipe! So do my kids.
I’m so glad to hear that, Carol! Getting the kids’ stamp of approval is huge!
You’re right, these are the perfect comfort food. This recipe is a keeper. Gotta love Mom’s cookin’!
This is the recipe I always used, but I didn’t actually create it. It’s from Betty Crocker. It’s the base of their chili recipe.
Sloppy joes are our Tuesday night favorite after Tae kwon do. I alternate between turkey, beef, and venison. Kids love it all.
I still stand by that Betty Crocker recipe. Now you went and made me hungry for some Joes!
I have not had Sloppy Joes since I was a kid. Time to try them out again…bet my kids will love them!
Made these today, for the second time overall. Sloppy Joes have many iterations, but this is a great foundation for solid sloppy joes, or to make changes here and there. We did 1/2 beef, 1/2 moose (my sister and her husband are hunters!) and doubled the celery and dry mustard. Nice and tangy, and I can’t wait to add the dill pickles when we actually eat them. This is now, officially, our go-to sloppy joe recipe. Thanks, Ashley!
This recipe is a new family favorite! We paired it with a potato roll. Delicious!
I’m so glad this was a hit with your family, Maureen! It’s one of our favorites, too.