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Tasty Tweaks: 5 BEST Alternatives for Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are classic, no doubt. Still, sometimes shaking things up in the kitchen leads to awesome discoveries.

We’ve all been there, craving something different yet comforting.

So, we dove headfirst into the challenge and came out with five incredible picks you’ll adore swapping in for the traditional Sloppy Joe.

These aren’t your average alternatives. Each one packs a unique punch, flavor-wise, and might just become your new go-to.

From plant-based wonders to global-inspired twists, we’re sharing our top finds.

Get ready to amp up your meal game with these picks.

The 5 BEST Alternatives for Sloppy Joes

If you’ve been looking for a delicious and easy alternative to the classic Sloppy Joe, look no further.

There are plenty of unique and tasty options available.

We’ve gathered five of the best recipes that will tantalize your taste buds without the hassle.

AlternativeKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Barbecue SandwichesSmoky flavor, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, tender pulled pork or chicken1 cup of barbecue meat = 1 cup of Sloppy Joe mix
Chili BurgerSpicy chili flavor, hearty ground beef, served on a hamburger bun1 cup of chili = 1 cup of Sloppy Joe mix
PicadilloSavory and sweet ground beef or pork with tomatoes, raisins, olives, and spices, often served over rice1 cup of picadillo = 1 cup of Sloppy Joe mix
Bagel ToastCrunchy toasted bagel, variety of toppings1 bagel with desired toppings = 1 Sloppy Joe sandwich
Beef On WeckRoast beef on a kummelweck roll, served with horseradish and au jus sauce1 Beef On Weck sandwich = 1 Sloppy Joe sandwich

Now, let’s dive into each alternative in more detail:

1 – Barbecue Sandwiches

Barbecue sandwiches are a delicious and tangy meal that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

The main ingredients found in many barbecue sandwiches include shredded pork, chicken, beef, or even lamb pieces pre-slow cooked in various seasonings and sauces.

One bite into this sandwich will leave you with an explosion of mouthwatering flavors that mix sweetness and heat perfectly.

Aside from the succulent meats present within the sandwich, one key element to its distinct taste is the buns used to cradle its filling.

Buns pressing against sauces add a delightful crunch that must be experienced firsthand.

If you want something different than the regular sloppy Joe, why not try out this unique barbecue sandwich?

2 – Chili Burger

Chili burgers are a classic American comfort food that can quickly become an easy weeknight dinner.

It’s a delicious combination of two of your favorite foods, ground beef, and chili.

To make this dish, you start with sautéed ground beef mixed with chili powder and chopped onions until the mixture is browned and the flavors have come together.

From there, you form the burger patties, and pan-fries them until they’re nice and crispy, then top them off with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, or whatever other toppings you like.

The taste blends together the salty, tangy flavor of the chili seasoning with juicy beef patties making these burgers truly mouthwatering.

Serve your creation on buns or wrap them in lettuce for a lower-carb version.

Chili burgers can also be easily substituted for sloppy joes – just use ground beef instead of pork and add chili pepper to the sauce for an extra punch.

3 – Picadillo

Picadillo is an irresistible Latin American dish that bursts with flavor.

The main components of picadillo are ground meat and potatoes, as well as ingredients such as garlic, raisins, and spices, often served over rice or in tacos.

The texture of this meal is delightfully chewy due to the combination of ground beef and potatoes.

A delightful mix of sweet raisins, savory garlic, and vinegar come together to give this dish a unique, complex flavor.

To substitute for sloppy joes, replace the ground beef with leaner turkey or even crumbled tofu for a vegan version.

Add diced carrots and bell peppers, simmering until everything is fully cooked through; season with cumin, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce for a delicious rendition.

4 – Bagel Toast

Toast made using bagels instead of the traditional sliced bread really ups the game when it comes to ordinary breakfasts and brunch meals.

Bagel toast is crunchier, heartier, and has great chewiness, thanks to its compact form.

A combination of rich butter, spices like garlic powder, and optional topping like cheese can turn bagel toast into a delicious treat ready to be spread with mayonnaise or enjoy as a standalone unique breakfast option.

One way to provide variety in your meals is to substitute bagel toast for Sloppy Joes.

The crunchiness of bagel toast complements the tangy flavors of the Sloppy Joe mix nicely, making it a satisfying and refreshing change of pace.

5 – Beef On Weck

Beef on Weck is a classic Buffalo-style sandwich made with slow-roasted beef piled high on a kummelweck roll.

This delicious combination hails from Western New York, and its German name translates to “beef on roll with caraway”.

You can truly taste the hint of caraway in each bite, along with the salty crust of the roll.

The texture of the beef is one that you don’t get in other sandwiches, being very moist from the hours it has spent roasting.

While not quite as messy as Sloppy Joes, this sandwich allows for plenty of flavors to come through.

To substitute for Sloppy Joe’s, omit the caraway and replace it with diced onion or even tomato relish.

All in all, Beef on Weck offers an experience out of the ordinary yet familiar enough to tantalize your taste buds.

The 5 BEST Alternatives for Sloppy Joes

Out of ingredients for sloppy joes? Fear not! We've gathered the 5 best alternatives that deliver the same hearty, saucy goodness, ensuring a satisfying meal for you and your family.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Barbecue Sandwiches
  • Chili Burger
  • Picadillo
  • Bagel Toast
  • Beef On Weck


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Alternatives for Sloppy Joes
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. Calgary says:

    Wow, these Sloppy Joe alternatives are truly mouthwatering! From tangy barbecue sandwiches to savory picadillo, there’s something to satisfy every craving. Can’t wait to spice up my weeknight dinners with these delicious twists on a classic favorite!5 stars