Sunday, March 22, 2020

Best Ever Spicy Sloppy Joes

These spicy sloppy joes are the ultimate in comfort food. This sloppy joe recipe gives a kick of Mexican flavor, making them the best ever! 
I don’t think anyone will deny the fact that cooking is more enjoyable when the recipes are quick and easy to make.

Being able to get dinner on the table in under 20 minutes is a win for everyone!

This is exactly why I think you’ll love making this homemade sloppy Joe recipe so much.

Spicy Sloppy Joes

So, what makes this the best sloppy joe recipe?
  • Quick to make- This dinner is ready to eat in 15 minutes!
  • Budget-friendly- Of course, prices vary depending on your location, but on average, this meal costs $2.00 per serving. You’ll never see those prices at a restaurant!
  • Easy recipe- No rocket science or special ingredients required. If you know how to brown ground beef on your stovetop, you’re all set.
  • Robust flavor- Standard sloppy joes include seasonings of salt, pepper, and ketchup. We use Mexican spices and green chiles to add some zip, without making it too spicy for kids and sensitive stomachs.
  • Homemade! While it’s technically true that homemade sloppy joes and Manwich are the same things, they do NOT taste the same! Canned sauces like Manwich have a lot of sodium and very little seasoning. I think sloppy joes from scratch always taste better.

Ingredient Notes

You won’t need any expensive ingredients to make this sloppy joe recipe, and the boost in flavor is delicious! Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Lean ground beef- You want to have a little fat for flavor and juicy joes; 85 to 88 percent lean is perfect. Using this percentage of fat is great because usually, you won’t need to drain off the grease.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Diced green chiles- I use a whole 7-ounce can but feel free to use less to suit your family’s tastes.
  • Seasonings- A little kosher salt, black pepper, and a Mexican seasoning blend. I have a recipe for homemade Mexican seasoning blend in the recipe card below.
I make up a large batch of Mexican Seasoning Blend (recipe is from our cookbook, The Simple Kitchen, and use it in all of my quick fix Mexican style recipes. But, you can substitute Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend in a pinch!
  • Buns- Now, part of the fun of homemade sloppy joes is their messy nature. But, you want to be able to hold the sandwich, too! I recommend using buns with some structure, like brioche or sesame seed hamburger buns. Also, toasting the buns helps hold the sandwich together better.
  • Butter- For toasting the buns.

  • Skillet- One key to cooking any type of ground meat is to use a skillet large enough to hold the meat without crowding it. I recommend using a skillet that is at least 10 inches in size.
  • Spatula or ground meat chopper
  • Baking sheet- I line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use it to lightly toast the inside of the buns.

Storing and Freezing Spicy Sloppy Joes

Homemade sloppy joes mixture freezes well, so this is a great make-ahead meal or meal prep idea. Store the meat (or any leftovers of it) in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well there for 4 to 5 days. To freeze for later use, first, allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Then, portion it into zip-top freezer bags or freezer-safe food storage containers. Sloppy joes will keep well in the freezer for about 3 months.

Sloppy Joe Recipe FAQ

What sides go with sloppy joes?
There are a lot of options when it comes to side dishes to serve with the sandwiches. You can keep things simple by serving a side of potato chips. Or, turn the meal into a complete Mexican fiesta! Here are a few side dish ideas:

How to accommodate special diets Gluten-free- If you need to keep the meal gluten-free, serve the sandwiches on a bed of tortilla chips. I like to top them with Mexican shredded cheese and cilantro.

Low carb- Serve homemade sloppy joes in a bowl, with thin slices of red onion, fresh jalapeno pepper slices, and cilantro leaves. You could even add some shredded cheese and sour cream on top, too!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Yield: 8

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Spicy Sloppy Joes

These spicy sloppy joes are the ultimate in comfort food. This recipe gives them a kick of Mexican flavor, making them the best ever!
prep time: 5 min  Cook time: 10 min  Total Time: 15 min


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, (I use 88% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican seasoning blend (I use my homemade recipe below)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 7 ounce can diced green chiles (I use Macayo’s)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 brioche or sesame seed hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (optional garnish)
  • Handful fresh cilantro (optional garnish)
  • Fritos (optional topping)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Split and butter the inside of the brioche buns. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, buttered sides up. Set aside.
  2. Warm a large (10”) skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and salt. Cook until cooked through, using a spatula to break up the ground beef as it cooks.
  3. You do not need to brown the meat, nor is it necessary to drain the beef drippings unless the beef is drowning in the drippings. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over the beef. Stir until well combined.
  4. Bake the hamburger buns in preheated oven for 6-10 minutes until they are lightly golden brown.
  5. Add tomato sauce, diced green chiles, and water. Stir to combine and continue cooking until the sauce thickens up, about 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the buns with a tablespoon or so of cheese and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until just melted. Don’t walk away from the oven they can go from melted to burned in a blink.
  7. Spoon a heaping portion of Sloppy Joe on the bottom cheesy buns. Top with a small handful of Fritos and cilantro leaves. Place top cheesy bun on top. Serve and enjoy!

Homemade Mexican Seasoning Blend

YIELD:  2 tablespoons

  • 2 teaspoons New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. I make up a large batch of the Mexican Seasoning Blend from our cookbook The Simple Kitchen and use it in all of my quick fix Mexican style recipes that my daughter loves. But, you can substitute Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend in a pinch!
  2. How to freeze Mexican Sloppy Joe. Bring to room temperature and portion into freezer bags or freezer safe containers.
  3. Sloppy Joes in an airtight container keep for 3-4 days.
  4. Serving tips: For a gluten-free option, serve on a bed of tortilla chips topped with Mexican shredded cheese and cilantro. Or serve in a bowl garnished with thin slices of red onion, thin sliced fresh jalapeno peppers and cilantro leaves.

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