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The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce

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The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce starts with tomato sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. This homemade version of Sloppy Joe sauce has nothing on the canned version!

homemade sloppy joe sauce

Alright, y’all. It’s tailgating season, and I’m here to show you ONE basic sauce recipe that you can use four different ways!

Sloppy Joe Fest is this week!

Growing up, we loved when mom whipped out a can of sloppy joe sauce – we knew it would be a good night! I hadn’t had a sloppy joe sandwich in years until earlier this year when a friend made it for dinner one night.

The sauce was nothing like I remembered… So, that week, I went out and got a can of Manwich and made what I remember from my childhood.

Y’all! It was SO gross!!

homemade manwich sauce for sloppy joe sandwiches

So, all this to say, I’ve been making my friend’s recipe and playing around with the ratios. And, I think it’s pretty darn good. 

First, where did Sloppy Joes come from?

Rumor has it that Joe was creating ‘loose meat sandwiches’ in Sioux City, Iowa. There are all kinds of variations around the country, but America loves this classic comfort food recipe!

sloppy joe sandwich sauce that's homemade

Now, like all good things, the best homemade sloppy joe sauce is super simple. You may even have all the items in your pantry!

Next, what’s in Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce?

  • tomato sauce
  • chili sauce (the kind you use for shrimp cocktail!)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • yellow mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • seasoning salt

Sloppy Joe Sauce with Chili Sauce

What can you use sloppy joe sauce for?

Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce with Chili Sauce

Finally, let’s breakdown the sauce…

  1. The ONLY chili sauce you can buy for this recipe is Heinz. You’ll use the whole bottle. But, don’t throw it out – we’re going to add some things to the bottle…
  2. Into the chili sauce bottle, add the apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Shake it up really well, then dump into a mixing bowl with the brown sugar on the bottom.
  3. Whisk your brown sugar really well with the apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining chili sauce. (This way you don’t end up with clumps of brown sugar)
  4. Add your can of tomato sauce, mustard, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix it up and pour into browned ground beef and onions.

homemade sloppy joe sauce

In conclusion, you’ll want to keep all these ingredients on hand so you can make sloppy joe sandwiches anytime! 

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homemade sloppy joe sauce

The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 8
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: sauces
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: american


The BEST Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce starts with tomato sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. This homemade version of Sloppy Joe sauce has nothing on the canned version!


  • 12 ounces Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Seasoning Salt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large mixing bowl, pour  in the bottle of chili sauce and brown sugar. To the almost empty bottle of chili sauce, add the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Screw the top on, and shake really well. Dump this into the bowl with the chili sauce and brown sugar. Whisk these together, breaking up any brown sugar lumps – you want a completely smooth sauce. Add the can of tomato sauce plus the mustard and whisk until combined. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks. 

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