Easy Italian Sloppy Joes

Easy Italian Sloppy Joes is the best sloppy joe recipe. Loaded with Italian sausage, bell peppers and provolone cheese. They are messy, savory, adult friendly, kid friendly and just plain good. 

Is it just me or are there certain meals that just scream childhood? When I think of Sloppy Joes, I’m reminded of quick dinners in between school and orchestra practice. I always looked forward to them. They were so messy and fun to eat. I mean when you’re a kid, what is better than getting messy when you eat?

Easy Italian Sloppy Joes

Now I look forward to making them for my kiddos and hope they have the same memories too!

What is Sloppy Joe Mix made of?

I know, I know it’s easy to just buy a can of sloppy joe mix. But hear me out, it’s just as easy to make your own sloppy joe sauce and it’s even better!

Traditionally a sloppy joe mix is a mixture of seasonings, ground beef, turkey or sausage and things like ketchup and Worcestershire to make a sauce. I find those mixtures a little too sweet so when I make sloppy joes I make them without ketchup.

How to make sloppy joe sauce thicker

I also like to make twist on classics. These Easy Italian Sloppy Joes are made with sausage, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red bell pepper, oregano and fennel. And of course there is cheese too, provolone to be precise.

How do you make Sloppy Joes thicker?

The key to making the sloppy joe sauce thicker, is to allow the sauce to cook down. First, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Sloppy joe sauce on a spoon.

This will thicken the sauce, while concentrating the savory flavor.

What sides go with Sloppy Joes?

Just about anything goes with these messy sandwiches! I like to serve then with jojo potatoes and a salad. They would also be good served with potato chips, roasted veggies, corn on the cob or onion rings.

Easy Italian Sloppy Joes

Whatever you decide to serve these with you can be sure that the whole family will love them. It’s a real crowd pleaser and on the table in about 30 minutes so it is perfect for weeknights!

Looking for more quick and easy weeknight meals? Try some of our favorites!

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Kielbasa and Potatoes Recipe

Macaroni and Tomatoes

Southern Fried Pork Chops 


Easy Italian Sloppy Joes is the best sloppy joe recipe. Loaded with Italian sausage, bell peppers and provolone cheese. They are messy, savory, adult friendly, kid friendly and just plain good. 


Did you like this sloppy joe recipe? I’ve got more Easy Sandwich Recipes for you to try!

Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Shrimp Sandwich

 NOTE: This post was originally posted in 2015. It was updated with new photos, tips and nutrition facts in 2019.

Easy Italian Sloppy Joes Recipe

Serves 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 1 pound ground mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pub buns or hamburger buns
  • 4 slices smoked provolone



Cook Italian sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until browned. Drain any grease.


In the same pan add olive oil. Add in onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook just until garlic is fragrant 30 seconds -1 minute. Return sausage to the pan. Pour in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add in oregano, fennel and sugar. Mix well. Bring to a bowl and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


To make a sandwich, spoon mixture on top of bottom bun. Place provolone on top. Place under the broiler and broil just until cheese melts. Repeat with remaining ingredients until four sandwiches are made. Serve.


Nutrition facts are estimations only.

Nutrition information

Amount per serving: 1 sandwich
Calories: 987 , Total Fat: 65.9g , Saturated Fat: 23.5g , Cholesterol: 180mg , Sodium: 2654mg , Carbohydrates: 37.9g , Fiber: 4.2g , Sugar: 14.4g , Protein: 53.6

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Michelle (Blackberry Babe)
    October 13, 2015 at 11:25 am

    My son loves sloppy joes but I’m not so great at making them Need to try these!

  • Reply
    Miryam, Eat Good 4 Life
    October 13, 2015 at 6:39 am

    I have never prepared sloppy Joes before but I think that has to change. These look nice and juicy!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Nix the tomato sauce and top with sautéed garlicky broccoli rabe =) for a change up.

    • Reply
      Des @ Life's Ambrosia
      October 14, 2015 at 12:22 am

      I’m kinda in love with that idea!

  • Reply
    From Valerie's Kitchen
    October 12, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Love the Italian twist! Great weeknight meal.

  • Reply
    Megan {Country Cleaver}
    October 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    These are jam packed Joe’s, man!!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I literally just had sloppy joe’s for dinner. This looks like a terrific recipe, can’t wait to try!

  • Reply
    Michelle De La Cerda-Nash
    October 12, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I love me a sloppy joe, add Italian to the title and I am one fat, happy, girl.

  • Reply
    Danae | Recipe Runner
    October 12, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I love the Italian twist on the sloppy joes! What a great idea to use Italian sausage instead of beef too!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2015 at 9:12 am

    How fun, that sounds like a wonderful day. Yeah for relaxation time and sloppy joes! YUM!

  • Reply
    The Chunky Chef .
    October 12, 2015 at 6:07 am

    We love sloppy joes here… and this Italian twist on them is just awesome!

  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    October 12, 2015 at 4:23 am

    I am so glad you got to have a nice relaxing spa day – you deserve it!
    I haven’t had sloppy joes in AGES! I need these bad boys! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
    October 12, 2015 at 4:06 am

    I haven’t had sloppy joes in forever! Love your twist on a classic :)

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    Hi! I am Des! Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too. Read more »

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