Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

My husband and I usually keep two types of meat on hand for cooking: chicken or ground beef. Sometimes we stray from the norm and do seafood or steaks, but to make our food budget happy, those are our staples. Chicken is so versatile and super easy to find meals for, but ground beef? I always feel a little limited there for some reason. I find it hard to find new ways to incorporate ground beef into our meals (feel free to comment if you have good ground beef recipes).

A while back, the hubs made some killer sloppy joes, and I thought I should challenge his with a good solid Cooks Illustrated recipe that I found. This recipe was pretty good, but a little bland compared to what the hubs came up with. Next time, I think I’ll have to spice things up a bit. :)

I paired this with some awesome oven baked fries and enjoyed the meal with a glass of lemonade. Classic summer meal, right? :)

Sloppy Joes
Source: mildly adapted from Cooks Illustrated


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion , chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and stir until coated with oil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 10 minutes (if onion begins to burn after 5 minutes, reduce heat to low). Add garlic and chili powder and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until just pink, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, brown sugar, tomato puree, ketchup, water, and tabasco. Simmer until Sloppy Joe sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Spoon meat mixture onto hamburger buns and serve.


  1. sloppy joes are SO yummy.
    another great use for ground beef is in a zucchini bake I make. Essentially taco seasoning, tomatoes, peppers, onions and ground beef sauteed and then stuffed in zucchinis, topped with cheese and baked. YUM.

  2. Welcome to Lunch Lady Land! I haven’t made sloppy joes in a while – I need to put them on the menu!

  3. When can we get the recipe for the sloppy joes?! These sandwiches still look good, though!

  4. Oh! Never mind! I found the link! Sorry.

  5. These look great! Of course you have to have sloppy joe’s during the hot summer!

  6. Oh my goodness! I have not has a sloppy joe since I was a child! I can’t wait to have some again!

  7. These look fabulous Amy!

  8. Hamburger pie is a fabulous way to use ground beef in a new way! It involves mixing up ground beef, onion, pickles (chopped) and pickle joice and baking in a frozen pie crust, topping with shredded cheese. It’s delicious! I can dig up the recipe if you’d like!

  9. I love sloppy joes! My husband is vegetarian so I sub ground beef for fake ground beef (lightlife brand is the BEST and tastes just like meat – i swear). I also add a ton of cumin and some fresh jalepeno (love spicy food). Subbing the fake meat for real meat actually makes the sloppy joes pretty health if you don’t cover them with cheese like I do.

  10. This may be on the menu next week. Micah was just saying he had a craving for sloppy joes.

  11. I understand your husband keeping ground beef and chicken around the house.

    Several years ago my wife started buying the large packs of ground beef at Costco and cooking it up all at once. Then she freezes it smaller packages that are the right size for making a recipe.

    We just pull the meat out of the freezer, thaw it in the microwave and we are good to go. A real time saver.

    We also buy chicken on sale and freeze that.

    Great blog!

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