Sloppy Joes

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These smoky, spicy Sloppy Joes are made completely from scratch — no ketchup or seasoning packets — and they make an easy weeknight dinner.

These smoky, spicy Sloppy Joes (or “Sloppy Jenns” as we call them around here) make a great weeknight dinner or game day dish. Unlike most Sloppy Joes, they’re made entirely from scratch — no ketchup or mystery seasoning packets — and they’re not sweet.

The ingredient list looks long but don’t let that deter you. It’s mostly just a lot of spices, and the recipe is quick and easy to throw together. I like to pile the beef onto buttery toasted buns and serve the sandwiches with Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw, but the beef mixture is also delicious over rice or pasta. Feel free to double or triple the recipe for a crowd or freeze some for later.

What you’ll need to make Sloppy Joes

how to make sloppy joe's

How to make Sloppy Joes

To begin, combine the beef and baking soda in a medium bowl. The baking soda raises the pH of the meat, helping to lock in moisture and keep the beef tender. (I use this technique for many ground beef recipes, such as Stacked Beef Enchiladas and Ground Beef Chili.)

how to make sloppy joe's

Mash with your hands until well combined, and then let sit on the counter for 20 to 25 minutes to tenderize.

how to make sloppy joe's

While the beef rests, chop the veggies. I use a food processor to speed this process along, but it’s fine to chop by hand.

how to make sloppy joe's

If using a food processor, be sure to pulse only until the vegetables are finely chopped, not puréed.

how to make sloppy joe's

When the meat is just about ready, melt the butter in a large pan.

how to make sloppy joe's

Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

how to make sloppy joe's

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.

how to make sloppy joe's

Add the beef, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and dry mustard.

how to make sloppy joe's

Cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until mostly brown, about 3 minutes.

how to make sloppy joe's

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

how to make sloppy joe's

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

how to make sloppy joe's

While the sauce simmers, butter the inside of the buns and place on a baking sheet, butter side up.

Toast in the oven until warmed through and lightly crispy, about 5 minutes.

Taste the sloppy Joe mixture and adjust seasonings. (If you like your Sloppy Joes sweet, feel free to add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.) Spoon the mixture onto the toasted hamburger buns and serve. Enjoy!

how to make sloppy joe's

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Sloppy Joes

These smoky, spicy Sloppy Joes are made completely from scratch — no ketchup or seasoning packets — and they make an easy weeknight dinner.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1-1/4 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buns
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 (14-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco or Frank's, or to taste
  • Hamburger buns


  1. In a medium bowl, using your hands, mash the beef with the baking soda. Let it sit on the counter for 20 to 25 minutes to tenderize.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position.
  3. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the beef, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and dry mustard and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until mostly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, butter the inside of the buns and place on a baking sheet, butter side up. Toast in the oven until warmed through and lightly crispy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Taste the sloppy Joe mixture and adjust seasonings. (If you like your Sloppy Joes sweet, feel free to add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.) Spoon the mixture onto the toasted hamburger buns and serve.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The meat mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated in the microwave om on the stovetop until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (5 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 406
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 29 g
  • Sodium: 887 mg
  • Cholesterol: 86 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made this tonight and it was a HIT! My 3 year old twins (who rarely take two bites of their dinner) both pulled for seconds!! This meal was delicious, came together in no time, and is such a classic 🙂 You will not be disappointed!!!

    • — Vicki R. on September 29, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn. Just letting you know you have a big fan from Africa. This recipe was great. I used chicken and it worked really well. I added a little honey and my kids loved it. Thank you for remaining true and making cooking so easy and fun. Karen

    • — Karen on September 17, 2020
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  • I do not like sloppy Joe’s and this was awesome! ☺️ I thought I had tomato paste and tomato sauce but I did not. Found a can of tomato soup… did not know that I had …and used that and it came out great. Also added Anaheim peppers from my garden instead of the green peppers. Delish👌

    • — Renee on September 16, 2020
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  • Another fantastic recipe! Most of what I cook are your recipes as literally all are yummy and easy! My 6 yr old kept asking for sloppy joes and I find most too sweet for my liking to make for just him and I then found your recipe and didn’t see sugar as an ingredient. My son ate and said mama, it’s really good. Sold! In meal rotation! I never worry about any of your recipes! We’re making your challah bread tomorrow, thanks much for sharing all your recipes with us!

    • — Phung on September 5, 2020
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  • Your sloppy Joe recipe arrived in my email today and I made It.
    It was awesome!

    • — Rick starling on September 3, 2020
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  • This recipe worked out great! Better than mom used to make. I am very excited to find Jenn. I struggle(hate) with cooking! So much so that my recent husband(Hispanic descent) would throw away my prepared meal or feed it to the dog. 🙁 Now he really likes them – I even get compliments.
    My 14-year-old is my taste tester. She liked the flavor but thought it needed a little sweetness. I added a rounded teaspoon of raw honey. She loved it! Next time I will throw in chopped carrots with the veggies for some natural sweetness.

    • — Pamela Feenstra on August 26, 2020
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  • My family loves these Sloppy Joes. I was surprised because they have so many vegetables in them. I didn’t not change the recipe at all. Thank you for a terrific recipe! -Patty, Wilmington DE.

    • — Patty S. on July 28, 2020
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  • I made these last night and they were soooo good. I had to make a couple of minor adjustments because of what I had on hand — no tomato sauce, so substituted 1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis, pureed it a little with an immersion blender, and left out the tabasco sauce. I used hot dog buns and some hoagie rolls I’d made two days before instead of the hamburger buns. The kids briefly objected to the spiciness, but then the younger one, normally a picky eater, asked for seconds. I kept going for more.

    • — Amelia on July 8, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn I’ve made this three times over the past couple of months because my husband loves it and it’s so quick and easy to make. I thought I’d try ground pork the next time. Would I change anything or can I just substitute the meat? Love your recipes. Sharon

    • — Sharon on June 20, 2020
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    • So glad you both enjoy it! It’s fine to use pork here; you won’t need to treat it with baking soda like you do with ground beef, but other than that, no modifications are necessary. I’d love to hear how it turns out with pork!

      • — Jenn on June 23, 2020
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  • I made these with ground lamb, and they are amazing!

    • — Robin on June 6, 2020
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  • Thanks for this! I can usually tell by the ingredients whether or not my family and I will like a dish. This is literally the only sloppy joe recipe I’ve looked at that isn’t loaded up with ketchup and sugar. The rest all sound like recipes for candy. This one will be dinner tonight.

    • — Skeezix on May 27, 2020
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  • Because of the crazy time we’re in my store is out of 90% lean ground beef. Should I make any adjustments using 85%?

    • — Sharon on May 19, 2020
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    • Hi Sharon, I think it should be fine with no adjustments to the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 19, 2020
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      • These are the best sloppy joe’s I’ve ever had! I had to simmer about 25 mins. for it to thicken up. Probably because of the higher fat content. I did add the sugar and a little extra heat. Thanks for another great recipe. 🙂

        • — Sharon on May 21, 2020
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  • I’ve made these twice now and they are really, really good. They take me back to my childhood. I love their smokiness. These are total comfort food. The second time I made these I was looking for a way to do something new with ground beef to perk up dinner in these trying times. Thanks!

    • — Tom on May 6, 2020
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  • This really is the best sloppy joe recipe!

    • — CN on May 6, 2020
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  • One of the reasons I love Jenn’s recipes is because they taste great even if I don’t have all the ingredients and used subs like I did for this recipe.

    I didn’t have a red pepper, and I didn’t have ground beef – I used a green pepper and ground turkey. I even skipped the hot sauce (kids don’t like it). I kept wondering if it would be ruined as I cooked it. NOPE! When I finished it, it was full of flavor and even seemed hearty as if I used ground beef (maybe it was the Worcester sauce?). It was so great not to have that ketchup taste and have that nice, rich, tomato flavor.

    No complaints and all the plates were clean! Thank you, Jean!

    • — Elsie on April 17, 2020
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    • I love her recipes because she tells you when you can use a “cheat” – like using a store bought crust for Quiche Lorraine and when not to cheat – like only using AOP gruyere in the same recipe.

      • — Tom on May 6, 2020
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  • No offense but this was the worst sloppy joe recipe I have made. I am shocked it has so many good reviews. Even with all the spices, etc. it had absolutely no taste. The leftovers I tried to doctor up a bit – to no avail.

    • — Holly on April 16, 2020
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  • Loved this! Followed the recipe almost exactly except I added 1 T brown sugar instead of the suggested 1 tsp. I liked it sweeter.

    • — Kathryn on April 12, 2020
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  • Great recipe Jenn. We always enjoy your recipes. This one is no different. I love old time recipes and I love that they can be made homemade. I grew up going to cousins and they made sloppy joes from the can. But that was what we had at the time. My family enjoyed it. I served them on toasted brioche rolls from Whole Foods. Delicious!!!
    I emailed you earlier regarding the dry mustard. I found out that we could use Dijon mustard.

    Thanks again

    • — Shari Giarraputo on March 22, 2020
    • Reply
    Even my husband Loves it!
    Thanks for making sloppy joes so appealing!

    • — Sara Pantoja on March 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very good. Fun to eat! It took me back to my childhood when we would have these. It was easy to make. I did not butter and toast the buns, however. I looked forward to eating the leftovers. My wife liked these as well. I will definitely make these again.

    • — Tom on March 11, 2020
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  • My grown daughters and I made these for lunch today. We joked about them being “ high class” sloppy joes. They were the best we’ve ever eaten! We all enjoyed the flavor of the smoked paprika. I was out of oregano but didn’t miss it and didn’t tenderize the ground beef ( didn’t have the time). I’ll make it the exact same way next time So delicious!! Thank you once again for another great recipe!

    • — Nancy on March 11, 2020
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  • This was awesome! My husband (who is low carb) ate it over cauliflower rice. My son had 3 sandwiches (“Mom! Please make this again”) & even my picky daughter loved it. I followed the recipe, minus the bell peppers, & it was delicious. I did end up adding more ground beef as it was a bit saucier than I was expecting.

    • — Amanda J on March 11, 2020
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  • Flavorful and substantial. Make with recommended slaw. Great combination, will make again.

    • — Monica on March 5, 2020
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  • I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great! I did add the brown sugar- tasted like a childhood memory!Thanks Jenn!

    • — Michele on March 5, 2020
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  • Another absolute winner. Thanks!

    • — Barb on March 5, 2020
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  • Although I/we love the majority of your recipes and have your cookbook that I love, with this particular recipe (with the exception of the baking soda) I fail to see the difference in this and homemade chili?

    • — Joycelyn on March 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Joycelyn, there are definitely a lot of similarities, but the flavor profiles are slightly different. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello! My husband can’t eat red meat. I am planning to try these with ground chicken. Should I use the baking soda? Any other suggest you can make?

    • — Lezlie Pascoe on March 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Lezlie, I think it’d work nicely with ground chicken. No need to treat it with baking soda but other than that, no other adjustments needed. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2020
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  • Absolutely delicious! Served it with a nice side salad! It tasted perfect! I’m just so happy I found your website Jen! Tomorrow I’m making my Valentine’s Day dinner and dessert from your amazing recipes!!! Thank you!!!

    • — Monica on February 13, 2020
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    • You’re welcome!! ❤️

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2020
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  • So yummy! The picky husband liked them!!

    • — Melissa Riley on January 31, 2020
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  • This recipe was delicious and quickly prepared. The baking soda to the meat was new to me but was perfect for sloppy joes. Will definitely continue doing that in the future.
    It has been 7 years since I have had sloppy joes because my husband said he did not like them at all. I finally took a chance, wanting something beside a hamburger, and am so happy I did. He actually commented how good it was and he takes back saying he did not like them. His momma only made them from the can…Thank you so much Jenn for the excellent recipes.

    • — Tara Hillman on January 16, 2020
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    • Oops, forgot one thing. I followed the recipe only adding an extra bit of Franks Hot Sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar. 😊

      • — Tara Hillman on January 16, 2020
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  • Great recipe! My family loved it. Thanks so much!

    • — Joyanne Deck on December 8, 2019
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  • Delicious! The baking powder added to the ground beef really gave it an interesting texture. Not sure how to even describe it – it held together. Spices were spot on. I like several Sloppy Joe recipes, and this will be added to my collection. I’m giving it a four only because of the tomato was a bit strong for me. However, my measuring was off. That might be why.

    • — Deborah Reed on November 5, 2019
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  • Why 1 1/4 lbs of ground beef vs. 1 lb?

    • — mary on August 26, 2019
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    • Hi Mary, based on the other ingredients in this recipe, 1 1/4 pounds of ground beef really works best here. Also, my grocery store sells ground beef in 1 1/4 pound packages. Crazy right?? Hope you enjoy the sloppy Joe’s if you make them!

      • — Jenn on August 29, 2019
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  • Great recipe! Not one peep from the picky kids and my fiancé said he normally doesn’t like sloppy joes, but he likes mine.

    • — Kia on August 10, 2019
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  • These came out really great, so much better than that funny stuff in the can. They also came together very quickly – which is a plus. I thought I’d be simmering it forever.

    I did reduce the amount of cumin and black pepper though. I think that was the right spice mix for my family. We aren’t big cumin enthusiasts in particular. Thanks Jenn for a great, family-friendly recipe.

    • — Al on July 2, 2019
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  • I currently live in South Korea and, consequently, have no access to canned Sloppy Joe mixes. Finding this recipe was so nice – AND it is even better than the premade mixes. What I really love about it is these ingredients are always on hand in my kitchen, so it’s very easy. We’ve grown tired of hamburgers and lasagne, so this was a nice switch for ground beef. Thanks so much.

    • — Jo Ellen on June 18, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn,

    Want to try another one of your delicious recipes for company, and am looking at Sloppy Joes. I would like to assemble everything in the morning, as my guests and I will be out all day. When we get home, I would like to make the Sloppy Joes. So…….

    -Can I put the baking soda in the meat and leave it for most of the day?
    -Can I use brioche buns or would regular hamburger buns be better?
    -Can I just make the entire recipe the day before and reheat? Or would they taste better if they were made and eaten on the same day?

    Thank you your fabulous recipes!!!

