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This is a simple dinner idea. Sloppy Joes Recipe has only 3 ingredients and there are no excuses to not try this family friendly dinner idea that everyone will love.

Close up image a sloppy joes on a hamburger bun with a side of pickles.
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This 3 ingredient Sloppy Joe recipe taste so much better than the can sloppy joe mix. The best part it is so easy to make and delicious too. You probably already have most of the ingredients to make this easy stovetop recipe for the best sloppy joe recipe.

My family loves this meal. We will often plan on eating this for lunch on the weekend. It is so easy to put together and we have a homecooked meal for lunch in between our basketball games.

Why This Recipe Works

In under 30 minutes, you can have this quick, easy classic dinner idea that your family will love. You can probably cook this in 20 minutes. The sloppy joe mixture is really easy to modify for what you have on hand and so versatile.

We have even added a tiny bit of Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder to the ground beef mixture. You can try using chili powder, red pepper flakes, bbq sauce, olive oil or whatever you prefer.

It really is such a great recipe and we all love sloppy joe meat. It never gets old and we enjoy this recipe so much. Try toasted buns next time to make a delicious sandwich. It is really good!


Close up image of ingredients for sloppy joes with hamburger buns on a platter. Yellow mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, ground beef

Besides ground beef, you only need three ingredients to make this delicious Sloppy Joes recipe.

Yep! That is all you need to make a fast sloppy joes for your family. What makes it even better is one of my kids does not like the traditional sloppy joes, but loves this recipe!

Once you make this, you won’t ever buy that store bought stuff again. This has so much more flavor than the canned sloppy joes. For the full recipe, scroll to see recipe card.

How to Make Sloppy Joes

  • Step 1 – Brown the ground beef in a large skillet on medium heat until no longer pink. You can use ground turkey too. Once browned, drain the excess grease from the beef. I like to season with salt and pepper while the beef is cooking.
  • Step 2 – Add in brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup. Stir to combine.
Close up image a cooked hamburger meat in a cast iron skillet ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.
  • Step 3 – Reduce the heat and allow the meat mixture to simmer on low for about 5 minutes to combine the flavors.
Close up image of sloppy joes in a cast iron pan.
  • Step 4 – Serve on hamburger buns and with your favorite sides.

Recipe Tips

  • Make Ahead – The prep time is very easy on this recipe, but you can prepare ahead of to save even more time.
  • Ground Beef – Before mixing in the sauces makes sure to drain the meat to remove any grease.
  • Simmer – Allow the mixture to simmer on low to combine the ingredients.
Close up image a sloppy joes on a bun with pickles on the side.

Can I Double The Recipe?

Yes, this is a great recipe to make a double or triple batch and freeze the left overs. It does not take anymore work to make extra. We love to cook once and eat twice or more. This is such a huge help during busy weeks.

It really isn’t any extra work to double the recipe and you have a super easy dinner for another night. I try to do this as much as possible and keep a few quick meals in the freezer.

Close up image of sloppy joes on a bun.

Serving Suggestions

Here are a few of my favorite side dishes for sloppy joes.

It’s really good served with Grilled Corn on the Cob and Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries. These are both so easy and really delicious side dishes. Just keep it simple. This meal can easily be ready with hardly any work at all.

Try adding green bell pepper or onion to the ground beef while cooking. Onion and green pepper really give it an amazing flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Store Leftovers

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and place in the fridge. Leftovers will stay great for up to 4 days.

Can I Freeze Sloppy Joe Sauce?

You can freeze the sloppy joe sauce in a freezer bag. We also like to freeze them in silicone cupcake pans, Then pop them out and place in a freezer bag. Now you can have a lunch or dinner for 1 in no time. This is such an easy dinner idea, but when you freeze them it makes it an even faster dinner idea.

How to Reheat

When you are ready to reheat, place in a crockpot or in a pan for an even faster dinner idea. Try sloppy joe recipe slow cooker version and come home to dinner ready to enjoy. This is great for reheating what you put in the freezer and makes dinner so simple. If you have a smaller portion, just thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the microwave.

Close up image of sloppy joes on a bun.

Try these other Sloppy Joes

We love to hear from you. If you make this homemade sloppy joe sauce recipe, please leave us a comment or star review.

