Looking for a classic and easy family favorite recipe? These old-fashioned sloppy joes deliver all the tasty memories on every plate!
Is it the texture? The slightly sweet and sour taste combination? Or is it the essential . . . sloppiness . . . of these sandwiches that has such appeal?
Either way, kids of all ages love a good sloppy joe.
But don’t make them with a canned sauce. Who knows what goes into that mix? It’s just as easy to make your own, from simple ingredients you probably already have on hand!
Why I love this recipe
If you find that the term “Sloppy Joe” brings back childhood memories of family meals, you are not alone! I think possibly some school lunch menus included them as well. Certainly at my school!
I definitely love sloppy joes for that nostalgia factor. I don’t know what is about them, but they're just so satisfying!
This old fashioned sloppy joes recipe makes a great way to serve an easy meal on busy weeknights that the whole family will enjoy!
How to make these sloppy joes
To start, heat a large skillet and brown the hamburger (lean ground beef)over medium heat with chopped onion, celery, and green pepper. I like to start them all at the same time to ensure the veggies get nice and soft. Stir and break up the meat to ensure even cooking.
After about 7 to 10 minutes, the meat will be fully browned and the veggies will be cooked.
Now add the remaining ingredients: ketchup, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and some water. Stir well to combine with the meat.
Bring to a simmer, lower the heat a little and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. It will thicken slightly, and the flavors will combine. If time permits, additional simmer time will help mellow those flavors even more.
For a nice touch, I like to lightly toast my hamburger buns before spooning the sloppy joe mixture on top. If a hungry hoard is descending on you for food, you can treat this as an optional step. LOL
Tips and variations
I think of Sloppy Joes just like old fashioned chili. It’s an easy dinner recipe that you should use as a starting point and then tweak to make it your own. Here are some variation ideas.
- Veggies – yes you can eliminate the green pepper and/or celery but before you do, just remember this might be the closest thing to a green vegetable your kids will have today!!
- Garlic – a little minced fresh garlic or some garlic powder can be a nice addition to the flavors.
- Sweetness – for a more “barbeque” taste, a little brown sugar can be added to the sauce. A little goes a long way, so start with a tablespoon and taste before adding any more. You could also add a little barbeque sauce for a similar effect.
- Sugar free – use a sugar free ketchup for the sauce and you will have a low carb version. Serve on keto buns and enjoy!
- Try using ground turkey for a healthy twist on these classic sloppy joes.
- I used this recipe to make Sloppy Joe Sliders, which were so delicious! Check them out!
What to serve with Sloppy Joes
Resist the urge to just throw some potato chips on the plate! Here are some other options:
Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion chopped (about ⅓ - ½ cup)
- ⅓ cup green pepper chopped (about ½ a medium pepper)
- 1 rib celery chopped
- ¾ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard prepared
- ¼ cup water
- In a skillet over medium heat, begin to cook the ground beef with the onion, green pepper and celery. Stir and break up the meat as it is starting to brown. Continue cooking until the meat is fully brown and the vegetables are soft, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and water. Mix to combine. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Serve over split toasted hamburger buns.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
I follow your blog all the time and when I saw sloppy joes I knew I had to make them! These definitely took me back in time but there is nothing better than a homemade sloppy joe!
Yes they are definitely a trip back in time!