Best Ever Sloppy Joes

~ Our families have declared this sloppy joe recipe the absolute best ever … so much better (and healthier!) than Manwich! Super-simple, and you can even make it ahead for busy nights! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable    Make Ahead  

Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}

I love comfort food. Especially when it’s cold outside.

And friends, it’s cold in Ohio. Our kids have been to school a whopping 5.5 days so far in 2015. All the snow and extreme cold temps make it awfully tough for the buses to get our precious little ones to school safely, so we’ve had a few snow days.

I’m totally not complaining. I {heart} snow days. I still get super excited! Maybe even more than my kids … and they get pretty darn giddy! Ahhh … snow days are the best ever!

Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}

The chance to sleep in! Monopoly tournaments! Movies while snuggling on the couch! Sledding! (Ok, so the sledding is more for the kids … but I make the hot cocoa!)

And on those really cold days, I don’t know about you, but I’m craving comfort food! Mmmm … comfort food! It’s just the best ever! (So, if you’re following along, that would be best-ever comfort food on a best-ever snow day … that’s pretty darn best-est!)

Sometimes, though, good ‘ol comfort food takes a really long time to make. But on snow days, I don’t have that kind of time. (Remember … Monopoly, movies, the making of all the hot cocoa?)

Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}

I really want to whip up a delicious, hearty meal, but I need it to be quick, too. Something that will keep us toasty and cozy. And, of course, totally kid-approved!

Mmmmmm … I know! A wonderfully warm, yummy hot sandwich. Yes! That is what we shall have! Sloppy joes!

And when ya make your own, you know what’s in ’em. There’s no, shall we say … questionable ingredients.

Oh … and if you think you might get entangled in a never-ending Monopoly-a-thon, you can even make these in advance! They reheat perfectly!

Let the happy dance commence!

Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}

So fast! So easy! So healthy!

My littlest, who always used to ask for “No sauce, please” on her sloppy-joes-from-a-can, now asks for seconds of these! Choosing homemade over the brand name? For a kid? If that’s not a parental win, I don’t know what is!

Shelley’s son even dubbed these “the best sloppy joes ever” (yup, best ever – it’s today’s theme, ya know)! And really – I have to agree with him.

These sloppy joes are the perfect meal on a cold, snowy day. Or a busy weeknight. Or for a Saturday lunch before you head out to the slopes. Or for any day. At any time. They’re really just … the best ever!

Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}

So go ahead and pop in another movie and grab those kids for a few more snuggles. This super-easy-best-ever sloppy joes recipe will be ready in a flash!

THK by Gretchen

How About Some More Easy, Cozy, Family-Pleasin’ Hot Sandwiches!

We’d Love to Hear From You!

We really value your feedback and love to answer your questions and hear how our recipes worked for you! Just head on down to the comment box located at the very bottom of this post. Email addresses are never published, and last names are optional. We can’t wait to hear from you!

And to make sure you don’t miss a single deliciously healthy moment … you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our awesome recipe boards on Pinterest. You can also be the first to know about our latest posts by simply entering your email in the box at the top right corner of our page!

Best Ever Sloppy Joes

Preparation 5 min. 2017-08-17T00:05:00+00:00 Cook Time 18-25 min. 2017-08-17T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 3 cups     adjust servings


  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup frozen, diced onions (see note)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste with Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot
  • 1/2 cup frozen, diced green peppers (see note)
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (see note)
  • Whole wheat buns


  1. Preheat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and add beef, onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, stirring to crumble, about 8-10 minutes. Drain if needed (although, if using very lean beef, you probably won’t need to).
  2. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Stir in green peppers, cooking just until peppers are hot and crisp-tender.
  4. Add water, until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Serve immediately on whole wheat buns, passing additional hot sauce as desired.


Recipe Notes

Frozen onions and peppers, and water: If you have fresh onions and green peppers on hand, these will work perfectly, as well. However, you'll need to add more water at the end of cooking, likely about ¼ - ⅓ cup, if you use fresh vegetables. As frozen veggies thaw, they release more water than the fresh veggies do, so with fresh vegetables you'll need to add a little more water.

Make-ahead options: This reheats beautifully. If you're crunched for time in the evening, you can easily make this the night before or earlier in the day, and then simply reheat just prior to serving. It also freezes well if you want to make batches further in advance.

We'd love to see your photos of this recipe! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and tag @TwoHealthyKitchens!


Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}
Best Ever Sloppy Joes Recipe {}


Best Ever Sloppy Joes — 30 Comments

  1. The is THE sloppy joe recipe in our house. Everyone loves them. I usually use fresh not frozen peppers and onions ,turkey instead of beef,and add a little bit extra hot sauce. We have them with homemade fries and pickles. 🙂

    • Hi Carie! I’m so happy to start my morning with this sweet comment! Thank you so much for taking the time! And I love your suggestions and ingredient swap ideas – super-helpful for other readers, too! And those homemade fries and pickles? Oh yeah – perfect accompaniment! Geez … now I’m craving these sloppy joes again … seriously might have to grab the ingredients when I head to the store today, to make these over the weekend! 😀 Anyway, thanks again, and have fantastic weekend! ~Shelley

  2. Yeah … These were just OK! I followed the recipe to a T and the flavor was so – so. I like mine a little more sloppy and realize I could have added more water to make it so but, wanted to follow and review the recipe as it was posted.

