This Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes recipe features a zesty homemade sauce and can be made on the stove top or in your crock pot. On the the table in 30 minutes for a quick family dinner.
Before we get too far in, I have to know…how do you refer to these tasty sandwiches – as sloppy joes or Manwiches? I’m a sloppy joe girl, but I know lots of people call them something different.
I’m sharing tips to help you get the best results with this recipe. If you don’t need the tips, scroll to the bottom for the full recipe, including a printable recipe card.
This is a great dish when you need to feed a crowd. You can easily double or triple the recipe without having to worry the flavors will change. Make as many servings as you like and it will still have the same down home delicious flavor.
My homemade sauce starts with a tomato base and contains staple ingredients you probably have on hand. It’s a classic sauce that perfectly complements the ground beef.
As I said earlier, sloppy joes can be ready in about 30 minutes when using the stove top method. However if you’re like me and like to ease the dinner time rush, you’ll want to prepare this classic dish in the crockpot.
You can throw this together in the early afternoon and it’s ready to go at dinner time. Add a simple romaine salad and oven fries and you’re good to go!
And clean-up is easy, too. That’s my kind of meal. If you’re looking for a new crockpot, here’s a model similar to what I use. I like the larger size for dinners, but I also have a small one for making dips and appetizers for parties.
Here’s a little pro tip: if you haven’t used crock pot liners yet, you are truly missing out. Place the liner inside the crockpot and then add your ingredients.
I recommend using nylon or silicone utensils for serving to prevent the liner from tearing. When you’re done, simply toss the liner in the trash. Easy peasy clean-up. You’re welcome!
Ready To Make Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes? Here’s What You Need
Lean ground beef – I prefer to use 97% lean if I’m using the slow cooker, to keep the dish from being too greasy. You can also substitute ground turkey for a healthier option.
Dry Mustard – if you don’t have this you can substitute Dijon mustard for a similar flavor.
Green pepper – This veggie is optional, but it does add some additional flavor. Chop it small or omit if your kiddos are haters.
Other ingredients: celery, onions, brown sugar, ketchup, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and tomato sauce.
How To Make Homemade Crock Pot Sloppy Joes
In a large skillet, cook the ground beef with celery, onions and green pepper until beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are soft and translucent. Use a meat chopper to break up the meat – we like our sloppy joes with a smaller texture rather than bigger chunks of meat.
Drain off the grease if necessary. Transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Use the keep warm feature if you’re not quite ready to serve.
Stove Top Method
Follow the same instructions for the crock pot method and then cook over medium low heat for 15-30 minutes or until heated through. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Can I Make Sloppy Joes Ahead of Time?
Yes! Prepare as directed and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve. Heat on the stove top or microwave before serving.
Freezer Friendly Version
Transfer cooked meat mixture to a bowl to cool, then place in a resealable freezer bag or container. Don’t forget to label the contents, including the date. Will keep in the freezer for about 2 months.
Serve Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes With:
Old Fashioned Sloppy Joes
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup yellow or white onion, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup green pepper, finely chopped, optional
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup barbeque sauce
- 8 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- hamburger buns
Instructions for CrockPot
- In a large skillet, cook the ground beef with celery, onions and green pepper until beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are soft and translucent. Drain off grease if necessary.
- Add cooked meat and remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through.
Instructions for Stovetop
- In a large skillet, cook the ground beef with celery, onions and green pepper until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are soft and translucent. Drain off grease if necessary.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Cook over medium low heat for 15-30 minutes or until heated through and sauce has thickened.
- Serve immediately on burger buns or keep warm in the crockpot until ready to serve.
- Make ahead directions: prepare as directed and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve. Reheat on the stove top or in the microwave before serving.
- Freezer directions: prepare recipe as directed. Allow cooked meat to cool before transferring to a resealable freezer bag or container. Will keep for up to 2 months. To use: defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave before serving.
Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.