    • — Hannah on June 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, you can definitely make the Sloppy Joes the day before and reheat before serving. And brioche buns would be delicious if you’d prefer those over hamburger buns. Enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 17, 2019
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      • Thanks, Jenn! Would it be okay to add the baking soda to the meat in the morning, and then make the SJ later in the day?

        Thanks again for all your support and, of course, your fabulous recipes!

        • — Hannah on June 21, 2019
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        • Sure, Hannah, that should be fine (and so glad you like the recipes)! ❤️

          • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
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  • These came out soooo yummy! Usually, when I try a recipe, I have to make adjustments for my taste. I followed this recipe EXACTLY (except I used turkey meat because that’s what I had on hand) and tasted it … perfectly seasoned! My husband and I aren’t huge fans of sweet sauce, so this recipe was perfect for sloppy joes!! I will be using this blog as a go to for future recipes. Thanks for the great (and EASY) recipe!

    • — Chelsea on May 15, 2019
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  • I was wondering if you have a good pulled pork recipe? I have searched through your recipes and can’t find anything.

    • — Karen on May 2, 2019
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    • I don’t Karen – sorry! I will work on it…stay tuned!

      • — Jenn on May 4, 2019
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  • Yummy! Another great recipe!
    And Jenn, I made your beef stew on Sunday night-it was divine! 🙂

    Just got your cookbook too!

    • — Ashley on April 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2019
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  • This sloppy joes recipes is the best I’ve ever made………..or tasted! I did not change a thing and followed the recipe exactly. I love the addition of red pepper which gives it such a good flavor. I love the tip about using baking soda to “tenderize” the beef. I particularly love that there s no ketchup! Every time I make it I’m asked for the recipe. Okay, I’ve thrown out all my old sloppy joes recipes and this is the only one I make! Definitely a favorite and we make it often!

    • — L. Marie on April 12, 2019
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  • Enjoyed the Sloppy Joe recipe! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Jonnette on April 12, 2019
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  • Excellent as long as you do not use the cumin and oregano, which just ruined it 🙁 Had to add BBQ sauce and more mustard and ketchup to save it.

    • — Dianne on March 28, 2019
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  • This is really really good! I added celery and carrot but otherwise followed the recipe. Took about 2 hours including the prep and I simmered about a half hour to let it thicken. Will make again and again.

    • — Suzanne on March 3, 2019
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  • I love this recipe with all the spices!

    • — Jennifer Schmidt on February 11, 2019
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  • After making the recipe exactly as written we found the flavor on the bland side. I made it yesterday and the seasonings were prominent and it tasted great. Today it was too much of a tomato flavor and the seasonings were practically nonexistent. If I make it again I’ll use less tomato sauce and/or reduce the amount of tomato paste. Sorry this one didn’t work for us because we always enjoy your recipes.

    • — Jeanne on February 2, 2019
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  • This recipe was disappointing. I found it to be very bland & uninteresting. Added a 1/2 t of the optional brown sugar, which did not improve things. I have really enjoyed most other recipes on this site and in the cookbook. This is not a Manwich copycat recipe. I think that’s what I was expecting even though nowhere did it state that.

    • — LK on January 29, 2019
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  • I have never made sloppy joe’s from scratch until tonight with this recipe. Part of my New Years resolution was to reduce the amount of packaging our family consumed. Which is what led me to this recipe. I am so thankful that it did. The flavors in this recipe were so much better than those little store packets. I especially loved the smoked paprika. I used 99% lean ground turkey, skipped the baking soda, worschester and hot sauce. All of us loved it including two picky kids.

    • — Katrina on January 28, 2019
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  • This recipe tastes so much better than the ones with ketchup, etc. It’s a great blend of spices that really add such flavor. And, I never knew that baking soda will tenderize ground beef. Thank you for the wonderful recipes as well as cooking tips.

    • — Jeanne on December 31, 2018
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  • This is my go-to sloppy joe recipe and has become a family favorite. I don’t always add the baking powder to the meat, but that doesn’t seem to affect the tenderness greatly, in my opinion.

    • — Kate Camargo on December 21, 2018
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    • Question: Kate Camargo on Dec. 21, 2018 wrote ” I don’t always add the baking powder to the meat….” The recipe reads “baking soda” not, baking powder….correct?

      • — Cynthia on January 24, 2019
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      • That’s correct, Cynthia – you’ll want to use baking soda here – hope you enjoy! 🙂

        • — Jenn on January 24, 2019
        • Reply
  • Hi Jen how can I adapt this recipe to use as hearty appetizers. Thank you

    • — Barbara Riddle on October 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I think these would be great on slider rolls — no other changes necessary.

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2018
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  • Made these the other day and they were quicker than I expected and more delicious too. Used nice potato rolls and although we had a late dinner we all had seconds! Added a little extra sharp cheddar grated on top. Yum!

    • — Tracy Cockrell on October 5, 2018
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  • Have been looking for the ultimate sloppy joe recipe for what seems like forever. Made this the other night and it is simply the best we’ve ever tasted! And so easy to make too. Definitely will be our “go to” sloppy joe recipe!