    Got to admit … They were good enough for me to eat 3 of them fresh off the stove top.

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know how this worked for you – we really appreciate that, and I have some ideas that might help you make this sloppy joe recipe even more to you liking next time!

      First off, it sounds like the flavor was ok for you, since you ate 3 fresh off the stove! 😀 One important note that could make a lot of difference there for you, though – don’t neglect the direction in step #5, to pass additional hot sauce as desired. That’s really important.

      Because this is a very family-focused blog, we tend to play it safe when it comes to spice or really bold flavors, making sure to note where those flavors and heat can be amped up a bit more – that way everyone in a family from a toddler to a heat-lovin’ daddy can enjoy the meal together. In my family, for instance, my daughter loves these sloppy joes straight from the skillet, I personally think they’re much better with just a bit more hot sauce, and my husband and son (heat lovers!) add even more – and we all find that simple flavor adjustment makes a surprisingly big, big difference and makes it spot-on perfect for each of us.

      Next … the sauciness. You’re totally right – as you can see in the pics, this isn’t a super-saucy sloppy joe recipe, like those old-fashioned sloppy joes we all used to eat in the school cafeteria where it was sorta hard to find any meat. But, definitely – you can go saucier here!

      The first thing to check is in the first note at the bottom of the recipe card. I’m not sure if you used fresh or frozen peppers and onions, but that does make a true difference in how much water you’ll need – as we stated, it will take you from needing 2-3 tablespoons of water to about double that amount (more like ¼ – ⅓ cup).

      Beyond that, one easy fix to get these sloppy joes extra saucy would be your great idea of just adding a bit more water. But, if you really love your sloppy joe recipes super-sloppy-saucy, just adding LOTS of water may simply dilute these down. If you really want to try a full-on saucy sloppy joe, I’d suggest increasing all of the sauce ingredients so that you have proportionally more of the sauce than the meat.

      I hope that helps! My family really has loved these ever since Gretchen first shared the recipe with us – it’s truly a favorite and gets requested again and again. My son seriously did dub these “the best sloppy joes ever” – it’s the only sloppy joe recipe he wants me to make now! I hope my suggestions will help you love them just as much!


  3. Pingback: 25 Ground Beef Recipes

  4. Pingback: THK’s Top 10 Easy, Healthy Recipes of 2015 - Two Healthy Kitchens

  5. Pingback: Meal Plan: 12/12 through 12/17 - Jessie Loves To Run

  6. Pingback: 40+ Easy Recipes for College Students

    • Hi Danielle! I do think that these sloppy joes would still be yummy! They might not quite have the same flavor profile without the beef (chicken and turkey tend to be a bit more mellow), but I really do think you’ll enjoy this recipe either way.

      One note, though – I assume you’re subbing chicken or turkey so the recipe is lean and healthy. If that’s the case, be very careful in reading the nutrition labels. A lot of people just automatically assume that ground beef will be more fatty than other ground meats. Surprisingly, ground turkey in particular is often NOT leaner, lower in fat or lower in calories than extra-lean ground beef. We always use ground beef that is 90%, 93% or even 96% lean (depending on which store we happen to be shopping at and what their selection is). Ground turkey can also be very lean, but often (again, surprisingly!) is not. It just depends on what meat has been included in the mix. So, honestly, if you’re strictly looking at nutrition labels, then very, very lean ground beef may be healthier than the mixture of ground turkey that your store offers. Just be sure to check the labels so you know what you’re getting.

      Hope that helps! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Hi, Nancy! You know, that little bit of Frank’s is just the flavor kick that really elevates this sloppy joe recipe! Gretchen and I both keep Frank’s on hand at all times – not just for our peeps who love heat, but also because a little dash can add fantastic flavor without seeming too spicy. Mmmmm … yep … definitely amazing! 😀 ~Shelley

    • Awwww … thanks, Tara! Gretchen and I knew we loved ’em, but when our kiddos asked for seconds and started tossing around phrases like “best sloppy joes EVER” … well, that’s when we knew we’d definitely scored with this recipe! Seriously – my son told me this is now the only way I’m allowed to make sloppy joes! 😀 ~Shelley

  7. Pingback: Quick & Easy Budget Friendly Recipe Meal Roundup — Nannie's Coupon Cafe

  8. Pingback: Link Round-up: Skirt to Scarf, Emoji Nails, Pink Hot Chocolate, and More

  9. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the snow days! I’d be miserable… It’s around 60° here in California, and I still can’t feel my toes. I’d need lots of hot chocolate and snuggly blankets and sloppy joes to warm me up! 🙂 These look fabulous! Pinned!

    • 60 degrees?? OMG! I would love that! There would literally be people walking around in shorts and t-shirts here in Ohio! So funny! I guess it’s just what we are used to! (And no … I’m not sure that I’ll ever get used to the -15 windchill. That’s BELOW ZERO! Brrrr!!) Well, sloppy joes it is! We’ll be totally toasty on any day! Stay warm, Amy!! 🙂 ~Gretchen

  10. Even though I’m 82 and cooking for 2, I love getting your recipes. Sloppy Joes sound better than mine. Can’t wait to make them.

    • Hi Marjorie! Thank you so much for your kind words! We are so happy that you are enjoying our recipes!

      Our entire families are big fans of these sloppy joes … and we hope that you enjoy them, too! Have a wonderful day! ~G&S

Please Leave Us a Comment! We Love Hearing from You!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *