Sloppy Joes are the best, easy, weeknight dinner! Savory ground beef cooked in a tangy tomato sauce, simmered with green peppers and the perfect blend of seasonings! From skillet to table in under half an hour, this recipe is perfect for those busy nights and hungry families.
Easy Sloppy Joes
Easy Sloppy Joes are just that – easy! A little browning of ground beef, a little sautéing of fresh, green bell peppers, a simple sauce made from scratch and voila! Essentially a one-pot meal that’s made in under half an hour. Serve on hamburger buns or sandwich bread. These sandwiches are great to serve with a myriad of sides – keep it simple with a few french fries thrown in the air fryer or step it up with some Baked Mac and Cheese!
Looking for more side dish options? Honestly almost any side will go well with a Sloppy Joe to this caliber but some of my favorite easy options are bacon green beans (that can be canned, frozen, or fresh), sweet and savory buttered corn (another one pot delight), or these super creamy Crockpot scalloped potatoes!
Why Are They Called Sloppy Joes?
There’s a couple theories as to how this delicious sandwich came to pass. One is from a restaurant in Cuba where owner and chef, Jose “Joe” simmered hamburger meat in tomatoes and served it on a bun. The restaurant was a favorite of Hemmingway’s and Errol Flynn who may have brought the idea over to the US. However, it has also been argued that a chef (also named Joe) in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930s added tomato sauce to his loose meat sandwiches and the rest is history. Either way, the Sloppy Joe has easily become a sandwich staple that isn’t going away anytime soon!
How To Make Sloppy Joes
1. Cook the ground beef. Use a large skillet over medium heat to brown the ground beef until there’s no more pink.
2. Sauté the peppers. Add in the diced green peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes until they are nice and soft.
3. Combine your sauce. Now for the part that makes these Joes sloppy, the sauce! In a small bowl whisk together the ketchup, light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
4. Pour in the sauce. Add the sauce to the ground beef and peppers in your skillet. Stir to combine.
5. Simmer then serve. Drop the heat to low and let your Sloppy Joe mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally. Once done, serve over your favorite buns or bread and enjoy!
Storing Easy Sloppy Joes
Leftover Sloppy Joes can be stored separately from buns, in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. Warm the mixture in the microwave or back on the stove until heated through. You can also cook as directed, cool completely and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before gently reheating in a skillet over low heat.
Ingredient Notes for Easy Sloppy Joes
Ground Beef – I prefer to use 85/15 lean ground beef for this dish so you don’t need to drain tons of excess fat. The little that’s left behind will add a little liquid and extra flavor to your sauce. If you are using a meat with higher fat content, you can drain some of the excess fat after cooking and before adding your other ingredients.
Meat Substitution – If red meat isn’t your thing, try swapping out for ground turkey or ground chicken, or even a plant based option!
Get Saucy – If you like an extra Sloppy Joe and want to increase your sauce ratio, add some water or beef broth to your mixture until you reach the desired consistency. Start with a quarter cup and increase from there.
Veggies – If you’re looking to increase your veggie intake, add some diced onion, tomatoes, or even chilis for some spice.
Easy Sloppy Joes
- In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until the beef is no
- longer pink.
- Add the green peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider
- vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and
- Pour the sauce over the ground beef and peppers in the skillet. Stir to
- Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring