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Sloppy Joes

A skillet filled with sloppy Joe meat mixture, flanked by a filled, untapped sandwich with a toasted top and a bag of sesame seed buns.
This simple version of sloppy Joes, the classic sandwich served in school cafeterias and at kitchen counters across the country, comes together in about 20 minutes and can be made with ground beef, chicken, or turkey. As the name suggests, they are messy, so serve with a fork and plenty of napkins.
Sam Sifton

Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 1 hr
6 servings
442 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small (4 oz) onion chopped
  • 2 (3 oz) celery stalks diced
  • 1 jalapeño diced
  • 1 small (4 oz) red bell pepper diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef preferably 80/20
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned or homemade tomato sauce plus more if needed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade hot sauce
  • Salt
  • 6 store-bought or homemade hamburger buns


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil. Toss in the onion, celery, jalapeño, and red bell pepper, and cook until the vegetables are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Dump the ground beef into the pot and stir, let sizzle until well browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce, mix and let simmer for 3 minutes more. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and continue cooking until the mixture is quite thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Toast the hamburger buns, load them up, and dig in.