Is there a sandwich more reminiscent of childhood than the Sloppy Joe?
One taste instantly sends you back to your childhood and the messy but wonderful meal you enjoyed at your family’s dinner table or even in the cafeteria at your school.
Sloppy Joes, however, aren’t just for kids! We can’t help but appreciate them as grownups since they are so simple and inexpensive to create.
Additionally, they remain as wonderful as ever! Why not bring your childhood buddies around for a throwback dinner party and eat Sloppy Joes for a blast from the past?
Sloppy Joes are a filling supper, it’s true, but they become a little more sophisticated with the addition of sides.
In this article you’ll find 16 amazing sides that will elevate your Sloppy Joes, whether you’re making them for your pals, your friends over for game night, or your own kids to try them out!
What Are Sloppy Joes?
Ground beef, a rich, tomato sauce (prepared with ketchup, chilli sauce, or genuine tomato sauce), and a squishy white bread are the three essential components of a Sloppy Joe.
Every region in the nation has its own variation on the classic Sloppy Joe.
The “Dynamite” variation from Rhode Island adds onions and peppers to the mix, while New Jersey takes an entirely other route.
They actually make a variation that is more akin to a doubledecker sandwich, sandwiching deli meat and cheese among thin slices of rye, and glueing it together using Russian dressing and mayo-drenched coleslaw.
How To Make Sloppy Joes
There are a few different recipes out there to make sloppy joes – but we are going to go through one simple method in four steps so you can cook up the quickest and tastiest sloppy joes in no time.
Heat the oil at a medium-high heat in a big skillet. Add salt and pepper then add onion, peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook vegetables for five to seven minutes while stirring often.
Fill the skillet with ground meat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spoon, or until it isn’t pink anymore.
Stir Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and ketchup into the beef mixture in the skillet. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes while stirring occasionally until thickened.
Add additional salt and pepper to the mixture as needed. Serve immediately after spooning mixture onto buns.
16 Best Side Dishes For Sloppy Joes
1. Tater Tots
Pairing tater tots with homemade Sloppy Joes will bring you back to your youth because cheese and potatoes go together so well.
You only need a cheese grater to grate your potatoes to prepare these homemade tater tots; you don’t need expensive gear like a potato masher or mill.
Simply add your preferred seasonings, form the mixture into tots, and cook them in high oil until crispy and golden brown.
Even though it’s difficult to stop at one serving, these tots freeze beautifully if you happen to have some remaining.
2. Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese is another fantastic side dish for your Sloppy Joe.
Is there a combo that is more soothing than this? Everyone at the dinner table will like this homemade mac and cheese, which employs a mix of cheeses for additional cheesy flavour.
It works nicely as a side dish with sloppy joes in addition to being a wonderful comfort food on its own.
The flavours of the Sloppy Joe go so well with this thick and sweet potato hash, and the crunchy sweet potato chunks provide a lovely counterpoint to the soft flesh of the sandwich.
In addition to preserving indefinitely in the cupboard, sweet potatoes are also more nutritious than normal potatoes. Sweet potato hash is really the ideal side dish for a Sloppy Joe during the workweek.
The sweet potatoes are simply placed in the pan and left to cook for twenty minutes while the Sloppy Joes are finished.
4. Dill Pickles
These dill pickles add a great crunch and a little extra flavour to your Sloppy Joes. They are also quite simple to create.
When you try this recipe, you’ll be sorry for all the pickles you’ve ever purchased from the store and wonder where it’s been all your life.
You’re left with pickles that are crisp, tangy, delicious, and have an appealing dill and garlic flavour because the refrigerator does most of the job!
When you don’t have much space for a grill or stove, this recipe is perfect. You could even freeze your corn in bags so you may have some to eat during the chilly winter months.
Another side that pairs wonderfully with Sloppy Joes is cole slaw, especially given how nicely the chilled coleslaw contrasts with the heated Sloppy Joe.
Few things are more summertime than luscious, creamy, and tasty coleslaw, and this dish is a knockoff of the coleslaw that we are all familiar with and adore from KFC (see also ‘We Ranked The Best KFC Sides‘).
All you’ll need is buttermilk, lemon juice, mayo, milk, onions, salt, pepper, and sugar, along with apple cider vinegar, cabbage, and carrots.
7. Garlic Bread
Although Sloppy Joes get messy, garlic bread is the best food to clean them up with.
While store-bought garlic bread would do, why not try creating your own garlic bread? Garlic bread and Sloppy Joes are sure to fill you up.
The greatest garlic bread may be made in two surefire methods. The bread can be heated in the oven while being wrapped in aluminium foil, or it can be toasted and crisped under the broiler.
8. Onion Rings
Another traditional side dish that will add excitement to your Sloppy Joes is onion rings. They, too, offer a pleasant crunch in contrast to the softer Sloppy Joes, and youngsters adore them.
