Sloppy Joes

Okay, so I’m putting the truth out there; I like sloppy joes.  It’s kid food at its finest and I personally think that it is some mighty fine fair.  A sloppy joe with a little crudite and some potato chips–perfectomundo.  It makes you feel that all is right with the world.

I had to experiment with the recipe somewhat before I found a combination of ingredients that I like.  The first few ingredients were easy–hamburger, onion, garlic, salt, pepper….and then what?  It was surprising how tricky the “then what” ended up being.  I messed it up a couple of times, but then suddenly yesterday everything just seemed to come together.

 Sounds silly, doesn’t it, chasing after a good sloppy joe recipe.  I believe, however, that just because something has a funny name, doesn’t mean that it should be taken any less seriously, people included.  As a nurse, I get to see some very interesting names and for some of them, I have to work hard to keep my mind from wandering down some twisty paths. 

These sloppy joes are pretty straight forward, however.  Just good old American food that makes you glad to eat them.  Replace the potato chips with a potato or pasta salad, and life is nigh unto perfect.

Sloppy Joes
Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’
Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1/2 medium sized green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • a small dash of red pepper flakes (go easy on these, they pack a heat punch!) (Optional: skip the pepper flakes all together or replace them with a dash of your favorite hot sauce such as Tabasco, Tapatio, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Add ground beef, onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes to a large skillet.  Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender and meat is no longer pink.  Be sure to break up the hamburger as it cooks.  Chunky hamburger meat is not a good idea in sloppy joes.
  2. Add the remainder of the ingredients: ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, yellow mustard, and water.  Stir to combine.
  3. Put lid on skillet and simmer sauce over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until at desired consistency.
  4. Serve on hambuger buns.

This is a really good sloppy joe sauce.  It should get an award or something.


  1. Ashley H. says

    I normally do not leave comments on the food blogs I frequent, but my kids told me I should let you know how much we all loved this recipe! So much better than the canned sauce. Thank you for a great recipe 🙂

    P.S. My 13 year old usually hates sloppy joes, but he LOVED these! No more canned sloppy joe sauce for us!

    • says

      Ashley, thank you so much for leaving this comment! Blessings on your children for encouraging you to do so. It means a lot to me when someone takes the time to reach out with kind words. I’m so glad that your family enjoyed the recipe! ~Terri

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