International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe sandwiches

(American Midwest seasoned ground beef sandwiches)

Image © iStockphoto

Average: 4.5 (10 votes)

The sloppy joe has a foggy history, but it seems to have originated during the Depression as a way to stretch ground beef during hard times. Several sources place its creation in a small cafe in Sioux City, Iowa, where it was called a "loosemeat" sandwich. No one knows if there was an original Joe, but they sure are sloppy!

6 sandwiches


  • Oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, minced -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
  • Chili powder -- 1 tablespoon
  • Ground beef -- 1 1/2 pounds
  • Ketchup -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Water -- 1/2 cup
  • Mustard -- 1 tablespoon
  • Vinegar -- 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Hamburger buns -- 6


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. Add the onion and sauté until onion is cooked through and translucent. Add garlic and chili powder and saute 1 or 2 more minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and saute, breaking it up as you stir, until the meat is cooked through. Drain off excess fat.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Sloppy Joe Variations

  • Maid-Rite sandwich (Iowa, USA): Eliminate the ketchup, water, vinegar and sugar and substitute one (12-ounce) bottle of beer or 3/4 cup chicken broth. Simmer until most liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Place in buns and top with mustard, pickles and chopped onions.
  • Saute a minced green pepper with the onion if you like.
  • Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce for extra seasoning.
  • Ground chicken or turkey can take the place of the beef for a lower fat version.


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