I’ve never eaten a Manwich, or any other sort of commercially prepared Sloppy Joe. My first Sloppy Joe was made with this recipe, so while I have no comparisons, I still feel the need to say it’s the best.

I make this recipe so often because I’m not a fan of hamburgers. I really don’t understand how they are so popular. I’d much rather have my ground beef simmered in brown sugar, tomato goodness, and seasonings. This easy recipe fills the void. It’s really not sloppy when you use a knife and fork. I would hate to waste any on my clothing.

Sloppy Joes


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3/4 small onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 lb 85% lean ground beef

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 cup tomato puree

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

hamburger buns


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt and stir until coated with oil. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes. (Reduce the heat to low if the onion starts to burn.) Add the garlic and chili powder and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until just pink. Drain the fat.

Add brown sugar, tomato puree, ketchup, water, and hot sauce. Simmer until Sloppy Joe sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon the mixture onto hamburger buns and serve. I highly recommend eating them with sweet potato fries!

Serves 4

Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2007

Are you a fan of sloppy joes? Or would you prefer a hamburger?