16 Incredible Side Dishes to Serve With Sloppy Joes

Is there any sandwich quite as nostalgic as the Sloppy Joe? One bite immediately transports you back to childhood, and to enjoying this messy but delicious meal at your childhood dinner table, or maybe in your school’s cafeteria.

16 Incredible Side Dishes to Serve With Sloppy Joes

But Sloppy Joes are not just for kids! They’re too easy and affordable to make for us not to enjoy them as adults too. Plus, they’re still as delicious as ever! 

For a trip down memory lane, why not invite your childhood friends over for a nostalgic dinner party and feast on Sloppy Joes?

True, Sloppy Joes are a substantial meal, but the addition of sides makes them a bit more grown up.

Whether you’re introducing your own children to Sloppy Joes, whipping them up for your friends, or for game night at your house, below you’ll find 16 incredible sides that will take your Sloppy Joes to the next level!

Homemade Tater Tots

Potatoes and cheese are a tried and true combination, and serving tater tots with your Sloppy Joes is sure to take you straight back to childhood.

To make these homemade tater tots you don’t need fancy equipment like a potato masher or a potato mill, just a cheese grater to shred your potatoes.

Then you just add the seasonings of your choice, shape into tots and place them into hot oil until they turn crisp and golden brown.

It’s hard to resist not eating these in a single serving, but if you do have some of these tots leftover they’re perfect for freezing. 

Creamy Homemade Mac & Cheese

Another excellent side for your Sloppy Joe is mac & cheese. Seriously, is there a more comforting combination than this?

This baked homemade mac and cheese is sure to please everybody at the dinner table, and uses a wide variety of cheeses for extra cheesy goodness!

As well as a side to Sloppy Joes, it’s a great comforting dish in its own right too.

Sweet Potato Hash

This starchy and sweet potato hash marries so well with the flavors of the Sloppy Joe, and the crunch of the sweet potato chunks is a nice contrast to the soft meat of a Sloppy Joe.

Sweet potatoes also keep forever in the pantry, and are also healthier than regular potatoes. What’s not to love? This sweet potato hash is a perfect side dish for a weekday Sloppy Joe.

You just plop the sweet potatoes in the pan and let them do their thing for 20 minutes while you finish up the Sloppy Joes.

Dill Pickles

Much like the sweet potato hash before it, these dill pickles provide a nice crunch in contrast to your Sloppy Joes, not to mention a little extra spice! Plus, they couldn’t be easier to make.

Once you make this recipe you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life, and lament all the pickles you’ve bought from the store over the years!

Because while store bought pickles are undeniably tasty, these dill pickles are in another league altogether.

The fridge does most of the work for you, and you’re left with crisp, refreshing, tangy, and delicious pickles that have an irresistible dill and garlic flavor! 

Microwave Corn on The Cob

It’s impossible to eat Sloppy Joes without making a mess, so why not embrace it and have equally messy corn on the cob on the side?

Not only are they as messily fun to eat, but Sloppy Joes and corn on the cob are an excellent pairing!

If you’re short on time, you can also prepare your corn on the cob similarly to the Mexican street food, elote, which couldn’t be easier to make.

This recipe is ideal to make when you’re short on grill or stove space, and you can even freeze the corn in plastic bags, so you’ll have some to enjoy during the cold, winter months. 


Coleslaw is another side that goes so well with Sloppy Joes, especially since the cool temperature of coleslaw contrasts perfectly with a hot Sloppy Joe.

There are few things more summery than creamy, sweet, and delicious coleslaw, and this coleslaw recipe is an imitation of the KFC coleslaw we all know and love.

You’ll just need apple cider vinegar, buttermilk, cabbage, carrots, lemon juice, mayonnaise, milk, onions, salt and pepper, and sugar.

Garlic Bread

Yeah, Sloppy Joes are messy, but what better way to mop up the mess than with garlic bread? Garlic bread with a sandwich may seem like bread overkill, but it may be so wrong it’s right!

Garlic bread with Sloppy Joes is sure to fill you up, and while store bought garlic bread will do, why not give making your own garlic bread a try?

There are two guaranteed ways to make the best garlic bread. The first is to toast and crisp the bread under the broiler, and the second is to wrap the bread in aluminum foil and heat it in the oven.

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Onion rings are another classic side dish that is sure to make your Sloppy Joes more exciting! They again provide a nice crunch alongside the soft Sloppy Joes, and much like Sloppy Joes, they’re a favorite amongst kids!

For the best, extra crispy onion rings, don’t forget to add cornstarch to the batter. Onion rings are super easy to make, and beer-battered rings put a delicious twist on a classic.

The carbonation of the beer makes for crispy, light breading and a hint of paprika gives the rings their golden hue.

If you’re not a fan of beer however, you can easily swap it out for another carbonated drink, such as club soda, ginger ale, or any soft drink of your choice!

Loaded Waffle Fries

Sloppy Joes and fries truly are a classic combination. The fries are crispy and salty, perfectly balancing out the tender Sloppy Joe. Much like garlic bread, you can also use waffle fries to mop up the Sloppy Joe mess!