    • — Karen on October 4, 2018
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  • This is my go-to sloppy joe recipe. There is a bit of prep but it is worth it. Delicious, easy, comfort food at its finest. Love what the Worsterchire and hot sauce adds to it.

    • — Julie on October 4, 2018
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  • This is the BEST sloppy joe recipe I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much for solid recipes–I literally love every one I’ve tried. (And I’ve tried a lot!)

  • I just made this and it’s wonderful! I I used bison, ground pork and a poblano pepper because that’s what I had. This is definitely a keeper! YUM!

  • Growing up the only time i had sloppy joes was at church camp. I hated them. I lived off chips and pickles that night. It scarred me 😉
    I always thought I hated them. Then I read your ingredients. It sounded delicious. So I made some. And they were Good!
    My mom couldn’t believe it when I told her what I was eating.
    This is a recipe I’ll be saving.

  • These Sloppy Joes are a favorite with all the family!

  • Is there a way to make this in a crock pot?

    • Hi Amy, I don’t have any experience using a slow cooker, so I’m not confident in saying whether or not it would work – sorry! These tips may help though.

  • This was the first recipe from this site that I didn’t absolutely love. Unfortunately, I found it bland and lacking complexity. Perhaps it’s because I grew up eating Manwich-style sloppy joes and expected something along those lines. I ended up adding brown sugar, ketchup, more Worcestershire sauce, Braggs liquid aminos and a little beef stock to get the dish to a place I was happy with.

  • This is a perfect sloppy joe recipe!!

  • I made this recipe with 1 lb. of ground turkey, as that’s what I had on hand. It came out great! I also cut the hot sauce in half, which seemed hardly noticeable. The flavor of the smoked paprika is quite strong, so next time I might do half regular paprika. Very quick and easy solution to a sloppy joe craving!

  • Hi Jenn,
    Quick question – do the calories listed include the bun? Thanks!

    • Yes, Rachael, the nutritional information includes the buns. Hope you enjoy!

  • This was an absolute hit! My husband and son loved it. The only thing I did different was add like a half teaspoon of brown sugar. We like anything with tomato sauce in it, to add a little sugar. Can not wait for the cookbook to come out!!

  • We’ve made this a few times now! It’s so good (I add the brown sugar for the sweeter sauce). I had been on the hunt for a while, looking for a homemade sloppy joe recipe worth the time to make. This is definitely the one!

  • I made these and they were the best sloppy joe’s I have ever had. I love every recipe I’ve made from you!!

  • This is the best made from scratch Sloppy Joe recipe that I have made. My entire family loves it! It is great just the way it is, but sometimes I substitute ground bison for the ground beef. Also, I add a little Sriracha to kick it up a bit.

  • This sloppy Joe recipe brought me way back to my childhood. You nailed the flavors that I remember so fondly! This is a keeper and our boys loved it as much as I do. Thanks! Sue

  • Family Favorite. I was looking for something quick and easy and my go to when I have ground beef is usually tacos, but I was looking for something different and came across this recipe for Sloppy Joes. I had all of the ingredients, it was simple to follow and easy to throw together. I didn’t even think I would have time to butter the buns and throw them in the oven, but I actually did. The family loved it.

  • Made this the other day for my guys at work. Once cooked , I put it the fridge , just to rest and blend. Got hungry the next day, so I made a sloppy Jenn! WONDERFUL! Not sweet, great spice blend, put on a Brioche bun with melted mozzarella, and a sandwich sliced pickle.

  • This recipe is a great way to treat my husband to one of his favorites while controlling the sodium he needs to keep to a minimum. Easy, fast and delicious. It’s in my short list of favorites.

  • My daughter and I made this together. We switched out the red bell pepper for the green.We used brioche buns and they came out to be gourmet sloppy joes! Keeping this recipe.

  • Excellent, the best homemade sloppy joe recipe I’ve tried!! Thank you for sharing!

  • We loved this recipe, especially not using ketchup or store bought Sloppy Joe mix. We substituted ground buffalo for the ground beef. While we thoroughly enjoyed the Sloppy Joe, we elected to add a tablespoon of bourbon maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. Would highly recommend this recipe!

  • My son, who is a SUPER picky eater, just gave this recipe two thumbs up! I’m so happy…It’s really hard to find meals he’ll eat. Thank you!!

  • I just tried this recipe for dinner….I’ve been craving sloppy Joe’s. I did add a tiny bit of ketchup and a little brown sugar syrup..was baking and sitting in front of me. I also used poblano peppers since my bush had several. My house smells incredible! This is by far the best sloppy joe I’ve ever eaten or made! Can’t wait to try the slaw next time. Thanks!!!

