No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.


Classic Sloppy Joe Recipe

Sloppy joes aren't just for the school cafeteria! Soft sandwich buns work best with this classic kid-friendly recipe. Serve sloppy joes with pickles or potato chips. The beef mixture from the sloppy joe recipe can also be served over pasta.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Classic Sloppy Joe Recipe

Source: Everyday Food, November 2003


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Add ground beef to skillet. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.

  3. Stir tomato sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce into beef mixture in skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.

  4. Season the mixture with more salt and pepper, as desired. Spoon onto buns, and serve immediately.

Cook's Note

Sloppy joe mixture keeps in the freezer up to three months. Freeze individual portions, then defrost as needed.

Reviews (20)

  • Julie000 5 Feb, 2014

    Great Sloppy Joes. Not too spicy, and even my picky four year old who doesn't eat anything "funny" tried these and liked them! I'm so excited that we have a new dish in our lineup.
    I did make just a couple changes because I was afraid there would be too many veggies visible, or that it would be too flavorful for my picky I added only 1/2 of an onion, 1/3 of the bell pepper, and 1 garlic clove. Granted, this recipe is a little more bland than Manwich, but only a little, and just tastier

  • katherinez 6 May, 2013

    I use half spaghetti sauce and half ketchup.With either ground beef or Boca crumbles. Sometimes I put it on a pizza with grated cheese. No complaints.

  • jjjggg 11 Apr, 2013

    I personally felt this was incredibly bland. I guess it would be a good meal for picky kids, but for adults that like some flavor I would not recommend this recipe. I added a bunch of chili powder and some leftover taco seasoning, so it turned out to be pretty good, but without that it tasted like straight tomato sauce.

  • AnneWol 11 Jan, 2013

    You didn't say to drain the fat and I know many people who like grease, but not in this house, it really has to go!

  • Barbkk 17 Feb, 2011

    I made this on a cold winter night and it "hit the spot". The recipe is easy and delicious. I added a half capful of vinegar to mine to give it a little bite.

  • annadanielle 17 Oct, 2010

    I think the recipe is plenty sweet as is...I added some diced jalapeno to amp up the flavor, and it turned out delicious!

  • CharlieMil 5 Oct, 2010

    I think this recipe is great. If you want a little more sweetness, just add brown sugar to your desired taste. I tried Rachel Ray's recipe and think this one is far better.

  • Scarls17 17 Aug, 2010

    Yum! So good. Definitely give it time to thicken, but they have a great taste.

  • Scarls17 17 Aug, 2010

    Yum! So good. Definitely give it time to thicken, but they have a great taste.

  • lasaunda 1 Feb, 2010

    This was delicious, ONCE I added more to it. I used Bobby Flay's recipe and added brown sugar, ancho chile powder and honey. Thank goodness I tasted it before I served it! Once I added the extra ingredients, it was great!

  • smd1227 15 Jan, 2010

    Here's a link to the BEST sloppy joes I ever made: Rachel Ray Super Sloppy Joes: Trust me! This will become your new recipe.

  • yarnpie 5 Jan, 2010

    I make these with boca burger crumbles and they come out perfect!

  • uneacadienne 30 Sep, 2009

    Made these last night! so good and lots of flavor!! Even my picky-eater boyfriend said this recipe was a keeper!

  • hmhque 16 Sep, 2009

    I exchanged the celery for 2 carrots and added a little Sriracha sauce for spice. I thought they turned out great and my kids 12 and 8 loved them

  • Tryingsomethingnew 27 Feb, 2009

    This brings back so many great school-hood memories.

  • MaryS 28 Jan, 2009

    If you don't have tomato sauce on hand you can substitute a 15-oz can of whole tomatoes pureed in the blender with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. If you're feeding a crowd (I tripled it) a 28 oz can of tomatoes with a small can of tomato paste was more than needed. (I froze the excess for use in spaghetti sauce.)

  • kate123 24 Dec, 2008

    I add mustard and a little bit of brown sugar. Or molasses. Yum!

  • Kait40 15 Sep, 2008

    These are the best. Years ago I used to think Sloppy Joes could only be made with packaged spice mixes. (Which I had to stop using when I developed a fatal allergy to MSG.) I was ever so glad to find this recipe in my Everyday Food. Now I have friends and family both requesting this dish. It is great.

  • granny_heidi 17 Apr, 2008

    I also add steak sauce and mustard to my sloppy joes. Gives it more of that
    smoky tang flavor. Again, always a big hit with our family of 12 grandkids, one
    on the way.

  • krisx2 9 Jan, 2008

    Easy and delicious! I couldn't believe how quickly it cooked up too. The whole family loved this, even the toddlers.

Related Topics