Sloppy Joes have never been one of my go-to favorites, until this scrumptious recipe. I have made easy sloppy joes quite a few times over the years, but I didn’t enjoy the meal as much as I knew I should. I always took the simple “pre-made sauce from a can over browned ground beef” route. Pre-made sauce is definitely quick and easy, but it’s short on complex flavors.
Now, that I’ve created this Sloppy Joe Recipe packed with knock-your-socks-off flavor, I’m hooked. It’s still quick and easy, but it also tastes amazing! It has subtle sweetness from that caramely dark brown sugar and savory goodness from the beef, onion and all-purpose seasoning. Then, just as you’re thinking how delicious it is, you get that little kick of heat on the back of your tongue. Boom! Seriously guys, these are THE best sloppy joes!
The cast of characters for this easy Best Sloppy Joes recipe is straight out of your everyday pantry.
- ground beef — I use an 85/15 blend. It seems to be just enough fat to give the meat excellent flavor with out being over-the-top greasy after it’s drained. I have actually found organic, grass-fed ground beef at Walmart for only $5.78 a pound, which is comparable, or even less than, the non-organic beef. Choose the beef you can best afford. This recipe will be scrumptious, regardless.
- red onion — I just love them. That’s the only reason. It’s what I always have on hand, because I love the savory flavor they bring to so many dishes. Use the onions you have on hand. Yellow, white or red will all be delicious in your sloppy joes.
- fresh garlic — Again, I just love it. I feel like the flavor is so much more herbaceous than dried. But if you have garlic powder on hand, substitute in 1 teaspoon of that in place of the fresh garlic.
- all-purpose seasoning — There are a couple things to remember about this seasoning. I use my own homemade version when I make these easy sloppy joes. (It’s fabulous, if I do say so myself.) Keep in mind that mine has salt in it. If you have an all-purpose seasoning that doesn’t contain salt, you may want to add some. So, taste as you go and season it to suit your own family’s tastes.
- dark brown sugar — One more time, this is personal preference. If you have light brown sugar on hand, use it. The dark has more molasses and so will enhance the bitter caramel notes in the recipe. But, the light will make a tasty sauce, too.
- barbecue sauce — Use your favorite. We had Sweet Baby Ray’s in the fridge.
- stone ground mustard — Yes, yellow mustard could work. I love the spicier bite of stone ground. Use what you have. Make this recipe about you and your family.
- apple cider vinegar — Acid always helps to balance sweet, spicy and bitter in a dish while cutting through fat and richness. The little zing of vinegar really pops the flavor of these sloppy joes in the best possible way.
- chipotle pepper powder — Cayenne pepper can be used instead, however it packs a lot more heat than the chipotle, so be sure you only use half as much. I made the hot pepper optional in the recipe, realizing that some of you may not enjoy spicy food. But, if you do I encourage you to try it. It’s medium spicy and you could even cut it back to be less of a kick. We absolutely love what it adds to the overall flavor of the sloppy joes.
Here’s the easy recipe for creating your own sloppy joes for dinner. If you feel a little more confident after seeing the recipe come together, scroll down below the recipe card for the easy picture tutorial. Enjoy!Print
One of the simplest and most flavorful Sloppy Joes I’ve ever eaten! Common pantry ingredients and a quick cooking time makes this a hero dish for weeknight dinners. Savory, sweet, salty and spicy all in one delicious bite.
For the Beef:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 Tablespoon stone ground mustard ( or yellow mustard)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- (optional) 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
- Add ground beef, onion, garlic and all-purpose seasoning to a cast iron skillet and stir to combine.
- Cook the beef mixture over medium heat until no pink remains and the meat is cooked through. Stir and break up the meat as it cooks to get small crumbles.
- Drain off fat from meat. Set meat aside.
- In the same skillet, stir together remaining ingredient.
- Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the ground beef back to the skillet and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the mixture is hot through and has thickened up a bit.
- Serve on buns.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- Category: Main Dish, Beef, Sandwiches
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: beef, sloppy joes, sandwiches
How to Make Sloppy Joes
Start by browning the ground beef in a cast iron skillet along with the all purpose seasoning, garlic and onions.
Once the meat is browned, drain it and set it side while you make the sloppy joe sauce. The meat isn’t going to spend more than 5 minutes or so in the sauce, so be sure it’s cooked through before taking it off the heat.
For the sauce, use the same skillet and pour in the ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and chipotle powder. Stir to combine everything and heat over medium heat until sugar is melted and the sauce is hot.
Add the ground beef back into the skillet with the sloppy joe sauce. Stir together and simmer for about 5 minutes to meld all the flavors and allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
All that’s left is to build your delicious sloppy joe sandwiches. We like ours with a little melted cheese. But you do you and enjoy them the way you like best. How easy is that!!!?? The Best Sloppy Joes need to become a go-to recipe in your weeknight dinner rotations. Go make some supper, my friend. You’ve got this!
Since I’ve become a Sloppy Joe lover, I may try and give some other versions a try. I am intrigued by the Meatless Sloppy Joe over at Little Spice Jar. They use minced mushrooms and walnuts to replace the ground beef. I also think these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes look really good.
Whatever version you land on, just get out in the kitchen and give it a try. Making delicious, homemade easy food is so much simpler than you imagined. I hope you’ll love my Best Sloppy Joe recipe and let me know if you give it a try! You can do this!
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