The Best Classic Sloppy Joes

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The Best Classic Sloppy Joes – Easy dinner recipe made in minutes. Ground beef in a sweet & tangy homemade Sloppy Joe sauce.

Homemade sloppy joe meat on a bun with a slice of cheese all resting on a cutting board with text overlay

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.

skillet with olive oil, diced onions, and diced green peppers sautéing.

  • 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.

Skillet full of cooked ground beef, peppers, onions, tomato sauce, and brown sugar.

  • Stir well.
  • Let the beef simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes.

Skillet full of homemade sloppy Joe meat mixture.

  • Spoon the meat mixture onto hamburger buns.
  • Optional:  Add toppings like sliced cheese, pickles, etc.

Two sloppy Joe sandwiches with cheese on a cutting board.

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
  • Coleslaw
  • 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:

Watch The Recipe Video For The Best Classic Sloppy Joes Below.

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

Sloppy Joe sandwich on a cutting board

The Best Classic Sloppy Joes Recipe

5 from 15 votes
The Best Classic Sloppy Joes - Easy dinner recipe made in minutes. Ground beef in a sweet & tangy homemade sloppy joe sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes


Servings 6 servings
Calories 326 kcal


  • 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.


Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 854mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 4mg
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Keyword homemade sloppy joes recipe, how to make sloppy joes, sloppy joes
Cuisine American
Author Amanda Finks
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  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe and thanks to this, I can ditch the can! My hubby and I have sloppy joes at least once every 4 – 5 weeks and I really like the fact that I know what’s going into the sauce by making it myself. So thank you, it’s a great recipe as well!

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About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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