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Spicy Sloppy Joes Sandwich

spicy sloppy joe recipe with ketchup

Sloppy Joes was one of my favorite things to eat when I was a small kid.  Even today I still enjoy a very sloppy joe, but I like to make it spicy.  And what I mean by very sloppy and spicy is that I pile on the beef and sauce mixture to the point you have to eat it with a fork.  I then top it off with pickled jalapenos.

The recipe also has cayenne pepper and a little tabasco pepper sauce.   I may even kick it up a notch with shredded sharp cheddar and coleslaw.  If you’ve never eaten a sloppy joe sandwich with coleslaw, you’re doing it wrong.  One of my fondest and earliest memories of eating sloppy joe was when I was in elementary school.

I loved eating the school’s “sloppy joe on a bun”.  It was always messy and greasy.  They served it with french fries, a cookie, and chocolate milk.  Boy was that a good lunch.  It’s a classic all-American sandwich that is easy to make and there aren’t too many people who don’t enjoy them.  They’re all-American like a burger, hot dog, and of course, meatloaf.

What are the good sides to eat with Sloppy Joes?

Well, my favorite is crispy tater tots.  What goes better with sloppy joe than frozen tater tots fried until they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with Heinz ketchup on the side.  You also can’t go wrong with crispy crinkle-cut french fries.  I also enjoy the sloppy joe with baked beans and plain Lay’s potato chips.

Best toppings to add on a spicy Sloppy Joes

Of course, you need some heat like jalapeno peppers and some chopped onions.  You can also make a loose meat sandwich with the sloppy joe and add condiments and ingredients like you would a burger.  Loose meat sloppy joe sandwiches with mustard, pickles, and onion are absolutely amazing.

Have you tried it with coleslaw and fries piled high on a brioche bun?  If not, you’re missing out.  I love to get weird with my sloppy joe.  You can also treat it like a taco and stuff a hard corn tortilla shell with the sloppy joe mixture, lettuce, and shredded cheese.  And don’t forget to make it spicy with pickled jalapenos.

Best way to make sloppy joe without canned sauce

Sloppy joe has been around for years and people didn’t always make it with canned sauce.  You can make it with fresh tomatoes and use flour as a thickener.  I always add a little flour to my sloppy joe to keep it from falling off the bun.  I also do the same for my homemade taco meat.

If you don’t want to use canned tomato sauce, there is always ketchup.  It makes the sloppy joe sweet and delicious. I seldomly use canned sauce when making sloppy joe.  Ketchup gives it a little sweetness, tanginess, and a thicker texture.

How to make spicy homemade sloppy joe

The easiest way to make it is the old-fashioned way by browning and crumbling the ground beef and adding your vegetables, ketchup, and spices.  There really is only one way to make sloppy joe on the stove.


spicy sloppy joe recipe with ketchup

Homemade Spicy Sloppy Joe

A spicy twist on the traditional Sloppy Joe.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat and put the meat in the pan. Crumble the ground beef with a wooden spoon. When no longer pink, add the onions and peppers and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, water, and stir. Add the spices and stir well.
  • Simmer for 25-30 minutes. If the mixture is too loose, tighten it up with the flour. Start with a teaspoon.


I like to put a few drops of tobacco sauce in the Sloppy Joe mixture.  Gives it a bit more spice and flavor.


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