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This easy Sloppy Joes Recipe combines ground beef, bell peppers and onion with a simple homemade sauce for quick weeknight dinner that takes minutes to make. A family favorite!

Sloppy Joe sandwich on brioche bun with American cheese.

Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe

Make dinner in minutes with this easy Sloppy Joe recipe. With a few simple ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have a satisfying meal the whole family will love in no time. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.

Growing up, we had sloppy Joes made with a can of Manwich — so did everyone else on the block! I still love a classic Joe, but I make my sandwiches with homemade sauce. You still open a can (tomato sauce) but with a few simple additions, this Sloppy Joe sauce is even better than the one you buy in the store! My family loves it!

Serve this easy dinner with a side of air fryer french fries or potato chips. For a fun variation on homemade sloppy joes, try my open faced Sloppy Joes or make Instant Pot Sloppy Joes.


You only need a few ingredients from your grocery store for this easy recipe. Full ingredient amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Lean ground beef — Using lean meat means you won’t have to drain the grease. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken or pork.
  • Onion — for flavor. Sub onion powder or dried onions if needed.
  • Bell pepper — Green bell pepper is more common, but I like the pop of color from a yellow or orang pepper.
  • Tomato sauce — the base of the sauce. You can definitely sub ketchup. I do when I’m out of sauce.
  • Mustard — for added tang. Use yellow mustard, Dijon mustard or deli mustard.
  • Brown sugar — to add sweetness
  • Seasonings — sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika
  • Hamburger buns — for the sandwiches. Old fashioned sloppy joes are made with white bread!
ground beef, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, spices and brioche buns.

How to Make Sloppy Joes

First, cook the onion and bell pepper until slightly soft. Then, add the hamburger meat, and cook until no longer pink.

ground beef in skillet with yellow bell peppers.

Next, add the remaining ingredients, and stir until well blended.

cook hamburger meat with tomato sauce in skillet.

Let the meat mixture simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce, and the sauce will become nice and thick. The meat mixture should be thick enough to spoon onto the sandwich buns.

sloppy joes meat on spoon in skillet.

My kids love sloppy joes with American cheese — kind of like a sloppy cheeseburger! You can leave the cheese out or use your favorite cheese.

old fashioned sloppy joe sandwich on a plate with slice of cheese.

Storing Leftovers

Refrigerate leftover sloppy joe meat in an airtight container for 3-4 days. The leftover meat also freezes well for up to 3 months.

Recipe Tip

If you’re not using extra lean ground beef, just drain some of the grease before adding the sauce.

We like the sauce on the sweeter side, but you can reduce the sugar to suit your taste. You can also serve sloppy joes on toasted buns if you like.

5 from 6 votes

Easy Sloppy Joes Recipe

By: Dee
This easy Sloppy Joes Recipe combines ground beef, bell peppers and onion with a simple homemade sauce for quick weeknight dinner that takes minutes to make. A family favorite!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 7


  • ½ medium onion about 1 cup, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
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  • Cook the pepper and onion in a large frying pan on medium high heat until soft
  • Add ground beef, and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with a spatula. Drain grease if needed
  • Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until well combined
  • Allow to simmer on medium or medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced and meat mixture is thick, about 15-20 minutes
  • Serve on sandwich buns



Can sub ground turkey, chicken or pork for the beef and ketchup for the tomato sauce.
You can reduce the amount of sugar if desired.
We like to add cheese, but this is optional.


Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 564mg, Potassium: 512mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 744IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, sandwich
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Vic says:

    This is so delicious and easy! Sloppy Joes are an old-time favorite around here 🙂5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Vic. So glad you liked the recipe!