Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

These delicious homemade Sloppy Joes are super quick and easy to make. They are yummy as is but as an added bonus, they taste even better the next day.

Serve them the traditional way on hamburger buns or serve them wrapped up in a tortilla (or in a tortilla bowl). I also like using the beef mixture over salad (as a sort of riff on a taco salad), over polenta, in place of the taco meat on nachos, poured over a jacket potato, or even mixed into cooked macaroni and topped with cheese.

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

This is a variation on the recipe my mom taught me. Her sauce was basically ketchup, yellow mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar. I still love her recipe and we have it often, but this one adds a little kick to it and gives some depth to the flavor.

For easier clean up, all ingredients are combined right in the skillet rather than using an extra bowl. However, the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and chili-garlic sauce can also be whisked together in a large bowl to ensure they are thoroughly blended before adding to the skillet.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 4-6 


  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ lbs. ground beef (80% lean/20% fat (or greater)
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 T. brown sugar (adjust amount depending on personal preference)
  • ½ T. Dijon mustard  (Yellow mustard is the traditional choice for Sloppy Joes and can be used here in lieu of the Dijon mustard. )
  • 1 T. chili-garlic sauce (My favorite is this Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce)
  • 4-6 Hamburger buns
  • 2-3 T. butter melted

Serving Suggestions: Pickles, coleslaw, potato chips, French fries, and/or sweet potato fries (I even like to pile the coleslaw as a topping on top of the meat. YUM!)


Heat olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add onion, minced garlic, and green pepper. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and start to develop some color.

Add the ground beef and break into small pieces with a spatula. Cook until the meat is thoroughly browned, approximately 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully drain any excess fat from the skillet. 

Tip: To prevent flare ups, make sure no grease drips down the side of the skillet if cooking with gas heat. 

Return to heat and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and chili garlic sauce. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired, and stir thoroughly to combine. Simmer, uncovered, until heated through, approximately 5-10 minutes.

While the meat simmers, place the top oven rack in the second from highest position and pre-heat the oven broiler to high. Open the hamburger buns and arrange on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Brush each surface with the melted butter and place the baking sheet under the broiler for several minutes, rotating once halfway through, or until the buns are golden brown. 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon some of the warm meat sauce onto the bottom portion of each bun. Cover and serve immediately with your choice of sides.

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