Homemade Sloppy Joes

5 from 4 votes

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Sloppy Joes—the name may remind you of canned meat served in elementary school, but I promise you these homemade sloppy joes are flavor-packed and the perfect thing to make for a quick meal or potluck. 

Homemade Sloppy Joes on a white plate.

Sloppy Joes

The last two summers, our parents served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Heber Valley Girls Camp in Northern Utah. They often called us to fill us in on the different recipes they had at their weekly potluck with the other missionaries.

This particular recipe for sloppy joes is the one they raved about again and again. When my mom showed me the recipe I was like “Oh, yeah, sure Mom…I will have to make this sometime”…but kept putting it off.

I fully admit I was feeling just fine with my old ‘Manwich” sloppy joe in a can. Finally, she gave up on trying to get me to make them myself and she made them for me. Thanks, mom!

I think the thing that made me most skeptical was the addition of tomato soup—that sounds really weird to put in homemade sloppy joes! I’m happy to report that I was truly amazed at how GOOD these were!

The tomato soup really just takes the place of your tomato sauce or tomato paste that you would usually use in sloppy joes, so if you think of it that way it doesn’t seem so weird. These were full of flavor and I can honestly say I will never buy sloppy Joe sauce in a can again. As always, mom knows best!

Want to shake it up a bit? Use this recipe to make Sloppy Joe Cups, and it will take them to a whole new level. Yum!

Where Did the Name Sloppy Joe Come From?

The origin of sloppy joes is debatable. Three main institutions are credited with the invention: a cafe in Iowa, Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, and another aptly-named restaurant called Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana Cuba.

It’s actually a pretty interesting story. This article does a great job of tracing the origins from the three places. It seems like the most accepted theory of origin is the “loose meat sandwich” from Iowa. I’m glad the name has changed, though!

What Kind of Cheese Tastes Best on a Sloppy Joe?

To be fair, not everyone loves cheese on a sloppy joe, but it is delicious, so give it a try! Provolone is a favorite, but cheddar, American, mozzarella, and Swiss cheese are all delicious on sloppy joes.

Other Quick Dinners with Ground Beef

How to Make Homemade Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes on a white plate.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

5 from 4 votes
These flavor-packed Homemade Sloppy Joes put the canned version to shame. They're great for a quick weeknight meal or any potluck or picnic.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8



  • Fry ground beef, onion, and green pepper in a large skillet until onions become clear and beef is browned.
  • Add tomato soup, ketchup, mustard, sugar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
  • Simmer for at LEAST 30 mintues. The longer you simmer, the better it will be!
  • Spoon mixture onto a bun (we like using a ciabatta bun because it doesn't get as soggy). Optional: add a little cheese on top of the hot mix.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 485kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 25gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 775mgPotassium: 775mgFiber: 2gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 409IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 111mgIron: 4mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night, with a couple of changes, I used a homemade BBQ sauce from the farmers market so I nixed the brown sugar and ketchup. I also accidentally used a 23oz can of tomato soup instead, so I let it simmer for about an hour and it got nice and thick, it was crazy good!! My kids may have eaten to whole pan if I would have let them.

  2. Thank you for this recipe. I have made these many times and it is delicious. The mixture also freezes beautifully, if any of your readers freezer cook.

  3. Easiest and best Sloppy Joes:
    1 lb. ground beef
    Chopped onion to taste
    1 c. Ketchup
    1 T. Sugar
    1 T. mustard
    1 T. vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)
    Brown burger and onion. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 30 min. Serve.

  4. 5 stars
    I made these for my family while we were out camping and there was nothing left, they scraped the pan clean! The only thing I altered was using a orange bell pepper instead of the green. We put the sloppy joe mixture on sweet Hawaiin rolls. Delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    My first Sloppy Joes, and it was heaven on a bun! Thank you so much for this recipe. I added 250 g blended mushrooms to thickwn the sauce, and used 300 grams ground beef. Sorry for not converting these quantities, I’m not a cup lady . Greetings from Amsterdam, Holland.

    1. Thank you Niki! I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thank you for your suggestion of adding blended mushrooms – what a great idea!

  6. I tried these as well .. I changed it a little and used a small yellow and a small orange pepper instead of green one . Then i used tomato bisque soup . I also used the dried onions from a packet of beefy onion soup mix that i had sifted out the powdered beef from and kept the onion part and used it in the browning of the meat and peppers.. Also i used a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce .. I also added to the sauce a TBSP and a half of brown sugar and a packet of splenda. Yummy 🙂 Oh and i only used about 1 pounds 7ozs of beef instead of 2lbs made plenty for our family of 4. and some left over..

    1. I made these last night from this recipe. Two things: First, the recipe doesn’t tell you but DO drain the hamburger/onion/green pepper fat from the pan before adding the other ingredients. I didn’t since I follow recipes exactly and it was a fatty mess but still yummy. Second thing, I could NOT find a 15 oz. can of condense tomato soup so I used two 10 3/4 oz. cans of Campbells to make 15 ounces. The sandwiches were superb!