This Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe with 3 ingredients is my go-to dinner for busy days.
Plus, kids love this easy recipe, and it’s perfect for feeding a crowd in no time.
What’s A Sloppy Joe?
A Sloppy Joe is an American sandwich recipe made from ground meat cooked in a sweet tomato sauce.
Homemade Sloppy Joe sauce recipes are usually calling for as many as 10 ingredients, the most popular being brown sugar, mustard, and ketchup.
These three ingredients give their particular flavor to the Sloppy Joe sauce.
Of course, if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, you may want a quick, easy Sloppy Joe recipe.
So here’s my 3-ingredient Sloppy Joe recipe. Don’t worry, I will give you extra tips to add flavor to the sauce if you want to make it more authentic.
But as a mum, I like this easy version. It’s a great recipe for game night or a kid’s birthday party because it takes under 15 minutes to make.
Plus, kids like simple flavors, so they all love this easy Sloppy Joe recipe.
Here’s how we make it.
How To Make Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe With 3 Ingredients
If you are in a rush, try this easy dinner made with 3 ingredients. I guarantee the kids and family love it every time.
All you need to make the easiest Sloppy Joe recipe are:
- Ground Beef – You can also use ground meat alternatives. My partner is vegan, and we made the recipe many times with textured soy protein or Beyond Meat. Both come out as good.
- Ketchup – I am using ketchup with 50% less sugar from my local store made from real tomatoes.
- Yellow Mustard – Classic American mustard is the best, but you can also use Dijon mustard.
That’s it! You are guaranteed a tasty dinner with just these 3 ingredients.
However, let me share with you the few extra ingredients I like to add to make the sauce much more flavorsome without spending hours cooking.
Try adding some of these ingredients to the sauce:
- 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to boost the tomato flavor.
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar for a sweeter flavor.
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt or ground pepper.
First, bring a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, and using a wooden spoon, break the meat and brown the ground beef.
Cook and stir until no more pieces of ground meat are pink.
Now add the ketchup and mustard and stir to coat the meat with the sauce. If too thick, add a splash of water.
Cook and simmer for 5 minutes until fragrant and warm.
Taste the sauce and play with the flavors. If you like, add salt, pepper, or some of the extra flavors listed above.
Serving Sloppy Joe
A Sloppy Joe is served in a soft hamburger bun. We like to lightly toast the bread in the oven before adding the meat mixture.
To do so, preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C). Cut the bread buns in half lengthwise, then place them on a baking sheet with their cut side up. Bake the buns for 2 to 3 minutes until the bread buns are just warm.
Next, add a spoonful of cooked Sloppy Joe meat and add some slices of gherkins in the mix if you like.
My family likes to add some vegetables or cheese to the sandwich. While it’s not the classic recipe, it’s delicious to add some of the following:
- Red Bell Pepper slices
- Cheddar Slices or dairy-free cheese
The cooked meat can be stored for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
You can also freeze the cooked Sloppy Joe mixture in an airtight box and thaw them in the fridge the day before.
Freezing A Large Batch
Another idea is to fill many sliders with the mix and freeze the entire batch in a foil box.
This is perfect for feeding a large family for dinner. Simply remove them from the freezer 3 hours before and bake them until warm.
This 3-Ingredient Sloppy Joe is delicious served with some of the sides below:
- Potato Chips
- Cucumber Sticks
- Carrot Sticks
- Celery Sticks
If you are allergic to some of the ingredients, you can try the following substitutions.
- Beef Alternative – This recipe works with any ground meat, including ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork.
- Gluten-Free – The sauce of this recipe is gluten-free. Make sure you use a gluten-free hamburger bun for the recipe and check that your ketchup has no wheat listed as an ingredient.
- Vegetarian – If you are vegetarian, swap the meat for rehydrated textured soy or ground meat-free grounds like Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat for vegans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are my answers to your most common questions about this easy Sloppy Joe recipe.
Can I Make The Sauce Sweeter?
If your ketchup is low in sugar, the sauce won’t be very sweet.
Try stirring one tablespoon of brown sugar or 1/2 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce in the mix.
Why Is My Sauce So Thick?
Simply add water, one tablespoon at a time to thin out the tomato sauce.
Why Is My Sauce Too Sweet?
To make less sweet sauce, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
Can I Cook The Recipe In A Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, including 3 tablespoons of water, and cook for 12 minutes on a low setting.
Did you love this recipe? Share a comment or review below.
Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- ¾ cup Ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Yellow Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2-3 tablespoons Water to thin out sauce the
- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar if the sauce is too sweet
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste to boost tomato flavor
- 6 Hamburger Buns
- In a non-stick skillet, add the ground beef and cook, breaking the meat with a wooden spoon to ensure it's cooking on all sides. Brown the ground beef until the meat is not pink.
- Stir in ketchup, mustard, and any optional seasoning.
- Stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes until warm and fragrant. If too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and cook until the sauce is sticky and shiny.
- Taste the sauce and adjust it by adding any of the optional flavors listed.
- Serve into slightly toasted hamburger buns.