These easy Sloppy Joes are smothered in the most delicious sweet and tangy Hawaiian BBQ Sauce your whole family will love and 1000X better than any can! This sloppy Joe recipe is incredibly easy, make ahead, great for crowds and freezer friendly!
This Hawaiian Sloppy Joe recipe is not only delicious but one of the easiest and least expensive recipes you can make for a crowd! You can also prep the meat filling ahead of time and either keep warm in the crockpot or simply warm up on the stove when ready to serve. You can also freeze it in advance for instant heat and eat dinners! Eazy peazy!
Are you a Sloppy Joe fan? My husband wasn’t a fan until he tried my homemade easy Sloppy Joes, or more accurately, my mom’s homemade Sloppy Joe recipe. I don’t think homemade is always better, but in the case of Sloppy Joes, homemade is 1000x better than any canned variety.
Growing up, I always looked forward to my mom’s Sloppy Joes when the cousins came over, or last minute company dropped in or for casual get togethers around the pool. No matter the occasion, the tray boasting the Sloppy Joes was always licked clean. Nothing sloppy every remained with zero leftovers Sloppy Joes.
Sloppy Joe Recipe
As I mused about my mom’s Sloppy Joes, it dawned on me that they would make the perfect Game Day food – and even more perfect if they were fancied up a bit with homemade (to live for) Hawaiian BBQ Sauce to make Hawaiian Sloppy Joes! So while there are tons of Game Day recipes to choose from (see Favs HERE), these Hawaiian Sloppy Joes are not only some of the most delicious but some of the easiest and least expensive – not to mention you can easily make the meat filling ahead of time and either keep warm in the crockpot or simply warm up on the stove when ready to serve.
So what makes these Hawaiian Sloppy Joes so unbelievably delectable? I’ve merged my favorite worlds of my mom’s easy Sloppy Joes’ Sauce, my favorite homemade BBQ Sauce, and crushed pineapple to create otherworldly sweet and tangy Hawaiian BBQ Sauce to smother your tender sloppy beef. I guarantee you will be shoveling this filling into your mouth long before it has time to adorn a bun.
HOW DID SLOPPY JOES GET THEIR NAME?
There are a few conflicting stories about where the Sloppy Joe originated, but it is widely believed to have been made by a cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa in 1930. Joe added tomato sauce to a loose meat sandwich and the Sloppy Joe was born. What everyone does agree on, however, is that Sloppy Joes are SLOPPY! Just try and eat a Sloppy Joe without any of the fling spilling out!
What Ingredients do I need for Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe?
I love this easy Sloppy Joe Recipe not only for the juicy, sweet and tangy, melt-in-your-mouth filling but also because it is made with pantry friendly ingredients! You can keep everything on hand (and even freeze the buns) so you can make these homemade Sloppy Joes at a moments notice! For this easy Sloppy Joe recipe, you will need:
- 10 Hawaiian Sandwich Buns or regular hamburger buns
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple (in 100% juice) NOT DRAINED
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tsp EACH chili powder, salt
- 1/2 tsp EACH ground ginger, smoked paprika, pepper
- Hot sauce to taste
Can I Add Green Bell Peppers to Sloppy Joes?
Absolutely! Chop your green bell pepper small and add them with the beef and onions.
Can I make Sloppy Joes with Ground Turkey?
Yes! Replace the lean ground beef with lean ground turkey. To help it taste nice and beefy, omit the salt and add 2-3 teaspoons beef bouillon then add salt to taste. This is my secret in all my turkey recipes like my Turkey Chili and Turkey Tacos.
CAN YOU MAKE VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES?
Yes! Substitute the ground beef with an equal amount of plant based protein such as crumbled firm tofu, lentils, mushrooms, etc.
Can You Add Cheese to Sloppy Joes?
Classic Sloppy Joes don’t include cheese – but that doesn’t mean you can’t add cheese! You can either spread the bottom of the buns cut side up on a baking sheet, layer with cheese and bake until melted OR place cheese directly on top of the meat piled on the bun while its hot.
How To Make Sloppy Joes
This easy Sloppy Joe recipe comes together in minutes- literally!
Step 1: To make this easy saucy filling, brown you beef, onions and garlic then drain of excess grease.
Step 2: Next, stir in your pantry friendly Hawaiian BBQ Sauce ingredients of crushed pineapple, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, cider vinegar and spices of chili powder, ginger, smoked paprika etc.
Step 3: Let the saucy beefy filling simmer together for 15 minutes to let the flavors meld as the the aroma tempts you for the longest 15 minutes of your life.
Step 4: Pile the Sloppy Joe filling on Hawaiian rolls or traditional hamburger buns and dig in!
