Can You Substitute Spaghetti Sauce for Tomato Sauce in a Sloppy Joe?

Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Often prepared in a skillet on the stovetop, the Sloppy Joe has been a staple of the American diet since the early 20th century. This savory sub boasts two basic ingredients; namely ground beef and tomato sauce. Since spaghetti sauce is a form of tomato sauce, it may be substituted in your recipe.

Subsituting Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce may be substituted at a one-to-one ratio for pasta sauce. For example, if your recipe requires 8 oz. of tomato sauce, simply substitute 8 oz. of tomato sauce. Using a plain spaghetti sauce is preferable to using another type of sauce loaded with additional ingredients such as meat and vegetables. Those additional ingredients can alter the traditional Sloppy Joe flavor.


After browning your beef in a stovetop skillet, drain away any fat from the skillet. Next, add your spaghetti sauce and stir gently. Finally, fold in additional seasonings according to your recipe. Once the sauce is heated through it is ready to serve. If you think your Sloppy Joe mixture is too "loose" or "runny," add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste and stir to thicken it up.