The Pantry Shortcut To Super Flavorful Sloppy Joes

A nostalgic childhood meal of many, the sloppy joe has earned its moniker. The chopped and seasoned ground beef dish mixed with tomato-based sauce can be downright messy, with bits of hamburger shrapnel and sauce exploding from the bun to stain kids' clothes, faces, and fingers. Sloppy joes are not a solid patty like a burger, meaning there is a greater likelihood that some of its loose contents may have shifted during bites.

But don't let that deter you from enjoying this tasty comfort food sandwich of school cafeteria renown, once recognized and celebrated in The New York Times. Just grab a few extra napkins and dive right in there. If you're preparing them at home, our old-fashioned sloppy joe recipe calls for blending in ingredients such as ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, with brown sugar optional depending on how sweet you want to make it.

However, you don't have to go the ketchup route; there is a pantry shortcut to creating super flavorful sloppy joes. Moreover, there is an excellent chance you already have this item stocked in your kitchen cupboard.

Making souped-up sloppy joes

While tomato soup makes a classic pairing with a grilled cheese sandwich, especially on a cold winter day, but did you know that it can also be used as an alternative ingredient to ketchup or tomato paste — or sauce in sloppy joe recipes? All you need is a can of condensed tomato soup, which is blended in a skillet with ground beef and whatever herbs, veggies, and spices you have selected. Once you have brought everything together you can simmer it uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Of course, when most people think of tomato soup, it conjures images of the classic red and white Campbell's soup can. The company has its own sloppy joes recipe that incorporates its condensed tomato soup into the mix, which they describe as adding a savory and sweet flavor (per Campbell's). But there are a dizzying array of sloppy joe recipe options available online that include tomato soup as an ingredient in lieu of paste or sauce. Whichever version you decide on, just don't forget the napkins.