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A hand holding a hamburger bun generously stuffed with homemade Sloppy Joes.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This homemade Sloppy Joes recipe makes the classic family-favorite meal with a sweet and savory sauce to serve over toasted hamburger buns.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)


  1. Over medium-high heat in a skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef until cooked. Remove beef and set aside. Drain any fat from the pot.
  2. Saute onions and bell pepper in some oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and return beef to the pan. Add tomato paste, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and water. Scrape up any stuck-on brown bits from the pan.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
  5. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has cooked down and is thickened to your liking.
  6. Dish and serve hot on warm toasted hamburger buns or rolls.
  7. Enjoy!


  • Sauciness – 3/4 cup of water is added to the recipe before simmering it down so you can pick your level of sauciness. Some like their Sloppy Joe sauce extremely messy and some prefer a firmer, thicker sauce.
  • Toasted buns – Toast the buns for great Sloppy Joe sandwiches. Butter the buns and toast them in a pan buttered side down until golden and crisp along the edges.
  • Add some spice – Spice it up with some red pepper flakes, a dash of cayenne, or some jalapenos.
  • Cut the sweetness – Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to tone down and balance out the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Scroll up to RECIPE TIPS for more useful tips, suggestions and ingredient substitutions.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins