Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Homemade Sloppy Joes Back to School Dinner

Homemade Sloppy Joes Back to School Dinner

Homemade Sloppy Joes is a classic recipe that will please the whole family. It's one of the easiest and most popular dinners for school nights.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Sloppy Joe sandwich on a white serving plate.

My Homemade Sloppy Joes is a classic recipe that we just never get tired of. It’s one of my most reliable and popular dinners for school nights. Serve it with fries or chips and some dill pickles or a salad on the side.

It’s that time of year again when everyone is getting ready to return to the regular school routine. Whether your kids attend school in person or are home schooled, you always need something quick and easy to put on the table on a school night. Especially after you’ve worked all day yourself and you’re pretty tired yourself, right?

Sloppy Joe sandwich on a white serving plate.

My Homemade Sloppy Joes recipe will never let you down when dinner time rolls around. It’s one of those standard recipes that all cooks need in their repertoire.

Plus, you can even make the meat sauce ahead and freeze it. Just thaw it in the microwave, pop it on some hamburger buns, and supper’s ready!

💗 Why We Love This Recipe


  • Short prep time
  • Very kid friendly
  • No unusual or hard to find ingredients

🥘 Ingredient Notes


Photo of all the ingredients needed for the recipe.
  • Ground beef (I almost always use 80-20 ground beef. It has more flavor than the lower fat choices)
  • Dijon mustard (if you don’t have it on hand simply substitute any kind of mustard available)
  • Tomato sauce and tomato paste (I like using both for a richer tomato base)
  • Cayenne pepper (this is totally optional; if you think it would be too spicy for your family simply leave it out)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Sloppy Joes


Prep the Vegetables

Start by chopping the onion, bell pepper, and celery and mince the garlic.

Cook the Ground Beef

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground beef until no pink color remains. Drain the beef and set aside.

Cook the Peppers, Onions, and Garlic

To the same skillet, add the onions and peppers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 30-45 seconds.

Cooked ground beef with peppers, onions, and garlic.

Return the drained ground beef back to the skillet with the onions, peppers, and garlic.

Add All Remaining Ingredients

All ingredients for the recipe added to the pan.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

Simmer Until Done

Beef mixture after cooking.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and the liquid has reduced.
To serve:

Assemble and Serve

Assembled sloppy joe sandwich on a serving plate with pickles and chips.

If desired, butter and toast the hamburger buns. Divide the beef mixture evenly between the buns.

Sloppy Joe sandwich on a white serving plate.

🍽 Make it a Meal


Some suggestions for dishes to serve with sloppy joes include french fries, tater tots, potato chips, potato salad, tossed green salad, sweet potato fries, and dill pickles.

🍚 Make it Ahead


It’s really easy to make sloppy joes ahead and freeze for future use. After the meat mixture has cooled, transfer it to one or more freezer safe containers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, let the mixture thaw in the refrigerator and reheat either on the stovetop or in the microwave.

❓ Questions About Sloppy Joes


Is sloppy joe the same thing as “Manwich”?

The difference between sloppy joes and “Manwich” is simply that sloppy joes are made from scratch and Manwich is a brand of sloppy joe sauce that is available in the grocery store.

Will this recipe work with ground turkey?

Yes! This recipe can be made with an equal amount of ground turkey substituted for the ground beef.

Why are these sandwiches called sloppy joes?

According to some sources, the name came from the recipe of a cook named Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa. Joe added tomato sauce to his “loose meat” sandwiches thus creating the “sloppy joe” sandwich.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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📖 Recipe

Sloppy Joe sandwich on a white serving plate.

Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes is a classic recipe that will please the whole family. It's one of the easiest and most popular dinners for school nights.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Main Dishes, Sandwiches
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion (medium size) chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce canned
  • 12 ounces tomato paste canned
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground beef until no pink color remains. Drain the beef and set aside.
  • To the same skillet, add the onions and peppers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 30-45 seconds.
  • Return the drained ground beef back to the skilletwith the onions, peppers, and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and the liquid has reduced.

To serve:

  • If desired, butter and toast the hamburger buns. Divide the beef mixture evenly between the buns.

Notes

  • The recipe can be made with an equal amount of ground turkey substituted for the ground beef.
  • To make ahead and freeze for future use – after the meat mixture has cooled, transfer it to one or more freezer safe containers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, let the mixture thaw in the refrigerator and reheat either on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1324mg | Potassium: 1018mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 991IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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14 Comments

  1. What I like about Sloppy Joe’s is the way I have to slurp around the bun to get all the ingredients before they hit the plate! LOL

    It’s 1:30 AM and I’m hungry after reading all the recipes here!

  2. Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting on the Sloppy Joes! I almost didn’t post this one because I thought, “who in the world would want to see that?” Apparently, quite a few people! Ha! Who knew?

    To those who have been craving sloppy joes recently, glad I could provide you with a recipe to satisfy that craving.

    Lee — I agree that that chef doesn’t know what he’s missing. As I’ve said before I am no food snob. I enjoy all kinds of food from the most elegant right down to, well, sloppy joes!

    And Angelia – those sweet potato fries sure sound like a great accompaniment.

  3. That is almost the same as my recipe, I just add a few more spices, its so easy and delish, and great with sweet potato fries!

  4. Recently I heard a famous chef say a Sloppy Joe wasn’t something he would make or eat. He doesn’t know what he’s missing! They are still one of my favorites, especially come Fall.

  5. This is one of the meals that Daddy Bon used to make when I had to work late. Your recipe looks much better than his. He did not put tomato in his so it was like eating a scrambled hamburger with onions & bell pepper. He served it with ketchup, mustard & relish. This and chilli were the two things that he excelled in making. Bless his heart.
    Neena

  6. I’m glad you put a sloppy joe recipe on your blog. Sometimes, it’s those simple, easy dishes that make us happy. Sloppy Joes are a comfort food to me, and they’re a dish my kids love. (I even put a version on my blog a while back.) These look yummy.

  7. I was craving for a sloppy joe the other day and almost bought one of those manwich sauces. I like your version better. I’ve got to try that. Mmmmmm…

  8. I just made sloppy joes last night and they were delish! I used the leftovers over pasta tonight for sloppy mac. YUM!

    Great pictures and step by step

  9. These look really good! I don’t have anyone in school, but I work a lot . I love quick recipes. Thanks a bunch! Joe Ann