Sloppy Joes Recipe

4.94 from 611 votes
This Sloppy Joes is so easy to make and taste way better than sloppy joes in a can. How to make sloppy joes with ketchup and just two more ingredients.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 354



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  • Brown the ground beef in a skillet.
  • Once browned, drain.
  • Add in brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup. Stir to combine.
  • Allow it to simmer on low for about 5 minutes to combine the flavors.
  • Serve on buns and with your favorite sides.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

3 ingredients, that is all you need to make a fast sloppy joes for your family. You are going to love this recipe!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 354kcal, Carbohydrates 31g, Protein 17g, Fat 16g, Saturated Fat 6g, Cholesterol 53mg, Sodium 507mg, Potassium 334mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 11g, Vitamin A 105IU, Vitamin C 1.4mg, Calcium 98mg, Iron 3.1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

4.94 from 611 votes (573 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Carrie Barnard says:

    So glad it was a hit! Thank you for commenting and leaving a review!

  2. J. G. says:

    5 stars
    Super easy delicious meal made in minutes. I substituted brown sugar for coconut and used yellow mustard (didn’t have brown mustard). Came out yummy. My family requests this once a week. Thank you!!!

  3. Carrie Barnard says:

    I haven’t tried that yet so I’m not sure but it sounds delicious! If you try it out, please let me know how it turns out. Thanks!

  4. John Craig says:

    Could you add corned beef to this recipe, I used to make sloppy joes with corned beef and all your spices with a little extra flour and ground cumin . Just curious. Served with bread n butter pickles, on buns.

  5. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Thank you, thank you for sharing! Perfect!

  6. Carrie Barnard says:

    I’ms so glad you love it.

  7. Carrie Barnard says:

    I’m so glad you loved it too!

  8. Tina says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. Now my husband no longer wants to buy manwich. Since he has gout from time to time I use ground turkey instead and add minced garlic and some Worcestershire.

  9. Beth says:

    5 stars
    Shockingly good for just three ingredients — I’ve made sloppy Joes with a dozen or more! I might add some chopped carrots next time to sneak in a vegetable.

    Just one thought — many recipe sites now have a print button which provides a page that’s easy to copy and paste, and also a link at the top to jump to the recipe. That makes things easier and it’s more likely I’ll follow and subscribe when those are there.

    Thanks for a great shortcut recipe!

    ETA You do have a jump to recipe button! On my device it puts the recipe over to the far right and is tough to see but thanks!

  10. Beth says:

    5 stars
    Shockingly good for just three ingredients — I’ve made sloppy Joes with a dozen or more! I might add some chopped carrots next time to sneak in a vegetable.

    Just one thought — many recipe sites now have a print button which provides a page that’s easy to copy and paste, and also a link at the top to jump to the recipe. That makes things easier and it’s more likely I’ll follow and subscribe when those are there.

    Thanks for a great shortcut recipe!

  11. Kevin Anderson says:

    5 stars
    This is just what I was looking for, sometimes simple is best! I doubt that many kids would reject this.

    I just slightly modified this recipe for adult tastes by frying the meat in a tbsp of butter along with a 1/4 cup of finely diced red, green peppers and onion total. Drained off the majority of grease before adding the ketchup, mustard and sugar. Delicious and so easy!

  12. Carrie Barnard says:

    I’m so glad you love it! We love it. Simple and delicious.

  13. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    This is, by far, the BEST sloppy joe recipe I’ve ever had! I fixed this tonight and my husband said it was better than any store bought sauce. I completely agree! I haven’t ever been a big fan of canned sloppy joe sauce. There’s always been something I didn’t quite like. But I haven’t figured it out yet. Now, I don’t have to. I’m a complete convert to this is the ONLY sauce I’ll fix when we’re wanting sloppy joes. Thanks for such an incredible recipe!

  14. Leslie Farquharson says:

    Might try with less mustard next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Joan Jones says:

    5 stars
    Excited to try this sloppy Joe recipe… Forever since I made this…

  16. Priscilla says:

    4 stars
    Pretty tasty basic it’s if room to play and make it your own or just leave it as is . My kids and I enjoyed it tho.

  17. Sheron says:

    Fantastic easy recipe!

  18. Karen Smith says:

    5 stars
    Quick and easy meal to make and tasted awesome!

  19. Patty says:

    4 stars
    Nice simple and quick recipe that is easy to tweak to make it your own or leave as is. Easy to reheat for leftovers.

  20. Kari says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I have always used Manwich or other brands of sauces for our sloppy joes, but we ran across this recipe and gave it a try. Outstanding. We will never go back to the other ways again .

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Dyan Applewhite says:

    5 stars
    All kids and adults loved this! Even the one that doesn’t like mustard.

  22. Nate says:

    5 stars
    Worked well but changed it up

    Used ground venison and smoked it for a few hours and then added the said amount of brown sugar, mustard and ketchup for 2 pounds and smoked for another 45 mins. Prefect!

  23. Alyssa says:

    5 stars
    Easy to make I only needed the sauce it’s tasty I hate mustard but it’s so good ?

  24. Ashley says:

    5 stars
    Just made this and added diced onion! Delicious!

  25. SCV says:

    I made this twice The first time I made it according to the recipe and the second time I added a few things, like onions and Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper, and a little bit of lemon juice and red pepper flakes and it was a lot better. My husband thought the first time was just like a sweet crumbled-up hamburger and the kids thought it was ok but liked my version better, but thanks for posting it I will stick to mine though. Have a great day.

  26. Linda Kilbride says:

    Now THIS is a good recipe. I have seen recipes with carrots and all sorts of other things added. That is not necessary.

  27. ML Jacobsen says:

    5 stars
    These are great as is, but I like to add a little chopped onion, garlic powder and salt & pepper.

  28. Amy says:

    4 stars
    Flavor was great, but consistency was dry. Added some canned tomato sauce and simmered to reduce. Turned out great.

  29. Carrie Barnard says:

    I used a 6 quart crock pot for this recipe. I don’t think that this recipe would work in a 2 quart slow cooker but it might work in a 4 quart one.

  30. Becca says:

    What size slow cooker did you use?I want to make this 4 ingredient sloppy joe but I only have a 2 quart slow cooker.

  31. Diane says:

    Thank you. You saved me with recipe to fill a quick last minute grandchild’s request, I just needed to make a little more of your sauce and added a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish. So good! Thank you again!

  32. Susan says:

    5 stars
    I made this for supper tonight and it was excellent,,,,

  33. Carrie says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it – Thank you!

  34. Michelle says:

    4 stars
    Absolutely great little recipe for some left over ground beef. Made it as stated with a brioche bun. Yummy! Thanks for a winner.

  35. Carrie says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it – Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  36. Tonya Connor says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was a show stopper. I used ground turkey and instead of mustard I used honey mustard and didn’t have to add brown sugar. I also added onions to it. This will be added to my rotation of good quick and easy meals. Thanks so much for posting this recipe it made my dinner seem so effortless and delicious.

  37. Kathryn Canty says:

    5 stars
    Truthfully, I’m not really a “sloppy joe” person. However, I had some ground beef and some hamburger buns I needed to use, so I made this recipe. It was SO GOOD.

  38. Neil says:

    5 stars
    Our family’s go to football watching food with the toasted buns. On the menu for TH Game on Super Sunday.

  39. Brandy says:

    5 stars
    another family favorite.

  40. Brenda Alvarez says:

    5 stars
    I was looking for a quick and easy sloppy joe recipe and was so happy to find this one. I made them for a family get together and they were a huge hit! My nephew ate three of them! This is now my go-to recipe. I have made them with finely diced peppers and onions, and without. Still delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  41. Carrie says:

    You’re welcome!

  42. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    So easy and delicious!! It’s like my grandma used to make! Thank you!!

  43. Carrie says:

    That sounds delicious!

  44. dotty murphy says:

    We use ground chuck and Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce and is great.

  45. Carrie says:

    Great ideas – Thank you!

  46. Teresa says:

    I add onion, garlic and a splash of vinegar and worchershire sauce to the ingredients you listed. My mom never bought the canned sloppy joes and neither do I.

  47. Wendy D says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for about two months, but my husband doesn’t like sloppy joes. I finally decided to make it for myself and he decided to try it. My two adjustments were that I added 1/4 cup diced onions to the browning meat (as I had them in the freezer from another recipe) and finely shredded cheese on top (also already had from another recipe). I opted for sweet Hawaiian slider rolls (not tiny, but about 2/3 the size of a regular bun at the grocery store). The combination was perfect, just a little extra sweetness and very soft to go with it. My husband LOVED it! Said it’s not like other sloppy joes he doesn’t like and, since I have buns, I’m making it again for lunch tomorrow. He’s happy about that, since he polished most of it off. Fabulous recipe and one of the easiest I’ve seen with ingredients most of us already have. My only side was dill pickle spears already in the fridge. Thanks, Carrie!

