Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Recipe – Freezer Meal

Gluten Free

Old fashioned sloppy joe recipe

This old fashioned sloppy joe recipe is delicious healthy and a little bit messy. Everyone used to make food from scratch. There was not all kinds of prepackaged and frozen foods to purchase anytime you like. 

So this recipe plays on the old fashioned concept where we make healthy food from the real ingredients. One way our family strives to eat healthy is through clean eating. 

Basically I try to make everything from ingredients as close to their natural form as possible. It gives me peace of mind when I feed my family because I know what they are eating is healthy and delicious!

This healthy sloppy joe recipe is clean with all natural ingredients. 

When sitting down to create a sloppy joe recipe I knew I wanted it to have no sugar and no ketchup. But in order to get a nice sweet taste to the sloppy joe sauce I decided to use tomato paste and raw honey. Both of these ingredients have a sweetness to them and I knew the paste would provide a great sauce texture as the meat cooked. 

TIP: if you like to add a little kick to your sloppy joes add hot sauce to your plate when serving or even to the meat as it cooks.

Why you will love this old fashioned sloppy joe recipe. 

  • 10 Minutes to Prep
  • Super Easy
  • Extremely Tasty
  • Healthy (Soy Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Preservative Free)
  • Family Friendly
Sloppy joe recipe from the 50’s | Sloppy joe recipe without ketchup | Sloppy joe recipe with tomato sauce | Sloppy joe recipe slow cooker | Sloppy joes with tomato paste | Savory sloppy joe recipe

Are sloppy joes healthy?

Yes! Any recipe can be made healthy as long as you are using real ingredients. These sloppy joes have no sugar or ketchup. Only natural sweeteners like raw honey. You could also sub out the beef with turkey if your watching your fat intake for a delicious healthy turkey sloppy joe.

Ingredients you will need for this healthy sloppy joe recipe. 

  • ground beef (or turkey)
  • yellow onion
  • bell pepper (any color)
  • tomato paste
  • raw honey
  • chili powder
  • garlic cloves (or garlic powder)
  • salt
  • celery seed
  • cinnamon
  • dried thyme
  • carrots
  • dijon mustard

What is raw honey? Is it different from regular honey?

Raw honey comes straight from the honey comb. It is cleaned of any bits of comb but does not undergo a pasteurization process which leaves it a bit cloudy because this is honey in its pure natural form. 
Regular honey undergoes a pasteurization process making it pure and very consistent in it coloring. It also does not solidify. 
The pasteurization process may decrease the health benefits that raw honey has to offer by lowering the number of antioxidants and nutrients in the honey. You may use raw or regular honey but because of the health benefits I always recommend using raw honey. 

How to make the sloppy joe sauce?

SUPER EASY! In the past sauces have intimidated me. But this one is as simple as throwing all the sauce ingredients together in a food processor or high speed blender and blending until smooth. 

How to make this sloppy joe recipe in the slow cooker?

Just throw everything into a slow cooker and let it cook for you. No mess, no fuss and a delicious home-cooked dinner!


What kind of meat can I use?

Ground beef or ground turkey will work really well in this recipe. 

What to serve with this savory sloppy joe recipe?

Serve with any of your favorite bbq sides. I love serving with a potato salad and fresh slaw. You can even top of your sandwich with the slaw to get a little crunch. 

How to store this healthy sloppy joe recipe?

After cooking store in fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Do I need a slow cooker for this recipe?

You can use a slow cooker or crock pot for this recipe. It is designed to be fast and easy so you do not have to take the time to cook all night.

Can I use an instant pot instead?

Of course! If you are tight on time or a last minute cook then throw everything in the instant post and adjust cook time. For slow cooker to instant pot conversion times click here to get a simple instant pot cheat sheet. You will never have to guess or research an instant pot cook time again!

*See FAQ’s and specific tips following recipe below. (so you don’t have to scroll for a million years to find the food 😉 ).

