This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated.
These homemade Sloppy Joes couldn't be easier to make. Skip the can and grab a handful of real ingredients instead. This large batch recipe feeds a crowd and can easily be frozen in smaller portions for quick weeknight meals.
Why you will love this
- Large batch recipe - This recipe is perfect for meal prepping and is also very freezer-friendly. Make the sloppy joe mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator to reheat for meals during the week. Or, freeze smaller portions to have ready-to-go meals on hand.
- Sweet and tangy sauce - The homemade sauce is wonderfully tangy and sweet... and as spicy as you wish. I add just a pinch of red pepper flakes for a mild kick. But, you can elevate the spice level with extra red pepper flakes or omit them altogether.
- Crowd favorite - These sandwiches will feed a crowd and are perfect for potlucks, casual gatherings, or game-day spreads (just like cheeseburger slider casserole, ultimate baked beans, and easy homemade macaroni and cheese).
- So easy with pantry staples - Homemade sloppy joes are so easy to make with a few fresh items and a handful of pantry ingredients. You will appreciate the ease of this recipe on busy nights. There's no need to reach for the can when homemade is so easy and even more delicious.
Skip the can and grab a few fresh items along with a handful of pantry staples. Homemade is so easy and delicious with real ingredients.
- Ground beef, ground turkey, and ground chicken can be used.
- Spices - Chili powder, ground mustard, and red pepper flakes provide a mildly spicy warmth.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Brown and crumble the ground beef in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Drain the excess fat.
- Add the diced onion and green pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sauce ingredients and stir to combine.
- Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
What to serve with sloppy joes
- Spoon the mixture onto toasted sandwich rolls.
- Top with pickles or jalapenos for added crunch or spice.
- My favorite sides for sloppy joes include potato chips, tater tots, french fries, baked beans, cheesy potato casserole, coleslaw, broccoli cauliflower salad, or a side salad.
- Casserole style: add sloppy joe mixture to an oven-safe skillet. Top with shredded cheese and tater tots. Bake until the tots are crisp.
- Sloppy Joe sliders: serve on small, slider-sized buns for a fun game-day snack.
Large batch serving and storing options
- For crowds: Keep the meat warm and ready to serve in a slow cooker.
- To freeze: divide the meat into smaller meal-size portions and freeze in freezer-safe containers. Thaw and reheat for quick, no-fuss meals. PRO TIP: Use freezer zipper-top bags for storage. Fill, press out excess air, and lay flat in the freezer until firm. When frozen, stack the bags for efficient use of space.
Faq's and tips
Absolutely. Simply go to the recipe card below and adjust the number of servings to half.
This sauce is sweet and tangy, but you can reduce the amount of brown sugar if you prefer less sweetness. You can also use no-sugar-added ketchup to reduce the overall sweetness.
Yes, this is a great make-ahead recipe. Along with being freezer-friendly, the meat mixture keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat and enjoy.
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- 3½ pounds ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 1 large green pepper (diced)
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups ketchup
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic (minced (or 4 teaspoon minced))
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper (to taste)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 18-20 sandwich rolls
- In a heavy pot set over medium heat, cook beef until browned, crumbling it as it cooks. Drain the excess fat.
- Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sauce ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
- To serve, spoon onto toasted sandwich rolls.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- To freeze: Allow the mixture to cool. Divide the mixture into meal-sized portions and spoon into freezer zipper-top bags. Lay flat in the freezer until firm. Then stack and store. To serve, thaw and reheat.
- For crowds, keep the mixture warm in a slow cooker.
- For smaller groups, make a half recipe. Simply adjust the servings above.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.