Growing up, Summer always included sloppy joes poolside. This is one of those great childhood memories that has been burned into my brain. We would inevitably be in the middle of a game of sharks and minnows, or colors (anyone else love this game?), but I couldn’t wait to dry off and devour the hot sloppy joe, Ruffles, and fruit my mom would sweetly bring out on plastic plates for us to enjoy. Of course, Manwhich was the name of the game. It was quick, easy, cheap, and NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) disappointed. These days, I’ve moved on from the canned stuff, mostly because the ingredients aren’t the greatest, and now make the best homemade sloppy joes ever.
I did my best to recreate that perfectly tangy, slightly sweet (without adding any sugar) tomato base, and of course used fresh green bell pepper and onion. The result is nothing short of epic, and WAY better than the canned stuff. Sorry Manwhich, but it was time to grow up. The filling is bold, beefy, perfectly balanced, and the greatest scooped up with some ridged potato chips.
If you’ve never had sloppy joes, you’re definitely missing out. Make a batch of these homemade sloppy joes, and I promise, they will not disappoint. Plus, you will finally understand one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history – in Billy Madison when the lunch lady comes around with a tray of extra sloppy sloppy joes. I am laughing as I type this just thinking about it.Print
A healthier take on a beloved classic, these are the best homemade sloppy joes.
- 1 lb super lean ground beef (the leaner the better)
- 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- ¾ tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 large hamburger buns
- potato chips with ridges, optional but encouraged
- In a small bowl or 1 cup measuring cup, combine the tomato paste, ketchup, white vinegar, water, ground mustard, and chili powder. Stir, and set aside.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Break up the beef into small pieces as it cooks. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until beef is fully cooked. Remove from heat, and carefully drain any excess fat.
- Return pan to the stove over medium heat. Add garlic and stir. Allow to cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Pour the tomato mixture over the beef and allow to simmer on low heat until sauce has thickened, about 5 more minutes.
- Spoon sloppy joe mixture over a toasted hamburger bun and serve with potato chips with ridges.