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Sloppy Joe Sliders

Time: 45 minutes
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These hearty Sloppy Joe Sliders are toasty brioche buns filled to the brim my homemade sloppy joe sauce and colby jack cheese. Make them as a quick weeknight dinner or fun game day appetizer.

Looking for more yummy ground beef recipes? Try my Ground Beef Sliders and Chili Cheese Nachos! Or you may also love this old fashioned Venison Goulash.

Sloppy Joe Slider on a plate with a side of chips.

I have always loved sloppy joe sauce! You can throw it on tortilla chips, a bun, or serve it to me in a bowl and I will not turn my nose. This love for sloppy joes has led me to develop the most perfect recipe!

I hate to brag, but my homemade sloppy joe sauce is what I am known for! It is sweet, tangy, savory, and zesty with the perfect consistency for hand-held slider sandwiches.

The depth of flavor, messy, and fun eating experience make these Sloppy Joe Sliders a total crowd-pleaser. No matter where or when I serve them, everyone is always satisfied with full bellies.

Make Them With Me! Click To Watch:

Reasons You’ll Love These Sloppy Joe Sliders

  • No yucky, premade Manwich sauce. My famous sauce is a browned beef mixed with onion, green bell pepper, garlic drenched in a sweet but savory ketchup based sauce.
  • They’re cheesy. In our family we put colby jack cheese on our sloppy joes. It may sound odd, but it is so delicious! The cheese is mild in flavor so it’s not overwhelming but it does add a gooey quality to the sliders.
  • A great dinner or appetizer. Because they are mini, it makes them perfect.
  • Everyone loves them! Kids and adults alike, no one can resist the sweet, savory, messy quality of a really good sloppy joe.
Hands holding a sloppy joe that has one bite taken from it.

Ingredients For Sloppy Joe Sliders

To make these delicious sliders you will need the following ingredients. I have included a few notes and potential substitutions, so don’t skip over this part.

  • Slider Buns: I use brioche buns from Aldi’s, but white slider buns work as well. I tried this recipe with sweet slider buns (like King’s Hawaiian) but do not recommend. The sweet from the sloppy joes and the sweet from the buns was way too much.
  • Sloppy Joe Sauce: I always recommend homemade over store-bought. And it’s my famous recipe so you have to try it. The next section gives ingredients you will need for it.
  • Colby Jack Cheese: Sliced cheese works best for sliders because it creates a moisture barrier between the buns and the filling. I prefer colby jack because it is mild and melts down well. You could also use cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack cheese or whatever you prefer.
  • Unsalted Butter: This is brushed on top of the buns to keep them from drying out as they bake. I use slightly melted butter so it adheres to the buns rather than running off and pooling in the bottom of the pan. Do not use salted butter, it will be way too salty.

Homemade Sloppy Joe Sauce:

  • Ground Beef: Use lean ground beef whenever possible (93/7% fat content), this means less grease. You could also use ground turkey, ground chicken, and even vegan meatless ground beef.
  • Green Bell Pepper: Make sure you wash your pepper and chop it into very small pieces. I don’t recommend substituting these for other bell peppers, they tend to be too sweet.
  • Yellow Onion: These should also be cut into very small pieces (the same size as the green bell pepper). Yellow onions are strong in flavor and great for cooking down in the sloppy joe mixture. If you want a more mild onion, try the white onion, sweet onion, or even shallots.
  • Garlic: I recommend grating the fresh cloves, just my personal preference. I like the garlic flavor better when it is grated over minced.
  • Tomato Paste: This adds a concentrated tomato flavor. I do not recommend using tomato puree or sauce in its place. Both have sugar in them and will make the sloppy joe mixture sweeter than if you used tomato paste.
  • Ketchup: Use whichever brand you prefer.
  • Water: A little water helps to bring the sloppy joe mixture together.
  • Brown Sugar: This adds a molasses sweet note, light brown sugar is best.
  • Mustard: I use Dijon mustard but feel free to use yellow mustard in its place.
  • Chili Powder: On it’s own the chili powder will add heat and spice to dishes, but in this it cuts through the sweetness. Don’t leave it out!
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds a great savory flavor.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Both are essential in cooking. Feel free to season the dish to your taste preferences or follow my amounts in the recipe card.
Ingredients. Slider buns, colby jack cheese, ground beef, green bell pepper, yellow onion, garlic, tomato paste, ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and unsalted butter.

Equipment Needed

  • Large Skillet: We will use this to make the sloppy joe sauce. Make sure yours is large enough to hold 2 pounds of burger and sauce.
  • 9×13 Baking Pan: Used to bake the sliders. I use a glass pan that comes with a lid. This makes cleanup and storage so easy.

How to Make Sloppy Joe Sliders

Here’s a quick summary, the recipe card below will have complete details.

