Sloppy Joes recipe without ketchup is an easy, homemade version without using Manwich or packets of spices. And no ketchup is used, and it is generally too sweet and contains high fructose corn sugar.
This easy sloppy joe recipe contains natural ingredients that you may already have on hand. It is a really swell weeknight meal that comes together really quickly.
Not only that, you can double or triple the recipe for a group on game days, picnics, or potlucks. It’s a hamburger bun, sloppy sandwich that everyone loves.
Sloppy Joes Recipe Without Ketchup
Here’s what you will need to make this recipe.
- Ground Beef
- Olive Oil
- Steak Seasoning
- Red Bell Pepper
- Brown Sugar
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Sandwich buns
Breakdown of the Ingredients
Let’s start with the proper ground beef to use. I prefer to use ground beef that has a bit of fat in it for flavor. 85% lean and 15% fat is a natural for hamburgers and this is what I use. This contains around 65 calories per ounce.
If you would like to use lean ground beef like 93% lean and 7% fat, you would be saving about 10 calories per ounce of beef consumed. When counting calories this could affect which blend you would like to use.
Using ground sirloin, the calories would be similar to standard ground lean. If you use ground beef chuck it generally has more fat in it and you are looking at around 70 calories per ounce.
The key ingredient for the flavoring of the sloppy joes is the steak seasoning. Montreal steak seasoning is one that is used a lot. It contains a blend of black pepper, coarse salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, coriander, and dried dill.
If you have a favorite steak seasoning, by all means, use it. Or mix up your own blend. Chili powder might be a nice flavor to try.
For the onion and red bell pepper, give them a medium to coarse chop. I like to keep the chopped bits a little larger so that they add their own flavor when bitten into. And if you prefer, you could use a green bell pepper if you’d like.
The brown sugar should be added according to your taste. I used 1 ½ tablespoons but you may want your sloppy joes to be a little sweeter. Start out with a lesser amount and taste and add more as desired.
The type of sandwich buns that you use is your choice. MaryJo made some Kaiser rolls for us to use that were really good. Also, a brioche bun would be a good choice.
I toasted the buns on the stove using a griddle pan and coated the buns lightly with butter. Turn the heat up to high and that should toast the buns in a minute or less.
One more thing is that you may want to substitute a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for the red wine vinegar. The Dijon would have less of a tangy flavor than the vinegar.
How To Make The Best Sloppy Joes
Start with a 12-inch skillet and add the olive oil. Keep the heat of your stove on medium-low and add the onion and pepper. Let these sweat for 3 or 4 minutes to soften stirring them around to avoid browning. (I prefer to have softer peppers and onions in the finished sloppy joe mixture. If you prefer to have a little crunch from the pepper and onions, add them after the beef has been browned).
Then turn up the heat to medium and add the ground beef. Break the meat up into small pieces as it browns. A wooden spoon is a good tool to use for this.
Once the meat has browned, it may have let off a few tablespoons of liquid. Tip your skillet slightly to let the liquid pool on one side and use a spoon to remove most of it. Then, stir in the steak seasoning and brown sugar at this time and mix to combine.
Finally, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar or Dijon mustard. Stir this together and turn your heat down to a simmer and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes to thicken. Taste and add salt, pepper, or brown sugar as desired. Serve on toasted buns.
Recommended Side Dishes To Serve With the Sloppy Joes
Leftovers, Freezing, and Reheating
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a saucepan on the stove by adding a bit of water if necessary. Or, reheat in a microwave oven.
Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container such as a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Thaw frozen leftovers by placing them in your refrigerator overnight. Or, place your sealed freezer bag into a pan of room temperature water until thawed. You may have to replace the cold water with more room temperature water.
Reheat as mentioned above.
Try this easy dinner idea of sloppy joes made without ketchup and keep it in mind for upcoming games, potlucks, and picnics.
The Best Sloppy Joes Recipe without Ketchup
- 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. steak seasoning, like McCormick's Montreal
- 1 med. onion, coarse chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar substitute Dijon mustard
- sandwich buns
- salt and black pepper as desired
- Use a 12-inch skillet on medium-low heat and add the olive oil and onion and pepper. Sweat the vegetables 3 or 4 minutes to soften, stirring to keep from browning.
- Add the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. Cook until all the beef has browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Tilt the skillet slightly and use a spoon to remove any residual liquid from the beef.
- Stir in the brown sugar and steak seasoning and mix until well combined. Then, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar and mix well. Turn down the heat to a simmer and let the sauce thicken for 4 or 5 minutes. Taste and add more brown sugar, salt, or pepper if desired.
- While the sauce simmers, lightly butter the buns and toast them on the stovetop in a hot griddle or skillet.
- Serve the sloppy joes hot with your choice of topping.
- You can modify the cooking steps by adding the chopped vegetables after the meat has browned. this will result in a bit of a crunch from the onions and pepper.
- Substitute Dilon mustard for red wine vinegar for a slightly less tangy sauce.
- The steak seasoning could be your favorite or combinations of garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, granulated garlic, cumin, or chili powder.
- Taste your sloppy joe mixture and add more salt, pepper, or brown sugar if desired.
- Nutrition information based on 5 servings using white hamburger buns.