Homemade Sloppy Joes

If you’ve never made Homemade Sloppy Joe’s before, you’re missing out!  Unlike the canned sauce or dry seasoning packet, they are loaded with fresh flavor that both kids and adults can appreciate.  Using the fresh veggies and a high quality tomato paste make all the difference.  And on top of being both yummy and crowd pleasing, they couldn’t be easier.  If you can brown meat and chop an onion, this recipe is in the bag!


As you may already know, Rachel Ray is a dear, dear friend of mine.  (No, I’ve never met her… but we’re close… she’s my weeknight go-to.)  I own several of her cookbooks and while they may not be the fanciest on the shelf, they are certainly the most stained from use.  This quick and delish dish is another winner from the queen of 30 minute meals.  You can serve these up with Deviled Potato Salad (another RR recipe, coming soon), french fries, or just plain ole’ potato chips.  To take them up a notch, try our Homemade Hamburger Buns.  They really are so much better than store bought – but no one is judging you for picking up a bag’o’buns.  I usually do!

To start, finely dice a medium onion and a red bell pepper, set aside.  Note: I don’t always keep bell peppers, but I do usually have a bag of small, sweet peppers.  They are great for salads, omelettes, and a myriad of other things.  Plus, they’re usually cheaper than bell peppers.  I have subbed 3-4 of these little ones for the big bell several times, and they are just as delicious.  Turn your burner to medium-high and add about a tablespoon of oil (once around the pan) and your ground beef to a large frying pan.


Break up the meat with your spatula.  In a small dish, combine the brown sugar and steak seasoning, then toss it in the pan.  Tip: Montreal Steak Seasoning is more or less coarsely ground salt and pepper, with a little garlic and onion powder.  If I’m ever out, I just use a mix of those spices.


Cook until meat is completely browned, then add in the onion, pepper, Worcestershire, and red wine vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes.  You can’t really tell in the picture below, but the meat will look dark and almost sticky from the brown sugar.


Add the tomato sauce and paste (I buy the ultra concentrated kind, and I’m usually pretty generous with it) and stir to combine.


Reduce the heat a little more so your sauce is just simmering, and cook another 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.  You can decide here how thick you want your sauce; just keep it simmering until you’re happy.


Serve on warm buns with toppings of your choice.  I like mine plain, my hubby adds mayo, and my mom likes sliced tomatoes – so however you want ’em!  These also make super fun sliders for a birthday or football party!


Homemade Sloppy Joes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8, depending on how big you make your sandwiches


1 1/4 pounds ground beef or sirloin
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or like seasoning mix)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Buns, for serving (try our homemade buns)
Toppings, as desired

Step 1:  Pour oil into large pan and heat over medium high.  Add meat and begin to break up with spatula.

Step 2: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and seasoning.  Add to the pan and cook until meat is completely brown and cooked through.

Step 3:  Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, pepper, vinegar, and Worcestershire.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4:  Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine.  Reduce heat so that sauce is just simmering, and cook about 5 minutes more, or until sauce has thickened and reached desired consistency.

Step 5:  Serve on warm buns with toppings of your choice.  Grab extra napkins!


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