Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

A sloppy joe recipe your family will love

This sloppy joe recipe is both easy and delicious!

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When it comes to recipes that are tried and true in my family, this sloppy joe recipe is one of them. This is one of the very first recipes I developed on my own many years ago. And for some reason I haven’t shared it, yet. This week is the time to do so!

My guys are particular eaters. But, both of them will eat this sloppy joe recipe. My son won’t eat even thin hamburger patties, but he will eat my sloppy joes. That makes me feel good!

When I first came up with this recipe, I did some experimenting. I was trying to get away from using canned sloppy joe sauce because it contained vinegar, which sent me into an interstitial cystitis flare. I’ve refined it and, even though I can now eat barbeque sauce without flaring, I still prefer this sloppy joe recipe to any other.

Commissary BBQ seasoning that is available on Amazon

In terms of economics, making homemade sloppy joes is also cheaper than buying a can of sloppy joe sauce, especially since you probably have the ingredients in your house. The one caveat to that is the barbeque seasoning I use. I highly recommend this Commissary BBQ Seasoning. It costs more than I usually pay for seasonings, but the stuff is soooooo good. Like sooooo good. However, you can use barbeque sauce instead. I have tried other BBQ seasonings for this recipe and not liked them, so go with sauce if you don’t want to order this rub. (It’s also so, so, so good on grilled burgers!)

In fact, I used the very last of my seasoning when I made the sloppy joes for this post. I’ve got to order some more for myself! (I also have no affiliation with Commissary BBQ Seasoning of any sort. It just makes my taste buds happy!)

The meat for sloppy joes

I use 1 pound of ground chuck (80/20) for making sloppy joes. This more than feeds my family of four. In fact, last time I had enough left for two sloppy joes as leftovers. However, we don’t pile on the meat in my family. My husband and son, in particular, use probably about 1/3 of the sloppy joe meat you’ll get at a restaurant. So, use your best judgement for how much meat to use.

(I will add that this recipe freezes really well. My mom often doubles her batch to put some in the freezer.)

In a large skillet, cook the 1 pound of ground beef over medium-high heat, chopping it into small pieces. (I chop mine really small, but you can do the size your family likes.) Once the pink is mostly out of the meat, drain off the excess grease. Add in 1/3 cup of diced onion and cook for about three more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

The mostly cooked ground beef with the diced onion added in
The fully cooked ground beef with the cooked onion that is starting to get translucent

Time to get saucy

Next, pour 1 can (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce into the skillet right over the beef and onion. If you are making more than 1 pound, you may need to use more tomato sauce. The ratio of 15 ounces of sauce per 1 pound of ground beef works best.

Adding the tomato sauce for the sloppy joe sauce to the skillet with the ground beef and onions

Stir the sauce into the meat, leaving the temperature on medium-high. Now it’s time to add in the seasoning. I use 2 tablespoons of BBQ seasoning (preferably the Commissary BBQ Seasoning) and 3 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. If you like it sweeter, add more brown sugar; if you like it less sweet, add less. I tend to be in the sweet sauce camp!

If you are using BBQ sauce instead of BBQ seasoning, add in two tablespoons of sauce. If you have sweeter sauce, you may not need as much brown sugar. Or if you have spicier barbeque sauce, you may need more brown sugar. It really is to taste!

The sloppy joe recipe with the seasoning on top before being stirred in

Stir it all together to combine. Let it bubble for about 2 minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer on the stove for 5 to 10 minutes and it’s ready to serve.

The finished sloppy joe recipe ready to go onto a bun and be eaten

Serving a crowd

You can make this sloppy joe recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker to serve a crowd. In that instance, use 15 ounces of tomato sauce per 1-1/2 pound of ground beef. The slow cooker will get condensation on the lid and add liquid to the sloppy joes.

Because of the added condensation, you also need to add an extra tablespoon of the BBQ seasoning or sauce as well as the brown sugar for every 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of meat.

A finished sloppy joe on a bun, ready to eat
Sloppy joe recipe Pinterest image 3

Homemade sloppy joes

This easy sloppy joe recipe is homemade and so much better than canned sauce. It's a great weeknight family dinner and can serve a crowd!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 can tomato sauce 15 ounces
  • 1/3 cup onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning or BBQ sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar


  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When the meat is mostly cooked, drain the grease.
  • Return the meat to the stovetop and add in the diced onion. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes to let the meat finish cooking and until the onions soften and become more translucent.
  • Add the tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir.
  • Add the BBQ seasoning or sauce and brown sugar. Stir together and continue cooking over medium-high heat until bubbly (about 3 minutes).
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve on buns and enjoy!
Keyword dinner ideas, easy dinner, family dinner, ground beef, ground beef recipe, picky eaters, sloppy joe, sloppy joes, weeknight dinner

Find more delicious family recipes like this one in the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook. Download your FREE copy today!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook

Meatloaf recipe with ketchup glaze

My all-time favorite meatloaf recipe

There are so many different ways to make meatloaf. I’ve seen it with brown gravy over the top. Sometimes it’s dry. Other times it’s spicy. But, my all-time favorite meatloaf recipe topped with ketchup glaze comes from my mama. It’s one of my favorite dishes she makes.

