These homemade Easy Sloppy Joes are the perfect quick family dinner. They’re made with basic ingredients and come together in just 30 minutes! One of our favorites!
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As a child, I was a picky eater and didn’t like a lot of foods, but homemade Sloppy Joes were one of my favorites and something I was happy to see on the menu no matter where I was.
But I soon learned that most people’s Sloppy Joes tasted a bit bland and slightly sweet. And while okay, they were nothing like the from-scratch version that I was used to.
This old-fashioned Sloppy Joe recipe is a classic that both my mom and grandmother used. It is juicy, full of flavor and has a delightful tangy hint, thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar.
I’ve eaten a lot of different Sloppy Joe recipes over the years, but I still think this simple Sloppy Joe recipe that is totally from scratch is the best!
Sloppy Joe Ingredients
- Ground Beef. The leaner the beef, the less grease you will have to drain.
- Onion. I typically use a large onion as I love the flavor it adds.
- Ketchup. Gives the meat mixture that signature red color and adds flavor.
- Brown Sugar. Adds just a slight bit of sweetness that really accents the other flavors.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Gives the sloppy joes a hint of tanginess and is what makes this recipe special!
- Mustard. Plain yellow mustard works the best.
- Worcestershire Sauce. Deepens the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Rolls. We use large hamburger buns, but any bread will work. Toasting the buns makes them extra delicious and also helps prevent them from getting soggy.
How to Make Simple Sloppy Joes
STEP 1: Brown the ground beef with the onion until no pink remains. Drain if needed.
STEP 2: Stir in the remaining ingredients (except for the buns) until combined.
STEP 3: Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
STEP 4: Serve on hamburger buns.
Helpful Tips and FAQs
Toppings. We love spreading a little mayo on the buns. You can also add pickles and cheese to the sandwiches.
Spicier. For a spicier sandwich, add a dash or two of red pepper flakes.
Ground Turkey. Using ground turkey will have a slightly different taste, but is still an option if that is what you have on hand.
Saucier. If you prefer a saucy Sloppy Joe, double the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce as this is not a super saucy recipe.
Sliders. If you are hosting, you can use slider buns to turn these into a fun finger food.
Storing. Keep leftover Sloppy Joe meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Assembled sandwiches will become soggy quickly, so I don’t recommend storing them that way.
Some of you might wonder how this recipe compares to Manwich. I honestly can’t answer that because I’ve never actually had Manwich before.
But I can tell you that if you like Manwich then I think you’ll enjoy this recipe every bit as much, maybe more. Plus, it’s healthier, cheaper and almost as easy too!
I love serving Sloppy Joes with a simple lettuce salad or raw or cooked vegetables. They also pair well with potato chips, pasta or potato salad or a fruit salad such as my 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Jello Salad.
Yes! Sloppy Joe meat freezes really well. So go ahead and make a double batch and freeze it to have on hand for a super quick meal later on.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Creamy Sausage and Potato Skillet
- White Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice
- Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
- Garlic Butter Swim Biscuits
Simple Sloppy Joes
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 hamburger rolls
- Fry hamburger and onion together until browned; drain if needed.
- Add remaining ingredients (excluding hamburger rolls of course!) and stir until combined.
- Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
- Serve on hamburger rolls. (We love spreading some mayonnaise on the rolls too for extra deliciousness.)