Sauce for Your Family's Favorite Meal

Sloppy Joe with sauce

Looking for a quick dinner? Chances are that you have all the ingredients you need to make homemade Sloppy Joe sauce already in your cupboard. Most Sloppy Joes contain a bit of spiciness from chili powder, hot sauce or chilies, but depending on your family's preferences, you can add more or less heat to the sauce.

Sloppy Joe sauce doesn't need precise measurements. Once you make it a few times, you'll know how much ketchup, Worcestershire sauce or spices you like, so you can save time in the kitchen by simply eyeballing the amounts of these ingredients.


By its nature, Sloppy Joe is a casual dish that you can adjust in whatever ways you want. Supplement the meat with a can of pinto beans, add diced red bell peppers or sliced mushrooms while cooking the meat or toss in a cupful of corn kernels at the same time you make the sauce.

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  •  1 tablespoon ground cumin  
  • 1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup water


To save even more time on a busy weeknight, make the sauce in advance a night or two before you plan to make sloppy Joes. The sauce will stay good in your refrigerator for three to four days and in your freezer for two to three months.


  1. If you're making the meat on the same night, add all the sauce ingredients to the pan in which you browned the beef or ground turkey. Otherwise, put all the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepot over medium heat. 
  2. Using a large spoon, stir all the sauce ingredients into the meat, and cook the meat and the sauce on medium low heat for 10 minutes. Add more water or ketchup if the mixture appears on the dry side. Cooking allows all the ingredients in the sauce to blend their flavors together.
  3. Taste the dish after it has heated thoroughly, and add more ketchup or Tabasco sauce to taste or more water if you want a looser Sloppy Joe mix.


Round out your meal with sweet potato fries baked in the oven in only 20 to 25 minutes, as well as bagged coleslaw that comes with its own dressing.