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Cola Sloppy Joes

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Cola sloppy Joes are a quick, flavorful and easy dinner recipe. These sandwiches are made extra special with the zing of soda in the sauce!

toasted bun filled with crumbly sloppy joe mixture with tater tots and a pickle on the side.

Sweet and savory sloppy Joe sandwiches are a great meal for a busy night. The filling comes together quickly and the addition of cola makes it sing.

Pile it on a bun and make a couple of easy sides and dinner is ready in no time. Your family is sure to be excited when they see these yummy sloppy joes on the menu.

Just because your calendar is full doesn’t mean you can’t get a tasty dinner on the table. You just have to have some quick and easy recipes in your arsenal.

Luckily we have plenty of great easy recipes, so you don’t have to miss out on that important ritual of sitting around the table together and eating something you enjoy. After all, that is when the best conversations happen.

This recipe turns a pound of ground beef and a pack of hamburger buns into a super tasty meal. The sweet and savory sauce is sure to draw you in.

Sloppy Joes are always delicious with their sweet and savory tomato sauce. But the addition of cola in this sauce makes it extra special.

enameled cast iron skillet filled with ground beef coated in thick tomato sauce.

Instead of just adding brown sugar, adding the soda adds real depth of flavor in addition to the sweet. It has that peppery pop that really makes this sauce sing.

Feel free to use some flat soda if that’s what you have. A little bit from the bottom of a two liter will find bright new life as part of this yummy sauce.

What is the difference between Sloppy Joes and Maid Rites?

Midwesterners take these things really seriously. I know I have had several comments on my Maid Rites recipe about whether or not that reader considers what I posted a proper Maid Rite.

Both sandwiches are loose meat sandwiches. They are made from ground beef that is cooked to a crumbly consistency instead of being formed into a patty like a hamburger.

toasted bun piled high with coca cola sloppy joe mixture on plate with pickle spears

The Maid Rite sandwich lets the ground beef be the star of the show. There is generally a little onion and a few spices, but not much else.

For a fun take on it, try my Instant Pot Maid Rites. They are really simple, but really tasty.

Sloppy Joes, on the other hand, feature a sweet and savory tomato sauce on crumbles of beef. It is somewhat reminiscent of a tomato bbq sauce, but is generally brighter and more tomato forward.

What are some ways to spice up sloppy Joes?

As written, this recipe is super kid friendly. The sauce is flavorful but not super spicy.

If you like a little heat, feel free to add some cayenne pepper to the spice mix. You could also replace the bell pepper with jalapenos or stir in some chopped pickled jalapenos.

Alternatively, you could just add pickled jalapenos on top. That way each person can set their own spice level.

cheesy sloppy joe on bun with tater tots nearby.

Can I double or triple the batch?

Yes! You you can easily scale up this recipe for a party.

Though, if you are looking for a big batch of sloppy Joes, I have a great recipe for that as well. You can make a giant batch of sloppy Joes in your roaster that’s perfect for a party.

close up of tomato sloppy joe mixture on bun.

Both this recipe and the catering scaled recipe freeze great, so you don’t have to worry about having leftovers. Just put it in appropriate sized portions for your family and heat it up for a super simple dinner later.

What toppings go well with sloppy Joes?

These cola sloppy Joes don’t need a lot of toppings. The sauce is so flavorful the meat and the bun is all you really need.

However, we love a some cheese on our sandwiches. A slice melted on top or a sprinkling of shredded cheese makes them extra good.

A pickle or two and some diced onions are great on the sandwiches as well. A squirt of mustard never hurt anything either.

But the best way to take your sandwich to the next level is to toast the bun. Not only does it add great flavor, it helps the bun hold up to the filling a little better.

Just lightly butter the insides of the bun and put it on a warm skillet for a few minutes. When they are golden brown they are ready!

toasted bun filled with crumbly sloppy joe mixture with tater tots and a pickle on the side.

Cola Sloppy Joes

Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Carlee
This yummy sloppy joe recipe has Coca-Cola in the mix. It adds a little extra depth of flavor along with adding that sweetness you love.
4.87 from 37 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup cola
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Season ground beef with garlic powder, salt and pepper and brown in a large skillet over medium heat.
    1 pound lean ground beef, ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Add diced onion and pepper, cooking until the onions are translucent.
    1 small onion, ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • Stir in cola, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.
    1 cup cola, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Stir in ketchup and mustard. Continue to cook until the sauce is thick.
    ½ cup ketchup, 2 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • Serve warm on a soft bun.


This recipe works with your favorite cola. Both Pepsi and Coke are good options, but use whatever you have. 



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 17gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 287mgSugar: 7g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

Keith P

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

What happens after adding onions and pepper? There are only 2 steps listed in Instructions.


Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Oh my goodness, I don't know what happened there. Thanks for letting me know, it should be fixed now.


Sunday 7th of March 2021

I will be trying this soon. Love the idea of adding soda for the sweetness!


Sunday 7th of March 2021

You get that little extra zing along with the sweet!


Thursday 25th of February 2021

I think that it may be time to eat. Checking out this recipe made me very hungry. We do like Sloppy Joes and the Cola sounds like an interesting twist! Thank you for sharing.


Thursday 25th of February 2021

It's a great way to add the sweetness, but with a little extra zing!