How Do I Make Sloppy Joe Sauce?

by Joshua McCarron

A sloppy joe sandwich on toasted bread with a cilantro garnish.

Robyn Mackenzie/iStock/Getty Images

The Sloppy Joe is a classic childhood sandwich that consists of ground beef in a tomato based sauce. Onion and peppers may be added to enhance the flavor, but it is the sauce that gives the Sloppy Joe it's signature flavor. You can find canned Sloppy Joe sauces or mixes at your grocery store, but making it yourself may be a healthier choice because you are in control of all the ingredients.

Saute one large diced onion in 1 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet until the onion becomes translucent.

Add 2 cups of ketchup, ΒΌ cup of regular yellow mustard, 2 tbsp. of tomato paste and 1 tbsp. of brown sugar to the skillet. Mix all the ingredients together and simmer until the sauce is blended and a uniform consistency.

Add 1 1/2 lbs. cooked ground beef to the sauce and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes. The recipe serves four people.

Add 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar near the end of the sauce simmering for added flavor, or a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper for some heat.


  • Experiment with your other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, green pepper or garlic for a slightly different flavor.

    Serve on whole grain buns and use lean ground turkey instead of beef to reduce fat and calories.

Photo Credits

  • Robyn Mackenzie/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.