The only thing better than a good old Sloppy Joe is a Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese – and they couldn’t be easier to make!
I, Chris Collins, like cheese in my Sloppy Joes. There, I said it. And if you do too then this recipe is gonna be right up your street. Follow me…
Sloppy Joe Ingredients
If you’ve never had a sloppy joe before, I recommend checking out my Homemade Sloppy Joes Recipe, just so you know what you’re in for. For everyone else, here are just a few notes on the ingredients, just so we’re all on the same wavelength:
- Tomato Paste is Tomato Puree in the UK.
- Passata is pureed/strained tomatoes, in the US I believe you’d sub Tomato Sauce for this recipe.
- ‘Pepper‘ is just your regular Bell Pepper/Capsicum.
- The Mustard we’re using is Classic Yellow Mustard
- You want the Ground/Minced Beef low-fat (5% is great) just so the sandwich doesn’t turn out greasy.
Sloppy Joe Mix
When it comes to making the sloppy joe filling, you’re essentially just making a kind of meat sauce. The only difference is you want the consistency to be nice and thick. You can get away with it being a little saucy if you’re just making regular sloppy joes, because they’re sloppy by nature. However, when you’re making a grilled cheese it just becomes a nightmare when you’re preparing and frying the sandwich if the filling is too saucy.
As such you’ll want to give this a good simmer to reduce the liquid. This will also help tenderize the meat and marry all the flavours together.
Process shots: fry onion and pepper in butter (photo 1), fry garlic (photo 2), fry beef (photo 3), stir in tomato paste (photo 4), add in passata, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and s&p (photo 5), simmer to thicken (photo 6).
Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese
What Bread to use?
You want something fairly sturdy, so I’d steer away from soft sandwich bread. It just won’t hold up. Here I’ve used thick slices of a white bloomer.
What Cheese to use?
Half of the sandwiches I made here had cheddar and mozzarella, the other half had American cheese (aka ‘plastic’ cheese). Oh c’mon, it’s a sloppy joe. We’re allowed the plastic stuff! Monterey Jack also works nicely.
Cooling the filling
After you’ve made the filling, I recommend allowing it to cool for a few mins, at least until it stops steaming. If it’s too hot, it will steam the sandwich from the inside and soften the bread.
Process shots: add bread to pan butter side down with heat off (photo 1), add cheese (photo 2), add sloppy joe mixture (photo 3), add cheese (photo 4), add bread butter side up (photo 5), turn on heat and fry both sides (photo 6).
Serving Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese
Can I make these ahead of time?
I don’t recommend making the whole sandwich, but you can definitely make the filling ahead of time. Just cool and store in the fridge or freezer, then bring to room temp before adding to the sandwich.
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these sloppy joe grilled cheese sandwiches shall we?!
How to make Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese (Full Recipe & Video)
Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese
- Large Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Medium Sized Bowl (optional)
Sloppy Joe Mix
- 1lb / 500g Ground Beef (preferably 5% / Low Fat)
- 1 cup / 250g Tomato Passata (Tomato Sauce in US)
- 1/2 cup / 120ml Ketchup
- 1 medium Onion, finely diced
- 1 small Green Pepper, finely diced (Bell Pepper/Capsicum)
- 2 fat cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1 tbsp EACH: Worcestershire Sauce, Brown Sugar, Butter, Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
- 2 tsp Yellow Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, or to taste
- 10 fairly thick/large slices Bread (see notes)
- 15 square slices of Cheese (see notes)
- In a large pan over medium heat melt 1 tbsp butter then add onion and green pepper. Fry until soft & just starting to very lightly brown, then add in garlic and fry for another 1-2mins. Add in a tsp of oil or butter if the pan dries out.
- Add in beef and break up with your wooden spoon. Fry until browned all over, then stir in 1 tbsp tomato paste and fry for another couple of mins.
- Pour in passata and ketchup. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt & pepper and around 1/4cup/60ml water. Lower to a gentle simmer for around 20-25mins, or until very thick, stirring occasionally as you go.
- Either pour the sloppy joe mix into a bowl and clean out the pan for the grilled cheese. Or, leave it in the pan and use a separate pan. Allow the mix to cool down slightly before you make the sandwiches, at least until it stops steaming.
- Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. Flip half of them so they're butter-side-down. On top of those slices add 1.5 slices cheese (or enough to cover the bread), top with sloppy joe mix, followed by more cheese, then top with bread butter-side-up.
- In batches, add the sandwiches to a large pan over medium heat and fry both sides until golden/crispy with the cheese melted in the centre.
Your Private Notes:
For more similar recipes check out these beauties:
American Inspired Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Cheeseburger Grilled Cheese
- Pickle Grilled Cheese
- Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese
- Chili Cheese Dog Grilled Cheese
If you loved this Sloppy Joe Grilled Cheese Recipe be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below!