  • Already left a review on my first UAaC recipe because it was a hit with the kids. Second recipe, second review. The kids mom left us a few years ago and I’ve spent God knows how many hours collecting recipes and learning how to cook better. Jenn, where have you been? Right, taking care of your family. Yes I’ve found some winner recipes to keep on rotation but I love the way you write/teach explain. The flavors. Thank you. Best of luck on your book!

  • Hip hip hooray! Another meal my whole family loved eating. Thank you! I’m going to double the recipe next time so half can go in the freezer. The brioche buns are a nice way to fancy them up a bit, too.

  • Totally delicious. My kids and I loved it. My husband is a bit more of a traditionalist and felt the taste resembled too closely to chili, but that just left more for the rest of us!

  • I am so very Happy I found Jen and her recipes, We just enjoyed really good sloppy Joes that were easy to do with fresh ingredients. Thank you once again! Evelyn

  • So much better than canned and in my opinion better the next day

  • My family LOVED this recipe! So much better than the sloppy joes I grew up with. I reduced the hot sauce to 1/4 teaspoon so my little one could enjoy it. We all loved the toasted buns and smoky flavor.

  • As a mom of a picky eater who has recently discovered sloppy Joe’s this recipe is a savior! I have made the package ones just because of convenience but this recipe is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Even my picky eater have it a thumbs up! Now that is saying something! Easy to make and I know exactly what is in it (unlike the package ones which I’m afraid of even looking in the ingredients list!)

  • Wow! I made this vegetarian by using Beyond Meat beef crumbles and vegetarian worcestershire sauce. It was beyond good!

  • Made these as a last minute entree for my weekly Sunday Family Dinner, and they were a hit! I used a yellow pepper and since I didn’t have Coleman’s handy, subbed a squirt of French’s. They were great for lunch the next day, too!!

  • Someone must have gotten me a food processor for my wedding (12 years ago) because I don’t know where else it could have come from. I finally took it out of the cabinet for this. I’m glad I did. I try to stay away from processed food and recipes like this make it easy. I’ve never had the canned version but it couldn’t possibly be this good. Thanks Jen.

  • Delicious! I added the sugar. So glad I don’t need to rely on the packets anymore. Thank you for another tasty family dinner!!

  • Nice, added sugar. Formidable!!

  • Supposedly, sloppy joes (aka Taverns) were “invented” simultaneously in two cities including my small hometown of Sioux City, Iowa. Sloppy Joes are a big hit there. I’ve tried a lot of recipes for Sloppy Joes over the years, and I have sampled a lot of recipes. This concoction is the best by far. Thanks.

  • My husband and son loved these! I thought they were delicious too- and great the next day as well. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you!

  • Hi Jen, I’m from Australia and I’m not familiar with tomato sauce. I see it in a lot of recipes. What we call here tomato sauce is the equivalent to ketchup in the US. Do you know what would be a good substitute for tomato sauce in this recipe? Here we have something that’s called pasata but I’m not sure if this is what you call tomato sauce. Thank you

    • Hi Mim, Canned tomato sauce is simply cooked puréed tomatoes, sometimes with added spices. I think passata is raw? But even if so, it will work. Hope that helps!

      • This was so yummy. I made it with the citrus slaw and it was the perfect match. Thank you for all your great recipes. I can’t wait for your book to come out

        • Just thought I’d pop in to say…
          I’m an American who lives in Australia and I’ve found that just whizzing tinned tomatoes in the blender gives you close enough to American “tomato sauce”. The consistency is a little different but it never seems to make a difference. Passata works too but it’s got to be the unseasoned kind 🙂

  • I❤️ChefJenn! As usual, another excellent recipe from Jenn! In fact, so satisfying was her Sloppy Joe’s recipe, I have added it to my menu plan! Most importantly, my husband loves it too! Thanks again, Jenn!

  • My family loved it! I also left out the hot sauce.

  • family loved them, left out the hot sauce

  • I just made this,
    It is excellent, followed the recipe exactly as written, I used chicken instead of beef because that is what I had on hand.

    Thx, Jenn

  • I made this recipie “as is” for a dinner with friends. The adults and children all loved it! I’m a vegetarian so I love recipes that are simple for me to prepare for my meat loving friends and family. I served these with your sweet & tangy citrus Cole slaw. The entire meal was a hit, thank you, Jenn!

  • Will this recipe work with ground turkey?

    • Sure, Bonnie, but no need to treat the turkey with baking soda. I’d use a mix of white and dark meat, if possible.

  • Made this as written except I discovered I was out of dry mustard so added a squirt of yellow mustard. This was delicious. My husband loved it so much he printed it out so I’d be sure to make it again. Loved a sloppy joe that wasn’t sweet.

  • Somehow I missed out on sloppy joe’s growing up…. and have been making up for lost time! I like all the veg. mixed in. This was super easy to make and tasted delicious!

