Old Fashioned Comfort Food – Homemade Sloppy Joes

My husband was the one who introduced me to a love of sloppy joes.  When we were first dating, he would cook me up his version of sloppy joes, and nothing would taste better after a long day at the hospital or an overnight shift.  There’s just something about it that is so satisfying and comforting.  Plus, you can’t beat food that your boyfriend cooks for you, right? 🙂  This is the kind of meal where people feel like they are loved when they eat it…do you know what I mean?  I feel the same way when my mom makes the Japanese foods I grew up with…instantly comforted and loved!

I wanted to create a homemade version of sloppy joes that didn’t rely on the powdered stuff in the packet.  Actually, when I told Patrick that I made homemade sloppy joes, his response was, “you mean you didn’t use the packet?” 🙂  It was surprisingly quick and easy…definitely a meal you could put together on a weeknight.   I loved how all the flavors came together!  Savory from the ketchup, mustard, and chili powder, sweet from the brown sugar, and that little extra something from my secret ingredients…soy sauce and sriracha!

You’ll need to brown your ground beef or ground turkey in a saute pan, then drain out the oil.  Add your diced onions and garlic and saute until soft.  Then add in the ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, soy sauce and water.  Stir to combine, and then simmer for 15 minutes so all the ingredients can meld together.  Then add in sriracha or hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  The kitchen will smell wonderful as the sauce is simmering down and the flavors get concentrated!  We ate this up in no time 🙂

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 1/4 pound ground beef or ground turkey

1/2 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup ketchup

1 T brown sugar

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dry mustard or 1 regular prepared mustard

1 cup water

1/2 tsp soy sauce

Dash of sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 hamburger buns, toasted

Saute your ground beef or ground turkey over medium heat until browned.  Drain off the oil.  Add in diced onion and garlic, and saute until the onions are softened.  Add in ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, soy sauce and water.  Mix to combine.  Simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Season with sriracha and salt/pepper to taste.  Serve over toasted buns and sprinkle with cheese if desired!

What are some of your favorite comfort foods?  

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33 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Comfort Food – Homemade Sloppy Joes

  1. Mmmm SloppyJoes! Haven’t had them in years so may have to make some! My favourite comfort food, that’s easy, a thick and tasty beef casserole with dumplings! 😀

  2. I love a good old fashion meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fresh carrots (or broccoli, fresh beans cooked with salt pork or any fresh veggie) with a pour of gravy. Yum Nom

  3. I’ll admit it! I love the “sloppy joe sauce” in a can! haha I add it to ground beef or lamb. I like homemade as well, but the can of sauce brings me back to my childhood. I do like your idea of adding srircha! I will have to make this meal happen next week! (I love pickles on the side of a sloppy joe and a slice of cheese on the ground meat!) Oh, and fav comfort food? Meatloaf & mashed potatoes – or mac & cheese! Thanks for posting!

    • Isn’t it funny how certain tastes stay with you if you had them in childhood? I’m that way with Stove Top stuffing, haha 🙂

      Pickles are a great idea, I love pickles and relish!! I’m going to try that next time, thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Oh man, ever since I was a kid and watched a movie with the Olsen twins and Kirstey Alley in it (It Takes Two, I think?!) I have wanted to eat sloppy joes. There was a food fight in the movie, and they we’re everyone’s favourite food, and we don’t have them here… so basically I was in American TV movie world food envy.
    And now I’m totally going to make these and eat them real-life! Thanks 😀

  5. Hi, Maura! Tim introduced me to sloppy joes too! I had never even heard of them before! When he first mentioned it, I thought eww that doesn’t sound too appetizing ..but seriously, it’s one of my fav comfort foods! mmm…All of my comfort foods involve Korean foods like kimchi soup, savory pancakes..as for American foods, I really like chicken and dumplings! I’m def going to make this soon! No Manwich! Although it’s delish ;). I followed the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pork tenderloin last night and it turned out fabulous! Love her and I love you hehe.

    • Haha, you’re right, it’s not the most appetizing sounding or beautiful dishes, but it sure is delicious 🙂 I wish I could cook you some of my Japanese food favorites and have some of your Korean pancakes…love those!!

      I’m going to look up that PW pork tenderloin recipe right now!

      Love you and miss you, friend 🙂 Hope this week has been good to you and that you and Tim get to relax together this weekend. Hi to Tim for me!

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  8. Mmmmmm! Love comfort food. My ultimate comfort food is a korean dish called kalbi jjim which is braised short ribs with potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots. It’s cooked low and slow in a soy/brown sugar/water/pureed garlic/pureed onion/water/ginger sauce (with secret ingredient: kiwi!). Makes the whole smell so warm and cozy.

    I made it last night which was perfect since we had our first snow fall here in NY!
    Have you ever tried or made it?

    if not, you must! here’s one version of the recipe:

    not exactly healthy healthy, but healthy for the soul. 🙂

    • Jess, that sounds really amazing!! Kiwi…such an interesting secret ingredient! I’m going to pick some up this weekend so I can try this out…I love Korean food. Wish we lived closer so we could cook together and have playdates 🙂

      I can’t believe you guys are having snow already!! Was it pretty snow? Hope that doesn’t mean you guys are cooped up! Here’s to Friday and the weekend 🙂

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