Plus, the addition of waffle fries makes any dinner instantly more fun, especially when topped with bacon, cheese, and scallions.

These fries are not just great on the side of Sloppy Joes, but on the side of burgers and hot dogs too. 

Southern Baked Beans

Another classic Sloppy Joe side is baked beans. Whoever decided to first pair Sloppy Joes with baked beans was honestly a genius!

Baked beans couldn’t be simpler to make too, and this recipe takes baked beans to the next level with bacon bits and brown sugar. But what makes this recipe even more exciting is how you can double up too.

All you need to do is make sure your pan of beans are equally shallow, as if you pour your beans into a deep baking dish the appropriate surface area won’t be covered, affecting the cooking and thickening of the beans, and resulting in a soupy texture. 

Homemade Potato Chips

What could be better than Sloppy Joes and potato chips? They’re crispy and light, balancing out the softness of the Sloppy Joe perfectly.

You can also scoop up the meat bits of the Sloppy Joe with the chips, or you can even turn your potato chips into little nachos and top them with delicious meat sauce.

Potato chips couldn’t be easier to prepare. All you need to do is open your favorite bag of chips, pour them into a bowl, and voilà! You’re done!

But if you like a bit of a challenge and want a healthier and gluten-free option to store bought chips you can make your own.

You just thinly slice potatoes, season them with paprika and salt and pepper, and pop them in the oven. 

Potato Salad

Who doesn’t love potatoes? They make for such a versatile side, and potato salad is a perfect example of that. Classic potato salad is a creamy, hearty, and tender side that is reliable and easy to make.

When preparing your salad, make sure to boil the potatoes whole. Hold off on slicing them, as keeping the potatoes whole helps them to retain their sweetness.

Once the potatoes are cooked and have been allowed to cool to room temperature, you can mix in Dijon mustard, pickles, and your choice of veggies, as well as mayo dressing and sour cream.

Also, make sure you’re using the starchiest potatoes possible, as this will make for a thicker, luxurious salad with a rustic look.

Pasta Salad

Give your Sloppy Joes an Italian twist by serving a rustic pasta salad alongside your sandwich.

A bowl of penne pasta topped with basil, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers drizzled with red wine vinegar is going to look beautiful alongside your Sloppy Joe, and make for one sophisticated side dish to elevate the childhood favorite sandwich. 

But this salad is made from simple ingredients and is extremely versatile, perfect for the summer months when so many veggies are in season, but also ideal for the colder months too.

What’s more, it can be ready in under 20 minutes and kept in the fridge for 5 days.

Macaroni Salad

If you’ve got plenty of hungry guests to feed, this hearty macaroni salad is perfect to serve alongside Sloppy Joes. It’s certain to fill your guests right up! 

Stuffed Peppers

Now, we know the point of sides is that they’re not meant to overshadow the main dish, but these stuffed peppers might just become the star of the show… but they’re too good not to mention!

But where do you begin with stuffing peppers? Well, start with the grains first.

You can add brown rice, white rice, or quinoa. Then add your favorite veggies and beans, before finally topping with cheese and cilantro. Then just pop them in the oven!

Buttery Mashed Cauliflower

We all love mashed potatoes, but they’re not the healthiest side you can have with your Sloppy Joe. If you are trying to be more health conscious, why not swap out mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower?

It definitely has a distinctive taste when compared to mashed potatoes, but it’s just as delicious! We recommend adding cream cheese and goat’s cheese to the cauliflower, for a lightly textured mash.

While a side that is crunchy is a nice contrast to your Sloppy Joe, a soft side like this mashed cauliflower is the perfect way to indulge in tender textures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do Sloppy Joes Get Their Name?

It is widely believed that Sloppy Joes were created by a cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa.

He based the sandwich on a loose meat sandwich that was already popular in the 1930s.

What Is The Difference Between A Manwich And A Sloppy Joe?

A Manwich is simply the marketed version of Sloppy Joe sauce that you can find in most grocery stores.

A Manwich is designed to make the process of making Sloppy Joes easier. 

How Do You Make Sloppy Joes Thicker?

The most common ways to make the sauce of a Sloppy Joe thicker is to add cornstarch to the sauce, make a roux with flour, or cook the sauce for longer, leaving the lid off so the excess liquid can evaporate. 

Does The Meat Need To Be Drained When Making Sloppy Joes?

Yes, you will need to drain your meat when making a Sloppy Joe. When making a Sloppy Joe, cook the beef in a large skillet over a medium-high heat for 7 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.

Stir occasionally and then drain before adding the sauce and heat through. 

Final Thoughts

Sloppy Joes are a childhood favorite, but who says they’re just for kids?

Any of these sides are sure to elevate your Sloppy Joe, and make it so adults and kids alike can enjoy them!

16 Incredible Side Dishes to Serve With Sloppy Joes

5 from 2 votes

Here you’ll find 16 incredible side dishes for a delicious Sloppy Joe dinner and relive your childhood memories of enjoying this beloved sandwich!


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review
Jess Smith
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