Real Food Sloppy Joes!

My poor daughter recently said to me, “Mom I keep reading all these books that talk about Sloppy Joes, and I’ve never had one before. Can you please make some so I can finally try it like everyone else??” Gosh, she is so deprived!

Seriously though, if that’s her biggest problem this week I will gladly take it. Not to mention it was a “problem” easily solved with this recipe below. And just for the record, both kids went back for seconds. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did! :)

#SloppyJoes from 100 Days of #RealFood
#SloppyJoes from 100 Days of #RealFood

Sloppy Joes

My poor daughter recently said to me, "Mom I keep reading all these books that talk about Sloppy Joes, and I've never had one before. Can you please make it so I can finally try it like everyone else??"
4.9 from 37 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 pound ground beef grass-fed recommended
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 can tomato sauce plain, 15 ounce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon Optional: This was the “secret” ingredient that reminded me of the Sloppy Joes from my childhood, but I realize it’s out of the ordinary so decide for yourself if you like this addition!
  • whole-wheat buns toasted, for serving (for sliders use small buns or dinner rolls!)


  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften but not brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef and garlic, and cook while breaking up the meat with a spatula. Season with the salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the meat has browned all the way through. Drain the excess fat and discard.
  • Add the tomato sauce, honey, chili powder, vinegar, mustard, and cinnamon (if using) to the pan and simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with whole-wheat buns and some yummy vegetables on the side. Enjoy!


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Sloppy Joes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 1304mg57%
Potassium 988mg28%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 3550IU71%
Vitamin C 14.9mg18%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 4.1mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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184 thoughts on “Real Food Sloppy Joes!”

  1. 5 stars
    11/21/2020 — I will give this one five stars because my 65-year-old, picky-toddler of a husband ate it and said he “thoroughly enjoyed it.”

    He’s been struck with rheumatoid arthritis. His jaw, along with multiple other joints, have been aching very badly. It’s been EXTREMELY difficult to feed him his “slab o’ meat” for dinner because he can’t chew it! He suggested sloppy joes. I went on the hunt for a recipe that DID NOT include multiple cups of ketchup. Finding this recipe was a blessing.

    And there’s vegetables in it! To get this old fart to eat vegetables is … nigh unto impossible. This recipe does not include bell peppers or Worcestershire sauce, which is another thing that attracted my attention. They upset his stomach and/or give him heartburn.

    I was short a little ground beef. Had a 13 ounce package in the freezer. I added 3 ounces of prepared, canned beans. Had to puree them into the tomato sauce so he couldn’t see them.

    Yes, he IS a delicate flower. {rolling eyes so hard} Feeding him all these years has been a challenge.

    And there’s honey in it instead of sugar!

    On top of all that, it tastes good! Thank you so much!`

  2. 5 stars
    We love these! But my family will not do chunks of veggies easily ;) so we puree cooked carrot or use one 4 oz container of baby food carrots and we add it when we add the tomato sauce. Just a tip in case anyone needs it ;)

  3. We’ve loved this recipe for a while, but I am gluten free now. Made it last night and served it over butternut squash ‘rice’ – it was delicious!

  4. Hey what’s all this new age talk about while grain and wheat not made for human consumption. I am that our digestive systems were not made to eat grains because we do not have 4 stomachs to digest it properly. Am I getting this confused. Please help me with some clarity on this issues. The reason I ask is because I see your an advocate of whole grain/ whole wheat buns and breads

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Yes, Lisa’s family enjoys wheat and other 100% whole grains and sees no reason to avoid them unless you have a sensitivity or intolerance for them.

      1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        Hi there. Lisa often buys buns from Great Harvest Bread Company. You can also find Ezeikial buns in the frozen breads section of most stores.

  5. I tried this recipe in the crockpot, and it worked great. I quadrupled the recipe for a crowd, and everyone loved it. I did not add the cinnamon. :)

  6. 5 stars
    Made it again for lunch today since everyone was home. Toasted the buns (I’d love it if I could find a good recipe for buns) topped with Monterey jack cheese ! Yum yum !

  7. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was really good. I served it with your macaroni casserole and it was a big hit. Actually, if you mix the sloppy jo into the mac n cheese, it’s really yummy! We call it ‘Sloppy Mac’. :)

  8. I grew up eating lots of sloppy Joes because my father loved them. We always spread thin layer of yellow mustard on bottom half of bun, sloppy Joe mix, then a bit of slaw on top of sloppy Joe mixture.
    IF eating with fork, we omitted top half of bun.

  9. I make this all the time. I usually use ground turkey (we have Better access to better turkey). I rarely have celery around but I usually add 2 or 3 carrots instead of 1 because we looove carrots.

  10. 5 stars
    We’ve made this recipe multiple times and we love it! I just made it again tonight and I was thinking that if you put the veggies in the food processor, no one would really be able to tell that there are vegetables in this! And I leave out the celery and double the carrots because my husband hates celery.

  11. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe! My husband and I like it BETTER than the canned stuff! We have eaten it more times than I can count. Easy recipe, too. I was wondering though, I’m trying to lose weight and do you know the nutritional info?

      1. Thank you, I have seen that recipe but I don’t have a bread machine. I live abroad and they aren’t available here. Is there another recipe you can recommend? I have a whole wheat bread recipe that doesn’t need a bread maker, but it is not good for buns.

      2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        Ah, sorry. Lisa does not have a specific bun recipe. She typically buys her buns from Great Harvest. :)

  12. I LOVE your blog. I was in search of a sloppy Joe recipe and was so excited to find yours. I made it tonight. Made just a few adjustments/additions. I added some bell pepper and added 1/2tsp cumin. Also I used ground Turkey. I usually make our own sloppy Joe sauce but it is still full of stuff we shouldn’t eat,so I was excited to taste this recipe full of good and real food. I did add the cinnamon and I love the flavor it adds. Thanks for my New go to Joe recipe.

  13. 5 stars
    I made these last night and they were delicious! Definitely making these again. I add just a pinch of cayenne because I thought it needed just a little heat. Also, the cinnamon was a great addition. Don’t leave it out!

  14. 5 stars
    I’ve been craving Sloppy Joe’s and made this tonight. Sloppy Joe’s are my ultimate comfort food and I have missed them this past year I’ve been eating real food. This recipe is amazing, my daughter and I both agreed these are the absolute best Sloppy Joe’s. I was out of cinnamon so we didn’t add it

  15. 5 stars
    Oh Lisa I am so happy to have found this recipe!! Sloppy Joe’s are one of my all time comfort foods. I’ve been thinking about Sloppy Joe’s for weeks now and have been thinking about how I can do it without breaking the rules. Luckily I have all the ingredients on hand so we will be having SloppyJoes’ this weekend.

    1. I make this in the crock pot…I brown the ground beef, and throw all the ingredients into the crock pot, stir it up, and let it do it’s thing!

  16. 5 stars
    My family absolutely loves this recipe! We skip the buns altogether and serve it on beds of shredded cabbage…yum! Thank you!

  17. Myself and our four and two year old made this for dinner tonight. We substituted venison for beef and it turned out excellent. I added some fresh diced tomatoes simply because they needed eaten. It was a win… the husband and one year old loved it as well. I made your Asian Coleslaw as our side and it worked great.

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