Italian sloppy joes are an easy weeknight meal that is flavorful and quick to toss together!
These hearty sandwiches are filled with ground beef, marinara sauce, garlic, and Italian herbs - topped with melty provolone cheese.
Who doesn't love a hearty, homemade sloppy joe sandwich? This sloppy joe recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal!
You'll love this Italian twist on a classic - these sloppy joes are filled with Italian herbs, marinara sauce, and topped with melty provolone cheese. Serve your sloppy joes on a lightly toasted brioche bun or open faced on thick slices of garlic bread!
Serve these Italian sloppy joes for a quick lunch or dinner. Or, toss onto slider buns and enjoy as an appetizer during football season.
Ingredients and substitutions
Lean ground beef, anything 85/15 or leaner, will work well in this recipe. If you'd like to add extra flavor, use half ground beef and half Italian sausage.
Marinara sauce can be homemade or store bought, and can be substituted with spaghetti sauce. Perfect for using up a partial jar of sauce you have on hand!
Traditional marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, and a few herbs. If your particular marinara sauce is not very flavorful, I suggest adding 2 cloves of minced garlic with the ground beef.
Want to make your own sauce? Try my recipe: Homemade Marinara Sauce
Italian seasoning can be substituted with any combination of Italian herbs you have on hand, like oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary.
Provolone can be substituted with mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Or, use a combination of several types of cheese for extra flavor.
What type of bread to use for sloppy joes
For this recipe, there are several great options for bread. I typically recommend a brioche bun from your local grocery store bakery. Lightly toast just before serving your sloppy joes.
Or, toast some thick sliced freezer garlic bread. You may want to serve your sloppy joes open faced if using a thick sliced bread.
If you don't have garlic bread on hand, slather some sandwich bread with butter, a pinch of salt, garlic powder, and oregano, and toast until golden brown.
Leftovers and reheating
Leftover sloppy joes will keep in a tightly sealed container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
To reheat leftovers, cover with a damp paper towel and reheat in the microwave until just heated through.
Leftovers can be served on a toasted bun, tossed with pasta, or even on its own with a fork!
Italian Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 8 ounces marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 4 brioche buns lightly toasted
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onions and cook until they begin to lightly brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Crumble ground beef into pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Optionally, drain any excess grease from the pan at this time.
- Add marinara sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are heated through and sauce has thickened to your liking. Top with cheese slices and remove from heat.
- Once cheese has melted, transfer sloppy joe mixture onto toasted buns and serve.
- Marinara sauce can be substituted with spaghetti sauce. Traditional marinara sauce includes garlic. If your sauce is not particularly flavorful, add 2 cloves of minced garlic with your ground beef in the last 30 seconds of cooking (step 2, before adding your sauce).
- Leftover sloppy joes will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Provolone can be substituted with parmesan, mozzarella, or a combination of multiple cheeses.