Sloppy Joe’s are perfect for a quick weeknight family meal. Whether you’re spicing up canned sloppy sauce or cooking sloppy joes from scratch, we know what to serve with sloppy joes!
If you’re cooking sloppy joes for dinner, you don’t want to put even more time into it, right? Same here. Let me help you get dinner on the table in a jiffy by keeping the side dishes simple.
In this article, you’ll find a list of easy-to-prepare side dishes as well as a list of leftover sides that would pair perfectly with your sloppy joe dinner. You won’t find any fancy side dish here, though many would work just fine.
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What Is Sloppy Joe Sauce Made Of?
Homemade sloppy joes are often made using lean ground beef, tomato puree, tomato sauce or ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, onions, bell peppers, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
How Is Sloppy Joe Sauce Served?
Classic sloppy joe sandwiches are served on hamburger buns, but there are many other ways you can serve it so get creative by serving your sloppy joe sauce:
- On toasted Texas toast (open-faced sloppy joe sandwich)
- In a toasted roll (sub or hoagie work best)
- On a grilled cheese sandwich (tip: don’t add too much sloppy joe sauce, or it will be so messy)
- Over a bed of fries (step aside chili cheese fries)
- In a baked potato (they’re better than chili-topped baked potatoes)
- Sloppy Joe Pasta (simply toss cooked pasta with your sloppy joe sauce)
TIP: Remember to add the cheese. Any kind will do, but cheddar and American cheeses are particularly good with a delicious sloppy joe sauce.
Potato Side Dishes That Go With Sloppy Joes
If you’re serving your sloppy joe sauce on some type of bread, you can’t go wrong with fries, as they are a classic side dish.
Sloppy Joe’s and fries just go together. To change things up, try different cuts of frozen fries. Our family favorites are crinkle-cut and waffle fries.
Tip: Before baking your fries in the oven or air fryer, toss them in a light coat of oil. This will help the texture resemble fries cooked in oil. If you are worried about the extra calories, you can also lightly spray the fries with a nonstick oil spray.
Who doesn’t love tots? To make them extra good, coat them with nonstick oil spray or toss them in a light coating of oil before baking in the oven or air fryer. Then, melt some cheese on top and have cheesy tater tots.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are a great alternative to regular French fries. To add extra crunch, you can spray them lightly with nonstick oil or toss them lightly in oil before cooking.
For a super quick, effortless side, pop open a bag of your favorite potato chips or make air fryer potato chips if you’re feeling ambitious.
If you have leftover potato salad in the fridge, it will make a perfect side dish for sloppy joes. Otherwise, pick up premade potato salad from your favorite store or restaurant.
Vegetable Side Dishes That Go With Sloppy Joes
Boiled Corn on the Cob
Most often, sloppy joes are served as a sandwich, so corn on the cob makes perfect sense. It can also be eaten with your hands, so less clean-up for you. And it’s super easy to boil corn on the cob!
Frozen or Canned Corn
If you don’t have the time to cook or like corn on the cob, jazzing up canned corn or frozen corn is quick and easy.
You can always spice up the canned or frozen corn with butter and spices. Try garlic, parsley, and fresh cracked pepper! You could also throw in a little paprika!
Green Garden Salad
Make a simple green salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Toss it with a dash of red wine vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette.
Want an even quicker garden salad? Purchase a package of garden salad mix from the store containing red cabbage and carrots and a bottle of your favorite dressing for a no-prep side dish.
Cold dill pickles pair perfectly with a sloppy joe meal. Crispy, cold dill pickles will help balance out the richness of your sloppy joes. The bonus is there is no prep work involved!
Onion rings are a great alternative to fries. Because sloppy joes usually contain onions or onion powder, battered onion rings are great. The flavor pairs well with sloppy joes and the crispiness from the batter will compliment your sloppy joe dinner.
Sliced Raw Veggies
If you have sliced raw veggies on hand, go for it. The cool, crunchy veggies will pair well with the rich, hot, sloppy joe sauce.
If you want to make a super simple creamy coleslaw, pick up a bag of shredded cabbage from the store and toss it with this coleslaw dressing! It’s my favorite easy coleslaw recipe that’s always a hit!
Or, swing by a local restaurant and pick up some prepared coleslaw to go.
Steamed broccoli is a quick, nutritious side dish that’ll go well with your sloppy joe dinner.
Leftover baked beans are perfect for serving with sloppy joes. Don’t have leftover baked beans? No worries!
Take a can of baked beans out of the pantry, add some or all of these add-ins, and then heat up on the stovetop.
Canned Baked Bean Add-Ins:
- Bacon bits
- Onion powder (or sauteed onions if you have them)
- Garlic (powder, minced, or paste)
- Yellow Mustard (just a squirt or two)
- Red Pepper Flakes (just a pinch)
Sauteed Onions & Peppers
If you’re using a canned sloppy joe sauce, you can saute a generous amount of onions and peppers to serve with sloppy joes. They pair well with canned sauce as they help balance out the sweetness.
Whether you pop open a can of green beans or make homemade baked or steamed green beans, they are a perfect side dish to serve with sloppy joes.
Heat up your canned green beans with a bit of beef base, garlic (paste, minced, or powder), a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and fresh cracked black pepper!
Marinated Vegetable Salad
This is a side dish that needs to be made ahead of time but is a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of dishes. And it is like your best potato salad recipe, it gets better after a day or two in the fridge!
What is a marinated vegetable salad?
It’s simply raw vegetables marinated (usually overnight) in an Italian dressing. I often use sliced mushrooms, broccoli, red onion, tomatoes, and sometimes cauliflower or carrots.
Tip: You can also add bacon bits and cheddar cheese.
Fruit Side Dishes That Go With Sloppy Joes
A simple chilled fruit salad pairs well with hot sandwiches like sloppy joes. Any kind of fruit will work; simply use what you have on hand.
Individual Pieces of Fruit
Any type of hand-held fruit works well with sloppy joes. Think apples, bananas, oranges, pears, etc.
Pasta Side Dishes That Go With Sloppy Joes
Cold Macaroni Salad
Cold macaroni salads make great sides for sloppy joes. While they are usually made with mayonnaise, this cold pasta salad works well with sloppy joes.
Cold Pasta Salad
A cold pasta salad made with a vinaigrette also goes very well with your favorite sloppy joe recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Difference Between Loose Meat Sandwiches And Sloppy Joes?
A class loose meat (tavern) sandwich is a ground beef sandwich often topped with hamburger-type condiments such as pickles, mustard, and ketchup. Sometimes, the loose meat is mixed in with onions, but the meat is not mixed into a sauce. So the main difference between loose meat sandwiches and sloppy joe sandwiches is that sloppy joes are mixed into a sauce, whereas loose meat sandwiches are not.
What Is Manwich?
Manwich is a brand of canned sloppy joe meat sauce first produced in 1969 by ConAgra Foods and Hunt’s. Can’t find Manwich in your store? Find it here.
What Is In A Can Of Manwich?
Manwich is a sauce that contains tomato puree (water and tomato paste), high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, chili pepper, tomato fiber, spices, and dried garlic, among other ingredients.
How to make Manwich’s better?
Many people feel canned Manwich sauce has a definite sweet flavor. Some love it, others don’t. I suspect the sweetness is because canned Manwich contains high fructose corn syrup.
Most people want to spice up the sauce as well as balance out the sweetness. There are many Manwich add-in ideas out there, but here are my favorites:
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Sauteed Onions
- Sauteed Peppers
- Canned Green Chiles
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Bacon Bits
- Garlic (powder, minced, or paste)
- Yellow Mustard
- Parmesan Cheese
- Soy Sauce (just a dash can spice up your sloppy joes)
- Cream Cheese (yep, this one is decadent)
- Sour Cream
- BBQ sauce (this works well when you’re serving baked beans as a side dish)
With each of these add-ins, start with a small amount and continue adding to suit your family’s tastes.
How Do You Thicken Manwich?
Corn Starch Slurry
If your Manwich is too thin, mix corn starch and water in 1:1 ratios. Stir into the boiling sauce until the desired consistency is reached.
The amount of slurry you use will depend on the amount of sloppy joe sauce you have and the desired thickness.
Start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water.
Cream cheese is a great way to thicken your Manwich sauce but it will add a lot of calories. Start with a few tablespoons and continue adding it until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
Final Recommendations From Cost-Effective Kitchen
From one home cook to another, when I make sloppy joes for dinner, it isn’t because I am looking for a perfectly nutritionally balanced meal. I am looking for an easy-to-prepare classic comfort food my whole family enjoys. My focus is on getting my family’s bellies full while getting in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.
When you’re deciding what to serve with sloppy joes, don’t stress! Just about all simple side dishes will work as long as they don’t have overpowering international flavors.
And if you’re in a bind, just serve huge sloppy joes without any sides. As long as your family doesn’t go to bed hungry, don’t worry!
If you have any additional suggestions on what to serve with sloppy joes, I’d love to hear from you!
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Until next time…