Simple Sloppy Joes Recipe

Our family's favorite simple Sloppy Joes recipe. This updated version leaves out the salt and recommends better-for-you whole grain buns.

This is our family's favorite Sloppy Joes recipe, one I've used for years. I found the original version of the recipe in an old edition of the American Heart Association Cookbook.  This updated version leaves out the salt (though there is salt in some of the ingredients) and recommends better-for-you whole grain buns.

Making sloppy joes from scratch is simple and recommended over the canned "quickie" substitutes. Really, this recipe doesn't take much longer to prepare, is easy to put together with ingredients you probably already have on hand, tastes fresh and delicious, and is much better for you than the canned variety.

I've fixed this many, many times and we love it. Serve your sloppy joes with some crunchy carrots sticks and green pepper slices for a nice, cool contrast.

Here's the recipe:

Simple Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup ketchup (I recommend Simply Heinz Ketchup - see below)
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (or less or omit)
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Brown the meat and onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour off fat.

Add all other ingredients (except buns), mixing well. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered.

Spoon onto hamburger buns and serve.

This recipe doubles or even triples easily to feed a crowd.

Why do I recommend Simply Heinz Ketchup? Simple! It has far less sodium than most bottled ketchup and contains no corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, and no ingredients that you can't pronounce.

Taking the step of substituting just one simple ingredient in your family's diet, such as a healthier ketchup versus regular ketchup, can make a huge difference in overall nutrition. Same goes for using this easy homemade recipe versus using the sloppy joe sauce that's sold in cans. The difference in the amount of sodium per serving is amazing, and you probably already know that high fructose corn syrup (which is also included in the can) is one of the most common ways to take in extra, hidden calories.

Click the links and compare the labels to see and judge the ingredients for yourself.  Then let me know if you try this simple, homemade sloppy joes recipe.

P.S. Should ketchup be refrigerated? Do you refrigerate yours? Click here to learn more and vote in our poll!

Original date of post: January 13, 2007. Updated December 20, 2015.


  1. Yummy-sounding Sloppy Joe sandwich. Interesting facts about Heinz ketchup because I've ALWAYS and ONLY used Heinz for my ketchup - never another brand. It's the best!

    1. Glad you agree, Elf! My kitchen wouldn't know what to do if I brought home ketchup that wasn't Heinz. I'm fixing this recipe today and really looking forward to it. Bought another bottle of ketchup a couple of days ago, too, so there's no chance I'll run out!


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