Sloppy Joes are practically one of my love languages. You put a bunch of ingredients in a pan, slow-cook it, and wind up with a bowl of soul. My kids always loved this recipe for Sloppy Joes, and as a mom, I found them fantastic because they were a whole meal, along with some cheese, a bun, chips, and a pickle. Once you cook it, you’ve got meals for the week! I’m well aware that there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but the reality is that it’s worth it. And I absolutely recommend that you double the recipe because the Sloppy Joe mixture freezes beautifully. 

Sloppy joe sandwich

Spice Up This Recipe for Sloppy Joes: Sumac and Aleppo Pepper

I like my updated version with Sumac and Aleppo pepper. If either is a spice you’ve never had, now is the time to try them! They are certainly worth the search, but if you don’t have access to these spices, it’s ok to leave them out.

Zest It Up: The Lemony Charm of Sumac in Every Bite

One thing I love about Sumac is that it’s an inexpensive way to update all of your cooking. Its lemony flavor is delicious in and on just about everything. 

overhead pot with cut sloppy joe

Step-by-Step How to Make Teri’s Sloppy Joes

The Bain-Marie Magic: Cooking Sloppy Joes with Elegance

I know most people have a slow cooker, but something funny about me is that I simply do not. I still use a bain-marie (pronounced “bane mah-REE”), which is essentially a fancy way to describe a hot water bath in cooking. For me, it brings together this recipe in the most lovely, gentle way. 

A sloppy joe sliced in half showing the inside of the cut half.

We do have a Paleo version of this recipe for when you’re doing Whole30, but when you’re not, I’m sure you’ll find that the amazing way the sugar melts together in this version adds an irresistible depth of flavor. If you are looking for a Whole30 version click here.

After you make Teri’s recipe for Sloppy Joes, leave a comment and let me know what you think.  If you’re looking for more inspiration, sign up for our Friday Favorites newsletter, and follow along on PinterestInstagram, and TikTok to join in all the fun!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Sloppy joe sandwich

Teri’s Sloppy Joes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 40 min
  • Cook Time: 5 hr 30 min
  • Total Time: 6 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This recipe is so good, it’s mandatory to double it! This dish ends up being rather spicy, so if you want a more mild, kid-friendly version leave out the chipotle peppers, cayenne and hot sauce.


  •   1 1/4 pound ground beef
  •   1 – 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, if needed
  •   2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more if needed
  •   1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  •   1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  •   ½ red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  •   2 cloves garlic, minced
  •   2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  •   1 teaspoon fresh dry mustard (if yours is from 1989 it’s time to invest in a new one)
  •   ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •   1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •   1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper, optional
  •   1 teaspoon sumac, optional
  •   2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  •   1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or 2 tablespoons if not using apple cider vinegar)
  •   1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  •   1 – 14 oz. can tomatoes with liquid(fire roasted if possible), pureed
  •   1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
  •   2 oz. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed, optional (these make the dish spicy)
  •   1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional (if gluten-free, leave this ingredient out)
  •   A few dashes of hot sauce, optional
  •   6 gluten free or regular hamburger buns
  •   6 slices cheddar cheese
  •   Sliced pickles
  •   Marinated Red Onions
  •   potato chips 


  1. Preheat the oven to 200F.
  2. Prepare and measure all ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the beef and if needed, 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add half the salt and, stirring occasionally, cook for 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and stirring to break up the meat and frequently, cook until meat is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the salt, smoked paprika, dry mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, and the optional Aleppo pepper and sumac, stirring to combine. 
  5. Add the brown sugar and vinegars stirring to combine well. 
  6. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and all remaining optional ingredients (Adobe peppers, Worcestershire and hot sauce), stirring to combine well. 
  7. Transfer to a slow cooker, Bain Marie, or keep in the Dutch oven and place into a larger pan with water and place in the oven. Cover and cook, stirring every ninety minutes, until done, about 6 hours. 
  8. To serve, toast burger buns (gluten free or regular) with cheddar cheese until the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted. Spoon a good amount of the sloppy Joe mixture and if you’d like, top with sliced pickles and marinated red onions. Serve with potato chips and enjoy!


Make sure to replenish water in the pan when needed, if it evaporates. I like to try a bit along the way and decide when it tastes perfect. (We generally can’t wait much longer than 5 or 6 hours because anyone who comes within a mile of my kitchen or happens to call me on the phone that day is eager to eat it.) You may end up cooking between 4-6 hours, depending on your idea of the perfect Sloppy Joe. Add more sugar or vinegar as desired. 

Click here for the Paleo version.

If you’d like to make a double batch for meal prep, I suggest you double the ingredients except for the paprika, cayenne pepper, and Aleppo pepper and sumac if using — you an do 1.5 times the written amounts. 


  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 205
  • Sugar: 10.8 g
  • Sodium: 620.2 mg
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.3 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Cholesterol: 56.5 mg

Do you have a copy of the No Crumbs Left cookbook yet?

Food is my love language, and this book is a guide to getting you in the kitchen with me, rolling up your sleeves, and reigniting your passion for everyday cooking. Woven throughout the book are my Teri’s Tips as well.

This cookbook is a love letter to my mother because it offers the recipe for a well-lived life.

Click here to grab your copy!