Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe (2024)

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Our Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West recipe is the best thing outside Florida! It’s one of our treasured recipes because the whole family loves it, and it’s so easy to make!

Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe (1)

After visiting the Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida — we knew we had to figure out how to make this family favorite at home!

So, we put down the can of Manwich and made our own homemade sloppy joe’s recipe! After a few tests, we have to say, we think everyone will approve of this copycat recipe from Sloppy Joe’s Saloon!

The History of Key West’s Sloppy Joe’s

Originally, Sloppy Joe’s Key West was where Captain Tony’s is now. Back in the day, Ernest Hemingway supposedly hung out there.

In 1937, the saloon-style restaurant moved from 428 Greene Street to the corner of Greene and Duval Street because of a rent increase.

Sloppy Joe’s bar is still a super popular and iconic spot in Key West nearly a century later!

Some say the famous sandwich was created at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, but others say it started in Sioux City, Iowa or Havana, Cuba.

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What is a Sloppy Joe?

A Sloppy Joe is a loose meat sandwich using ground beef, onions, green peppers, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and spices. The sandwich is typically served on a hamburger bun.

What types of meat can you use in Sloppy Joes?

You could also use extra lean beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey for a more healthy Sloppy Joe. We chose 85% 15% hamburger meat. We found this to be the closest to the original Sloppy Joe recipe, but it is higher in fat and calories than the other two options.

A Sloppy Jane is typically the same ingredients but uses ground turkey instead of beef.

Couldn’t I just use a can of Manwich?

Hunt’s and ConAgra Foods both sell canned sloppy joe sauce you can add to meat, but we prefer to make it from scratch. You can control the flavor, and we typically have most of the ingredients on hand.

What is the best way to cook Sloppy Joes?

While you could make sloppy joes in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, we prefer to make ours on the stove. It just makes it easy to brown the hamburger meat, and it’s honestly really quick to make this way.

Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe (3)

Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Recipe

While you could make this with a can of sloppy joe sauce, we’ve found the best sloppy joes are made from scratch. Our recipe imitates the original recipe found at Sloppy Joe’s bar in Key West, FL.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion
  • ½ cup celery
  • ½ cup green bell pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (85/15)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns

How to make Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe

Place the onion, celery, and green pepper in a food processor or chopper until all 3 vegetables are chopped into thin, tiny pieces.

On medium heat, place oil in a large skillet. Sauté the sweet onion, celery, and green pepper mixture for about 5 minutes.

Add in your hamburger meat, Worcestershire sauce, and salt until the beef is browned. You can break the meat up as it cooks.

Once the ground meat is browned, drain the excess grease and fat from the skillet. (We used a colander but you could also use a spoon).

Let the meat rest and combine the tomato sauce, dijon mustard, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Mix well.

Put the sauce in with the meat and return to medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve the sloppy joe mix on a hamburger bun. (We also like a little yellow mustard or cheddar cheese on the bun!).

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Best Sloppy Joe’s Key West Recipe Sides

We love Sloppy Joe’s Saloon serves it only with french fries. We also love to serve it with potato chips, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, or cole slaw. There really is no wrong way to serve it!

How long does homemade sloppy joe last in the fridge?

When it is store in an airtight container, leftover sloppy joes last about 4 days in the refrigerator.

How to Reheat Sloppy Joes

You can reheat the meat mixture either in the microwave or over medium low heat on the stove. Then place it on a hamburger bun once it’s warmed through.

Can you freeze Sloppy Joes?

Yes, you can freeze sloppy joe’s. We even freeze our leftover buns! Once the meat mixture is cooked, you can put it into a gallon freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, just thaw the night before in the refrigerator.

This Sloppy Joes Key West recipe is one of a dozen American classics and such an easy dinner to throw together!

If you love this famous sloppy joe sandwich recipe, you may also like:

We also had Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Copycat Recipe for dessert!

Yield: 6 Sandwiches

Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe

Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe (5)

While you could make this with a can of sloppy joe sauce, we've found the best sloppy joes are made from scratch. Our recipe imitates the original recipe found at Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, FL.

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time20 minutes

Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion
  • ½ cup celery
  • ½ cup green bell pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (85/15)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. Place the onion, celery, and green pepper in a food processor or chopper until all 3 vegetables are chopped into thin, tiny pieces.
  2. On medium heat, place oil in a large skillet. Sauté the sweet onion, celery and green pepper mixture for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in your hamburger meat, Worcestershire sauce, and salt until the beef is browned. You can break the meat up as it cooks.
  4. Once the ground meat is browned, drain the excess grease and fat from the skillet. (We used a colander but you could also use a spoon).
  5. Let the meat rest and combine the tomato sauce, dijon mustard, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Mix well.
  6. Put the sauce in with the meat and return to medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve the sloppy joe mix on a hamburger bun. (We also like a little yellow mustard or cheddar cheese on the bun!).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 383Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 759mgCarbohydrates: 37gNet Carbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 27g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Best Copycat Original Sloppy Joes Key West Recipe (2024)

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