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This sloppy joe casserole recipe has a saucy, sweet, and tangy spiced ground beef and vegetable base with a fluffy cornbread topping for a hearty, satisfying meal.

overhead view of casserole dish with sloppy joe bake

Most of us have a pack or two of ground beef in the freezer at any given time, so it’s good to have a few tried-and-true favorite ground beef recipes up your sleeve that you can turn to.

And I love having a few different casseroles in my dinner rotation during fall and winter months. Casserole recipes are comfort food at its finest! If you and your family enjoy deliciously saucy, sweet, and tangy sloppy joes, this one is sure to be a new favorite.

I’ve seen a lot of sloppy joe cornbread casserole recipes that use sloppy joe mix (such as Manwich) and cornbread mix (like Jiffy). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But here’s why I like to make this casserole from scratch:

  1. The flavor is so much better! When you skip the box or mix, you use fresher ingredients and leave out the preservatives and food additives.
  2. It’s healthier. Piggybacking off my last point, when you cook from scratch instead of using processed convenience products you avoid preservatives – the ingredients you can’t pronounce!
  3. It’s cheaper. In today’s economy, we can all appreciate saving money when possible. If you buy a bag of cornmeal and a bag of flour, think about how many times you can make this casserole instead of being able to make it only once if you buy a Jiffy cornbread mix.

And even if you whip up this casserole from scratch, it’s still a fairly quick meal that’s ready in an hour. Give this sloppy joe bake a try and I think it’ll be an instant hit at your house!

sloppy joe casserole recipe on dinner plates

The Best Sloppy Joe Casserole with Cornbread Topping

Ingredients

In these sections I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

From Scratch Cornbread Ingredients:

cornbread casserole ingredients
  • Cornmeal – look for regular yellow cornmeal
  • Flour – use all-purpose flour here, or a gluten free all-purpose flour mix
  • Sugar – granulated white sugar adds a bit of sweetness to the cornbread layer of our sloppy joe casserole
  • Baking powder – a leavening agent
  • Salt – so the cornbread isn’t bland
  • Baking soda – in addition to baking powder, we also use baking soda because of the addition of an acidic ingredient in this cornbread (i.e., buttermilk)
  • Canned creamed corn – this is the secret ingredient that takes the cornbread part of this casserole over the top
  • Egg – acts as a binder
  • Buttermilk – buttermilk adds just the right amount of tangy flavor to create a perfectly balanced flavor profile; it also makes the cornbread tender and moist
  • Avocado oil – or vegetable oil, or any mild or neutral-flavored oil you have on hand
  • Butter – just a little bit of butter adds richness

From Scratch Sloppy Joe Ingredients:

sloppy joes ingredients
  • Ground beef – use 90% or leaner ground beef
  • Onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and garlic – these veggies add flavor and nutrition
  • Ketchup – the sweet and tangy base of our sloppy joe sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar – adds tart flavor for balance
  • Worcestershire sauce – this umami condiment adds great depth of flavor
  • Yellow mustard – for a little sharp flavor
  • Light brown sugar – for the hint of sweetness that we love about sloppy joes
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper – this blend of spices creates the perfect sloppy joe flavor profile

Pro Tip

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No worries if you only have 1 pound of ground beef on hand! You can use that and reduce the amount of salt in the sloppy joe mixture to 1 teaspoon. Made with 1 pound ground beef, this casserole will feed 6 people.

How to Make Sloppy Joe Casserole From Scratch

Make the Cornbread Batter

how to make cornbread from scratch
  1. Whisk together the creamed corn, egg, buttermilk, oil, and melted butter in a small-medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium-large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  3. Stir to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Set aside for now.

Make the Sloppy Joe Mixture

how to make sloppy joes
  1. Add the ground beef to a large, deep skillet over medium-high to high heat. Use a wooden spoon to spread it out in an even layer. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic on top of the ground beef.
  2. Cook (uncovered) until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Let it cook without stirring for about 5 to 6 minutes so the beef can sear, and then use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture and break up the meat. Add the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Bake the Casserole

how to make sloppy joe casserole topped with cornbread
  1. When the sloppy joe mixture is cooked, immediately (carefully!) transfer it a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spread the sloppy joe mixture out in an even layer (we want it hot).
  2. Carefully pour the cornbread batter on top of the sloppy joe mixture, and spread it out as evenly as you can.
  3. Bake until the cornbread is puffed and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 20 to 25 minutes at 400F.
top view of servings of homemade sloppy joe casserole on blue-rimmed white plates

Variations

  • Cheese – top the casserole with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (or any kind of cheese you like) during the last 5 minutes of baking
  • Crescent roll topping – instead of a cornbread topping, you can top it with store-bought crescent rolls (the kind that come in a tube in the refrigerated aisle). To do so, unroll the the crescent roll dough, pinch the seams together, and place it on top of the sloppy joe mixture. Bake at 375F for 12 to 15 minutes
  • Tater tot topping – instead of the cornbread batter, spread an even layer of tater tots across the top of the casserole. Bake at 450F until the tots are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes
overhead view of sloppy joe bake in casserole dish

Storage

Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Sloppy joe casserole is also a good freezer meal! You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

close up of sloppy joe casserole on plate

What to Serve with This Sloppy Joe Casserole Recipe

Like most casseroles, one of the best things about this recipe is that you can serve it as a full meal on its own! However, there are any number of side dishes that pair well with it. Here are a few ideas:

More Casserole Recipes with Ground Beef to Make

easy sloppy joe ground beef casserole dinner

Let’s Connect

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Sloppy Joe Casserole Recipe with Cornbread Topping

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
This sloppy joe casserole recipe has a saucy, sweet, and tangy spiced ground beef and vegetable base with a fluffy cornbread topping for a hearty, satisfying meal.

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Ingredients
 

Cornbread Layer:

Sloppy Joe Layer:

Other:

Instructions
 

For the Cornbread Layer:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray the inside of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium-large bowl.
  • Whisk together the creamed corn, egg, buttermilk, oil, and melted butter in a small-medium bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Set aside for now.

For the Sloppy Joe Layer:

  • Add the ground beef to a large, deep skillet over medium-high to high heat. Use a wooden spoon to spread it out in an even layer. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic on top of the ground beef. Cook (uncovered) until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Let it cook without stirring for about 5 to 6 minutes so the beef can sear, and then use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture and break up the meat.
  • Stir in the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

To Assemble and Bake:

  • When the sloppy joe mixture is cooked, immediately (carefully!) transfer it to the prepared casserole dish and spread it out in an even layer (we want it hot).
  • Carefully pour the cornbread batter on top of the sloppy joe mixture, and spread it out as evenly as you can.
  • Bake until the cornbread is puffed and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 20 to 25 minutes.

To Serve:

  • Let the casserole sit for a few minutes to cool before cutting, and then serve topped with sliced scallion.

Notes

  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Sloppy joe casserole is also a good freezer meal! You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1115mg | Potassium: 690mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1056IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sloppy Joe Bake, Sloppy Joe Casserole, Sloppy Joe Casserole Recipe, Sloppy Joe Casserole with Cornbread, Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole, Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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