Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

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Sloppy Joes – Make your own homemade sloppy joes! Easy 30 minute sloppy joe recipe with a simple and delicious sauce. Serve on toasted buns or a bed of lettuce.

open faced sloppy joes with potato chips on gray plate and sloppy joe meat in iron skillet

When I was a kid, sloppy joes were one of my favorite meals. Of course, Manwich was the sloppy joe sauce of choice back then.

But who needs canned sloppy joe sauce when you can make your own simple sauce? And it doesn't have to be an overbearing sauce either, completely masking the flavor of the meat.

Nope, you can make a sauce with minimal ketchup, a little bit of Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of brown sugar. And it's out of this world delicious!

When I first made this recipe, it reminded me of the old days when Mom and Grandma would make the best juicy burger around. The toasted buns toasted in just a smidge of bacon grease really brought back a taste of home.

Tasty Tip: This also makes the best grilled cheese sloppy joes and sloppy joe shepherd's pie recipe ever!

holding a sloppy joe or juicy burger with 2 hands above a plate of potato chips

Are you ready for a dinnertime favorite your family will love? Let's get to it!

More sloppy joe recipes you may enjoy: Taco Sloppy JoesPhilly Cheesesteak Sloppy JoesSloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers, and Pepperoni Pizza Sloppy Joes.

I JUST WANT THE RECIPE! TAKE ME TO THE SLOPPY JOES RECIPE!

If you’d rather skip all of my cooking tips, important cooking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the delicious recipe for sloppy joes – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

WHAT ARE SLOPPY JOES?

If you've never had sloppy joes, never fear. It's never too late to add this yummy recipe to your weekly menu planning.

Sloppy joes are a sort of loose meat sandwich made with loose ground beef mixed with a tomato based sauce. The sauce usually has things like ketchup or tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sometimes a little mustard, and other ingredients.

ground beef sloppy joes mixture in iron skillet with wooden spatula

You can also make a sloppy joe sandwich with ground pork or ground turkey.

It's a very flavorful sandwich that's otherwise known as a juicy burger (what my mama and grandma called it), loose meat sandwich, Manwich, dynamite, slush burger, tavern sandwich, a Maid-Rite, etc.

SLOPPY JOE INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED:

  • Garlic clove
  • Yellow onion
  • Bacon grease (you can also use butter or olive oil)
  • Ground beef

CAN I USE FROZEN HAMBURGER MEAT? DO I NEED TO THAW IT?

You can use frozen ground beef. In fact, we do this quite often because we forget to get the meat out.

Since it's a loose meat sandwich and you're not making hamburger patties, it's a little bit easier to do; though I do recommend thawing if at all possible.

Just put the meat into a skillet with maybe 1/2 cup water, turn the heat on medium, and place a lid on the skillet. This basically steams the meat.

When it's cooked, you can drain off any excess oil.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE SLOPPY JOES

Sloppy joes are one of the easiest meals to make. I totally get why my mom liked making them.

Now I do recommend using bacon grease for the added flavor to the meat mixture (and for toasting the buns). But if you don't have bacon grease, no worries; you can also use butter or olive oil.

sauteeing onions and garlic for making sloppy joes

Be sure to mince up the garlic and the onion really well. I like mincing them up so they blend well with the meat and sauce.

adding ground beef to sloppy joes mixture with onions and garlic in cast iron skillet

You'll start by sautéing the garlic and onion in a large skillet. Then add the meat and mix together with the garlic and onion, cooking the mixture well.

cooking ground beef mixture for sloppy joes in cast iron skillet

Be sure to drain off any excess oil when the meat has finished cooking.

mixing ingredients for sloppy joes sauce into meat mixture in cast iron skillet on stovetop

Once you add the sauce ingredients, just let the whole mixture simmer for a good 5 minutes.

simmering sloppy joes ground beef mixture in cast iron skillet on stovetop

Meanwhile, you can toast hamburger buns in another skillet in a little bit of bacon grease. Or you may choose a lower carb option and prep a plate of lettuce or spinach to go with your sloppy joe meat.

toasting hamburger buns in a little bit of bacon grease on cast iron griddle for the most delicious sloppy joes

However you choose to enjoy your sloppy joes, hopefully with a nice big batch of homemade steak fries, this is sure to be a family favorite recipe for many meals to come.

homemade sloppy joes on plate with potato chips

KITCHEN TOOLS YOU MAY NEED TO MAKE SLOPPY JOES

Skillet – We love using our cast iron skillets for pretty much everything both at home and while camping; they are very much a part of our camping cooking gear on every trip.

Hamburger Chopper – This handy dandy tool makes it easier to chop up the meat into a much looser mixture.

Wooden Spatula

meat for sloppy joes or juicy burger recipe in cast iron skillet

SLOPPY JOE RECIPE

If you love this sloppy joe recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest! If you make the recipe, be sure to share that you tried it on Pinterest. I love when readers share feedback!

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe

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Yield: 5 servings

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

Make your own homemade sloppy joes! Easy 30 minute sloppy joe recipe with a simple and delicious sauce. Serve on toasted buns or a bed of lettuce.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease, *
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet until hot. 
  2. Then add in the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the onion in with the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef into the skillet, stirring the onions and garlic into the meat. Cook on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meat is well cooked.
  5. Be sure to drain off any excess oil when the meat has finished cooking.
  6. Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar into the meat, stirring until combined.
  7. Let the sloppy joe mixture simmer for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Serve on toasted buns or on a bed of lettuce or spinach.

Notes

*I recommend using bacon grease for the added flavor it will give to the meat mixture (and for toasting the buns). But if you don't have bacon grease, no worries; you can also use butter or olive oil.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

5 servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281 Saturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 67mg Sodium: 208mg Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar: 4g Protein: 15g
easy homemade sloppy joes or juicy burger recipe

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