Take the mess out of your sloppy Joe by turning it into casserole

Sloppy joe casserole with bun on top

Sloppy Joes are a hearty classic dinner dish. But one problem with eating them is clear from the recipe’s name. They’re messy!

Enter the Sloppy Joe Casserole. It has all the savory goodness of the sloppy Joe filling but is served up in a baking dish and topped with a bun so you can eat it with a fork on your plate.

But first, what makes a classic sloppy Joe compared to other loose-ground beef sandwich recipes? Taste Atlas calls it a messy, all-American sandwich that has ground beef, onions, seasonings, and tomato sauce or ketchup on a hamburger bun. However,  it may or may not have actually originated in the U.S. (One legend has it coming to Florida via Cuba.) It became a staple of family dinner tables in the mid-20th century, but isn’t as popular today as it used to be.


In The Kitchn’s version of Sloppy Joe Casserole, you create the traditional sandwich filling with onions, peppers, oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and other ingredients. Add cheese and put everything in a baking dish. Top it with cheese and garlicky buttered hamburger buns before baking.

If you’d rather go bunless, there are other Sloppy Joe casserole toppers to try out.

First, there’s the ever-popular tater tot topper. Salt & Lavender’s Natasha has a recipe for that.


Amanda’s Cookin tops her sloppy Joe casserole with cornbread. Stephanie at the Cozy Cook adds noodles to the ground beef mixture in lieu of any bread.

Southern Living incorporates dinner rolls into the top layer of its dish. And Pillsbury uses its canned biscuit dough to cover the top of its sloppy Joe casserole.

You can also use your carbs as the base for a bite-size version by making Sloppy Joe Cups like these from Ready Set Eat. Biscuit dough is shaped at the bottom of muffin tins. Another shortcut, using Manwich, simplifies the recipe further.


A sloppy Joe casserole, of course, kinda negates the name — since you eat it with silverware, no mess is involved. However, you could argue that the ability to create variations on the theme makes casserole a versatile and fun way to get those flavors in your mouth. Enjoy!


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About the Author
Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras.

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