1. MAKE THE SLOPPY JOE SAUCE: Cook together the ground beef, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic. While that cooks, mix together the tomato paste, ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper. Pour it into the meat mixture and allow it to thicken.

2. CONSTRUCT THE SLIDERS: In a lightly greased 9×13 glass pan, add the bottom slider buns, half of the colby jack cheese, sloppy joe sauce, remaining cheese, and the top slider buns. Slather the top buns with melted butter.

3. BAKE THE SLIDERS: Cover the sliders tightly with aluminum foil and bake. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the buns are toasty and slightly browned. Allow the sliders to rest for a few minutes before serving!

Sloppy Joe sauce in a large pan with slider buns and colby jack cheese one the side.

Storing Information

Any leftover Sloppy Joe Sliders should be stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. For the best results they should be eaten within 3 days. You can either eat them cold or place the sliders in a warm oven or the microwave until heated through.

I do not recommend freezing any leftover sliders because as they thaw too much moisture seeps into the slider buns making them mushy and gross.

Make Ahead Information

Although the sliders cannot be made ahead of time, the sloppy joe sauce can! Prep it up to 3 days in advance and store in the refrigerator. Once you are ready to make your sliders, construct them and throw them in the oven. Easy peasy!

Pulling a slider out of the pan to see cheese pull and tons of Sloppy Joe filling.

What To Serve With Sloppy Joe Sliders

Sloppy Joes are a super fun and casual meal. You can serve them up with classic sides to make it a satisfying dinner or other appetizers for parties and barbecues.

Two plates of sloppy joe sliders with chips.

Recipe Tips You Need To Read

Although this recipe is super easy to make, there are a few things you should know about the sauce consistency, and avoiding soggy buns, and covering the sliders as they bake. Keep reading for full information and tips.

SLOPPY JOE SAUCE CONSISTENCY: With sliders like this we need the perfect saucy consistency. Too loose and it will seep all over the place. Too thick and your filling can become overly dry. Follow my directions and only simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, that is the sweet spot!

AVOID SOGGY SLIDER BUNS: There is nothing worse than moisture soaked buns. Avoid this by removing any excess grease from the ground beef mixture. Use the sliced cheese as a moisture barrier, it should be on top of the bottom bun and beneath the top bun (basically the sloppy joe sauce is surrounded by cheese and never touches the buns).

Sloppy joe that has one bite taken from it and chips on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can I use store-bought sloppy joe sauce?

Technically yes, but the sliders won’t taste the same. Store-bought sauce does not have the same flavor as my homemade sloppy joe sauce. If you have 15 minutes to spare making it at home is best.

Are rolls the same as slider buns?

Both are bread but how they are prepared and baked differs. I have used both slider buns and rolls (that are cut in half) for this recipe. I do recommend a sturdier roll or bun because of moisture in the filling.

More Slider Recipes To Try:


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Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
Sloppy Joe Slider on a plate with a side of chips and more sliders and chips in the background.

Sloppy Joe Sliders

Elizabeth Swoish
Toasty brioche buns stuffed with savory homemade sloppy joe sauce and melted cheese. Enjoy these hearty sliders for a quick dinner or as a fun game day appetizer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Servings 12 sliders
Calories 187 kcal

EQUIPMENT

INGREDIENTS
  

  • 12 slider buns - white or brioche
  • 10-12 slices colby jack cheese
  • 2 pounds ground beef - lean
  • ½ green bell pepper - minced
  • ½ yellow onion - minced
  • 3 garlic cloves - grated or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ⅓ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt - or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper - or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • To a large oiled skillet, add the ground beef, green bell pepper, yellow onion, and garlic. Cook over medium to high heat until beef is browned and crumbled, about 5 minutes.
    NOTE: Drain excess grease and moisture from the ground beef mixture and discard.
  • To a large measuring cup or bowl add tomato paste, ketchup, water, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Pour liquid into the ground beef mixture and stir well to combine. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.
  • Preheat oven to 375 °F and prepare a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place the bottom slider buns in the prepared baking dish and top with 5 slices of colby jack cheese, the slightly cooled sloppy joe sauce, the remaining 5 slices of cheese, and finally the top slider buns.
    NOTE: The cheese placement is important because it creates a moisture barrier which will keep the buns from getting too soggy.
  • Brush the top slider buns with melted butter and tightly cover the baking pan with aluminum foil.
  • Bake the sliders for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake them for an additional 5 minutes, or until the buns are toasty and the cheese is melty.
  • Remove from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

VIDEO

Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

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By Elizabeth Swoish on January 8th, 2024
Elizabeth Swoish holding a camera up to her eye taking a photo.

About Elizabeth Swoish

Elizabeth Swoish is the founder and CEO of Entirely Elizabeth. She is a self-taught foodie and mocktail enthusiast with a business degree in data analysis. Learn more about her HERE or connect on your favorite social media channels.

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