Canned Chiles Are The Ingredient That Seriously Upgrades Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are an affordable, easy-to-make weeknight dinner. But if your typical recipe (or canned version) has been tasting a little flat lately, there's a simple, cheap way to dramatically punch up the flavor: Just add some canned chiles.

These provide a dose of heat, freshness, smokiness, and other intense flavors to your sloppy joe mixture. They're best integrated alongside any onions, garlic, or other veggies before you add the sauce; these can also include bell peppers or other sweet pepper varieties. Heating these first will help some water cook off before you start building the sauce, thus concentrating their flavor while lightly charring their exterior.

Depending on your spice tolerance and desired flavor profile, there are a few options available for store-bought peppers. Green or Hatch chiles are among the mildest and most commonly available in grocery stores. Canned chipotle chiles offer a smokiness and an additional level of heat, and jalapeños are versatile enough to fit practically anywhere. True heat lovers can also look for spicier canned chiles like serranos or habaneros.

Other chile considerations for sloppy joes

While canned chiles are a super convenient sloppy-joe addition, the jarred variety is just as helpful and provides the added benefit of being resealable. Repeatedly opening the jar reduces the lifespan of the peppers, but they'll be good for up to two months from the date they're opened if kept refrigerated. This isn't the only pantry shortcut to super flavorful sloppy joes — you can also swap out a can of condensed tomato soup in place of ketchup or tomato paste. This may slightly affect the filling's consistency, so monitor the mixture and see if it needs additional time to reduce.

Also important to note is that you alert anyone else chowing down on your sloppy joes to the chiles' presence. Since the sauce of a sloppy joe is so thick, it's easy for them to disappear in the mix, providing an unpleasant surprise for those sensitive to spice. That said, just one can is a super easy way to upgrade your entire dinner.