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.

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Paleo Sloppy Joes

  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 6-9 hrs
  • Total Time: approx. 9 hrs
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 12 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, if needed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sumac, optional
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper, optional
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 dry chipotle peppers, ground, (if you can find them at your grocery store)
  • 26 oz. cans tomato paste (use compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 114 oz. can tomatoes with liquid, (fire roasted if possible), pureed (use compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (use compliant if doing Whole30)


Preheat the oven to 200F.

Prepare and measure all ingredients. Set aside.

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. Stirring occasionally, cook for 1 minute. 

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and stirring to break up the meat, cook until meat is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, sumac, and Aleppo pepper, stirring to combine. 

Add the vinegars and stir to combine well. 

Add the tomato paste, pureed tomatoes, coconut aminos and optional hot sauce and stir to combine well. 

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. 


  1. 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. 

What is a baine-marie? Also known as a water bath or double boiler, a baine-marie is a piece of equipment used in cooking to heat food gently. A bain-marie is also used to melt ingredients for cooking.

17 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.

  9. This is hands down the best sloppy joe recipe around. I cannot tell you how many times we have made it. My kids eat it on GF buns but I have put this over everything from roasted broccoli to baked sweet potato to spaghetti squash. I adore your recipes but this one really is the best of the best. The time it takes is worth it, and of course many of ushave a little more time right now. My only complaint about this recipe is how good it smells while it is cooking.

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