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. Anonymous says

    I made these– they were very good. Thanks for the recipe. I thought I would have leftovers but everyone ate seconds.

  2. Lisa says

    Reeni- I just made this tonight. I added a little more spice and a dash of worcestershire to mine. It was totally delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.

  3. Norma says

    I have never had a sloppy joe…maybe i will make them for my grandkids and join in…looks good!

  4. Melissa @IWasBornToC says

    Looks really good! I haven't made Sloppy Joes in AGES…never for my husband, actually. I may have to try this recipe out.

  5. Andi says

    This is nearly identical to my family’s “Scrunchies.” It’s a recipe I have passed on many, many times. We do not do peppers , water or vinegar. They never seem to taste the same twice but always great and never any leftovers. I grew up with this recipe and never had Sloppy Joes or Manwhich until I was nearly 30.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>