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Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

~ A deliciously fun twist on two dinnertime favorites, these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes are on the table in about 15 minutes! You can even make them entirely ahead for quick dinners and meal prep throughout the week. Or, you can freeze the ground beef mixture to stockpile lightning-fast dinners for months! ~

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

Ready in 15 minutes and sooooo good! These Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes are a deliciously fun twist on two dinnertime favorites – juicy cheeseburgers meet easy sloppy joes in a quick and easy dinner recipe your whole family will love! BONUS: you can make this sloppy joe recipe ahead for meal prep for the week, or even freeze the beef mixture! | sloppy joes easy | easy healthy dinner | freezer meals | make ahead meals | ground beef recipes | skillet meals | #groundbeef | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
A deliciously fun twist on two dinnertime favorites – juicy cheeseburgers meet easy sloppy joes! BONUS: these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes are on the table in about 15 minutes! You can even make this sloppy joe recipe ahead for quick dinners and meal prep for the week. Or you can freeze the ground beef mixture to stockpile lightning fast-dinners for months! | 30 minute meals | freezer meals make ahead | easy dinner recipes | meal prep recipes | #sloppyjoes #cheeseburger | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
A 15-minute dinner your whole family will LOVE! All the satisfying flavors of a beefy, juicy cheeseburger, combined with the lightning-fast simplicity of sloppy joes! BONUS: If you like to menu plan, you can make this sloppy joe recipe ahead for meal prep for the week, or even freeze the beef mixture! | favorite recipes | easy healthy dinner | freezer meals | make ahead meals | ground beef recipes | sloppy joe recipe easy | skillet meals | #groundbeef #cheeseburger | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com

Easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes Recipe

This might sound like a crazy concoction, but stick with me here for a moment, friends. I mean … just feast your eyes on what I’ve got for you today:

  • All the lightning-fast, get-it-on-the-table-NOW simplicity you love about sloppy joes.

~ PLUS ~

  • The satisfying, All-American flavors of a good, juicy cheeseburger.

All in about 15 minutes. Let’s repeat that together, shall we … 15 minutes!!!

Yeah. You’re starting to feel this one now, aren’t ya? Probably starting to drool on your screen a little, too.

Healthy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Still, you might be wondering … why mess with a good thing two good things?

But trust me.

Sloppy joes? Good.

Cheeseburgers? Yes – very, very good.

Blur them together, and something altogether different and even more wonderful happens. It does! I promise!

Oh … and did I mention the 15-minute thing happening here? 😉

Easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes with Sweet Pickle

A Deliciously Fun Mash-Up

You guys know I love fun food mash-ups. Uh-huh. Remember these …

√  Pizza Quesadillas

√  Fajita Burgers

√  Banana Split Nachos

√  Hummus Deviled Eggs

√  Sweet and Sour Chicken Flatbreads

The list goes on and on.

Combine two good things and you just might get another, even greater thing!

So really, this Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe recipe should’ve happened much sooner! I mean, the idea’s been kicking around here at THK for nearly six years, ever since a tiny little mention from waaaaaaay back on one of our very first recipes, in our post for Cheeseburger Salad (yup – that’s yet another delicious mash-up!).

Amidst her adorable explanation of her “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Gretchen (you remember her, right?!? – she was my blogging partner back when we first launched THK) mentioned that you could freeze the “frozen cheeseburger yumminess” she piles on top of that salad, and then serve it up like sloppy joes for a super-fast dinner solution on busy weeknights.

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes in Just 15 Minutes!

Ohhhhhh … Brilliant!

But, alas, I’d forgotten all about that idea, until one day last fall when I happened to be poking back through the Cheeseburger Salad recipe and kind of had one of those face palm moments. Why-oh-why hadn’t Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes happened in my house?!? As I read Gretchen’s suggestion from years ago, I wanted to eat that IMMEDIATELY (like “get in my belly” immediately).

Well, rest assured, I fixed that situation quick-quick! Now, we make this fun twist on sloppy joes regularly, and looooooove it every time we do!

So let’s take a peek at how easily these come together, in only about 15 easy minutes!

Visual Step-By-Step for Easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

These come together in pretty much the same way as our other sloppy joe recipes (our “classic” Homemade Sloppy Joes and our Pizza Sloppy Joes).

