Are you looking for a low-carb twist on classic comfort food? I have the perfect solution….. mouthwatering Homemade Keto Sloppy Joes! With browned ground beef, onions, and peppers cooked in a flavorful sauce, topped with gooey melted Mozzarella cheese, creating a delicious low-carb twist on a classic favorite The best part? It’s super simple, making it ideal for a quick, delicious weeknight meal.
I have been creating and sharing low-carb recipes for years. One of the biggest challenges is finding a dish that will be a great low-carb option comparable to the fully loaded recipe. Finding the proper low-carb substitutions while retaining the traditional flavor can be challenging. The good news, this recipe captures the unique flavor profile and texture of traditional sloppy joes without the added carbs.
Are Sloppy Joes Keto Friendly?
Using seasoning packets or canned Manwich sauce is not keto-friendly as it contains ingredients most avoid when eating low carb, such as sugar. This recipe is keto-friendly; you won’t even notice a difference; it tastes so delicious.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Ground Beef – I like to use 80/20 because of its high-fat content.
- Onion, bell pepper, and garlic – add extra flavor and texture
- Tomato sauce – forms the base of the Sloppy Joe sauce, providing a tangy and slightly sweet taste. It adds moisture and helps bind all the ingredients together.
- Braggs Aminos – a soy sauce alternative, contributes a savory umami flavor. It adds depth and richness, enhancing the overall taste.
- Yellow mustard – adds a tangy and slightly spicy kick to the recipe.
- Chili powder, paprika, and other spices– These seasonings add extra spice and warmth to seal in the flavor we all love.
I’ve included a step-by-step pictorial for those who are visual. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full printable recipe card with detailed ingredients and instructions.
How to Make the Best Low-Carb Sloppy Joe Recipe
Step 1: In a large skillet or pan, brown ground beef with bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Next, drain the ground beef.
Step 2: Add tomato sauce, mustard, butter, and all other ingredients to the skillet and stir until combined. Simmer with the lid on low for 15 minutes.
*Tip: Add one teaspoon of garlic powder to the mixture if you do not have any fresh garlic cloves.
Step 3: Remove the lid from the skillet and simmer until the mixture thickens. If you find it too thin after simmering, continue simmering with the lid off, and the sauce will continue to reduce. Cooking times may vary depending on your size skillet and how hot your stove cooks.
Step 4: Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and let it melt.
If your skillet is oven safe, put it under the broiler for a few minutes so that the mozzarella cheese browns and starts to bubble. Make sure to watch it carefully, as it can burn quickly.
What Can I Substitute for Hamburger in Keto Sloppy Joes?
- Ground turkey – is a healthy alternative to beef.
- Ground chicken: Provides a leaner option for those looking to reduce their red meat intake.
- Plant-based crumbles – for a meatless option.
- Ground pork – adds a slightly different flavor and a touch of richness.
- Cauliflower crumbles: You can use riced cauliflower or small florets instead of meat for a vegetarian or vegan alternative.
How to Serve Low-Carb Sloppy Joes?
Some may feel eating low-carb is too restrictive, but there are so many options! I’ve listed several below.
- Lettuce leaves: These are a fabulous healthy alternative to bread.
- Low-carb bread substitutes: Check out my recipes for Keto 90-Second bread or Easy Keto Chaffle to use as buns. Both are keto-friendly without the added processed ingredients in low-carb store-bought bread.
- Portobello mushroom caps: Grill or roast them and use them as a bun replacement.
- Cabbage leaves: Steam, then use as wraps. I’ve not tried using cabbage for a wrap, but it sounds yummy.
- Low-carb tortillas: A sloppy joe wrap is delicious! Add some meat mixture to the tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on top, then roll it up! You can enjoy it as is or put it in the air fryer to crisp.
- Zucchini boats: Halve lengthwise, scoop out the center, and fill them. Place in a greased baking pan and bake for approx 30 min in a 350°F degree oven.
- Store-Bought Low-Carb Buns – Low Carb bread has come a long way! I’ve found that toasting the bread in a skillet first in butter is the way to go!
- Cauliflower rice: Steam a frozen bag of riced cauliflower for convenience and serve your meat sauce on top. Isn’t cauliflower always the answer for a low-carb alternative to traditional buns or bread?
Is this recipe gluten-free?
