Tex Mex Sloppy Joes: Get your napkins ready! This American classic meal that epitomized my childhood dinners now combines with my utter love for Tex Mex food today.

tex mex sloppy joes

I feel lucky enough, with my aging and increasingly cluttered brain, to have distinct memories of many nights at the dinner table with my family.  Family dinner (at the kitchen table) was a basic requirement to living in my parents house. 

I’m sure my adolescent years were filled with dread about that required family time but today I couldn’t be more thankful for the memories I have about those nights.

On one such night when I was maybe 11 or 12, we had taco salad for the first time.  It was nothing fancy, as tacos don’t need to be – taco meat with all the fixings over crunchy tortilla chips – but it felt like a revolutionary dinner.  Tortilla chips with dinner?! Score!!

tex mex sloppy joes

I don’t remember tacos being in my mom’s rotation previous to that (she may tell you otherwise in the comments here) so this was quite possibly a seminal moment happening.  It was also likely that we didn’t eat much Mexican or Tex Mex food aside from tacos or taco salad after that since it turns out that my mom loathes cilantro. 

I died a little inside when I learned that recently.

So these Tex Mex sloppy joes combine an American staple food that epitomized my childhood dinners with my utter love for Tex Mex food today!

tex mex sloppy joes

Set between two halves of a soft homemade jalapeño hamburger bun or even homemade potato buns with a hefty serving of guacamole, these sloppy joes are a little spicy but totally homey and familiar at the same time. 

Get your napkins ready and belly up to the table for this dinner – it’s a favorite we’ll keep coming back to, even if *cough* we eat ours in front of the T.V.

tex mex sloppy joes

Tex Mex Sloppy Joes

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Tex Mex sloppy joes are a fantastic way to change up your weekly meals! A twist on the classic American sloppy joes recipe, this Tex Mex version will easily be a new favorite for your family.


For the sloppy joes:

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo (or ¼ tsp chipotle powder)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ¼ lbs ground chicken, turkey, or beef
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz beer, such as a light ale or lager
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For serving:

  • 6 warm hamburger buns
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, diced onion, grated cheddar or Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco (all optional)


  1. Add the tomato sauce, chipotle chile (or powder), oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika, allspice, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Brown the ground meat in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until browned, about 10 minutes.  Drain off the fat.  Warm the canola oil in the pan with the browned meat then add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Pour the tomato mixture into the skillet along with the beer, ketchup and cilantro. Stir until well combined.
  3. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat then reduce the heat to medium-low heat and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on warm buns with suggested toppings, if desired.


If you're up for making your own burger buns, I highly suggest these jalapeño buns or these potato buns!

adapted from Homesick Texan

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Leave a Comment

  • Deb
    December 10, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    I also hate the taste of cilantro but that doesn’t stop me from making lots of Mexican food for my family. I just leave the cilantro out and it tastes just fine.

    • December 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Yeah, I love cilantro too much to leave it out of recipes! Good thing Kyle and I both love it! 🙂

  • Krissy@Daintychef
    December 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    These just shot up to the top of my list for menu planning next week. The first photo is gorgeous, can’t wait to try them!

  • December 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Wow, that looks so good…

  • December 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    That picture is gorgeous – I never thought I’d say that about a photo of sloppy joe’s! And they look sooooo good!!

  • December 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I feel like I’m going crazy…where is the recipe for these sloppy joes? I want to make them and have looked at this post so many times but I don’t see a recipe. Help!

  • Ali
    December 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I’m having the same issue.. no recipe?

    • December 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Sorry about that! I had some posting issues the other day but the recipe is back up now!

      • Ali
        December 13, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        thanks Tara! looks great!

  • December 23, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Ooooh, this looks fantastic! I love Sloppy Joes, and this recipe looks so tasty, especially with all that guac on top! 🙂

  • taraliptak
    May 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    So happy to hear you loved them! They’re a big favorite in our house, especially with the jalapeno cheddar buns. Thanks for coming back to comment, Leah!

  • May 22, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    […] some ground beef in the freezer, a hankering for guacamole and I'd printed out Tara's recipe for Tex Mex Sloppy Joes awhile back so I decided to give them a […]

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