1) We start with extra lean beef – so you still get all that hearty, beefy flavor, but without too many unwanted “bad” fats.

The sauce for these easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes is just 2 ingredients you probably have in your fridge right now! Ketchup and mustard - so simple!

2) After you brown and drain the beef in a nonstick skillet (I love this one), you stir up a scrumptious sloppy joe sauce made of just two (simple!) burger mainstays – ketchup and mustard.

Stir the classic burger condiments - ketchup and mustard - into your ground beef as the sauce for this Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes recipe.

How easy is that?!? Big {burger-y} flavor from ingredients you’ve already got in your fridge!

The sauce in this Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes recipe keeps the extra-lean ground beef moist.

3) At the last minute, you stir in crisp onions, juicy fresh tomatoes, and crunchy sweet pickles. We specifically add these after the heat’s been turned off, so they’re evenly incorporated into the deliciously drippy-sloppy-burgery mixture, but they still retain all their fresh texture – basically just the same way that you toss slices of onions, tomatoes and pickles onto a traditional cheeseburger.

Stir crunchy onions, juicy tomatoes and sweet pickles into your Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes at the last minute - just like you'd throw them on top of a cheeseburger!

That trifecta of burger toppings – those onions, tomatoes and sweet pickles – adds up to loads of wonderful texture, and a perfect blend of savory and sweet flavors!

But WAAAAIT a moment. Hold up there. Did you just read that right?!? Sweet pickles?

This Sloppy Cheeseburgers recipe has way more character that regular homemade sloppy joes! Loads of great texture and flavors!

Yesiree! Sweet pickles are a fun flavor twist here and an absolute must-try. I know you no doubt think dill pickles when you think cheeseburgers, but crunchy-briny sweet pickles are the perfectly-most-perfect choice to accent the sweetness already coming through from the tomato ketchup. Trust me! (Actually – trust Gretchen. She introduced us all to this creative idea back in that Cheeseburger Salad recipe I mentioned earlier. She’s always got the best ideas, and she was exactly right about this whole sweet pickle thing, for sure!)

4) Now, simply pile your sloppy, cheeseburger-y goodness on some soft, whole-grain buns, and (of course) toss a slice of cheese on top!

Just spoon that delicious sloppy cheeseburger goodness onto whole grain buns and top it with some cheese!

When we first started testing this recipe, we tried stirring shredded cheese directly into the sloppy joe mixture, but found that we really loved the cheeseburger vibe that happened when we draped a slice of American cheese on top, instead.

And with that final crowning glory of melty cheese, dinner is served!

In no time flat, your family’s making yummmmm noises, and you’re feeling like a dinnertime rock star (and wondering how you ever survived before, without Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes in your life).

A sweet pickle on top and sweet potato fries to the side - perfect companions for these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes!

But, what if you don’t what to serve dinner just yet? What it you love to meal prep, and even freeze ahead? Well, then the joy just continues! Check it out …

Sloppy Joe Make-Ahead and Freezing Tips

These Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes work brilliantly as a make-ahead dinner or meal prep recipe!

1) Weekly Meal Prep – You can completely prepare the entire sloppy joe mixture (including the tomatoes, onions and pickles), and then cool it down and refrigerate it. It’ll reheat beautifully for quick meals all week long. When hunger strikes, all you have to do is gently reheat the sloppy joe mixture, then spoon it on a bun and top with cheese. Dinner in … what … maybe 1 minute flat?!? Ok … that’s awesome.

Melty American cheese is the quintessential way to finish off this Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe recipe!

2) Freezer Meal Options – So what about freezing this? Great idea!

We recommend cooking the ground beef, and stirring in the ketchup and mustard, then cooling it down and freezing it at that point – BEFORE adding the final ingredients like the onions, tomatoes and pickles. As we explain on the recipe card, those last ingredients are meant to be fresh and full of great texture – they won’t hold up well to freezing.

So, mix up that ground beef base (and, you know, maybe make a double- or triple-batch while you’re at it), and stash that in the freezer, all ready to pull out and finish this recipe in a jiffy!

Or, switch it up and use your “frozen assets” to try Gretchen’s Cheeseburger Salad instead!

