The Best Classic Sloppy Joes – Easy dinner recipe made in minutes. Ground beef in a sweet & tangy homemade Sloppy Joe sauce.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes don’t have to be made with that can of pre-made sauce. It’s so easy to make your own using common ingredients you probably already have on hand.
This is a loose meat ground beef sandwich with a tomato based sauce with brown sugar for sweetness and vinegar for tartness.
This is a busy weeknight family favorite recipe because everyone, including the kids, love this quick cooking recipe.
Try these other great Ground Beef Recipes.
How To Make Sloppy Joes
*Note: The full printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet.
- Add diced onion and bell pepper.
- Add extra lean ground beef and break it apart.
- Cook until the beef is browned.
Make The Sloppy Joe Sauce
- Add tomato sauce to the beef mixture.
- Add brown sugar, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Stir well.
- Let the beef simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes.
- Spoon the meat mixture onto hamburger buns.
- Optional: Add toppings like sliced cheese, pickles, etc.
Isn’t that easy! It all comes together in under 30 minutes.
What Sides Go With This Sandwich
Here are some of my favorite things to serve along side this simple messy sandwich.
- Corn on the cob
- Side salad
- Sweet potato fries
- Potato Salad
What To Do With Leftovers
The meat mixture can easily be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Do not try to store pre-made sandwiches, though. The bread will get soggy. Store the buns separately from the meat.
Refrigerator: If you plan on eating the leftovers within 3 days, store the meat in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat the meat in the microwave or in a sauce pot on the stove top.
Freezer: Store the meat in a sealed container in the freezer. Transfer the container to the refrigerator to thaw the day before you want to use it. Then, heat in the microwave or in a sauce pot on the stove top.
Try these other great Sloppy Joe Recipes:
- BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joes
- Taco Sloppy Joes from Five Heart Home
- Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Watch The Recipe Video For The Best Classic Sloppy Joes Below.
Find more of my recipes on TikTok
The Best Classic Sloppy Joes Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 hamburger buns
- Optional: sliced cheese, sliced pickles, etc.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and bell pepper. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through.
- Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering (low to medium-low). Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm on hamburger buns.
I made this last night and it is delicious. It did not look like the photos at all, partly because I didn’t measure a lot out but the flavors were, once again, delicious! I’m looking forward to making it again sometime.
Simply delicious! Thanks!
This is a great Sloppy Joe Recipe. I always tweak any recipe so I substituted 1/4 cup brown sugar with 1/4 cup of honey. I don’t care for green peppers so I substituted red and orange. I used 2lbs. of extra lean burger and 2 cans of tomatoes sauce (15oz each) and threw in 4 stalks of chopped celery with the peppers. I used 2 table spoons of the red wine vinegar. Everyone loved it!
the leftovers make a great hot dog sauce
I make these but get a pack of grands bisquits…roll out to at least 6 inches….put a pinch of shredded cheese and bake….sloppy joe pockets..amazing ..you’ll never serve on a bun again
I love to make things from scratch but I also find using something already pre-made and enhancing it is really cool.
Making something like marinara or any offshoots is only cool when you are making large amounts.
Sharp Cheddar only on a Sloppy Joe when I make them and I always toast the buns
After watching the post my mouth is filled with water. Great recipe, thank you.
Also trying your deviled eggs with pickle juice. And shepherds pie! I can tell by looking at the ingredients they will be perfect.
Needs a little worcesteshire. Great recipe, thank you. The peppers make it. My Dad made it for summer holidays and he called it Pennsylvania BBQ
Simple and delicious! No fancy ingredients! I made it tonight for supper and my husband was very pleased! We’re planning to bring the rest for lunch tomorrow!
I did use apple cider vinegar instead of the wine vinegar and added a dash of ground ginger.
Thanks for the recipe!
Great Recipes!! Keep them coming…on to the Sloppy Joes with great expectations for a Sunday afternoon
I forgot the vinegar, but did add a squirt of our fav bbq sauce and a heavy tea of the horseradish we just made. It was delish! A big hit!
Great recipe! Easy to make, has amazing flavor! I simmered mine for at least 30 min. Try it!
This dish was absolutely delicious.
This was delicious! A big thumbs up from all the family
This is my first time ever commenting on any recipe but this stuff is good. I used dark brown sugar b/c that’s all I had on hand & it was great! I had to make 2 batches in one day. Family ate it up! Now I’ll check out more of your recipes!!!
So so yummy. This was the perfect recipe. Sometimes i’ve eaten this made with ketchup – yuck – but you nailed the sauce! My family gobbled it up and I’ll be making it again.
I was hoping we would have leftovers, but not a chance! These are the best sloppy joes! We devoured every bit. Will make again.
I am a huge sloppy joe fan, but NOT a manwich fan–this looks right up my alley, thanks! Your photos are always mouth watering too 🙂