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Canning sloppy joe with this 1950s original recipe will surely be a hit with your family and friends! This recipe has the classic from-scratch sloppy joe flavors and easy-to-follow instructions for canning.

Canned sloppy joes make a delicious and convenient sandwich for busy weeknights or low-key game day snacks with friends.

jars of sloppy joe mixture after canning

If you enjoy canning and, like me, you are always on the hunt to try new recipes, be sure to visit my recipes for How To Can Vegetable SoupHow To Can ChiliHow To Can Cowboy Candy, Canning Tomato Soup with Fresh TomatoesCanning Beans, Canning Roast Beef and Canning Salsa Without A Pressure Cooker.

What exactly is Sloppy Joe? 

close up of sloppy joes sandwich

Sloppy Joe is a favorite American sandwich filling that typically consists of ground beef cooked in a slightly sweet tomato sauce and served on a hamburger bun. The meat is usually browned with onions, bell peppers, and garlic, then simmered with a combination of tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and various seasonings.

Is canning Sloppy Joe ok to do?

Yes, you can home-can sloppy joe meat with sauce. It’s a great way to have easy meals for a busy weeknight or when last-minute guests pop in for dinner. However, following the proper canning procedures is essential to ensure the product is safe to eat.

Canning Safty First

My main objective is to provide clear and safe pressure canning techniques for canning meats. To achieve this, I rely on information sourced from the National Center For Home Food Preservation (NCHFP). The NCHFP is a reliable and up-to-date resource for researched-based guidelines on preserving home-canned food.

What Equipment You Will Need

For more information on tools for canning, visit my Canning Supplies Guide.

Original Sloppy Joe Recipe

For this recipe, I have researched my grandmother’s old recipes from 1950 through the 1970s and online to create a classic sloppy joe recipe suitable for safe canning. The small book she wrote in is a 1950 farmers’ ledger. 

When she wrote this in 1950, could she ever imagine this picture being seen all over the world on the internet?

vintage sloppy joe recipes from a 1950s farmers notebook written in pencil by my grandma. john deere acreage chart on other page

Ingredients Needed To Can Sloppy Joe

sloppy joe in canning jars, and all the ingredients needed to buy at store

Ground beef: Choose lean ground beef. A little fat is good because it creates great flavor. However, since this is a canning recipe, it is best to drain any excess fat before canning. 

Onions: You can use yellow or white onions. If you want a mild onion flavor, choose sweet onions such as Vidallias. 

Peppers: Seed and core green bell peppers.

Tomato Juice: Choose a good quality tomato juice that tends to be thicker than the cheaper varieties.

Ketchup: Choose a brand that is thick, not runny.

Tomato paste: Tomato paste will help thicken the sloppy joe meat. 

Complete recipe instructions and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

How To Make Original Sloppy Joe Recipe

1 In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef. Cook and crumble the meat until it is browned with no pink showing.

ground beef in skillet cooked, and paper towel soaking up grease

2. Once the ground beef is cooked, tip the pan to allow the grease to drain to one side. Use paper towels to soak up the excess grease and discard them.

3. Return the cooked meat to the burner, set the heat to medium, and add the diced green peppers, minced garlic and chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft.

cooking ground beef in skillet with onions and green peppers

4. Transfer the meat mixture to a large stock pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning. 

close up of sloppy joe cooking

Note* If the sloppy joe mixture seems too thick, add 1/4 cup of water or tomato juice as needed. 

Canning Sloppy Joe

Here is a step-by-step process for canning sloppy joe meat. If you are comfortable canning meat, skip down and print the recipe card. 

How To Properly Pack Canning Jars With Sloppy Joe Meat

sloppy joe being put in pint jars
  1. Pack Jars: Place a canning funnel in the jar for easy clean packing of the jars. Fill the jars with beef cubes. Push the meat down gently using a small rubber spatula. However, leave enough room for expansion during the canning process. When filling the jar with meat, make sure to leave a space of 1-inch headspace from the rim. 
  2. Clean Rims: After filling, remove the funnel and wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp paper towel. This will remove any food particles and ensure that the lids properly seal.
  3. Apply lids and bands: Place a new lid on top of each jar, ensuring it is centered. Then, screw on the bands until they are finger-tight. Avoid overtightening, as it can prevent air from escaping during the canning process.

Follow Your Canner’s Manufacturing Guidelines For Processing

I have used the All-American Pressure Cooker & Canner for over 40 years without any problems or concerns. However, there are many other good brands of pressure canning pots. Check your canner’s guidelines for preparing your canner properly for canning and processing various foods. Here is a list of safety guides for some popular canners. 

Refer to your pressure canner’s manual for specific instructions on adding water and using the canner.

How To Use A Pressure Canner
  1. Add water: Begin by adding the appropriate amount of water to your pressure cooker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to add about 2 to 3 inches of water to create steam for the canning process.
  2. Load the canner and seal the lid: Place the loaded jars in the pressure cooker, following the cooker’s guidelines for spacing and capacity. Place the canner lid on and tightly secure it. Turn the stove burner on medium-high heat. 
  3. Wait for a steady flow of steam: Allow the canner to heat until a steady flow of steam is seen coming out of the vent. The steam indicates the canner is purging the air and achieving a proper internal temperature.
  4. Time for steam release: Depending on the size and type of your canner, allow the canner to heat up and produces a steady stream of steam. However, referring to your specific canner’s manual for recommended times is important.
  5. Add the weight or close the vent: Once the canner has been purged of air and a steady flow of steam is observed for 10 – 15 minutes, you can add the weight or close the vent, depending on the type of pressure canner you’re using. This will allow pressure to build up inside the canner.
  6. Reach and stabilize at the desired pressure: The canner will take additional time to reach and stabilize at the desired pressure for your recipe. The specific pressure will depend on the altitude and type of canner you have. 
  7. Process for the required time: Once the pressure is reached, start the timer for the required processing time. The processing time and pounds of pressure will depend on your altitude. Processing time will vary depending on the size of your jars. See the chart in the recipe card. 

Tips and Q&As For Making The Best Sloppy Joe 

Here you will find some fun trivia, tips, and Q&As for making the best canned Sloppy Joe.

close up of sloppy joe in pint jar and 1/2 pint

Who made the first sloppy joes?

The history of the sloppy joe recipe is a bit murky, with two main origin stories.

The Iowa Origin Story

One story says that the sloppy joe was invented in Sioux City, Iowa, in the 1930s by a cook named Joe. He is said to have added tomato sauce to the “loose meat” sandwiches already popular in the area.

These sandwiches were made with ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Joe’s addition of tomato sauce made the sandwiches even more flavorful and saucy, and they quickly became known as “sloppy joes.”

The Cuban Origin Story

Another story says that the sloppy joe was invented in Havana, Cuba, in the early 1900s. José Abeal y Otero is said to have created a sandwich filled with ground beef stewed in tomatoes.

This sandwich was called “sloppy joe” because it was often served at a bar called Sloppy Joe’s. Americans and Britons, including Ernest Hemingway, frequented the bar, and the sandwich quickly became popular in the United States.

What are other names for sloppy joe sandwiches? 

Sloppy joes are called by various names, depending on what area of the country you are in.

Tavern Sandwich: This is a name for sloppy joe that is used in Iowa because it is said the original sloppy joe was created in an Iowa tavern

Loose meat sandwich: This is the common name used in Minnesota. Their version has a chunkier meat mixture. 

Wimpy: Pennsylvaina calls their sloppy joes Whimpy. It’s thought to reference the character from Popey cartoons because he loved hamburgers. 

Slushburger: Northern Midwesterners use the name slushburger. The buns are soaked in milk to make the bread soggy. Basically, a bowl and fork sandwich. 

What is the best way to serve canned sloppy joes?

close up of sloppy joe sandwich with pine and 1/2 pint jars of it in the background

Bread: Sloppy joes are traditionally served on hamburger buns. However, you can also serve them on hoagie rolls, kaiser rolls, or pita bread. 

Sandwich Toppings: To change up your sandwiches a bit, you can also top your sloppy joes. 

Unique ways to serve sloppy joe meat:

  • over french fries
  • topping on nachos
  • rice
  • mac and cheese

More Sandwich Recipes

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

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1/2 pint and pint jars of sloppy joe meat
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Canning Sloppy Joe (Classic Original Recipe)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 pints
Canning sloppy joe with this 1950s original recipe will surely be a hit with your family and friends! This recipe has the classic from-scratch sloppy joe flavors and easy-to-follow instructions for canning.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

Sloppy Joe Meat Mixture

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef. Cook and crumble the meat until it is browned with no pink showing.
    4 pounds ground beef
  • Once the ground beef is cooked, tip the pan to allow the grease to drain to one side. Use paper towels to soak up the excess grease and discard them.
  • Return the cooked meat to the burner, set the heat to medium, and add the diced green peppers and chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft.
    1 cup onion, 1 1/2 cups green bell pepper, 4 cloves garlic
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a large stock pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
    2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups tomato juice, 6 ounce tomato paste, 1 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 cup brown sugar
  • Note* If the sloppy joe mixture seems too thick, add 1/4 cup of beef broth as needed.

Filling Jars

  • Place a canning funnel in the clean staralized jar for easy clean filling of the jars. Fill the jars with sloppy joe mixture. Push the meat down gently using a small rubber spatula. However, leave enough room for expansion during the canning process. When filling the jar with meat, make sure to leave a space of 1-inch headspace from the rim.
  • After filling the jar, remove the funnel and wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp paper towel. This will remove any food particles and ensure that the lids properly seal. Continue until all jars afe filled.
  • Place a new lid on top of each jar, ensuring it is centered. Then, screw on the bands until they are finger-tight. Avoid overtightening, as it can prevent air from escaping during the canning process.

Pressure Canner Instructions

  • Refer to your pressure canner's manual for specific instructions on adding water and using the canner. Below are general instructions for an All-American Pressure Canner.
  • Begin by adding the appropriate amount of water to your pressure cooker based on the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, you'll need to add about 2 to 3 inches of water to create steam for the canning process.
  • Place the loaded jars in the pressure cooker, following the cooker's guidelines for spacing and capacity. Place the canner lid on and tightly secure it. Turn the stove burner on medium-high heat.
  • Allow the canner to heat until a steady flow of steam is seen coming out of the vent. The steam indicates the canner is purging the air and achieving a proper internal temperature.
  • Depending on the size and type of your canner, allow the canner to heat up and produces a steady stream of steam. However, referring to your specific canner's manual for recommended times is important.
  • Once the canner has been purged of air and a steady flow of steam is observed for 10 – 15 minutes, you can add the weight or close the vent, depending on the type of pressure canner you're using. This will allow pressure to build up inside the canner.
  • The canner will take additional time to reach and stabilize at the desired pressure for your recipe. The specific pressure will depend on the altitude and type of canner you have.
  • Once the pressure is reached, start the timer for the required processing time. The processing time and pounds of pressure will depend on your altitude. Processing time will vary depending on the size of your jars. See the chart in the recipe card notes below.

Notes

 Recommended process time for Sloppy Joe in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 60 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 70 11 12 13 14
 
 Recommended process time for Sloppy Joe in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 60 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 70 10 15
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 166mg, Potassium: 304mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 276IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American Classic
Course: Canning
Author: Gina Dickson

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