Sloppy Joe sauce is characterized by its tomato base flavor, which often comes from ketchup and tomato sauce or paste. Many recipes will add an extra flavor punch with Worcestershire sauce and onion. Our basic sloppy Joes recipe calls for all of these ingredients plus a tablespoon of brown sugar to give the sauce a little extra sweetness. You can even add some veggies by chopping green bell peppers and add some color to the sauce mix for flavor and crunch. If you prefer your sloppy Joes spicy, ditch the brown sugar and add some chili powder and a dash of hot pepper sauce instead.
Being a sandwich that features a loose meat mixture, sloppy Joes are naturally, well, sloppy. But that’s what makes them so good! Pile the mixture high on a bun, grab a napkin (or two) and dig in. Sloppy Joes taste delicious just the way they are, but if you like your dinners with extra cheese, you can always add some American or cheddar cheese on top of the saucy sloppy Joe before eating.
If you are using canned tomato sauce or paste in your sloppy Joe recipe along with ketchup, the mixture should gradually thicken on its own after simmering on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes, so there’s no need to add additional ingredients like flour or cornstarch.