Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

I grew up eating sloppy joes, a sandwich made by browning ground beef in a skillet and dumping a can of tomato-based ‘Manwich’ sauce over top, then plopping it onto soft hamburger buns. Nowadays those very same cans are laden with high fructose corn syrup, just like the buns, something I work hard to avoid.

So what to do when a nostalgic craving for an old-fashioned sandwich takes hold of you? Enter the homemade sloppy joe.

Sloppy joes are one of the messiest sandwiches on earth to eat, which in my mind makes them all the more satisfying. They have a slightly sweet and tangy sauce, akin to barbecue sauce. Here I season them with chile powder and smoky paprika for a modern version of this old school favorite. I served them on toasted homemade sandwich rolls for a hearty and delicious meal that everyone loved, circa 1988.

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

Rating: 51

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

Homemade sloppy joes made easy.


1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
olive oil, for sauteing
1 + 1/4 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 + 1/3 cups ketchup (like Hunts - no high fructose corn syrup)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup water
sandwich or hamburger rolls for serving


  1. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat and cook onion and pepper over until tender. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.
  2. In the same pan brown the beef over medium heat breaking it apart as it cooks. Once cooked drain off the grease.
  3. Add sauteed vegetables back to the pan along with ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, spices, salt, pepper and water. Bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring often.
  4. Serve on toasted rolls.


Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved. No copying or duplication of any content (including photos) without the express written permission from the owner of this website.



  1. Chris says

    I love homemade sloppy joes but sadly this is one dish my 11 y/o prefers made from the can. Twisted kid, I'm not sure he's mine, lol.

  2. Heavenly Housewife says

    I've been meaning to make sloppy joes for some time now, they are so fun to eat and supper yummy. Yours looks very tasty indeed :D*kisses* HH

  3. Magic of Spice says

    These were always a favorite for my kids, and really the only thing their dad could cook :) These look great!

  4. Elisabeth says

    I saw Lora's posting, good thing she mentioned about growing up on Manwich sloppy Joes, because they literally had it about once or twice a week, even as a snack, alng with the "beenie weenie" that my son loved so much, and today, he won't touch a hot dog with a "ten foot pole".Your photo, and recipe of this classice "come back" is divine, it would have worked well at the Super Bowl party too!Thanks for sharing, Reeni!

  5. Deb in Hawaii says

    I love Sloppy Joes–such a childhood classic. I make them a lot with ground bison. Great pictures too. ;-)

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