Real Sloppy Joes

May 11, 2010 | By andrea | Filed in: Beef, Comfort Food, Kid-friendly, Main Dish, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sandwich.

When I think of sloppy joes, the old Saturday Night Live Lunch Lady skit with Adam Sandler & Chris Farley comes to mind. It’s quite funny if you haven’t seen it (and if you have seen it, it’s worth another viewing). I can’t remember when I had my first sloppy joe but I know I’ve always liked them…all that messy, meaty goodness. I’ve tried different recipes over the years. One time I tried a turkey version and Husband immediately asked upon taking his first bite if it was a Healthy Joe. This time I decided to try Real Sloppy Joes, a recipe I found on the Williams-Sonoma website. Fortunately, my whole family liked them…even my Picky Eater (yahoo!).

Note: The recipe calls for ketchup-style chili sauce (I used Heinz Chili Sauce), not the spicy Asian chili sauce.

For more great recipes, check out these blog parties: Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Tastes, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Friday Favorites, Follow Me Fridays , Company Girl Coffee, Favorite Things Friday, Foodie Friday , Hodgepodge Friday , I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, No Whine Wednesday.  

Real Sloppy Joes
-recipe from

The poor sloppy Joe has gotten a bad rap. Perhaps the uninspired versions served by overworked school cafeteria staffers dulled whatever luster it ever possessed. Here’s a recipe that returns the sloppy Joe to its rightful position as a dish to cherish when you want a quick and unpretentious supper on a bun.

1 Tbs. canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup-style chili sauce
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 sesame-seed sandwich buns, split

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the beef, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring and breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water, the tomato sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

Toast the buns. Place the bottom halves of the buns, cut side up, on warmed individual plates and top with the beef mixture, dividing it equally. Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately. Makes 6 sandwiches.

Variation:Sloppy Joes are just as good when made with ground turkey or ground chicken. Some cooks like to add 1 to 2 cups cooked kidney or pinto beans to the beef mixture just before it is ready. Or, you can top the beef mixture with thin slices of cheddar cheese before covering with the bun tops.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).

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16 comments on “Real Sloppy Joes

  1. Andrea,
    Thanks for stopping over!! I’m loving your site and I’m bookmarking it now.


  2. Hi.. Stopping by from Bless with Grace because I posted a Sloppy Joes Recipe too! Yours look really good especially the ketchup-style chili sauce!!!! I hope you can come check out how we made ours! We made them with Lentils instead of meat =)

  3. April Harris says:

    Sounds lovely – I really enjoy Sloppy Joes. My friend’s Mom used to make wonderful ones – but always called them Sloppy Sams out of respect for my Dad who was called Joe! It always made him smile!!

  4. Oh MAN that’s making me hungry. I love homemade sloppy joes. It’s been a long time since I’ve had them…might have to remedy that. –

  5. Trina says:

    LOL – I haven’t thought of The Lunch Lady song in years!

    This recipe looks really good and it’s quick … both super important for us during the week.

  6. Sharon says:

    LOVE sloppy joes!! We like to make them homemade too, but never used the chili sauce nice addition!!!

  7. Oh yeah, soooo good! We are gonna have these for dinner! I am so glad you linked to Tuesday Tastes! I just put the People’s Choice Award poll up on my sidebar, when you have a chance, come vote!

    Happy Day,
    Jasey @ Crazy Daisy

  8. I hope my comment posted! I can’ tell!

  9. Let me try this again! We are going to have these for dinner! I am so glad you linked to Tuesday Tastes! I just put the People’s Choice Award poll up on my sidebar, when you have a chance, come vote!

    Happy Day,
    Jasey @ Crazy Daisy

  10. Bird says:

    Wow! I had no idea what sloppy joes were, in the UK we only hear about them in American films! 🙂

    Sounds yummy! I usually do this but with sliced bread…not as easy to eat I guess. Does that count? 😀

    Maybe mine can be called “skinny” joes?

    Coming from Crazy Daisy and voting for u!!!

  11. ButterYum says:

    I really enjoy homemade sloppy joes. I haven’t made them for a really long time. Thanks for the inspiration!


  12. Just stopping in and looking around from Follow Friday! Hope you stop by!

    My blog is all about interior design and remodeling there are some great tutorials so you can get the look you want on a budget! We also have a party every Friday to show off your stuff! And Sunday for Recipes links.

  13. Jerri says:

    This is one of my husband’s absolute favorites. Looks great! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites!

  14. Joyce says:

    Yum! We love sloppy joes over here too. I’ve never actually followed a recipe and just put in whatever we had on hand, but this sounds like a great one!

  15. These look delicious! Great photo.