Paleo Sloppy Joes


I realize this is the world of Insta-pots, but by nature I am just the opposite. I love the soul-satisfying experience of slow cooking, and the joy of putting something into the oven at a low temperature for an entire day. A long, slow cooking process is just absolutely life enhancing to me. I received a message from a follower who said she had recently rediscovered her soul in the kitchen and reminded herself that cooking is like art: there are no rules. That is it in a nutshell. In honor of that, I share with you my Paleo Sloppy Joe recipe.

Some people live by a recipe and follow it to a T, but not I. With my Marinated Onions MAGIC ELIXIRS and Heroine Chicken, I stick to the program, but for almost everything else, I like the idea of really playing in the kitchen. This Sloppy Joe is a work in progress, so the next time you look at the recipe you will probably see that I’ve changed it.

Some Paleo recipes are easier than others, but with a Sloppy Joe, cooking the sugar down for hours creates a certain magic. So, when you take sugar out of a recipe, it’s an advanced kung fu move to try to figure out what alternative magic will perfect the recipe. I’m not going to lie to you, the Paleo Sloppy Joe is not quite the same as my original, but it’s pretty darn good. There are a whole lot of ingredients, but they are sort of the palette I work with, so find them, and I think you will find that you will use them again and again–but feel free to tweak it with your own magic ingredients. If you don’t have sumac or Aleppo pepper, use extra chili powder. When you make yours, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @nocrumbsleft and use #nocrumbsleft so I can find you.

Flavors like coconut aminos, hot sauce, Aleppo pepper, sumac, dried chilis, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste are the stuff of solidly delicious Paleo cooking. If you want to cook this way, these are the elements you need in your kitchen, and they are probably more important than having a fancy pan.



Paleo Sloppy Joes

  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 6-9 hrs
  • Total Time: approx. 9 hrs
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x



  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Two 6oz cans tomato paste (make sure it is compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 114 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed (make sure they are compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 3 dry chipotle peppers, ground
  • 2 teaspoons salt (but likely more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • A sprinkle of cayenne pepper, to taste
  • A few dashes of hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Aleppo pepper


In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the beef with the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, stirring to break up the meat, about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep stirring. When the meat is cooked through, leave on medium, and add the remaining ingredients, a couple at a time, stirring to combine well, as you go. I like to watch the ingredients go in and see the dish change as they combine. Keep combining and stirring till you’ve added them all. At this point you can transfer your mixture to the slow cooker, use a Bain Marie, or just leave it in the Dutch oven and place it into a larger pan with water in the preheated oven.

Cover and cook at 200 degrees for about six hours–but if you think it’s done sooner, by all means enjoy. I take it out and stir about every 90 minutes, and it’s fun to watch it transform. 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 spice or vinegar as desired.

16 thoughts on “Paleo Sloppy Joes

  1. Thanx. This looks yummy and will go in my grocery planner. Can i add a suggestion? Could you add your name/blog name to the recipe? When i print your recipes your name does not appear and down the road I’m not going to remember who this originated from.

    1. Such a good suggestion! We are in the process of updating and improving all and I really appreciate this! Thanks.

  2. What interesting timing – I made your non-Paleo version very recently (I think the only difference is some dark brown sugar). I left a comment telling you I didn’t have the hours to cook it in the oven so I used my Instant Pot and it was DELICIOUS! Would totally work for Paleo version. LOVED your Whole30 takeover last week – you rock!

    1. Whoops – just noticed you are not an Instant Pot fan 😐. I’ve had limited success with mine but felt inspired to use it with the Sloppy Joes recipe because of time constraints, and had great results.

      1. I’m so glad that worked for you. I have nothing against insta-pots and its all about improv-ing and making it fit into your schedule! It really is quite delicious, right?

  3. I cannot wait to get out my slow cooker to try this! I love sloppy joes!

    1. It happens to be a really fabulous recipe!

  4. Mmmmm sounds fantastic!

    1. Soooo delicious!

  5. REALLY good. I couldn’t find dried chipotles at WF (weird?) so used ground chipotle instead…may have over calculated 3, but delicious! Very spicy. I used my Instant Pot on slow cooker for 6 hours. Yum!! Teri, thanks for the recipe and always sharing!

    1. Thanks for following! I always say use your intuition! Glad you did and that it turned out so well.

  6. Paleo newbie, here. Any suggestions for what to eat the sloppy joe mix in? I guess buns are not allowed!

    1. To tell you the truth, I enjoy eating it by the spoonful, but others in my house eat it in a lettuce wrap. Some also eat it with a sweet potato ‘bun’.

    2. I eat it over sweet potatoes. Zucchini noodles is another. Even spaghetti squash.

  7. Yum! I’m always looking for more recipes to double and freeze, or keep on hand for later in the week. This’d be great with zucchini noodles or on top of spaghetti squash!

  8. I can’t seem to find allepo pepper. This is a spice, correct? Is there a sub? Thank you.

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