The Best Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe

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Enjoy the classic taste of Homemade Sloppy Joes, a quick and flavorful dish that combines perfectly seasoned ground beef with a rich, tangy tomato sauce. It’s an old Dairy Dee recipe and the original name was called The Yello Jersey Barbq on a bun.

A plate containing a sloppy Joe on a bun, pickles, and chips.

This is a very special recipe for me to post. I think it was one of the first recipes I ever asked my mother in-law for.  It has been one of my favorite sandwiches since I came into the family over 24 years ago. It was on my menu plan for last night, so I asked Cathy, my Mother-in-law,  if she cared if I shared the recipe. She gave me the okay and provided these wonderful pictures and also told me some interesting tidbits about the recipe.


This family recipe was served up daily at a quaint Dairy Dee called the Yello Jersey in Jamestown, KY.  My Mother-in-law’s parents owned the restaurant.  It’s hey day was in the 60’s and 70’s.  It was in operation for about 15 years. Each member of her family worked there.  Even LittleChefsDad was involved at the early age of 2 weeks old. Cathy would bring him with her and place him in the playpen while she worked. Here he is pictured a little older with his Grandmother, Zella Mae Rogers.


Cathy told me back in the 60’s if you asked for a sandwich, you got sliced bread.  Always.  So that’s why on a bun was incorporated into the name.  So customers would automatically know it was something other than the white bread commonly used for sandwiches. When she told me that I smiled so big. I had never heard that before and found it very interesting. I love hearing about food history.

I wanted to know everything about the Barbq sauce. Like what was the full name, how was it served, a plate special or separately ,what was served with it, what sides accompanied it, was it most popular on hamburger buns or hot dog buns?  I must’ve asked her 50 questions.  She happily replied back and it brought the recipe to life!

She said hamburger buns were most popular, by far!  One regular customer would order 6 at one time and eat them all by himself!

She said there were no plate specials back then.  Customers would walk up to the windows and order off the large handwritten menu.  The Yello Jersey also served up Shakes, Malts, and Cones.


Here’s Tommy Rogers whipping up a shake.  Check out that vintage machine!
 Here’s Suzanne Rogers Coe making an Ice cream Cone.

She said her Mom, Zella Mae, would make up a double to triple batch and freeze it.  So not only is this economical meal easy on the wallet, but it’s freezer friendly. What more could a person ask for?  Oh, and did I mention it’s delicious too?

At our house we call it Sloppy Joes, and add a slice of cheese to it.  When the kids were little they would turn their nose up to any food that had the word barbeque in it, and a food with the word sloppy in it, sounds soooo much fun to boys!

It’s also amazing used as Hot Dog Sauce.

Whatever you call it, sloppy joe or the original title, Yello Jersey Barbq on a bun, be sure to try this amazing recipe with your loved ones. I’m confidant that it will become your family favorite also.

  • Pics updated 4/2017.  The picture clarity wasn’t good in the old pics, hope the new ones are better!
A plate containing a sloppy Joe on a bun, pickles, and chips.

The Best Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe

Zella Rogers
Enjoy the classic taste of Homemade Sloppy Joes, a quick and flavorful dish that combines perfectly seasoned ground beef with a rich, tangy tomato sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 987 kcal


  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 18 ounces tomato paste
  • 12 ounces water
  • 2 – 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped


  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the powdered milk, chili powder, ground mustard, hot sauce, and salt. Mix these dry ingredients together and set them aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the tomato paste and water, stirring until well mixed. Set this tomato sauce mixture aside as well.
  • In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until it's fully browned. Be sure to break up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Drain any excess fat if needed.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour the tomato sauce mixture over the cooked beef and onion. Stir everything together until it's well combined.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture (powdered milk, chili powder, ground mustard, hot sauce, and salt) to the pan, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens to your desired consistency. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the Sloppy Joe filling has thickened, remove it from heat.


Serving: 1gCalories: 987kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 63gFat: 66gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 1937mgPotassium: 2500mgFiber: 5gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 2394IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 395mgIron: 10mg
Keyword 30 minute meals, beef, ground beef, sloppy joes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing! Dedinitely a favorite from my childhood!! Can’t wait to use this recipe and share with my son.

    1. I don’t think it does. It’s been so long since I’ve had the canned stuff I honestly can’t even remember what it tastes like. But I do recall having a strong aversion to Manwich. Try it and let me know what you think.

  2. I just love that you included the history of your recipe. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. The recipe says 1 cup powdered milk….does that mean 1 cup of the milk powder or milk powder mixed with water to make 1 cup of powdered milk?

      1. Linda,
        I double checked the recipe and left out the water. I’m so sorry. I hope you haven’t fixed it yet. There is supposed to be 12 ounces of water added to the mix in general. I have edited the recipe to add the water. Thank you very much for asking. Without your question I wouldn’t have noticed my mistake.

        1. Thanks for replying so quickly. The recipe sounded like one I wanted to try, but it sounded so dry I didn’t think it would mix up very well. So, thanks for checking it and letting me know. Now I will try it this weekend.

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