Table of Contents
  1. My mom's Sloppy Joe recipe could be called the best.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. These other weeknight recipes are perfect as well.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Classic Sloppy Joes Recipe

Whether it’s for special game days, a tailgate party, or any other laidback occasion, Sloppy Joes are a perfect sandwich meat recipe that everyone enjoys. This recipe has a sweet yet tangy sauce with ketchup and yellow mustard that easily coats the two types of ground meat. The best part is that it’s a one-pot meal that’s super quick to make.

My mom’s Sloppy Joe recipe could be called the best.

When is the last time you had a sloppy joe? Growing up, we had these sandwiches often since Mom could quickly make them. Even growing up, I realized when I tasted someone else’s sloppy joes that Mom’s were the best. Fighting words, maybe, but we all think our Mom is the best. This recipe is just the right amount of sloppy. It’s “sloppy” without being too sloppy if you know what I mean. The key is a small amount of yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Those two ingredients turn the flavor up in a subtle way. This mixture can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator, and warmed up before serving. Whether it’s for a party or a weeknight, this mixture can also be prepared and kept warm in a slow cooker. These sloppy joes may become your weeknight and large gathering go-to.

One of my favorite ways to eat a Sloppy Joe is with melted cheese sprinkled over the meat with homemade pickles as well. Some people prefer to add additional ketchup or other condiments as well, but I find that these Sloppy Joes have enough tomato flavor that anything additional isn’t needed.

White plate filled with sandwich bun topped with Sloppy Joe meat with melted cheese and pickles on marble surface.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Ground beef is the traditional meat for this recipe. Choose more lean meat for less fat during cooking, I use 92% lean when making these.
  • Ground pork is a unique addition to a Sloppy Joe recipe. Including ground pork lightens the meat mixture. Mom chose this to be more economical since we always had pork on hand. But the flavor between the pork and beef works well.
  • Flour helps absorb any remaining moisture and keeps the meat mixture cohesive. The important is to cook the flour once added for a short time to remove any raw flavor.
  • Ketchup is the base of the sauce. I use no-sugar-added ketchup, but any ketchup you keep on hand works well.
  • Yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce are two small but important flavorings. Each adds a unique flavor that you cannot pick out but adds to the overall mixture.
  • Tomato juice adds a punch of tomato flavor that’s so necessary for a Sloppy Joe recipe. While ketchup adds sweetness, tomato juice simply imports the essence of tomatoes.
Marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make sloppy joes including meat, ketchup, mustard, onion, tomato juice, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Brown the meat. To some oil in a kettle on the stove over medium heat, add the diced onion, ground beef, and ground pork. Using a spoon, break up the chunks of meat so they will brown evenly. 
  1. Add flour to thicken. Once all of the meat has browned, sprinkle over the flour. Stir the flour into the meat mixture and all it to cook for approximately 30 seconds to cook off some of the raw flour taste. Once cooked, remove from the heat.
  1. Add in the spices and flavorings. To the kettle with the browned meat, add in the salt, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, tomato juice, and ketchup. Once all of the flavorings are added, stir the entire mixture to ensure everything is well-combined.
  1. Let the mixture cook to combine. Place the kettle back on the stovetop over low heat to warm the mixture through. After a few minutes, remove the meat mixture from the heat and serve immediately.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • The combination of ground beef and ground pork in this recipe balances out the flavors. Rather than simply having the heaviness of ground beef, adding ground pork creates a lighter, more flavorful meat mixture. 
  • Before adding in the flour, ensure that all of the liquid from the meat has cooked off. If there is some liquid remaining in the kettle that will not cook off, you can pour off any excess. You do not want there to be liquid in the kettle when adding in the flour.
  • Placing the mixture back on the heat after adding in all of the spices and flavorings will activate the flour that was added earlier in the cooking process. The flour will work to make the meat mixture thick and hold it all together.
Metal pot filled with browned sloppy joe meat with spoon resting against side of pan after scooping out serving with sandwich buns in background all on marble surface.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can this recipe be made in the microwave?

Yes! Mom exclusively made this in the microwave. The cooking times will need to be adjusted, but the outcome will be the same.

Can this entire recipe be prepared in the slow cooker?

No, you can not pour all the raw ingredients into a slow cooker and achieve the same outcome. The recipe will need to be prepared and then can be stored in the refrigerator or placed into a slow cooker and kept warm.

How long does this meat mixture last after being prepared?

In the refrigerator, the mixture will keep for 7 to 10 days. This can also be frozen for up to three months.

What are good side dishes to serve with these Sloppy Joes?

This works well any time of the year. I love this with pasta salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. During cooler months, I love these with tomato soup and black bean soup.

These other weeknight recipes are perfect as well.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More dinner recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

White plate with sandwich bun filled with brown colored sloppy joe meat with top bun on top with more buns and sloppy joe meat in background.

Classic Sloppy Joes

4.67 from 3 votes
Whether it’s for special game days, a tailgate party, or any other laidback occasion, Sloppy Joes are a perfect sandwich meat recipe that everyone enjoys. This recipe has a sweet yet tangy sauce with ketchup and yellow mustard that easily coats the two types of ground meat. The best part is that it’s a one-pot meal that’s super quick to make.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • ¾ cup ketchup

Instructions
 

  • In a 4-quart saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of neutral oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ground beef, and ground pork. Cook and break the meat into small pieces until it is evenly browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Once the meat is cooked, check for any extra liquid in the bottom of the saucepan. If there is liquid, continue to cook until it is dry, or pour it off and discard.
    1 medium onion, 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork
  • Sprinkle the flour and salt over the cooked meat and stir to combine. Cook the flour over medium-low for one minute to remove any raw flavor.
    2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Once cooked, remove the mixture from the heat and add the salt, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, tomato juice, and ketchup. Stir to incorporate evenly and return the mixture to medium heat. Stir and cook the Sloppy Joes over medium heat until the mixture tightens and warms through, 4-6 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and serve.
    1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp yellow mustard, ½ cup tomato juice, ¾ cup ketchup, 1 tsp salt

Notes

  • The combination of ground beef and ground pork in this recipe balances out the flavors. Rather than simply having the heaviness of ground beef, adding ground pork creates a lighter, more flavorful meat mixture. 
  • Before adding in the flour, ensure that all of the liquid from the meat has cooked off. If there is some liquid remaining in the kettle that will not cook off, you can pour off any excess. You do not want there to be liquid in the kettle when adding in the flour.
  • Placing the mixture back on the heat after adding in all of the spices and flavorings will activate the flour that was added earlier in the cooking process. The flour will work to make the meat mixture thick and hold it all together.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (not including bun) | Calories: 198kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This has been one of my family’s favorite sloppy joe recipes. We like that it isn’t super sweet but has good flavor!