These Are the Best Sloppy Joe Recipes You’ll Ever Make

As the weather gets cooler, comfort food becomes a staple for many. Warm sandwiches are a fall must, meaning sloppy Joes should work their way into your weekly dinner rotation. Whether you’re craving a standard sloppy Joe or want to try a more creative version, we guarantee you’ll find yourself making these 7 recipes numerous times throughout the chillier months.

1. Real Sloppy Joes

two sloppy joe sandwiches on buns with a pile of french fries

Sloppy Joes | iStock.com

This classic sloppy Joe recipe from Williams-Sonoma is like a much tastier blast from the past. It hits all the same bells and whistles, but appeals to a more adult palate with Dijon mustard, chili sauce, a bit of vinegar, and not too much brown sugar. Serve the sandwiches with some roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli to round out the meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup-style chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 sesame-seed sandwich buns, split

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beef and increase heat to medium high. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

Stir in ¼ cup water, tomato sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.

Toast buns. Scoop filling onto bun bottoms, close with tops, and serve.

2. Bean-Mushroom Sloppy Joes

stewed white beans in tomato sauce on hearty toast with fresh herbs

Beans and toast | iStock.com

The mistake many people make with cooking meatless meals is trying to recreate something like a steak or piece of chicken. These attempts usually end in a disappointing meal that leaves you craving meat even more. A better bet? Replacing ground meat with legumes or veggies in flavorful stews and sautés. Try the method with Midwest Living’s bean and vegetable sloppy Joes. Keep an eye on the Worcestireshire sauce if you really want the meal to be 100% vegetarian because many varieties include anchovies in the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower kernels
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • Fresh spinach

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Push vegetables to one side of skillet, then add half of navy beans. Use a potato masher or fork to mash smooth, then stir in remaining beans, tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, mustard, chili powder, and salt. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sunflower kernels and stir to combine.

Serve on buns and top with spinach leaves.

3. Tango Joes

bowl of argentine sauce called chimichurri

Chimichurri | iStock.com

Just because sloppy Joes are a classic American dish doesn’t mean the flavors have to remain stateside. Take your dinner to Argentina by making these chimichurri-topped sandwiches from Every Day with Rachael Ray. Your taste buds won’t know what hit them.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef sirloin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 Portuguese or kaiser rolls

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in paprika. Keep warm over low heat.

In a food processor, combine onion, garlic, parsley, vinegar, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, stream in remaining olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and brown sugar, stir into meat and bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in half of chimichurri and let cook for 5 minutes.

Heat rolls in oven, cut in half, and spread remaining chimichurri over cut sides. Pile meat onto buns, close sandwiches, and serve.

4. Chipotle-Stout Sloppy Joe Sliders

top view of a hearty sloppy Joe sandwich

Sloppy Joe | iStock.com

If you’ve always found sloppy Joes too sweet and lacking in other flavors, The Beeroness’s chipotle and stout version will change your mind. The dark beer adds tons of complexity and just a hint of sweet flavor and a bit of molasses helps boost richness. If you can’t find a chipotle-infused brew, go for your favorite stout or porter and bump up the amount of adobo sauce in the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1¼ cups chipotle stout or porter beer
  • 1 small chipotle chile, finely minced plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 14 to 16 slider buns, warmed

Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned and no pink remains. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon, leaving drippings behind.

Add onions to same pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beer, chipotle, adobo sauce, tomato paste, molasses, cumin, paprika, salt, Worcestershire, and mustard. Stir to combine and simmer until thickened.

Return meat to skillet and cook, stirring, until heated through. Serve on buns.

5. Chicken Parm Sloppy Joes

using hands to shred cooked chicken

Shredding chicken | iStock.com

These chicken Parmesan-inspired sandwiches from Mix and Match Mama turn the Italian classic into a faster meal you can enjoy any night of the week. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken, but you can also pick up a rotisserie bird from the store. Either way, you’ll be sitting down to a satisfying sandwich in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) can tomato soup
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Basil leaves

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add chicken, tomato sauce, soup, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Split buns, place on prepared baking sheet, and top with chicken mixture. Top with both cheeses, transfer to oven, and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with basil, close sandwiches, and serve.

6. Sloppy Bombay Joes

Indian chicken and pita sandwich with salad

Indian chicken pita | iStock.com

Aarti Sequeira’s twist on sloppy Joes, featured on Food Network, look to the flavors of India to give the sandwiches a uniquely satisfying taste. They’re sweet, salty, spicy, savory, and just a bit luxurious from a bit of half-and-half. Any leftovers would be fantastic in lettuce wraps or stuffed into a pita.

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water

Turkey

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Small handful shelled pistachios
  • Small handful raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ large white onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • ½ serrano chile, seeds left intact, chopped for extra heat
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • Small handful chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 to 6 hamburger buns, toasted

Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in ginger, garlic, and minced serrano. Cook until just a bit brown, then stir in garam masala and paprika. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pistachios and raisins and cook until nuts toast and raisins begin to swell. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons oil and let heat until shimmering. Add cumin seeds and let sizzle for about 10 seconds. Stir in onion and bell pepper. Cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add remaining serrano and cook for another few minutes. Season with salt. Stir in turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.

Pour sauce into skillet, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove serrano half, then stir in honey, half-and-half, pistachios, and raisins. Stir to combine, adjust seasoning, and garnish with cilantro. Serve on buns.

7. Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders

three sloppy Joes with shredded cabbage and pickles

Sloppy Joe sandwiches | iStock.com

Bring the flavors of a stir-fry to sandwich night with chef Ming Tsai’s sloppy Joes flavored with hoisin sauce, ginger, and garlic, a recipe he shared with Food & Wine. Just cook the veggies and aromatics until tender, add the meat, cook until no longer pink, then stir in the liquid ingredients. Let the mixture simmer to thicken and allow the flavors to meld, then enjoy your creation on slider or regular-size buns.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoon Asian chile sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground dark meat chicken
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup hoisin suace
  • 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 20 brioche dinner rolls, split and toasted
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Spicy pickles

Directions: In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, chile sauce, garlic, ginger, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add chicken and pork and cook, stirring to break apart, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Stir in hoisin, tomatoes, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon ¼ cup of filling onto bottom of each roll. Top with lettuce and pickles. Close sandwiches and serve.

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