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The Best Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are a blend of sweet and savory and are so juicy and filling! This Sloppy Joe recipe is the perfect quick and easy dinner and also great for large group gatherings!

Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword sloppy joes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 -8


Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, white, sweet or yellow chopped, about 1 1/2 cups total
  • 1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed chopped (optional) about 1 cup total
  • 1 clove garlic minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce or 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar more if you like it sweeter!
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • water 1/4 to 1/2 cup to thin sauce if needed
  • few drops hot sauce, such as Tobasco optional


Sloppy Joes:

  1. Brown ground beef in skillet over medium high heat. Drain off any grease.

  2. Add chopped onion and chopped red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute.

  3. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat. Add hot sauce if using. Simmer on low for about 5-8 mintues or until mixture thickens up a bit.

  4. If mixture is too thick, thin with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Serve with hamburger buns, top with cheese, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Instructions:

Slow Cooker or Crockpot- Place the meat in a skillet, cook on medium high and drain off grease. Pour the cooked meat and remaining ingredients into the slow cooker, stir and turn the setting to low. Cook for about 4-6 hours on LOW heat  or  2-3 hours on HIGH. Depending on the slow cooker, the cooking time may vary. Add water if needed after cooked. 

Instant Pot - Turn the Instant Pot to the SAUTE setting. Brown the meat and remove any extra grease from the pot. Add the chopped onion and red pepper and cook for a couple of minutes.  Turn SAUTE setting off. Add remaining ingredients, and stir well.  Make sure the sealing ring is in place, and turn the dial on top of the lid to SEAL. Cook on MANUAL or HIGH PRESSURE setting for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, or,  after 10 minutes, carefully release the remaining pressure and serve.