"Better Than A Can" Homemade Sloppy Joes

Prep Time
Cook Time
1h 50m
Ready In

"I've had this recipe for many years and have made it on a regular basis rather than making sloppies from a can because it surpasses in flavor. It is a great recipe and one well worth making from scratch. My family really enjoys it and it’s been on my repertoire since the initial try many years ago. I originally got this recipe from an old foodnetwork show called "Chef DuJour" where a different chef was featured daily. This particular day, Lauren Groveman was the chef who presented this recipe."

Original recipe yields 9 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (316.4 g)
  • Calories 521
  • Total Fat - 24.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 7 g
  • Cholesterol - 89.7 mg
  • Sodium - 616.7 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 42.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.1 g
  • Sugars - 20.3 g
  • Protein - 32.2 g
  • Calcium - 124.6 mg
  • Iron - 6.3 mg
  • Vitamin C - 25.7 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.4 mg

Step 1

To start the sauce: Heat a 2 1/2-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the oil.

Step 2

When the oil is hot, stir in the onion, green and red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and simmer with the cover ajar for 1 hour.

Step 4

To sauté the mushrooms: Heat an 8 - 10 inch skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 5

To finish the sauce: After the sauce has simmered 1 hour, add the sautéed mushrooms, chopped plum tomatoes, oregano, “Better Than Bouillon” seasoning and some freshly ground black pepper. Return to a simmer and cook with the cover ajar for 30 minutes more. (Refer to Note below).

Step 6

To brown ground meat: Heat a 10-inch non-reactive deep-sided skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground meat and break it up with a wooden spatula. Cook the meat until separated and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Then remove from the stove and drain out any excess fat from skillet. Return skillet to the stove, over low heat. Stir in the sauce and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, uncovered. Cook gently until the flavors mingle and the mixture is piping hot throughout, about 10 minutes. Add some more freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Step 7

To assemble Sloppy Joes and serve: While the sauce is simmering, open the hamburger buns and spread both opened sides lightly with butter. Lay the buns, buttered sides up, on a shallow baking sheet. Broil the buns until the buttered sides are nicely toasted. Spoon the ground beef mixture lavishly over buns and serve hot.

Step 8

NOTE: If serving for 8 [could serve 10 for skimpier sandwiches], you will need 2 cups of sauce and 2 lbs of ground beef. If serving 4, you will need 1 cup of sauce and 1 lb. of ground beef. The remaining sauce can be frozen for later use and ease. Freeze cooled sauce in tightly sealed containers.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



We really enjoyed these yummy Sloppy Joes. It is definitely quicker to open a can, but the flavor doesn't come close to these, it is worth the extra time. I didn't have canned plum tomatoes, so I used a 14-1/2 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, drained. Otherwise, I made them as written, but I topped them with a slice of cheese. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

review by:
(6 Apr 2022)


Super duper Sloppy Joes and well worth the time for all that great taste! We had chips and pickles with ours. Awesome lunch!

review by:
(7 Apr 2021)


They are delicious! We have them on the monthly menu and have them often for lunch. One of our favorites!

review by:
(5 Dec 2020)


We enjoyed these very much. Very flavorful. It is a time consuming recipe but worth it. The total cooking time is not correct. Cooking time is actually 1 1/2 hours. Thank you for another great recipe.

review by:
(26 Nov 2020)


We love these yummy sammies. Comfort in a bun!

review by:
(25 Oct 2020)

Texas Terrie

Another tasty and easy sandwich that we tried tonight and it was so good!

review by:
(18 Feb 2020)