Sloppy Joe Recipe

There’s nothing quite as nostalgic and comforting as a Sloppy Joe- ground beef and vegetables cooked in a savory tomato broth on a toasted bun.

sloppy joe

Looking to try sandwiches from across the United States? Check out Florida’s beloved Cubano, Wisconsin’s Fried Fish Sandwich, or Buffalo’s famous Beef on Weck.

Why You’ll Love a Sloppy Joe:

A culinary adventure that captures the spirit of comfort food, North Dakota’s handmade beef sloppy joe recipe is more than just a dish. Envision biting into a succulent blend of meat, onions, and peppers, coated in a zesty, caramelized sauce, all sandwiched between fluffy burger buns.

This dish makes me think of leisurely weekends spent eating hearty meals, as well as family get-togethers and school lunches. The strong flavors and simple preparation of North Dakota’s sloppy joe combine to create a dish that appeals to all age groups.


This recipe has earned its position as a cherished mainstay in North Dakotan cuisine thanks to its modest beginnings and ongoing appeal.

What Kitchen Tools Are Needed For a Sloppy Joe:

The basic kitchen tools needed to prepare North Dakota’s handmade beef sloppy joe are probably already in your cupboard.

  • Big cooking pan or skillet
    • To perfectly brown the ground beef, use a large skillet or frying pan as the cooking surface.
  • Stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula
    • Using a wooden spoon or spatula, you will gently swirl and cook the garlic, green bell peppers, and onions until their flavorful essence is released.
  • Using a chef’s knife to slice vegetables
    • To slice the veggies finely, a chef’s knife and cutting board are essential, while measuring cups and spoons guarantee that each ingredient is portioned precisely.
  • chopping block
  • Spoons and cups for measuring

These basic necessities put you in a good position to start your adventure in creating sloppy joes.

What Ingredients Are Needed:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hamburger buns for serving

A made-from-scratch sloppy joe is magical because of its few but delicious components. Imagine getting together a pound of ground beef, some onions, green bell peppers, and garlic, along with a bottle of ketchup, which serves as the base for the flavorful sauce.

For sweetness, add a pinch of brown sugar; for depth, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce; and for tang, add a dollop of mustard.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and don’t forget the hamburger buns, which are the foundation of this delicious dish. You will have no trouble creating a cuisine that pleases the palate and uplifts the spirit with just a few basic components.

meat for sloppy joe

How To Make It:

A labor of love, making a homemade beef sloppy joe demands accuracy, patience, and a hint of culinary artistry. In your skillet, start by gently browning the ground beef until it’s a deep, golden brown color. 

Add the chopped onions, green bell peppers, and minced garlic next, and let them blend in with the beef until they become soft and aromatic.

Now for the star of the show: the delicious sauce made with mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.

Let the flavors meld and simmer until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce that envelops every piece of meat in delicious taste.

Lastly, dollop the delicious concoction over the eagerly anticipated hamburger.

Helpful Tips:

Elevate your sloppy joe experience with a few insider tips:

  • Experiment with additional seasonings such as chili powder, cumin, or smoked paprika to tailor the flavor profile to your taste preferences.
  • For a smoother sauce, consider pureeing the mixture in a blender before serving, resulting in a velvety texture that coats each bite.
  • Embrace leftovers as a delicious opportunity for future meals; refrigerate the sloppy joe mixture for easy reheating and enjoy the flavors anew.

History Behind This Recipe:

The sloppy joe has its roots in early 20th-century America, when it became a popular yet inexpensive staple during the Great Depression.

The soothing simplicity of sloppy joes grabbed taste buds and hearts as families looked for inexpensive yet filling dinners. This version of the timeless classic from North Dakota pays homage to the state’s agricultural heritage and love of substantial, nutritious food

 This recipe, which has been passed down through the generations, illustrates the perseverance and sense of community that characterize North Dakotan cooking.

Substitutions And Variations:

Customize your sloppy joe experience with these versatile substitutions and variations:

  • Opt for ground turkey or chicken as a leaner alternative to beef, imparting a unique twist to the traditional recipe.
  • Embrace creativity by incorporating additional vegetables such as diced carrots or celery, enhancing both flavor and nutritional value.
  • Explore a myriad of seasonings and spices to craft a personalized flavor profile that resonates with your taste preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: Can I prepare this recipe in advance?

A: Absolutely! The sloppy joe mixture can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days, providing convenient meal options for busy schedules.

Q: Can I freeze leftover sloppy joe mixture?

A: Indeed! Allow the mixture to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw and reheat for a taste of nostalgia.

Storage Instructions:

Leftover sloppy joe mixture should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator, ensuring freshness and flavor for up to three days. For extended storage, freeze the mixture in freezer-safe containers, maintaining its integrity for future meals.

North Dakota’s homemade beef sloppy joe recipe transcends mere sustenance; it embodies a cultural legacy steeped in tradition and flavor. From its humble beginnings to its enduring appeal, this beloved dish continues to unite families and communities, one savory bite at a time.

Sloppy Joe

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
There's nothing quite as nostalgic and comforting as a Sloppy Joe- ground beef and vegetables cooked in a savory tomato broth on a toasted bun.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 432 kcal


  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • ½ green pepper finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • tbsp your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • tsp brown sugar
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper or to taste
  • ¼-½ cup water amount based on desired consistency
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pickles for serving.

Recipe Instructions

  • Slather butter on buns. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add buns and toast for 1 – 2 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Add ground beef to the hot skillet. Break apart into small pieces. Sauté for 5 minutes until beef is no longer pink.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Add onion and peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes until veggies are tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, yellow mustard, brown sugar, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low. Add ¼ – ½ cup of water depending on what consistency you like. Simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Scoop mixture onto buns and top with pickles if desired.


Calories: 432kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 24gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 687mgPotassium: 450mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 75IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Sloppy Joe
Tried this recipe?Mention @thembitesrecipes or tag #thembites

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