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Sloppy Joes Sandwiches

You’ll love this quick, easy and economical homemade sloppy joe recipe. Brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness, both for traditional sandwiches on buns or as a down-home topping for rice, biscuits or baked potatoes. —Laurie Hauser, Rochester, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 hamburger buns, split


  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve on buns.

Homemade Sloppy Joe Tips

Do you drain the meat for sloppy joes?

We suggest draining the browned beef, because excess grease serves as a barrier to sloppy joe seasonings. You'll want the beef to absorb these wonderful flavors as it cooks.

How do you thicken sloppy joes?

If your meat mixture seems too thin after simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, cook, uncovered, until it reaches the desired consistency, stirring frequently. You could also try making a thickening agent by combining 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir into the filling towards the end of cooking time and simmer until thickened.

What can I add to sloppy joes?

Sloppy joes are excellent for sparking your creativity! Stir in chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, green chilies or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You can even top the filling with pickles or a slice of melted cheese. To really ramp up your sloppy joe game, check out these unique sloppy joe recipes or any of these quick sloppy joe recipes.
Nutrition Facts
1 sandwich: 439 calories, 16g fat (6g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 1360mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • Marcia
    Jan 19, 2021

    Entirely too sweet! If you make start with a teaspoon of the brown sugar. Taste and add as you go if you feel you need more sugar.

  • Carol J.
    Nov 8, 2020

    we just love this recipe. The first time I made this, I had no leftovers. Thanks to all the home cooks who share their recipes.

  • Denise
    Nov 4, 2020

    It’s yummy but just a little too sweet. I think I will try with tomato sauce instead of ketchup next time (ketchup is sweet to begin with....)

  • Joe
    Oct 2, 2020

    Cloyingly sweet, this recipe will only appeal to those under 10 years old. This is a warning: look elsewhere for your Sloppy Joes recipe.

  • Kevin
    Sep 3, 2020

    Out of fear of being that guy, I'd like to mention that I adjusted this recipe ever so slightly and it still turned out fantastic. I substituted beef broth for the water and used 90/10 ground beef and didn't drain it. I also followed the note in the tips to add a small amount of corn starch. I feel like it could use a little more seasoning but I'm not sure what it's missing. I'd likely use something like Red Pepper Flakes if I weren't also cooking this for my 5 year old daughter. But solid recipe!

  • robbrd
    Aug 6, 2020

    This was really good. I feared having enough ketchup so I did half ketchup and half bbq sauce. Everyone enjoyed it.

  • german
    Aug 4, 2020

    No comment left

  • Lisa
    Jul 11, 2020

    This looks just as easy as using canned sloppy joe sauce, but, I don't have to go to the store- I have all of the ingredients necessary in my pantry!! Thank you for simplifying tonight's dinner!!!

  • Barb
    Jun 22, 2020

    Very good! Also used tomato sauce instead of ketchup.

  • Raynebow68
    May 27, 2020

    Following other comments, I eschewed ketchup and substituted an 8oz can of no-salt added tomato sauce instead. I added a pinch more salt than the recipe called for and it all was very good. A sweetness but not too sweet. Even letting it cook longer seemed to leave it saucy so perhaps next time I will reduce the water.