Helpful Tips to Make Easy Sloppy Joes
- Consistency: When you simmer the Sloppy Joe filling, it should take approximately 15 minutes to reduce BUT it might take more or less time depending on you stove/pot, etc. so watch closely so it doesn’t reduce too much – we want slightly saucy Sloppy Joes and not dry Sloppy Joes. If your mixture is too “wet” after 15 minutes, then continue to simmer to reach desired consistency.
- Customize Flavor: This Sloppy Joe recipe is slightly sweet and tangy but you can customize it to suite your personal tastes:
- For sweeter – add additional brown sugar.
- For more savory – add less brown sugar or add hot sauce to balance the sweet.
- For tangier – add additional apple cider vinegar or yellow mustard.
- For saltier – add additional soy sauce.
- For spicier – add hot sauce to taste or cayenne or chipotle chili powder.
- Other fixings: You can keep your Sloppy Joes plain and traditional or add anything your heart – or belly – dream up such as bacon, cheese, pickles, jalapenos, pepperoncinis, Fritos, potato chips, etc..
CAN YOU MAKE SLOPPY JOES IN A CROCKPOT?
Yes, you can certainly make Sloppy Joes in the crockpot, but I prefer just warming the meat filling in the crockpot because Crockpot Sloppy Joes tend to have a softer texture and you still have to brown the meat on the stove first any way.
To make Crockpot Sloppy Joes, follow step 1 in the instructions in which you brown the beef and onions, then add the garlic and drain off excess fat. At this point, you can transfer the beef to the crockpot followed by all the remaining Hawaiian BBQ Sauce ingredients. Give everything a good stir to combine and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. I recommend removing the lid the last 30 minutes or so some of the moisture can evaporate.
Can You Make Sloppy Joes Ahead of Time?
The Sloppy Joe filling can be added to the slow cooker after it has simmered to stay warm for Game time/party time/crowd time or simply ready for dinner/family time with just the lifting of the lid. That is my type of Hawaiian paradise.
What Buns are Best For Sloppy Joes?
For these Hawaiian Sloppy Joes, I recommend Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. You can also use traditional hamburger buns, pretzel buns, brioche buns and if you’ve forgotten the buns, serve extra sloppy sandwiched in between white bread!
How Do You Toast Buns for Sloppy Joes?
I love Sloppy Joes with extra soft buns, but this sometimes means they get soggy extra quickly. Toasting the buns provides a nice buttery barrier against the soggy savory filling and keeps the buns from getting soggy as quickly. To toast the buns, you can either:
- Spread softened butter on the inside of both sides of the buns. Place buns cut side up on a baking sheet and broil for 3 minutes or until golden, watching closely so they don’t burn
- OR heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add buns, cut side down and cook until toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
What Sides Should I serve with Sloppy Joes?
Sloppy Joes are fabulous with just a big green salad and side of fruit. If you want to get a little extra fun and flirty, try Sloppy Joes with some of these sides:
- Cowboy Pasta Salad
- Perfect Fruit salad
- Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad
- Baked Parmesan Fingerling Potato Fries
- Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch
- Grilled Corn with Chipotle Honey Lime Butter
- Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Best Bake Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Sweet Cornbread
- Slow Cooker Ricotta Creamed Corn
- Kicked Up Classy Creamy Potato Salad
- Grape Salad with Vanilla Yogurt Dressing
- Greek Pasta Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Feta Pesto
How Do You Store Sloppy Joes?
Store Sloppy Joe filling separate from the buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Sloppy Joes?
Yes, Sloppy Joe filling freezes wonderfully! To freeze:
- Let filling cool to room temperature (you can place in the refrigerator to speed up the process).
- Add filling to either a freezer size bag for a large quantity or to smaller sandwich bags for individual portion sizes.
- Squeeze out excess air, seal and label.
- Freeze Sloppy Joe meat for up to 3 months.
- When ready to eat, let meat thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then remove from plastic bag to a bowl to microwave (for smaller portions) or to a skillet to to reheat over the stove.
WHAT CAN You DO WITH SLOPPY JOE MEAT?
Classic Sloppy Joes are served sandwiched in between a soft bun, but the meat is still delicious so many other ways! Here are just a few:
- serve over rice with green onions
- serve on bread, add cheese and grill for Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese!
- serve on top of French Fries
- server over mashed potatoes or baked potatoes
- add on top of hot dogs to make Sloppy Joe Chili Dogs
- add to scrambled eggs
- add to tortillas with cheese and make burritos or grill and make quesadillas
- roll up tightly in a tortilla and bake to make taquitos
- make stuffed bell peppers
- add to macaroni and cheese
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