Made in less than 30 minutes, this Healthy Sloppy Joe recipe is a true family favorite! Lean ground sirloin, fresh veggies, and beans are enveloped into a sweet and tangy homemade sloppy joe sauce. These Homemade Sloppy Joes are not only healthier, but they are the BEST sloppy joe recipe. PERIOD.
Pair these Homemade Sloppy Joes with Oven Baked Fries or Sweet Potato Fries for a meal the whole family will love! Or ditch the bun and serve on Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes.
Recently one of you told me that you loved Sloppy Joes but hadn’t eaten them in years because you only thought they were possible if made with a can of Sloppy Joe sauce.
I immediately knew that I had to share my Healthy Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe with you because my Sloppy Joe Recipe is NOT from a can and tastes one thousand times better!
Not only is this recipe low in sodium and fat, but it is also an inexpensive and easy recipe!
Homemade Sloppy Joes are sweet, savory, with a hint of spice from the fresh jalapeno, creating the perfect balance of savory flavors. These are SO much better than any Sloppy Joe made with canned sauce.
The true secret to making sloppy joes healthier is not only the homemade sauce but adding beans to the ground meat. This cuts back on fat and adds a boost of fiber to these sloppy joes. Plus it makes a little bit of meat feed A LOT more people! Trust me, you barely notice the beans!
I think your family will agree, these Healthy Sloppy Joes will be one meal that they will all LOVE!
Ingredients for the Best Sloppy Joes
- Ground Beef: I start with lean ground sirloin, but feel free to use ground chicken, bison, or turkey.
- Beans: My secret is to use 2 cups of pinto beans along with ground beef. They blend in perfectly with the flavors of the sloppy joes and make these sloppy joes full of fiber, lower in fat, and stretch further, therefore saving you money! If you don’t want to use beans, use 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds of lean ground meat.
- Onions and Peppers: Fresh onions and bell peppers add a great freshness to the Sloppy Joes. Use red, yellow, or green peppers for this recipe.
- Jalapeno: Fresh jalapenos add a bit of spice and wake up the flavors, but you can omit the jalapeno if you don’t care for spice.
- Tomato Sauce: A classic sloppy joe has a rich tomato sauce. Start with a can of tomato sauce and let the seasonings add in all the flavors.
- Sweetener: Sloppy joe sauce must have a bit of sweetness added to balance the flavors and acidity in the tomato sauce. I use honey, but brown sugar or molasses would be a great substitute.
- Vinegar: The vinegar is a MUST in this sloppy joe sauce recipe. I love apple cider vinegar, but red wine vinegar works as well.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds a salty depth of flavor to the sauce. If you want to make these Gluten-Free Sloppy Joes, use Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce, Braggs Amino Acids, or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce.
How to Make Sloppy Joes
- Preheat a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Add in ground beef, peppers, onions, and jalapenos to saute. I find I do not need to add any oil to the pan, as the meat will render off just enough fat to soften the peppers and onions. Feel free to add in up to 1/2 tablespoon canola or olive oil if desired.
- Cook the meat and vegetables, breaking up the meat into small chunks, as it cooks.
- Once the beef is browned, drain off any excess fat that has been rendered in the skillet.
- Add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and beans, and stir well.
- Bring the sloppy joe mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
- Add in the apple cider vinegar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir well and let simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Serve Sloppy Joes on buns or over a baked potato or baked sweet potato and top with cheese if desired.
More Ground Beef Recipes
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Skillet
- Easy Homemade Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Ground Beef
- Easy Pizza Meatloaf
These Sloppy Joes are a one-skillet meal that is sure to please your family!
Homemade Sloppy Joes
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 small onion diced
- 1/2 jalapeno seeded and minced
- 1 small red pepper diced
- 2 cups canned or cooked pinto beans drained if canned
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
For Serving (optional)
- 8 buns
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- Preheat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add in the sirloin, with the onion, jalapeno, and red pepper. Saute the meat and vegetables, until the meat is browned, breaking into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off any excess fat (which there rarely is any) and return to heat.
- Add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, beans, garlic, salt and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil then lower to simmer.
- Add in the apple cider vinegar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well and let simmer 5-10 minutes.
- Serve on buns with cheese if desired.
- Leftover sloppy joe mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Notes on Ingredients:
- Ground Beef: Use lean ground sirloin, ground chicken, bison, or turkey.
- Beans: Use 2 cups of pinto beans to replace 1 pound of ground beef. If you want sloppy joes without means, increase the meat to 1 and 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds of meat. Alternatively, if you want Vegetarian Sloppy Joes, use 4 cups pinto beans.
- Onions and Peppers: If you don't have fresh onions or peppers, use a frozen blend.
- Jalapeno: Omit the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno so they lend more flavor than spice. Or omit altogether if despise heat.
- Sweetener: I use honey, but brown sugar or molasses would be a great substitute.
- Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- If you want to make these Gluten-Free Sloppy Joes, use Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce, Braggs Amino Acids, or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce.
This recipe was inspired by Ellie Krieger’s recipe.