A couple last thoughts before you dash to the grocery store, desperate to try this (because yes, it’s truly THAT good!) …

Ingredient Notes and Shopping Tips

• Beef – As mentioned above, choose very lean beef for this recipe to reduce the overall fat content. We prefer to grab 96% lean beef, which is still plenty moist enough in this recipe, thanks to the yummy sauce.

The delicious 2-ingredient sauce keeps the extra-lean ground beef moist in our Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes.

• Onions – Since the onions are added at the last minute and are basically raw (just like if you’d topped a regular cheeseburger with onion slices), we prefer to use a sweet onion in this recipe, so it still has great flavor but a little less spicy-bite than a raw yellow or Spanish onion would.

• Tomatoes – We reach for grape or cherry tomatoes for this recipe, which tend to be more reliably flavorful year-round. If you want to try a larger tomato (like a plum tomato or beefsteak), definitely only go that route if it’s tomato season and you know you’ll score great flavors. Also, with those larger tomatoes, you’ll want to be sure to remove the seeds and inner membranes.

• Sweet pickles (and ketchup) – Ok. We’ve covered this. Trust me. Trust Gretchen. Ignore the traditional dill pickles and grab some sweet gherkins! One word of caution on the sweet pickles, and also the ketchup, however: many brands use high-fructose corn syrup in both of these. Look for all-natural or organic options instead.

With our scrumptious, easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes recipe, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes!

Alrighty, my friends! There you have it … everything you need to know to make this ridiculously easy, lickity-split-FAST dinner recipe.

Throw it into the rotation next time your week looks hectic and you’re dying for something unique but EASY. I’ll just bet it becomes a regular at your house, just like it has at ours! Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Yield: About 4 cups of "filling" to make 6 sandwiches
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This quick and easy Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes recipe can even be made entirely ahead for meal prep, or frozen to stock up for busy nights!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable  •  Make Ahead  


  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef (we use 96% lean)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup (natural or organic, see note)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion (from about 1/4 of a medium onion)
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet gherkin pickles (natural or organic, see note)
  • 3/4 cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 whole-grain burger buns
  • 6 slices American cheese


  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until browned, about 7-8 minutes, stirring to crumble. Drain.
  2. Stir in ketchup and mustard, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly combined and heated through.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in onions, pickles, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately on buns, topped with cheese.


Ketchup and pickles: We recommend purchasing natural or organic brands of these two items whenever possible, in order to avoid brands that have high-fructose corn syrup and other "questionable" ingredients.

Make-ahead and freezing tips: This reheats beautifully, so you can cook it entirely ahead and stash it in the fridge, then gently reheat it and assemble your sandwiches as needed throughout the week or for meal prep.

The base of this recipe can be frozen, to speed up dinner preparation on busy nights. If you'd like to use this as a make-ahead freezer meal, we recommend that you proceed only as far as cooking the ground beef and stirring in the mustard and ketchup, then cool and freeze the mixture WITHOUT ADDING the remaining ingredients until AFTER you've defrosted the ground beef mixture to finish and serve your sandwiches. The pickles, onions and tomato are meant to be fresh and lively in this recipe and won't hold up well through freezing.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gUnsaturated Fat: 5g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

We'd LOVE to hear! Please leave a star-rating above. And, tag us on Instagram @twohealthykitchens

Our Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes recipe is easy, healthy and FAST!


  1. Oh yum, this looks super tasty and I love the visual step by steps – I really think it makes a recipe so much easier to get right when you can see how each stage is supposed to look.

    1. Thank you so much, Emily! I’m really glad you found the step-by-step photos helpful! Even though this is such a quick and easy recipe, since it’s kind of a unique twist on classic sloppy joes, I thought step-by-step photos might really help people to envision how awesome these taste and how beautifully the flavors come together. Enjoy! ~Shelley

    1. Thanks so much, Eileen! They really are a great meal ANY time … whether you whip them up in 15 minutes right as your family gathers at the table, or you make them a day or two ahead for meal prep … or you freeze way ahead in batches. They’re really dinnertime problem solvers, that’s for sure! 😉 ~Shelley

  2. What a yummy spin on traditional Sloppy Joes! I can just imagine how delicious they are with the ketchup and mustard combination in the sauce – yum!

    1. That sauce really is terrific, and somehow doesn’t taste like all you did was stir together ketchup and mustard … but it truly is just that simple! I love when delicious things don’t have to be difficult! 😉 ~Shelley

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