Unique New Ways to Prepare a Sloppy Joe Dinner

A sloppy joe is a childhood favorite that many of us never seem to outgrow. The hearty sandwich consists of ground beef, onions, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, and is served on a bun, creating an irresistible dish that’s magnificently messy. But there’s no need to settle for eating it just one way: You can easily take your sloppy joes to the next level by transforming them into meatballs, shepherd’s pie, pizza, and bread bowls. Kids and adults alike will leave the dinner table with satisfied stomachs after eating these 7 sweet and savory sloppy joe recipes.

1. Sloppy Joe Cornbread Cups

ground beef in a frying pan

Ground beef | iStock.com

The entire family will love Mom On Time Outs recipe for sloppy joe cornbread cups. Sloppy joe filling is heaped into corn muffin mix and baked, creating tasty, bite-size portions. Top these meat-and-sauce-filled muffin cups with shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions, and you’ve got a great dinner or fun appetizer.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 can sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 (8.5-ounce) corn muffin mix boxes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ½ sliced green onions

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain off grease. Stir in sloppy joe sauce. Set aside. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of corn muffin mix into each well of a muffin pan. Divide sloppy joe mixture evenly among the wells. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Serve immediately.

2. Sloppy Joe Shepherd’s Pie

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes | iStock.com

Pillsbury’s recipe turns two great dinners into one sensational supper. Prepare the beef mixture, cook your mashed potatoes, combine the two, and cook until the comforting dish is nice and bubbly. The recipe yields 4 servings.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can sloppy joe sandwich sauce
  • 1 pouch roasted garlic mashed potatoes (from 7.2-ounce package)
  • 1¼ cups hot water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • Paprika

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large nonstick skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add mixed vegetables and sandwich sauce; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Spoon into ungreased 2-quart glass baking dish. Meanwhile, cook mashed potatoes as directed on package, using hot water, milk, and margarine. Let stand 5 minutes. Spoon or pipe potatoes around edges of hot beef mixture. Sprinkle paprika over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated.

3. Sloppy Joe Squares

shredded cheese

Grated cheese | iStock.com

This hearty, kid-friendly dish is perfect for weeknight dinners, potlucks, or family get-togethers. This recipe from Valerie’s Kitchen yields 8 servings, so be sure to prepare it in a large pan or Dutch oven; you’ll need the space!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust amount as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onions, and bell pepper until meat crumbles and no pink remains. Drain well and return skillet to heat. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper. Stir well to combine and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 13-by-9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Press one can of the crescent roll dough into the prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sloppy joe mixture on top of the dough in pan and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Carefully place the second sheet of crescent roll dough on top of the cheese, lightly pressing the seams together and pulling the dough out to the edges of the pan. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake, uncovered, for 13 to 15 minutes until nicely golden brown. Serve immediately.

4. Turkey Sloppy Joe Skillet Pizza


Rolling dough | Thinkstock

Kids, adults, and even foodies will be in sloppy joe heaven after chowing down on The Hopeless Housewifes recipe. Using a skillet, you’ll prepare a gooey sloppy joe pizza that consists of a thick crust, saucy beef filling, and plenty of cheese. The recipe makes one 10- to 12-inch skillet pizza.


  • 1 package store-bought pizza dough
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
Sloppy joe
  • 1½ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Take the pizza dough out of the package and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise on the counter for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Start the sloppy joe mixture. In a large skillet, add turkey, onion, garlic, and red pepper until turkey is no longer pink and is cooked through. Try to break up the turkey as finely as you can. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire, ketchup, brown sugar, and garlic salt. Cook until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the turkey seems to be too chunky, put the entire mixture in a food processor and pulse a few times to get the consistency you want. While sauce is cooking, generously oil a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron or oven-proof skillet.

Preheat oven to broil and place rack in the center of the oven. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to the size of your skillet. This crust will be thick. Place the dough in the skillet and cook on the stove over medium-high heat until dough gets bubbly, or approximately 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom of the crust. If crust is too thick and raw on the top, flip it over and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until dough is no longer raw. Remove from heat. Spread the sloppy joe mixture on top of the dough, then cover with mozzarella and place under the broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly. Watch closely or the pizza will burn. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

5. Sloppy Joe Meatballs Recipe


Meatballs | iStock.com

Perfect for a family dinner or game day appetizer, About.com’s recipe creates meatballs that have been doused in a tasty sloppy joe sauce. If you’re looking for a way to pull the meal together, use sub or hoagie rolls to make a filling sandwich. The recipe yields about four dozen meatballs.


  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • ⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1 bottle chili sauce (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Combine the ground beef with the bread crumbs, grated onion, garlic, egg, salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and parsley. Shape into 1-inch meatballs, roughly ½ ounce each. Arrange in the prepared baking pan. Bake the meatballs for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, saute the chopped onion and green or red bell pepper in the vegetable oil until tender.

Stir in the chili sauce, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes, until thick and bubbly. If too thick, add a bit more water. Combine the sauce mixture with the meatballs and serve with split toasted sub rolls or hoagie rolls for sandwiches, or serve as a topping for rice or as appetizer meatballs. These meatballs can be served from the slow cooker on low heat setting.

6. Baked Sloppy Joes

shredded cheese on a plate

Shredded mozzarella cheese | iStock.com

There’s no need for buns when you make Six Sisters’ Stuff’s recipe. Instead, the sloppy joe filling is conveniently baked into a biscuit, creating a less “sloppy” dish for you and your family to enjoy.


  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 package of jumbo biscuits
  • 1 can of sloppy joe sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown your turkey and onions in a frying pan. When it is cooked through, add your sloppy joe sauce and stir until it is all heated through. Next, flatten out your biscuits and add 2 spoonfuls of your turkey mixture to one side of the biscuit. Add some cheese to the top of the turkey mixture, then fold the biscuit and pinch it closed. Place them on a cookie sheet. Cook for 13 to 15 minutes until they are browned on top.

7. Sloppy Joe Bread Bowls

dinner rolls

Rolls | iStock.com

If you’re looking for an inviting, wholesome, and hearty dinner, look no further! Curry and Comforts recipe is a bread bowl that’s packed with sloppy joe filling, resulting in something similar to an individual-size deep-dish pizza. The recipe yields 5 servings.


  • 5 kaiser or hoagie-style rolls
  • White melting cheese (can be a combination of cheeses)

Meat filling

  • 1 pound ground lean meat
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 cloves grated garlic
  • Red chili flakes, to taste
  • Seasoning salt and black pepper, to taste

Sloppy sauce

  • 1 (8-ounce) can plain tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablesooon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions: Start browning the ground meat, then add garlic, onion, green bell peppers, seasoning salt, and black pepper. Add your ingredients for the sloppy sauce. Cook in the sauce for 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low flame until well combined. Taste for seasoning. To prepare the bread bowls, slice a little bit off the top of your rolls. Then take a small knife and cut a circle on the inside of the bread and use your fingers to hollow out the bread. Make sure to leave enough on the bottom and sides so the filling stays in. Then, fill each hollowed out bread bowl with the sloppy mixture. Top with cheese. Place on a baking tray and bake for 7 to 10 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until the cheese melts.

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