Easy Sloppy Joes Recipe

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You only need four ingredients to make my deliciously quick and easy sloppy joes recipe. I promise that with one bite you’ll never look at canned sloppy joe sauce the same way again!

Easy sloppy joes.

The first time I made this easy sloppy joe recipe for my husband, it was right after we got married (over two decades ago). My husband took one bite and his eyes got really big, then he took another, and his eyes got even bigger. They were almost inhaled after that. I’ve found the same reaction whenever I serve them so watch your family for those bulging eyes and you’ll know you’ve got a winner!

I call these Not Your Average Sloppy Joes. This is one of my favorite ways to make homemade sloppy joes, beginning with simple ingredients and taking that delicious canned sauce up a notch. All you need is ground beef, fried onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and Manwich sloppy joe sauce. When I say this is an easy sloppy joe recipe, I mean it. Just cook the beef, combine the ingredients, and then assemble your sloppy joes. It’s that easy and in no time at all, you’ll be devouring a delicious sloppy joe burger. I like the sound of that!

Trust me, one bite and you’ll never look at that can of sloppy joe sauce the same again. Ready to give it a go?

Ingredients for easy sloppy joes recipe

Recipe Ingredients

  • Manwich sloppy joe sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • French fried onions
  • Browned ground beef

How to Make My Easy Sloppy Joes Recipe

adding sauce to browned beef in skillet.

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet and drain off any grease. I am using two pounds, even though the can says to use one pound.

Add the sloppy joe sauce…

Adding in cheese and onions to skillet.

Then add the cheddar cheese and french fried onions.

Stir ingredients together.

Stir that all up and make sure it is heated through.

toasting buns in different skillet.

Now we need to toast our buns! I just put mine in a skillet and turn the heat on medium-high. After a minute or so flip them over.

Toasted buns make the BEST sloppy joes!

preparing pan for fries

For my fries, I prefer crinkle cut and usually get name brand if they aren’t too outrageously priced.

I like to bake mine but if you have an air fryer you may prefer that.

If you’re baking, lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

season fries with seasoned salt.

Sprinkle fries liberally with seasoned salt. 

Baked fries.

I bake these at 425 for about 20 minutes or so, stirring once, until they are golden brown on the edges.

Easy Sloppy Joes

Put your sloppy joe mixture on the toasted bun and top with more french fried onions. The little crunch and flavor is so good with sloppy joes!

Serve your homemade sloppy joes with lots of ketchup and sweet tea.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • I love to make double and then freeze leftovers, as they’ll last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave, on the stovetop, or even in the slow cooker.

Recipe Notes

  • Now you know I normally don’t get specific with brands but I have to stick by my Manwich sloppy joe sauce. I have tried several generics and they don’t even come close (some are quite horrid). I really suggest you get this kind unless you already have a favorite out there.
  • If you want to add some veggies to your meat mixture, add finely diced green bell pepper, carrot, or celery.
  • Instead of hamburger buns, use brioche buns or pretzel buns. Another option is to swap the bun for a baked potato.
  • For extra heat, stir in some green chiles or chopped jalapeños.
  • If you like, swap the lean ground beef for ground turkey.

Recipe FAQs

What do you serve with sloppy joes?

Besides fries, I love to serve my sloppy joes sandwiches as a main dish with pickles, potato chips, tater tots, baked mac and cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, and sometimes even grilled corn on the cob. Instead of crinkle-cut fries, try my parmesan oven fries or zucchini fries.

Can I cook my sloppy joes in the crockpot?

Yes, you can! Once you brown the beef in the skillet, add this and the remaining ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours. They will have a softer and saucier texture.

What is in Manwich sloppy joe sauce?

Here’s a copycat recipe, but Manwich sloppy joe sauce is made with tomato sauce, corn syrup, dehydrated bell pepper, spices like dried onion and garlic, and a hint of chili powder.

You may also like these scrumptious supper recipes:

Sloppy Joes Casserole

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Beef Tater Tot Casserole Recipe

Meatloaf Burgers

Delicious Hamburger Steak Recipe with Fried Onions (Oh Yum!)

Not Your Average Joe Sloppy Joes

Easy Sloppy Joes

You only need four ingredients to make my deliciously quick and easy sloppy joes recipe. I promise that with one bite you'll never look at canned sloppy joe sauce the same way again!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: burger, sloppyjoe
Servings: 8 sloppy joes
Calories: 251kcal


  • 2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 can Manwich sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 cups french fried onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 packet hamburger buns


  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and drain off any grease. Add the sloppy joe sauce, cheese, and 1 cup of french fried onions to the browned beef. Stir and heat until bubbly.
    2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained, 1 can Manwich sloppy joe sauce, 2 cups french fried onions, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Toast burger buns in a clean skillet over medium-high heat (about 1 minute on each side) and top each hamburger bun with sloppy joe meat. Sprinkle more onions on top. Serve with fries.
    1 packet hamburger buns
  • Makes about 8 sloppy joes.


Calories: 251kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

I originally published this recipe in 2009 and updated the photos and post in 2020.

Pin image for easy sloppy joes recipe.

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  1. I made these this weekend for me and my husband and shared some with my brother and sister-in-law and we all loved these. The onions and cheese gave a great twist.

  2. Hi! My family loves Sloppy Joe’s and Manwich is our favorite too. Where do you find the french fried onions? We love these at restaurants, but have yet to find a place that carries them. Thanks

  3. I just happened on your recipe site today and I have to say I love it! I pretty much run my kitchen exactly as you do, using store brands , generics, and simple comforting recipes. I could not be more pleased to have found you and WILL be ordering your cookbook!!! Thanks again!

  4. Omg I love sloppy joes, one of my all time favorites . I will be trying this recipe on my fiancee tomorrow… There may be a smack down over the sloppy joes, I will definatly double the recipe . Thank you Christy for your great recipes @

  5. Hi Ya’ll 🙂 Gotta tell ya, Manwich used to be my favoite sloppy joe sauce… My friend introduced me to her mom’s way of making sloppy joes… 1/2 bottle of Heinz chili sauce and 1/4 cup ketchup for 1# ground beef….. Sorry Manwhich.. I now prefer the chili sauce and ketchup! Sometimes I add onion and green pepper, sometimes not… delicious either way. I have even used generic chili sauce with excellent results.

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