Sloppy Joes

These classic sloppy joes taste just like the way your mom used to make them! They are a perfect weeknight meal and great for an after school snack or game day treat!

Two sloppy joes on a board.

I remember eating sloppy joes as a kid. I always loved it. This is simple down home family goodness! In the same way that I have always loved sloppy joes, my kids go crazy whenever we have them for dinner.

This homemade sloppy Joe recipe is easy to make from scratch and uses ingredients you likely have in your kitchen!

Sandwiches and chips on a round wooden board.

What Makes Sloppy Joe’s So Good

The meat and sauce is so good in a burger bun. I often spoon a little extra meat off to the side of the bun, or just go for open face sloppy joe’s just so I can have lots of meat! This recipe with bring back memories of childhood experiences eating sloppy joes. It sure does for me.

Ingredients gathered on a cutting board.

Ingredient Notes

  • Ground beef – I use lean ground beef and make sure to drain the grease after it has been browned.
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper – any type of bell pepper works great. I have also used jalapeno peppers which gives a bit of heat.
  • Garlic cloves
  • Can of condensed tomato soup – this is the foundation of the sloppy joes sauce. It’s so good!
  • Brown sugar – sloppy joes should have a bit of sweetness in the sauce.
  • Spices – the best sloppy joes have a nice balance seasoning and this recipe includes: chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper.
  • Vinegar – a tiny bit of vinegar gives the sloppy joes a bit of tang that goes so well with the sweetness.
  • Water
  • Burger buns
Raw ground beef in a dutch oven.

Brown The Beef

Cook the ground beef in a pot over medium heat. Stir it often with a wooden spoon or spatula to ensure the beef is well crumbled as it browns.

Cooked ground beef in pot.

Once the ground beef is is fully cool drain all the grease out of the pot.

Diced onions and peppers on top of browned ground beef.

Add the diced onion, red pepper and minced garlic to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring often until the onion and pepper and mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Spices placed on top of browned ground beef.

Add The Spices

Stir in the seasonings as well as the brown sugar and vinegar. Cook for a few more minutes. The spices are an important part that give the sloppy joes its special flavour. The chili powder and cumin give the sauce an earthy almost southwest flavour.

Sloppy Joe mix simmering in a pot.

Oh The Sauce!

Stir in the condensed tomato soup and water. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Expert Tip! If you want your sloppy joe sauce to have a bit of that cheeseburger flavour, then you can squirt a little bit of yellow mustard into the sauce. Just a little bit of mustard will really transform the sauce! We love mixing it up this way every once in a while.

Close up of ground beef mixture in a burger bun.

Assemble Time!

Spoon a healthy amount of the sloppy Joe meat onto the bottom half of a burger bun and place the top half on top. Time to eat! If desired, you could even sprinkle a little grated cheese on top of the meat before you place the top half of the bun.

Overhead picture of a sloppy Joe.

More Burger And Slider Recipes!

If you are looking for more ideas for sliders and burgers, then check out these recipes! They are great for parties, game day, BBQs, picnics and more.

Sloppy Joes

5 from 1 vote
Simple recipe for how to make sloppy joes from scratch. Made with ground beef, onion, red bell pepper, condensed soup, brown sugar and spices.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 sloppy joes


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper , chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 8 hamburger buns


  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 more minutes, or until onion is tender.
  • Drain the fat.
  • Stir in chili powder, paprika, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Mix in condensed soup and water, stirring until soup is dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until mixture is thick and stewy.


Per serving:

Calories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 30gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 730mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12g

Nutrition Disclaimer

This recipe was originally posted in January 2012.


Two sloppy joes on a board.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • Ok now I am HUNGRY!!!! :)) Looks soooo yum!

    • Reply
  • The very first thing we learned to cook in Home Ec 400 years ago.

    Love it!

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  • Now those are some good looking sloppy joes!! Yes, they bring back my childhood too. 🙂 Well done bringing back a well loved classic.

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  • Sloppy Joes have been on my white board list to make for a long time. Great combination of spices in these Steve.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Jed!

      • Reply
  • Love sloppy joes. One day I am going to show up your doorstep with a plate and a fork hoping you’ll feed me.

    • Reply
    • You have said this a few times that one day I should come to expect it! 😛

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  • These look so good! I love home made sloppy joes! Def going to try this!

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  • Mmmmm, homemade sloppy joes. Love this! I would have to make a quadruple batch here to feed the mongrel hordes cause I know they’d love it too.

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    • yeah Janet, my kids devoured them as well!

      • Reply
  • I love these! Such a nostalgic good-times dinner 🙂

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  • You’re talking the food of my childhood here, but better because it wasn’t made with a canned sauce. These look wonderful!

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    • Yeah – I so remember those jars of manwich. but really, these are such a snap to make and typically these ingredients are on most peoples pantry shelves.

      • Reply
  • Confession: I’ve never had a sloppy joe. it’s not something we do in Germany, and I haven’t really had the opportunity to try one. And somehow, they don’t looks so tasty. What is it that makes everyone love them?

    • Reply
    • You have NEVER had a sloppy joe!?!? I suppose it is likely a truly North American dish. It is the flavour in the sauce that makes them so tasty. It is similar to a BBQ sauce in ground/minced beef. Oh so tasty!

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  • These do look tasty and bravo for not including ketchup! Like the ingredients you used to flavor this up, so I am keeping this recipe. Thanks Steve and enjoy the day!

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    • for sure Tina! no ketchup in this!- although I cannot say we never use it. The kids sure love the stuff. lol

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  • I love the added brown sugar in these. Sloppy joes are a classic, love this!

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    • Oh yes Cassie – the brown sugar is key! It gives it that nice sweetness almost like a BBQ sauce that is perfect for sloppy joes

      • Reply
  • I LOVE sloppy joes. These look absolutely perfect!

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  • Hey Steve, I also make a homemade Sloppy Joe. I will try this recipe next time. You have some ingredients I have not tried. Looks awesome.

    Thanks Regina

    • Reply
    • Thanks Regina! I hope you enjoy it. I always love to add some extra spices in!

      • Reply
  • Ah, you just can’t beat sloppy Joes on a cold winter day!

    This recipe is very similar to my wife’s but I like that you use chili powder and cumin in yours!

    • Reply

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