Easy Homemade Sloppy Joe's

This recipe for Easy Homemade Sloppy Joe's does not use BBQ sauce or ketchup, but rather a few pantry staples to make a mouth-watering hearty sandwich in a matter of minutes that will have your family coming back for more. Easy to double up and freeze, if there are leftovers. Add this recipe to your collection of 30 minutes meals today!  

Lately, we often plan my family's meals around foods we think our toddler will like, within reason, of course. He currently has a fascination with ground meat, or what he calls "burger". You know he's a foodie when that's one of his first words.... yup, proud momma right here! He also adores "sauces" at the moment, so making Sloppy Joe's for him seemed like an obvious choice! However, I was disappointed to find so many recipes online claiming to be an "easy Sloppy Joe mix with BBQ sauce and ketchup". Yes, that means they were using BBQ sauce or ketchup as an ingredient! And apparently there is a even a canned Sloppy Joe's sauce ... really?! Is that a thing? No, no, no ... not in my kitchen. 

Growing up, I lived on a farm. While we weren't terribly far from our local town, it also wasn't feasible to be going to the grocery store more than once per week to get ingredients. Having a few staples on hand (such as tomato sauce, onions, ground meat and buns in the freezer, etc.) helped make sure that when we needed a meal quickly, we'd have something to eat and it wouldn't take all night to make it. And it allowed us to have multiple options from the same host of ingredients - everything from Burgers to Bolognese to Sloppy Joe's.

Even now, my family and I try to make our own sauces for the most part, because they are so easy and so budget-friendly! Using large amounts of ketchup and BBQ sauce to make yet another sauce adds up on the grocery bill... there are other ingredients I can almost guarantee that you have in your pantry that will be a fraction of the cost and will take you 5 minutes to assemble. And to be honest, I want to know and see exactly what my kid is consuming, including the sugar content. And while we do occasionally purchase store-made sauces, they pack in a lot of extra sugar, which leaves me hesitant to use them as an ingredient where a recipe calls for additional sugar plus a pre-sweetened sauce. Okay, sauce-rant over. 

And I have to tell you, not only can you make these Sloppy Joe's in about 20 minutes, but that time includes making the delicious sauce from scratch. And if you wanted to go lighter than beef as your ground meat base, we've tried this with ground turkey and it turned out equally as flavourful. If you have 25-30 minutes and want to double this recipe, it's super easy to do, and you can easily freeze this, and even whip up a salad while the meat is browning.

If you're really looking for a salad recipe to make a complete meal, try out our Easy Creamy Coleslaw recipe, which will likely have enough leftovers for another meal (gotta love cooking once and eating twice!). Tah dah!!! Dinner is done! 


Easy Homemade Sloppy Joe's

Adapted from: Homemade Sloppy Joes by Southern Bite
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking TIme: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 pound of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a sweet pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)


  1. Brown ground meat over medium heat until meat is cooked through.
  2. Drain meat and return to pan. 
  3. Add in theonions and sweet pepper and saute with the meat until the vegetables are soft.  
  4. Add garlic powder, tomato sauce, maple syrup mustard, cider vinegar, and tamari (or soy sauce).  Mix well and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Serve on soft sandwich buns and enjoy! 

RELATED: Looking for a quick side salad in a handful of minutes? Check out our Easy Creamy Coleslaw

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes