Goodbye Manwich, Hello Super Sloppy Joes {Freezer Meal}

Super Sloppy Joes - A much healthier and tastier version of the canned stuff!

The term “Manwich” has always been equilavent to the phrase “sick nasty” in my book.  Sloppy Joes have traditionally ranked up there with my notion of bad meatloaf. Just bad ones…I don’t mind a good one every now and then. However, I decided to give this poor man’s entree a try again, albeit the non-canned, non-processed, veggie-rich, grass-fed beef version. Why? Simply, my husband loves them and my kids will eat them.

Tonight’s Super Sloppy Joes Review:  Kids ate them with no prodding!  My husband thought they were flavorful, wants me to make this recipe again, but asked for the veggie chunks to be smaller next time.  As for me…well, actually I didn’t mind them. They weren’t greasy at all, like my former experiences. I would like to try ground chicken next time just to cut down on the saturated fat, though.

For my own version, I combined Rachael Ray’s and Ellie Krieger’s Sloppy Joe recipes, while making a few of my own changes.  We put our meat/veggie mixture on mini whole wheat buns and served them with oven fries and salad.

Super Sloppy Joes - A much healthier and tastier version of the canned stuff!

Goodbye Manwich, Hello Super Sloppy Joes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This homemade version of Sloppy Joes is packed with veggies and has such great flavor! Your family will never ask for the Manwich variety again.


  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons all-natural steak seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans unsalted tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns (or 8 mini buns)
  • Optional: cheddar cheese slices


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and ground beef to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up while it cooks.
  2. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add this mixture to the meat while it cooks. When the meat has browned, remove from pan to drain oil.
  3. Wipe pan out. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan. Then, reduce heat to medium and add carrot, onion, red peppers, garlic, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire to the skillet. Cook until veggies are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add cooked meat, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and maple syrup to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Season with salt to taste, if needed.
  5. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile meat mixture onto toasted bun bottoms. Add a slice of cheese, if desired, and top with bun.


Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Fully cook and cool the Sloppy Joes (do not leave out of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours). Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Try to remove as much air as possible and seal and/or wrap well before placing in the freezer.
To Prepare:
To reheat, thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator (preferred method) or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Then, warm over low to medium-low heat on the stove, gently stirring.

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer Meals

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  1. Tonya says

    I love these! I just searched for the recipe again. I have made these multiple times over the last year. I usually do a triple or quadruple batch and vacuum seal the leftovers for future dinners. My 5 year old son requests these on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • Rachel says

      Isn’t it great when you actually make a meal that your kids ask for and you know is healthy? That’s great to hear this one works for you all. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Jess says

    With maple syrup and brown sugar are they not too sweet? Looking to make tonight but we’re not a fan of sweet more tangy.

    • Rachel says

      Not for us. They have a little sweetness but are great!

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  12. ashley says

    Hi im new to freezer cooking. If I make these sloppy joes ahead of time and freeze them how do I heat them up? Do I thaw them out first or just put in crock pot in the morning?

    • Rachel says

      Hi Ashley. Sloppy Joes are one of the easiest freezer meals. You can thaw/warm them several ways: 1) Defrost in the microwave on the defrost setting or in the fridge overnight and then warm on the stove. 2) Throw the frozen sloppy joes into a crock pot on low for a few hours. 3)Throw the frozen sloppy joes in a pot on the stove over low for about 30 minutes (stir and break it up occasionally). Let me know if you have any other questions. I remember having a million when I first started freezer cooking. I’m happy to help!

      • Monica says

        I am new to freezing too 🙂 I am wondering if you just freeze this entirely after cooking? Thanks so much!! It sounds great!

        • Rachel says

          Hi Monica. Yes, you will cook this fully and then freeze. I’ll add freezer instructions right now. Thanks for asking!

  13. Jill says

    these were really yummy, we had a lot of meat leftover so I threw in a large can of crushed tomatoes, black beans and chili seasoning and it made an awesome slightly sweet chili. Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

    • Rachel says

      Thanks for the feedback, Jill. I need to make this recipe again for my family soon! I love your idea to make it stretch, too.

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  15. Anonymous says

    My husband refuses to eat sloppy joes. But I think my kids would love them. I myself like them. So we are going to give these the ol' college try next week. We had the chicken tenders again tonight. I think we having been having them at least once every two weeks. Thanks for sharing another recipe!