Add some cornstarch to the batter for the ultimate, extra-crispy onion rings. Making onion rings is quite simple, and beer-battered rings give a wonderful new spin to a traditional dish.
Beer’s carbonation results in crisp, light breading, and the rings’ golden colour is caused by a tiny amount of paprika.
Fries and sloppy joes are unquestionably a classic pairing. The crispy, salty fries are the ideal counterpoint to the soft Sloppy Joe.
Additionally, adding waffle fries instantly ups the fun factor of any meal, especially when they are topped with bacon, cheddar, and scallions.
These fries go well with burgers, hot dogs, and Sloppy Joes in addition to being a terrific side dish.
Baked beans are another traditional Sloppy Joe side dish (if you want some side dishes for beans, read here).
Even though baked beans are quite easy to cook, this recipe elevates them by adding bacon pieces and brown sugar.
11. Potato Chips
What is better than potato chips and Sloppy Joes? They wonderfully counterbalance the tenderness of a Sloppy Joe since they are crispy and light.
Alternatively, you may make the potato chips into miniature nachos and cover them with delectable meat sauce, or you can use the chips to scrape up the hamburger crumbs from the Sloppy Joe.
Making potato chips couldn’t be simpler. Simply open your preferred bag of chips, add them to a bowl, and enjoy! You’re finished!
However, you may create your own if you enjoy a little more of a challenge or desire a healthy and gluten-free alternative to store-bought chips.
12. Potato Salad
A dependable and simple side dish that is creamy, substantial, and soft. Be careful to cook the potatoes entirely when doing so. To preserve their sweetness, don’t slice the potatoes; instead, leave them whole.
The potatoes can be added to with Dijon mustard, pickles, your preferred vegetables, mayo dressing, and sour cream after they have been cooked and cooled down to room temperature.
Additionally, use the starchiest potatoes you can find because they will result in a richer, more opulent salad with a rustic appearance.
13. Pasta Salad
Serve a classic pasta salad with your Sloppy Joes to give them an Italian flair.
This salad uses only a few basic ingredients and is incredibly adaptable, making it excellent for both the cooler months as well as the summer when so many vegetables are in season.
Additionally, it may be prepared in less than 20 minutes and stored for 5 days in the refrigerator.
14. Macaroni Salad
This filling macaroni salad is ideal to serve with Sloppy Joes if you have a large number of hungry visitors to feed. It will definitely make your visitors very full!
15. Stuffed Peppers
Although we are aware that the purpose of sides is to complement the main course, these stuffed peppers may end up taking centre stage. but they are too excellent to ignore.
You can include quinoa, brown rice, or white rice. After that, include your preferred beans and vegetables, and then top with cheeses and cilantro.
Although everyone enjoys mashed potatoes, they are not the healthiest accompaniment to a Sloppy Joe. Why not use mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes if you’re trying to eat healthier?
When contrasted to mashed potatoes, it clearly has a different flavour, but it’s still great! For a softly textured mash, we advise combining cream cheese and goat’s cheese with the cauliflower.
While a soft side such as this cauliflower is the ideal way to savour tender textures, a crunchy side is a nice counterpoint to your Sloppy Joe.
The cool, crisp cucumber and tomato instantly cools your lips and cleanses your palate after tucking into a delectable sloppy joe.
Frito Corn Salad
18. Frito Corn Salad
This is a must-try since the fritos offer a distinctive crunch that you wouldn’t think would go well with the corn and cream dressing.
Along with your deliciously wholesome sloppy joe, the salad is brimming with flavour. This recipe is also gluten-free and vegetarian.
Where Does The Name “Sloppy Joes” Come From?
It is generally accepted that a chef called Joe from Sioux City, Iowa, invented sloppy joes.
The sloppy meat sandwich which was already well-liked in the 1930s served as the model for his lunch.
Sloppy Joe sandwiches started to appear often in newspaper articles throughout the 1940s, then by 1949, school cafeterias were serving them.
Throughout the country, Sloppy Joes gained popularity over the following two decades, but in 1969, they reached new heights as a result of the release of a tinned Sloppy Joe sauces that would soon come to be identified with the sandwich.
How Can Sloppy Joes Be Made Thicker?
The most typical methods for thickening a Sloppy Joe’s sauce include adding cornstarch, making a mixture with flour, or cooking the sauce longer without the lid so that the extra liquid can evaporate.
When Preparing Sloppy Joes, Will The Meat Have To Be Drained?
Yes, when creating a Sloppy Joe, you must drain your meat. In order to make homemade sloppy joes, cook your beef for 7 minutes over medium-high heat, or until it isn’t pink anymore.
Prior to actually introducing the sauce and heating it through, stir and then drain.
Who says Sloppy Joes are only for kids? Despite being a childhood favourite. Sloppy Joes have had an impact time and time again, from their storied, mysterious beginnings to their ascent to the heights of renown in popular culture.
Each one of these sides will definitely improve your Sloppy Joe and make it more enjoyable for both adults and children.