How do you make this Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Recipe? 👇 

Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Recipe

This Old-fashioned sloppy joe recipe embracescooking without additives or preservatives and with full flavor. Cooking fromscratch is healthy and delicious!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy Sloppy Joe Recipe, Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe Recipe
Servings: 8
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Hannah Stewart


  • Slow Cooker or Crock Pot


  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onions diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots diced

Sloppy Joe Sauce (Blend Together):

  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Add sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (You may have to scrap sides once or twice).
  • Add all ingredients into slow cooker and pour sauce over. (Ground beef does not have to be browned before going into the crockpot, but do not mix or mince the meat until after fully cooked. This will give you a great cook and texture on the beef.)
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
  • Mince up the meat in slow cooker and stir once cooked.
  • Serve in your favorite bun and enjoy!

Freezer Directions:

  • Label Freezer bag with recipe name, cooking from frozen directions and expiration date (todays date plus three months).
  • Add sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (You may have to scrap sides once or twice).
  • Add all ingredients to labeled gallon freezer bag.
  • Store in freezer for up to three months.

Cooking from Frozen Directions:

  • Thaw overnight in fridge or in the morning in some warm water (meal may not be 100% thawed but that is ok).
  • Add freezer bag contents into slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours. (May need an extra 30 minutes if completely frozen when placed in slow cooker).
  • Mince up the meat in the slow cooker and stir once cooked.
  • Serve in your favorite bun and enjoy!


  • If you like a little extra heat or kick add in some hot sauce to your sandwich or the meat when cooking. 
  • If you do not have fresh garlic use 1 tsp garlic powder as a substitute. 
  • You can sub out hot sauce for the dijon mustard if desired. 
  • This recipe is super family-friendly and so full of flavor! The cinnamon is optional but highly recommended. 

if you liked this recipe give it a share!

Tag @My_FamilyDinner or #MyFamilyDinner

How freezer meals will change your life.

Makes homecooking Easy

Only spend one hour in the kitchen for a whole week of dinners. Day of, throw your freezer meal in the slow cooker or instant pot and enjoy dinner!

feel confident

Knowing you have a fool proof systen for something that is easy and works gives you confidence in the kitchen. So wether you're a seasoned chef or occational home cook the method of freezer cooking will work for you!

Eat Healthier

Because you're prepping the freezer meals with fresh foods you're eating healthier. Anytime you cook at home instead of eating out you get the benefits of healthier food.

Enjoy less stress

Have you ever felt the pressure of forgetting about dinner, or having to cook at the end of a long day?! No more, just grab something out of the freezer and you're good to go.

Frequently asked questions

No problem! Just throw the freezer meal in your slow cooker and you’re all set. If it doesn’t fit thaw it for a few minutes in warm water. (You may need to add an extra 30 minutes cook time if completely frozen when cooking).

Sloppy joes are usually made with ground beef. Beef is a great source of vitamins and minerals but can be high in fat. So if you are looking to lower your fat intake it can be great to get a 85/15 ground beef or higher. You can also make healthy sloppy joes with ground turkey if preferred.

Follow the instructions below for an easy sloppy joe recipe. No browning of the meat required. Just dump all ingredients together in a slow cooker or crock pot and let dinner cook for you. Just break up the beef after cooking to avoid any unwelcome texture.

A serving size assumes 1/2 cup of sloppy joe mix at 265 kcal per serving. 

Absolutely. You may have to play around with cook times. If you’re interested in an instant pot cheat sheet for cook times click here!

Manwich is extremely high in sodium and sugar. It also contained additives and preservatives so if you’re looking to eat clean then Manwich is not a healthy option. But if you’re looking for all the flavor of a Manwich with a healthy twist this recipe is perfect for you.

Sloppy joes sauce is a tomato based sauce flavored with seasonings and some vegetables. See recipe for further details for this sloppy joe recipe.

A traditional sloppy joe sauce will contain ketchup, sugar and even additives which is why I love to create my own sauces using clean ingredients. 

Add in 1-2 tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 1-2 tbsp water to make a slurry and then add to the sloppy joe mix and cook on low in slow cooker for an additional 30 minutes to thicken sauce. (you can also use cornstarch or arrowroot powder if that’s what you have on hand)

Follow this recipe for the perfect healthy sloppy joe recipe like one from the 50’s. 

Don't forget to pin this recipe and save it for later! 👇

Sloppy joe recipe from the 50’s | Sloppy joe recipe without ketchup | Sloppy joe recipe with tomato sauce | Sloppy joe recipe slow cooker | Sloppy joes with tomato paste | Savory sloppy joe recipe

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