  48. Lauren says:

    5 stars
    Recipe was a real lifesaver thank you Carrie!

  49. Crystal says:

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh I am SOO incredibly glad I found this recipe tonight!! I was surfing Pinterest trying to figure out a simple, quick recipe to use for ground beef, after a long day at work, stumbled across this one, and decided to give it a try. And IT IS SOOO INSANELY GOOD!!! I made it exactly as it is in the recipe (other than adding a slice of cheese) and it was so easy, and so perfect, I know I will make this time and time again!!

  50. Tigra says:

    5 stars
    My son is a picky eater so we started going through pinterest pictures bases on what i had shopped for or was in my freezer. I had ground beef so I left him look through the pictures for something he thought he would like to try/looked good. He picked this recipe. I made it tonight and he really liked it. He loves ketchup and smelled it right away. I’ll make this again and slowly add in more veggies like onions and bellpeppers and maybe even sneak in some shredded carrot while adding less and less sugar. I loved sloppy joes as a kid but as an adult the can stuff scares me. Thanks for the mom win and feelings of nostalgia.

  51. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    We loved these! ? When my husband chooses not to eat potato chips with a “burger” because it would take away from the taste of the Sloppy Joe, I know I have found a WI NNER!!!! He also told me I had found a KEEPER with this recipe. The only changes I made was I I halved the recipe and sauted 1/4 c. diced, yellow onion and 1/4 c. diced green pepper before adding the ground beef to the skillet. I also sprinkled between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp. celery salt into the ground meat as it was browning. I just halved the amount of mustard and catsup. ????

  52. Jessica says:

    does anyone know how many serving this recipe is, I’m tempting to make this tonight 🙂

  53. Cindy From Iowa says:

    5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe for Sloppy Joe’s!

  54. Tina says:

    Can you use ground turkey instead of ground beef

  55. Sherl says:

    3 stars
    I made this recipe tonight for dinner it was really easy my husband loves sloppy joe! But I’m not a big fan of a can or homemade. This recipe didn’t seem to make up a lot my husband liked it I did not but great recipes for quick dinner!

  56. Mar says:

    Can you give me an idea of how many this recipe will serve?

  57. Kathy says:

    5 stars
    made this for years but used tomato soup instead of ketchup

  58. Cindy says:

    What a great recipe. I had left over meat from taco night and this was a great, easy, fun recipe. Everything I already had in my Kitchen. Thumbs up.

  59. Carrie says:

    Yes yellow mustard Sue, but you could probably try any kind for a slightly different flavor. 🙂

  60. Sue says:

    3 stars
    Just wanted to make sure, yellow mustard right?

  61. Carrie says:

    That is awesome Jess!

  62. jess says:

    5 stars
    Sved my butt today with this recipe and it was awesome 🙂

  63. Carrie says:

    Oh that is a great idea! 🙂

  64. Stephanie says:

    3 stars
    This is a great recipe. I have been using this for years. My mother taught me this one while I was still in school. The only difference is a teaspoon of pickle relish for ours.

  65. Carrie says:

    Thanks Janice – We have done sauted onions too and love it!

  66. Carrie says:

    I’m so glad you liked them. We love this easy recipe.

  67. Carolyn says:

    4 stars
    These were excellent!

  68. Larry says:

    It’s a great place to start. We decided at the last minute to leave out the sugar add chopped green onions that we needed to use. Worked out beautifully. Next time we’ll use a tiny bit of garlic instead of the onions.

  69. Janice says:

    3 stars
    Have made sloppy joes this way for over 50 years. This is the way my mom made it. Like any recipe, this can be altered and ingredients added. Try sauteing onions with ground beef. Green peppers are also good. But just making the basic recipe is what I use most of the time!
    Wouldn’t let me rate this over three stars……..why is this

  70. Debbie says:

    made this tonight for dinner, was so easy. added chopped onion and green peppers to the ground beef. Much better then any can mix.

  71. Erica says:

    These were delicious, just like my mom used to make! My fiancé loved them! The only thing I added was a drizzle of honey bbq sauce.

  72. Marcy says:

    My husband and I both agree this is the best sloppy joe recipe we have ever made! Yum!

  73. Cathleen Christ says:

    This is how I’ve been making my sloppy joes for years. Everyone loves it every time I make it. =)