sloppy joe sides

What To Serve With Sloppy Joes?

Sloppy Joes are messy, delicious, and unique. If you like to prepare them at home or for parties, then serving something on the side is essential to the dish. Do not worry next time you are cooking sloppy joes, as the perfect side dish will be easy to prepare.

Keep on reading to find out all the best side dishes for sloppy joes. These recipes are easy and tasty, and you can make them without much hassle.

What Are Sloppy Joes?

A sloppy joe is a sandwich filled with ground meat in a sauce. The sauce is usually made with onions, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. The bread is a hamburger bun that can be toasted or not.

This type of sandwich has been around since the mid 20th century. Other names to describe a sloppy joe include toasted deviled hamburgers, chopped meat sandwiches, and Hamburg a la creole. The term “sloppy joe” is often a reference to cheap food or from a cheap restaurant.

In some cases, the sloppy joe sauce contains chili sauce or tomato sauce instead of ketchup. Many variations exist across the United States, including the addition of bell peppers, cheese, deli meats, and coleslaw. You might also find turkey or chicken meat, as well as vegetarian alternatives instead of beef.

Since the sauce contains ketchup, it can be quite high in sugar. You can make your homemade sauce by using tomato sauce or paste instead. Be sure to also watch out for extra fat in the meat and choose a leaner option.

Nutrition Facts

One sloppy joe sandwich (192 g) has the following nutritional content (*):

  • 424 calories
  • 96.5 g water
  • 32.1 g protein
  • 10.3 g fat
  • 50 g carbohydrate
  • 1.54 g fiber
  • 16.7 g sugar
  • 121 mg calcium
  • 4.72 mg iron
  • 36.5 mg magnesium
  • 236 mg phosphorus
  • 372 mg potassium
  • 787 mg sodium
  • 45.5 µg selenium
  • 73 mg cholesterol

Although sloppy joes might be high in protein, they are also high in calories, fat, sugar, and sometimes sodium. To make your sandwich more nutritious, go with a homemade sauce with less sugar and lean meat, like turkey. You can also serve them without the bun if you would like to skip the extra carbohydrates.

What Are The Best Sides for Sloppy Joes?

Below are some options for side dishes that you can serve with sloppy joes at any time!

#1. Cauliflower Tots

When you want something crunchy but do not want excess calories, these cauliflower tots are the way to go. You can serve them with a tasty sauce or on their own!


  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your cauliflower tots: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees °F.
  2. Wash, clean, and chop your cauliflower. Break off the stems and leaves.
  3. Place the cauliflower pieces into a food processor or blender. Pulse the cauliflower until it becomes thin, almost like rice.
  4. Add the cauliflower bits to a large bowl. Add the egg, and mix continuously for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in the cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is cohesive into a paste.
  6. Using your hands, grab some mixture and roll it into small balls or cylinders.
  7. Place your tots on a lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
  9. Serve your cauliflower tots with some ketchup or with sloppy joe sauce.

#2. Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

The sweet and sour flavors of this dill pickle pasta salad are perfect for complementing your sloppy joes. While you can add or remove ingredients according to your taste, the dish is simple and delicious as is.


  • 1 box elbow or rotini pasta
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups dill pickles
  • ⅓ cup pickle juice
  • 1 ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your dill pickle pasta salad:

  1. Cook the pasta according to instructions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Chop the pickles into smaller pieces of your desired size. Set them aside.
  3. Stir in the cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Add the cheese, chopped pickles, and pickle juice. Mix for a few more minutes.
  5. Finish off by adding the dill on top. Toss once more.
  6. Place your salad in the refrigerator to cool down for at least 2 hours.
  7. Serve your dill pickle pasta salad cold next to your sloppy joe.

#3. Three-Bean Baked Beans

Baked beans are another classic side dish that often goes alongside sloppy joes. However, you can make them more interesting with this three-bean recipe.


  • 4 bacon strips
  • 1 can of butter beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your three-bean baked beans:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees °F.
  2. Add the bacon to a skillet. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes or until crispy. Drain it and allow it to cool down.
  3. In the meantime, drain your beans and add them to a bowl. Stir in the ketchup, sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Cut your bacon into small pieces and add to the bowl. Mix again.
  5. Transfer your beans and bacon to a baking dish. Cover it with tin foil.
  6. Bake your beans for about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove from the oven and uncover.
  7. Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top.
  8. Serve your three-bean baked beans warm with sloppy joe on the side.

#4. Mac and Cheese With Peas

Mac and cheese is one of those classic sloppy joe sides that can never go wrong. Adding the peas gives this recipe some extra creaminess and flavor.


  • 1 box elbow macaroni
  • 1 can of green peas or 1 ½ cup frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your mac and cheese with peas:

  1. Cook your following box instructions in a large pot with water and salt. Drain and set aside.
  2. Drain your peas and set them aside with the pasta.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic.
  4. After one minute, add the flour. Cook for another minute.
  5. Stir in the milk and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the sour cream and cook over low heat.
  7. Season with cumin, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  8. Stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheese. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese melts.
  9. Add the pasta and peas. Mix well until the macaroni is entirely covered in cheese.
  10. Serve your mac and cheese with peas warm next to your favorite sloppy joe.

#5. Dijon Potato Salad

A traditional potato salad is not a bad idea when it comes to sloppy joes, but this recipe is a bit more elevated and delicate. You can add more vegetables as well if you want to make this a more filling dish.


  • 8 to 10 red potatoes
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your Dijon potato salad:

  1. Clean your potatoes and cut them in half, and then place them in a pot with water and salt. Cook them for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Drain your potatoes and place them in a large bowl to cool down.
  3. Pour the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper into the bowl. Toss everything well.
  4. Refrigerate your Dijon potato salad or serve it at room temperature.

#6. Corn and Cucumber Salad

For those that prefer a lighter side dish with their sloppy joes, this corn and cucumber salad is the perfect one. The combination of flavors is sweet, savory, and fresh, perfect for any season.


  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your corn and cucumber salad:

  1. Wash and clean your vegetables. Chop them and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Drain the can of corn and add it to the bowl.
  3. Stir in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
  4. Toss everything well and cover. Place your bowl in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Serve your corn and cucumber salad cold next to your sloppy joes.

#7. Garlic Sweet Potatoes

Another great way to complement your sloppy joes is to choose a side dish that is sweet but also savory. Sweet potatoes are a delicious choice that also happens to be versatile.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Follow these steps to prepare your garlic sweet potatoes:  

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees °F.
  2. Clean your potatoes and cut them into cubes, then transfer them into a bowl.
  3. Stir the olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake them for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Turn the potatoes and add the parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.
  7. Serve your garlic sweet potato fries with parsley on top.

How Can I Pick The Perfect Sloppy Joe Side Dishes?

Sloppy Joes are something you have to try at least once. Although the concept seems weird, it is truly delicious. The right side dish will only make your meal that much better.

When you are trying to stay healthy, a side dish that is a little lighter will likely do the trick. You can go with cauliflower tots that are satisfying but also healthy. The corn and cucumber salad are fresh and very tasty.

If you like your meal to be more filling, we suggest you go with a denser side dish. Try the mac and cheese with peas, which is always a safe choice. The Dijon potato salad is also a delicious twist on a classic recipe.

For all other cases, you can go with a side dish that will always go well no matter what you are looking for. The three-bean baked beans and the garlic sweet potatoes are a variation of traditional recipes but worth the time. The dill pickle pasta salad will surely surprise everyone too!


Who says sloppy joes means sloppy side dishes? These recipes are all easy to prepare at home and will not take much of your time. Try one, two, three, or more next time!

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*image by Wirestock/depositphotos

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