Homemade Sloppy Joe’s
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Yes, that’s right folks. It’s time! Behold and bear witness to the mightiest of mighty recipes. That is, of course – Homemade Sloppy Joe’s! This world famous, yet uniquely American dish absolutely fascinates us more than any other. Growing up outside of the US but being exposed to US TV, we were well aware of what a Sloppy Joe is, but never had any exposure to actually trying one

So that’s now all changed. This staple dish of many a high school cafeteria in the 80’s and 90’s is something we were somewhat hesitant to try, but glad we did. Our Homemade Sloppy Joe’s are an exceptional use of leftovers from our Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese recipe, and are so simple to create. Just batch cook a large quantity of the meat sauce and chances are you’ve got leftovers. What better way to eat those leftovers than to slap the largest quantity possible that you can fit in between a burger bun then devour it!

What is not to love about Homemade Sloppy Joe’s?

What we love most about this dish is its simplicity. It literally is a big slab of slow cooked meat wedged between two pieces of bread. It’s simple and loved by kids all over the world. Provided you’ve created a very good meat sauce, then your Sloppy Joe is going to be super tasty. While simple, if you elevate the flavors enough in the meat sauce you’ll be eating a very tasty Burger

When creating Sloppy Joe’s from our Bolognese sauce leftovers we debated the idea of adding additional ingredients but decided against it in the end. I could see a ‘cheffy’ version of these Homemade Sloppy Joe’s by adding some fancy ingredients such as Bacon, perhaps some baked Camembert, maybe a Fried Egg, or even some fancy greens and herbs. However, that’s not really a Sloppy Joe at the end of the day! So, we kept this super simple: Meat & Bun!

If you haven’t made our Bolognese Sauce that’s ok, as the below recipe has a simplified overview of how to make this. We would recommend heading over to this link to follow the full recipe, however the below will give you more than enough information to make a delicious meat sauce

Homemade Sloppy Joe's close up
The best Homemade Sloppy Joe’s have more filling than is humanly imaginable!

Recipe Details


4 people

Prep time

20 minutes

Cooking time

4 – 5 hours

Total time

4 – 5 hours

Homemade Sloppy Joe’s Recipe


If making the meat sauce from scratch

  • ½ lb. Ground Pork (recommend 85/15)
  • ½ lb. Ground Beef (recommend 85/15)
  • ½ large Brown Onion, Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup of Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Carrots, finely diced
  • 1 Celery Sticks, finely diced
  • ¼ cup Red Wine (optional to remove if you are making the dish for children)
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 can of Crushed Tomatoes (400 ml / 18 oz.)
  • 2 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley or Basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


To make the Meat Sauce

  1. Heat Olive Oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the Onion, Celery, Mushroom and Carrots
  2. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute, then add the Ground Beef and Ground Pork. Cook until the meat has browned, between 5 – 10 minutes
  3. Add the Red Wine and cook until it has reduced by half, then add the Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Rosemary, Thyme, and 1 tsp. of Salt and Pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer
  4. Simmer for 40 – 50 minutes until the mixture has reduced and the sauce thickens. Once at the desired consistency, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Remove the Thyme and Rosemary stalks. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary

To assemble the Homemade Sloppy Joe’s

  1. The key here is to see how much meat sauce you can fit into a bun without it going everywhere. Grab a large spoonful of sauce and place it onto the bottom of your bun. Heap on more if it will fit
  2. Finish by placing the top of the bun on top, and serving with a side of chips

This is no doubt one of the messiest dishes you can possibly eat. There are a few recommendations for eating. We highly suggest eating while standing up, leaning over a plate. The meat filling will definitely pour out everywhere, so have a good system to capture what drips out!

Secondly, lots of napkins! Especially if you’re feeding these Homemade Sloppy Joe’s to your children. They’re going to make even more mess! So plenty of napkins are a mandatory for this dish. Happy Cooking!

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