  • I had planned to make these for a neighborhood get-together this weekend but needed a quick meal after returning from an out of town trip. That was the first great thing about this recipe–simple ingredients that I had on hand. Minutes later my husband and I were amazed that something so simple and quick to prepare tasted so good. Like all of Jenn’s recipes, this is a “keeper.” Will be making these again for the neighbors–there aren’t any leftovers.

  • I would call this adult sloppy Joe. Myself and my husband loved this recipe. I really liked that it didnt include sugar or ketchup like most sloppy Joe recipes do. I bought an 8oz of tomato sauce instead of 14oz but just added a bit of water to make up the difference and it was fine, also added a bit extra hot sauce. Quite tasty!

  • Wow, this recipe completely rocks! A very balanced melange of spices. No sugar needed (for us), and garnished with a touch of fresh thyme and parsley since it was in the refrig. My kids gave it a double thumbs up. Will definitely make again and again.

  • I made this and the tangy citrus slaw this weekend for a family dinner with my Dad. Everyone loved the meal!! I have to say these are the best sloppy joes I have ever had, delicious comfort food! The slaw is flavorful, refreshing as well as healthy and both dishes together are good enough for company or a dinner to take to someone! I used ground beef as I was curious about the baking soda effect , and it really made these moist next time I will try ground chicken!!

  • The recipe was simple and at tge same time very yummy ! They turned out one of the famous in my family ❤️
    Keeping the recipe for future too !
    Thanks for sharing

  • Made these last night and my child who is convinced he didn’t like sloppy joes ate it up! Favorite sloppy joe recipe I have ever tried.

  • OMG, I made these last night, following your recipe to a T. (It did not need a splash of cider vinegar or anything else for that matter.) This is the perfect Sloppy Joe’s recipe. It transported me back to my childhood–in a good way. My mom used to call them Wimpies.

  • This was the first recipe I have tried from your blog that hasn’t blown me away. I made it as written, but next time I will definitely use regular paprika in place of smoked and play around with the seasoning mix more. Certainly a good base recipe for homemade sloppy joes from scratch, which I have been searching for. Thank you, as always!

  • Excellent recipe! I made it exactly as written and the sloppy joes were delicious. It was almost more like a chili.

    The seasoning was perfect (and you could build the heat to your preference). It was juicy and tasty! I wouldn’t add the sugar.

  • These are what Sloppy Joe’s should be; tangy, flavourful, the right amount of spice and heat, and just a wee bit sloppy!
    We used our favourite butter tray buns and they were perfect (for us, at any rate). I see where Celeste used brioche slider rolls – brilliant!
    I also notice that substitutions for the beef include chicken and turkey, I may try these with ground pork but they are so delicious it will hard to deviate from the recipe.
    Thanks Jenn!

  • I made these exactly as written and they were So SO good. Definitely a little spicier than what my mother made (That is a good thing!) Also, she called them wimpies. Thank you, Jenn, for a blast from the past.

  • I made this sloppy Joe recipe this week. It was fantastic! I have also made your bolognse sauce, also outstanding. You are my go to spot for great recipes. Thank you!

  • Made it tonight for family dinner. Was just right for 4, 2 of whom are on low carb diets so skipped the hamburger bun.
    Wonderful flavours, even sophisticated, and no need for sugar unless like too many people you are addicted.

  • Hi,
    I made your recipe for company tonight and everyone loved them! I followed the recipe and only had a little left over. I made the slaw to go with the sloppy joes and it was a perfect side. Thanks for all the good recipes.

  • Cooked the sloppy joes for supper tonight. I left out the salt and used no salt tomato since I am on a low salt diet. Very Good! Nice Sunday night supper.

  • I just made this recipe today for lunch and served it on little slider brioche rolls and have to say absolutely amazing! This is another one to add to my working mother weeknight dinner recipe repertoire. Thank you so much Jenn for your great recipes!

  • Love it. It is the best I’ve ever tasted. Could eat it every night.

  • Hi Jenny(my favorite chef)
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and skills with rest of us. I look forward to your subscription. My bugging question is : can baking soda be used to tenderize cheap cut beef if yes ,please advice ratio and duration for effectiveness.
    I made sloppy Jo this morning , substituted with ground turkey , it also worked very well.

    • Hi Nikki, Sometimes baking soda is used as a tenderizer in Asian cooking for tougher cuts like flank steak. Here’s a tutorial on how to use it.

  • Just as an addition to my last comment: I used regular paprika and did add the tsp of sugar.
    Thanks again!

  • Once again your recipe came just when I needed it! We made these last night for dinner and now I FINALLY have the Sloppy Joe taste I’ve been looking for! I left out the hot sauce for everyone to add later and that was fine. The dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce gives it enough spice for me. Next time I’ll double the recipe, though; the portions were a little small.

  • And to think that I thought the packet Sloppy Joe mix was good. This was SO MUCH BETTER and so simple. I am beginning to enjoy cooking again since all of Jenn’s recipes are delicious and easy to follow.

