Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes




How to Make the Nostalgic Sloppy Joe Recipe

Sloppy Joe, Sandwich, Ground Beef, Alcohol - Drink, American Culture

How to Make the Nostalgic Sloppy Joe Recipe

If you've never had a Sloppy Joe, you're definitely missing out! Sloppy Joe’s are somewhat like a hamburger, except sloppier.

Slightly spicier than most hamburgers, Sloppy Joes typically feature certain seasonings due to the addition of onions, tomato sauce, or ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Note, our recipe uses Dr. Pepper soda which we feel gives it an extra bit of something. We also use ground turkey, green pepper, yellow mustard, and vinegar to enhance the taste.

Sloppy Joes originated in America in the early 20th century as a dish. It is believed that they were inspired by the loose meat sandwiches sold in Sioux City, Iowa, and were the creation of a cook named Joe.

Early on, they were referred to using names like Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Chopped Meat Sandwiches, and Spanish Hamburgers, but by the 1940s, Sloppy Joe became the popular term.

Sloppy Joe Variations

There is no one-size-fits-all for the Sloppy Joe recipe. There are many different variations of the dish. In Quebec, Canada, for instance, stewed ground beef is served on hot dog buns. And in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a sandwich called ‘the dynamite’ uses ground meat with onions, peppers, and sometimes celery.

©Danny Trujillo / Free to use, Unsplash – License

Different types of meat can be used as well. Beef can be substituted with pork, lamb, turkey, or keema, a minced stewed, curried meat. This makes for a variation popularly prepared in Indian cuisine. Textured vegetable protein can also make the dish perfect for vegetarians.

Try Different Flavors to Spice Up Your Sloppy Joe

There are many ways to make a Sloppy Joe to suit your tastes, dietary restrictions, and more. Here are just some examples of the Sloppy Joes you can make:

Hawaiian Vegan Sloppy Joes: The meat is substituted with lentils, and fresh pineapple is added to give it a Hawaiian kick.

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes: If you love Buffalo sauce, add it to your meat with blue cheese or ranch to counter the heat.

Sloppy Joe French Bread Pizza: Add Sloppy Joes to your Frozen French bread pizza or make the recipe from scratch.

Low-Carb Sloppy Joes: Those on a low-carb diet will benefit from substituting bread with lettuce.

And what’s more, sloppy joes are easy to make, nearly as easy as using the canned version, but they are often more delicious and made with love. You can also feel confident that your ingredients are pure and not processed.

When preparing homemade sloppy joes, a crockpot will work as the perfect secret weapon, These are ideal because they give the meat, flavorings, and sauces a good amount of time to sit so the flavor can be absorbed.

Crockpots are also good because you can throw your ingredients in, turn on your slow cooker, and your meal will be ready when you come home. Just go ahead and put the meat on a sandwich and serve it with the side of your choice.

Sloppy Joe Casserole

But no hard and fast rule says that Sloppy Joes have to be served on a sandwich. Other recipes can include Sloppy Joes, including the Sloppy Joe casserole.

Of course, there is no limit to how you can make your own Sloppy Joe casserole, but the recipe usually involves mixing the Sloppy Joe with veggies like peppers and onions and a bit of cheese.

Then a crust can go over the top. You can create your own crust using flour, potatoes, cornbread, or a premade dough. These will all make perfect toppings that you can eat through to get to the steamy, spicy beef.

But no one says the crust has to go on the top when thinking of a Sloppy Joe casserole. One variation is to put the crust on the bottom, making for a sort of Sloppy Joe pastry.

If you are looking for a little bit of a lighter meal, forgo the bread altogether. You can mix your Sloppy Joes with pasta, veggies, and more. Some may even want to make a Sloppy Joe lasagna layering pasta and cheese with the yummy mixture until their heart’s content!  

For our purpose, we are making a recipe that is perfect when served on buns. However, you can take the cue for the general prep and add it to any recipe you prefer. This trusty sloppy joe recipe has the perfect blend of sauce and spices (and the secret ingredient…Dr. Pepper) to make tasty, hearty sandwiches.

Sloppy Joes aren’t just kid favorites, they’re the type of meal everyone runs to the table for. Serve with tater tots, baked potatoes, or French fries for an easy but filling meal.

And if you enjoy this recipe, check out our 30 Minutes Mexican Lasagna Recipe and our Bread Bowl Potato Soup Recipe.

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sloppy joe recipe

Sloppy Joe Recipe

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


This trusty sloppy joe recipe has the perfect blend of sauce and spices to make tasty, hearty sandwiches.


  1. 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  2. 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  3. 1/4 cup chopped onion
  4. 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  5. 2 teaspoons flour
  6. 3/4 cup Dr. Pepper (or regular cola)
  7. 1/2 cup ketchup
  8. 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  9. 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  10. 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix ground turkey and ground beef together in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the meat with the onion and green pepper. Drain.
  3. In large bowl, mix all other ingredients well. Pour over hamburger meat in skillet.
  4. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Serve on hamburger buns.
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stewing
  • Cuisine: American
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