There are just a few choice recipes that when I close my eyes, I’m  transported right back to my childhood kitchen. This Homemade definitely one of them. We know them now as Sloppy Joes, but as a child, they were known as a staple for family birthdays, large extended family get-togethers and any time it was a “Kid Pick” evening.

If you’re trying to figure out what to serve for this Sunday’s Big Game day? This is it. It’s perfect for any large group gathering because you can make large quantities and have them simmering on the stove all day. We make up a plate full on these Homemade Sloppy Joes on hamburger buns at the start of the event, and then easily refill as the plate gets empty. Easy Peasey!

The subtle tang is the perfect mix of flavors, and works well with ground beef (pictured below) or turkey (pictured above). It’s a great “Go To” recipe for everyone’s tastes, but for those that want to kick up the heat, feel free to add a splash of Worcestershire and a dash of Red Pepper Flakes. I’ve done that on occasion, since my guys love heat.

I shared this picture in my Decorating with Recipes: Frame Old Family Recipes post. My mom’s handwriting, the finger smudges, drips of sauces and penciled math equations are perfect memories of love in the kitchen.

It’s obvious though that the estimated servings  of 8-10 were done decades ago when portion control was not an issue. With one pound of ground beef, this feeds the average family of four. Since it reheats perfectly and freezes super well, quadruple the recipe for lots of extras. If company is coming, make a huge batch and just let it go all day in the slow cooker.

I’ve even used this as a base for chili in considering my C.O.S.T. cooking approach.  (Cook once, serve twice.) For more quick meals like this, don’t miss my new 10 Minute Dinners site.

When serving this for my family, I do everything to make the ground beef stretch, which means adding in more celery and onions that it calls for in the original recipe.  If I’m in a Tex Mex mood, sometimes I throw in corn or even black beans.  Yes, just another one of my ways to save on meats.

I hope this recipe brings you as many special memories over the next few decades as it has me. It’s definitely a keeper.

Recipe: Homemade Sloppy Joes

Summary: This scrumptious sandwich is perfect to feed a crowd.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 2 TB. chopped onion (I use more onion)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 TB butter
  • 3/4 cup catsup or ketchup (Did you know there are both?)
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 TB. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 TB apple cider vinegar


  1. Brown the ground beef, chopped onion, butter and celery together.
  2. Then cook together:
  3. 3/4 c Ketchup
  4. 1 tsp. dry mustard
  5. 1 Tb. Brown Sugar
  6. 2 1/2 Tbl. water
  7. 1 tsp. salt
  8. 1 1/2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
  9. Pour sauce over ground beef and mix together.
  10. Simmer for 30-45 min.

Number of servings (yield): 6