  • Amazing! I followed recipe exactly as written except omitted tomato paste. I did not add the optional sugar. This was the Best sloppy joes we ever had. My son who has traveled all over the country stopped by and commented he normally is not impressed with sloppy joes but these were amazing. He ended up having a second serving. Thanks so much.

  • I was so excited to see a sloppy joe recipe in my inbox that didn’t use tons of ketchup/sugar so we made these today. The recipe was extremely easy to make. I followed the recipe exactly & we did add the 1 tsp of brown sugar since I thought my family would prefer it in there for our taste. Our thoughts during our meal was that they were good but not the sloppy joe taste we are used to. This recipe was nice but we didn’t love the smoked paprika. But in saying that my kids preferred this version over the sugary ketchup one I normally make so it’s a winner in my books – lol.

    • Hi Tracy, Feel free to replace the smoked paprika with regular paprika next time. And for a more typical Sloppy Joe flavor, you might replace the tomato sauce and tomato paste with 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce and 1/2 cup ketchup. Hope that helps!

  • Jenn, I love your site and recipes! In fact this is the only foodie site I look forward to reading and trying the new recipes on a regular basis!! The Sloppy Joe’s are delish and I Loved learning about the use of soda which I will now incorporate in other recipes. Thank you!

  • These Sloppy Joes are the best I have ever had! So quick and easy to make too. I served them on toasted Hawaiian Rolls to add a little sweetness. Served Jenn’s fantastic Curried Roasted Carrots as a side dish for a total finger food dinner. Everyone at my football game night dinner begged for the recipes!! SCORE!

  • I’ve always made Sloppy Joes with white vinegar to give it some bite, but love this recipe without it! Adding baking soda to tenderize the beef was new to me – it worked great! I plan to try it with other beef dishes!

    Thank you for your great ideas! I love receiving your recipes. It takes the boredom out of cooking!

  • I used to love Manwich Sauce for Sloppy Joe’s (I know, shoot me), but the last couple of times I used it, it seemed blah. I’m going to try this when I pick up some ground chuck at Coop this week. Will report back!

  • loved the sloppy joe recipe could not find smoked paprika so I just used the regular kind my family was okay wit that served it with citrus salad which was also very good. would make this again

  • Can you freeze this?

    • Yes, Cathy, it freezes nicely!

  • Really good! Not overly sweet like some recipes. I thinks it’s a new favorite and can’t wait to try it out on the grandkids!

  • I love all your recipes, and I’m sure this one is as delicious as the rest. Please pardon me…as a grammar & punctuation fiend: no apostrophe….SLOPPY JOES. Apostrophe S (‘s) is the possessive form, not the plural. That being said, I love your website.

    • Oops! Thank you, Kathy — I missed that one but it has been corrected :).

  • I have been “converted” from using the packet! Easy and delicious!

  • I made the Sloppy Joe’s / Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw (with cilantro.) It was amazing! like a party in your mouth! The Sloppy Joe’s are very easy to make and freeze great for an easy delicious meal on those nights you don’t have a lot of time to cook!
    I’m going to thaw the remainder Sloppy Joe’s in my slow cooker on the 24th for the Pat’s game and serve them tortilla chips and guacamole! Can’t wait!

  • Oops, one question: No vinegar? It seems to cry out for a splash of maybe cider vinegar, or is that overkill with the worceshire?

    • I don’t think it needs it, Lisa – there’s already quite a bit of tang from the tomatoes and Worcestershire, and since there’s no sugar you don’t need vinegar to balance the sweetness. But if you think it’s missing something, there’s no harm in adding a little cider vinegar.

  • Any suggestions on how to make this vegetarian? tofu or beans?

    • Hi Sandy, perhaps this could be made with tofu, but I don’t have any experience cooking with it, so I’m not a great resource there! I do think that beans would work. I’d add them at the same time you would add the beef. (And I’d suggest cutting back on the salt in the recipe if you’re using canned beans.) LMK how they turn out!

  • Sometimes I think you read my mind. I was just recently looking for a Sloppy Joe’s recipe and all of them seemed way too sweet (or called for Ketchup–big No). I will report back when I make these.

  • Hi. I noticed that you said it would be great with ground chicken, but didn’t mention ground turkey in either of your replies. Would it be OK with that? And I usually just use white meat but would it need some dark turkey in the grinding or am I fine with just white meat? Thanks!

    • Hi Jane, I prefer ground chicken to ground turkey, but I do think a blend of white and dark meat turkey would work too. Please lmk how it turns out if you try it that way.

  • How do you think these would be with either ground turkey or ground chicken?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mary, I think it’d be wonderful with ground chicken – and no need to treat it with baking soda if you go that route.

  • Hi Jenn…question. Have you tried this recipe with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef? If so, would you make any modifications to the other ingredients or leave everything as is?


    • I haven’t April but it would be great with chicken. And you can omit the baking soda step if not using beef.

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