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Frito Pie Sloppy Joes with a well seasoned ground beef sloppy joe mixture, topped with Fritos corn chips, and shredded cheddar cheese. Everything you love about classic Frito pie casserole, but in an easy to eat, kid approved, sloppy joe! You will love this family favorite dinner recipe.
Frito Pie Sloppy Joes Recipe
Sloppy Joes are always a hit at my house! These Frito Pie Sloppy Joes are one of our favorites because who can resist cheese + Fritos?! They’re so delicious and kids love topping their own with shredded cheese and corn chips.
The key to the best tasting sloppy joe is the simmer time. Make sure you give it plenty of time to simmer on the stove top for maximum flavor and thickness.
Here are the ingredients that you will need to make these sloppy joes. The list may look long, but most of it is just dried seasonings. I promise, it comes together easily! I also share some helpful tips so that you can recreate this recipe in your own kitchen.
- Olive Oil – I prefer to use extra-virgin light tasting olive oil, but feel free to use what you prefer.
- Red Bell Pepper
- Yellow Onion
- Ground Beef – I prefer using 96/4 ground beef. You will drain any extra fat/moisture anyways, so it does not matter much what percentage of fat you use.
- Kosher Salt
- Garlic – The recipe calls for 2 garlic cloves. You can mince or press fresh garlic, use chopped garlic from a jar, or use garlic paste.
- Tomato Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Red Wine Vinegar OR Apple Cider Vinegar – Either one works great so use whichever vinegar you have.
- Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika
- Light Brown Sugar – Don’t leave this out! Just a little bit adds so much flavor to help offset the heavy tomato and savory flavors going on.
- Hamburger Buns, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and Fritos Corn Chips
How To Make This Sloppy Joe Recipe
Learn how to make Frito Pie Sloppy Joes with these easy steps. Be sure and read to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card where I share all the ingredients, detailed instructions, and my tips.
- Sauté : Add the olive oil, red bell pepper, and onion into a skillet pan. Cook over medium-high heat until softened. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Ground Beef : Add the ground beef, kosher salt, and garlic cloves. Cook and crumble the ground beef until cooked through and no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Drain any excess grease/moisture from the pan before moving on to the next step.
- Sloppy Joe : Add tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and all the dried seasonings. Stir to combine together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium or medium-low, and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Do not put a lid on the pan. We want the sauce to thicken rather than trapping all the moisture in with a lid.
- Serve : Using a slotted spoon, serve a scoop of sloppy joe mixture onto a hamburger bun and then top it with some Fritos chips and shredded cheese.
Tips For Success
Here are some of my helpful tips so that you can have success with this recipe in your own kitchen.
- Let It Simmer : This is my #1 tip for this recipe! Plan ahead and make sure that you have enough time to let it simmer for 25 minutes. You could probably be fine at 20 minutes, but for best flavor & thickness, let it simmer the full 25 minutes. Turn down the heat, as needed, to avoid any splatter during the simmer time. Stir occasionally throughout.
- Don’t Use a Lid : Do not cover the pan with a lid during the simmer time. We want to simmer it uncovered so that the sauce can thicken up nicely. If you cover it with a lid, it traps the moisture inside, therefore the sauce won’t thicken as quickly.
- Serve with Slotted Spoon : There will be some extra liquid in the sloppy joe mixture (no dry sloppy joes here!) so make sure you are serving it with a slotted spoon to let some of the excess liquid drain out before adding it onto the hamburger bun.
- Hamburger Buns : I think it’s best to use a heartier, bigger hamburger bun so that it can hold up to the ground beef mixture better. I use the kaiser hamburger buns that you can find with the sliced bread and other buns at the store. You can also use the larger hamburger buns with sesame seeds on top. And of course, regular hamburger buns will work fine too.
- Shredded Cheese : You can use any variety of shredded cheese that you want. We think the cheddar cheese tastes the best on these. Also, grate/shred your own cheese from a wedge. It tastes so much better and melts better into the hot ground beef mix.
- Toast The Buns : Spread some butter one each side of the hamburger bun and place them on a cookie sheet. Broil until browned to your liking. This makes such a difference with sloppy joes!
Frito Pie Sloppy Joes FAQ’s
- How To Store Leftovers
- Store leftovers inside an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Warm up leftovers in the microwave or on the stove top in a pot.
- Can I Freeze Sloppy Joe Meat?
- Yes you can freeze this meat. Let it cool to room temperature and then put the meat into a freezer-safe container or gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to reheat, simply let it thaw in the fridge overnight, and then warm it up on the stove top. Add additional liquid, only if needed, to moisten it back up.
- Serving Suggestions
- Serve these Frito Pie Sloppy Joes with a pasta salad like my Ranch Pasta Salad or this Tri Color Pasta Salad.
- Serve it with a side of veggies like this Honey Butter Skillet Corn these Slow Cooker Sweet Carrots, or try my roasted Ranch Potatoes.
- Try cutting up some fresh fruits and/or vegetables with some ranch dressing for dipping.
- Variation & Substitution Ideas
- Make It Spicy! : Add some red cayenne pepper and/or more chili powder into the meat. Use shredded Pepper Jack cheese for the topping.
- Ground Meat : This recipe also works well with ground chicken or ground turkey if wanted.
- Onion : I prefer using a yellow onion in this recipe but feel free to switch it out with a white onion or even a Vidalia sweet onion instead.
- Paprika : If you don’t have smoked paprika then use regular paprika. The smoked paprika adds such a delicious flavor so use it if you have it. You can even do half smoked paprika + half paprika if you’re worried about the flavor.
- Can I Make It Ahead of Time?
- Yes, you can prepare the sloppy joe meat ahead of time. I do this if I am taking it somewhere or if I need to keep it warm for a couple of hours. Prepare the meat mixture as instructed in the recipe below. Move the sloppy joe mixture to a slow cooker and let it sit on the WARM setting for several hours. If your slow cooker runs cooler then you may need to switch it to LOW.
- You can also make it the day before and then warm it up the next day when needed. Prepare the recipe and let it cool to room temperature. Place the mixture into an air-tight container and let it refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours. When ready to serve, add the ground beef mixture into a pot and warm it up, over medium heat, until warmed throughout. You may need to add some liquid to help moisten it up a little.
More Ground Beef Dinner Recipes Your Family Will Love
- Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Enchiladas
- Easy Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Ground Beef Teriyaki Rice Bowls
- Ground Beef Stew
- Creamy Tomato Beef Pasta
- BBQ Beef Pasta Skillet
- One Pot Taco Pasta
- One Pot Teriyaki Beef and Rice
Frito Pie Sloppy Joes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar OR apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- hamburger buns
- shredded cheddar cheese
- Fritos corn chips
- In a large skillet pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, chopped red pepper, and chopped onion. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, kosher salt, and garlic and continue cooking and crumbling the meat, until it’s no longer pink. About 8-10 minutes. Drain any excess fat/moisture from the pan.
- Add the tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and all the dried seasonings into the meat mixture. Stir to combine well.
- Bring to a boil, over medium-high heat, and once boiling reduce the heat as needed (to avoid splatter) and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Do not cover the pan with a lid because we want the mixture to thicken while simmering.
- TIP : If wanted, while the meat is simmering, spread butter onto each half of the hamburger buns and place them on a cookie sheet. Broil it for a few minutes until it's browned to preference. Watch carefully to avoid burning! Toasting the buns makes such a difference with sloppy joes.
- Once mixture is thickened to your liking, use a slotted spoon, to serve a scoop of the sloppy joe mixture on a hamburger bun. Top with shredded cheese and Fritos corn chips. Enjoy!