Meatloaf recipe Pinterest image 3

I hadn’t made meatloaf myself until more recently. My husband and son won’t eat it. They don’t eat much meat. But after trying various meal kit delivery services, I learned making two different dinner options was sometimes worth it. I tried out some meatloaf recipes, and they were good enough. However, they weren’t my mom’s.

For just over a year, my parents have lived states away from me instead of five minutes away from me. So when they were here for a visit in the fall, I asked my mom to make meatloaf. She not only made it, but also froze some meatloaf patties that my daughter and I enjoyed later on for dinners. When my parents were back for my son’s recent birthday, I knew I had to write down her recipe, take photos and share it with you guys as well!

This meatloaf recipe is home-cooking at its finest. It’s not fancy, but it’s hearty and delicious. Serve it up with mashed potatoes or cheesy party potatoes and oven-roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Figure out the meat

So the issue here is what kind of meat to use. You can use all ground beef (we use chuck at 80/20 fat) or a mix of ground beef and ground pork or sausage. It’s good all the ways! This particular time, we made it with the mix of ground beef and ground pork, because I had some leftover ground pork I wanted to use.

If you do use a mixture of meat, you want to use 3/4 ground beef and about 1/4 ground pork or sausage. We used 2.5 pounds of meat total for five adults (with leftovers), which broke down to 2 pounds of ground beef and 1/2 pound of ground pork.

The fresher your meat is, the better the meatloaf will be. If you have a butcher or butcher’s case at your grocery store, go with ground meat from there. You don’t need it to be all-organic and grass-fed (unless that’s your thing). You just want fresh. However, this time around, we used frozen meat I had, and it was still incredibly good.

Mix up your meatloaf

Switch your oven on to 350-degrees (F) to get it preheating, and then start mixing your meatloaf. Put all of the meat into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of sage (unless you use sausage, in which case omit this), salt, pepper, 1/2 cup diced onion, 3 tablespoons of ketchup and 3 tablespoons of honey barbeque sauce.

The meatloaf ingredients (minus the glaze ingredients) in a large mixing bowl ready to be combined

Cut up about three slices of bread into small pieces. You an use whatever bread you have. This time, I had leftover french bread from serving slow cooker potato soup for dinner a couple of nights prior, so I used that. But regular sandwich bread works. In a pinch, crumbled crackers can work as well.

Chopped bread crumbs ready to go into the meatloaf recipe

Add the bread pieces into the meat mixture and mix it all together well. You can use a spoon for this or your clean hands to do so. I think using your hands is easiest, but do what works for you.

The meatloaf ingredients all mixed together and ready to go into the pan

The next step in this meatloaf recipe is putting the meat into a 9×13 baking dish. My mom’s tip is to make a bit of a “well” around the meat in between the meat and the pan. The grease will collect there and be easier to drain off.

The meatloaf in the pan, with a small amount of space between the meat and pan, that's ready to go into the oven

After your meatloaf is in the pan, top it with the 6 ounces of tomato paste. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the meatloaf in your preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Finish the meatloaf

About five minutes before the 45-minute mark, mix up your glaze. The ketchup glaze in this meatloaf recipe is probably my favorite thing about it! Mix together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 2 tablespoons of honey barbeque sauce.

Pull the meatloaf out of the oven. The tomato paste will have baked into the top a bit and grease will have gathered around the sides.

The meatloaf after having baked covered for 45 minutes with the grease around the edges

If you want, an optional step for this meatloaf recipe is to drain off some of the grease. That’s what we chose to do. Here is what it looked like after we drained the grease.

The meatloaf after draining some of the grease out of it

Next, it’s time to spread the ketchup glaze over the meatloaf. Spread the mixed up glaze right on top of the tomato paste.

The meatloaf recipe topped with the ketchup glaze and ready to finish baking in the oven

Put the meatloaf back into the oven, uncovered, for 15 more minutes. Let it set for about five minutes and then slice and put onto a plate for serving. (You want to move it to a plate to serve from because baking the second time will create more grease that you don’t want the meat sitting in.)

Serve up with some cheesy party potatoes, oven-roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes and enjoy!

A slice of delicious meatloaf with ketchup glaze alongside some mashed potatoes
Meatloaf recipe Pinterest image 2

Meatloaf recipe with ketchup glaze

This meatloaf recipe with ketchup glaze is my mom's long-time recipe that makes the best meatloaf hands down. You've got to try it!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 0.5 pounds ground pork
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 slices bread chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 5 tablespoons ketchup divided
  • 5 tablespoons honey barbeque sauce divided
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees (F).
  • Put the ground beef and ground pork into a large mixing bowl. Add in the tomato sauce, bread, sage, egg and onion.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of ketchup and 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce, and mix the ingredients well.
  • Put the meat mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Flatten it out to the same thickness throughout and leave a small space between the sides of the dish and the meat.
  • Spread the tomato paste over the top of the meat. Then cover with aluminum foil and baked for 45 minutes.
  • About 5 minutes before the meatloaf is finished with the first round of baking, mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons ketchup and 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce to form the ketchup glaze.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven. If desired, drain some of the grease from the meatloaf. Then spread the glaze over the top of the tomato sauce.
  • Put the meatloaf back into the oven, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it set for five minutes before slicing and transferring to another plate to serve.
Keyword family dinner, family recipe, ketchup glaze, kid friendly, meatloaf, traditional recipe
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