As the recipe is written, it does not contain gluten ingredients. However, I always suggest double-checking ingredients in your kitchen as different brands may contain ingredients that could compromise gluten-free food. If you add any store-bought wraps, tortillas, or buns, they are not gluten-free.
Variations for Low-Carb Sloppy Joes
- BBQ Sloppy Joe: Add my Homemade Low-Carb BBQ Sauce or store-bought keto-friendly BBQ sauce for a tangy twist.
- Spicy Sloppy Joes: Turn up the heat with hot sauce, diced jalapenos, or crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cheesy Sloppy Joes: Top with shredded cheese and melt it under the broiler for a gooey variation. Get creative; there are a lot of varieties of cheese! Think Keto Sloppy Joe Casserole.
- Mushroom Sloppy Joes: Saute sliced mushrooms first in olive oil, then remove from skillet and set aside. After the ground beef is browned, add the mushrooms to the mix and continue following the rest of the recipe.
- Taco Sloppy Joes: Use Homemade Keto Taco Seasoning and add diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and sour cream.
- Buffalo Sloppy Joes: Mix in buffalo sauce (you decide how hot you want it) and crumbled blue cheese, then serve with celery sticks.
Are there substitutes for Besti Monkfruit Alluluse Blend Golden and Bragg’s Aminos?
You can sub Swerve Brown or Monkfruit Golden instead of Besti Golden monkfruit and allulose blend. Bragg’s Aminos is a healthier alternative to soy sauce. If you are avoiding soy, Coconut Aminos is a perfect sub.
FAQs & Tips
What’s the Correct Way to Brown Ground Beef
- Add ground beef to a skillet on medium heat.
- Once the ground beef starts to brown on the bottom, use a spatula, wooden spoon, or a meat chopper to break the meat into smaller pieces.
- Once it is cooked through, drain off the excess oil if desired.
How Do I Thicken Keto Sloppy Joe Sauce?
To thicken, allow your mixture to boil, then reduce to simmer with the lid off until it reaches the desired consistency. I cook mine for 20 minutes with the lid on for 15 and off for five so that it is thick, hearty, and flavorful.
How to Meal Prep
Keto Sloppy Joes make great leftovers and can be prepped in advance for quick and easy meals throughout the week. Prepare a larger batch and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for future low-carb meals.
Tip: When I add ground beef to the skillet, I prefer to cook extra. I don’t spend a lot of time meal prepping, but I do as often as possible: brown extra ground beef at once and store it in the freezer divided into freezer-safe containers. You can find this tip and some others in 5 easy meal prep ideas.
Ways to add more veggies to this keto sloppy joe recipe
I am always looking for ways to add more veggies to our diet. You could sneak in mushrooms and zucchini if they are diced very small and sauteed with green pepper and onion.
How To Store and Reheat the Leftovers
Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze for up to 6 months in a freezer-safe container. To reheat, place the leftovers in a microwave-safe container and microwave in 30-second intervals stirring in between until it has reached your desired temperature. You can also reheat it on the stove in a skillet.
What to serve with a Keto Sloppy Joe?
A fresh garden salad would go perfectly with Low Carb Sloppy Joes, balancing out the bold flavors for a delicious healthy meal. Here are a few other favorite keto side dishes below:
- Creamy Keto Mashed Cauliflower
- Keto Air-Fryer Roasted Green Beans
- Easy Air Fryer Broccoli Recipe
- Easy Marinated Keto Coleslaw
How Many Carbs Are in Low-Carb Sloppy Joes?
While the complete nutritional information is in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, this recipe makes six servings at three net carbs each. Please note this is for the beef mixture only. The nutritional info will change depending on how you enjoy eating it.
More Keto Ground Beef Recipes:
BEST Keto Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 1.25 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Wholesome Yum Besti Monkfruit & Allulose Blend Golden Sweetener
- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Aminos
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, diced onion, green peppers, and minced garlic cloves. Cook until the beef is browned and the vegetables are softened.
- Once the ground beef is cooked, carefully drain any excess fat or liquid from the skillet.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet. Stir everything together to ensure the flavors are well combined.
- Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's bubbling away, reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid. Let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Sprinkle shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top of the skillet. Cover the skillet again with the lid and let the cheese melt over low heat. This should take about 5 minutes or so. (You can also skip the cheese entirely.)