Forget soggy buns; this Sloppy Joe Garlic Bread recipe will level up your sandwich game! Enjoy French bread topped with garlic, piled high with a sweet and savory meat mixture, then smothered in melty mozzarella and cheddar. A delicious taste of the classic that the whole family will love!
Sloppy Joes are an American classic featuring a saucy blend of ground meat, onions, peppers, and spices piled onto toasted hamburger buns. This messy but satisfying sandwich is popular for its sweet and tangy flavors and melty cheese that rounds out the texture and flavor.
Garlic Bread Sloppy Joes
This sandwich is made to be messy, but it doesn't have to be! This recipe uses homemade garlic bread made with a loaf of French bread, butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Once baked and toasty, the hot meat mixture gets placed on top along with some cheese, where it’s baked again to seal in the flavors.
Because French bread is more sturdy than regular bread, so it keeps the bread from getting soggy while adding delicious complementary garlic flavor. Plus, instead of picking it up with your hands, you can eat it with a knife and fork like a gourmet meal.
Garlic bread with sloppy joes makes a quick weeknight dinner, but it also can be served as a hearty appetizer for game day or a Superbowl party. Cut into pieces as small or as large as you need to suit the occasion!
Why You'll Love Sloppy Joe Garlic Bread
- Ditch the soggy texture. This recipe skips buns for French bread that soaks up the sauce without getting mushy.
- The sloppy joe beef mixture comes together quickly and easily with simple ingredients.
- Melty mozzarella and cheddar add creamy richness to every bite while holding everything together.
- Cut into open-face sloppy joes in smaller pieces to serve as a hearty appetizer while enjoying the game.
- Pile on coleslaw or veggies right onto the bread for a complete meal.
Sloppy Joe Garlic Bread Ingredients
- French Bread - Acts as the base for the meat mixture, providing a crisp and sturdy texture along with buttery garlic flavor.
- Softened Butter - Used to create a rich spread for the bread while making the bread golden and crispy.
- Garlic Salt & Italian Seasoning - These seasonings infuse the butter with garlic flavor and a hint of herbs.
- Ground Beef - Provides a hearty and protein-rich filling with a savory flavor.
- Green Bell Pepper, Onion, and Garlic - These vegetables add crunch, sweetness, and a slight bitterness that pair well with the ground beef and sauce mixture.
- Tomato Sauce & Ketchup - Provide the base for the sloppy joe sauce, contributing acidity and sweetness.
- Brown Sugar - Adds a hint of molasses-like sweetness, balancing the acidity of the tomato sauce and ketchup.
- Yellow Mustard - Adds a tangy and slightly spicy element to the sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce - Brings a blend of umami, sweetness, and tanginess.
- Seasonings (salt, black pepper, onion powder, paprika) - These seasonings fine-tune the overall flavors, enhancing the taste of the beef.
- Cheese Topping (mozzarella, cheddar cheese) - Mozzarella adds a creamy, stretchy texture, while cheddar adds a sharper, tangier flavor, creating a rich topping.
How To Make Sloppy Joe On Garlic Bread
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare the garlic bread: Use a serrated knife to slice the loaf of French bread in half lengthwise. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Mix the softened butter with the garlic salt and Italian seasoning in a small bowl, then spread it evenly on top of the bread.
Make the sloppy joes: Add the ground beef to a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until broken up and browned with a spatula. Add onions, green peppers, and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they become soft. Drain off the excess fat before adding the sauce ingredients.
Add the sauce ingredients: To the ground beef and vegetables, add the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, onion powder, and paprika. Stir until combined and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Assemble and bake: Spoon the cooked sloppy joe mixture on top of each half of the garlic bread. Sprinkle the mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes to set, then slice into pieces. Serve and enjoy!
Helpful Cooking Tips
- Use a freshly baked French loaf. It will hold up better to the filling and add a fresher taste.
- Soften your butter until it's easily spreadable to achieve a smooth, even layer on the bread.
- After cooking the beef, drain the excess grease to prevent the bread from becoming soggy.
- Allow the sloppy joe mixture to simmer until it thickens, concentrating the flavors and preventing the bread from getting too soggy.
- Keep an eye on the oven during the final baking phase to prevent over-browning of the cheese and achieve a perfect golden crust.
- Allow the sloppy joe garlic bread to cool for a few minutes after baking. This helps the sauce set and thicken and helps when cutting.
- If you have time, bake the garlic bread in the oven for 8-10 minutes before adding the sloppy joe mixture for a crunchy bread that will hold up even better to the mixture.
Flavor Variations and Substitutions
- Use ground turkey to make Turkey Sloppy Joes instead of beef for a leaner option.
- Add chopped jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce to the sloppy joe mixture for a spicy kick.
- Replace mozzarella and cheddar with a mix of pepper jack and provolone or your favorite cheese to change the flavor.
- Top with Mexican Taco Joes seasoned with warm and smoky spices for a Mexican twist.
- Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to the sloppy joe mixture to create a subtle smoky flavor.
- Substitute ground beef with a plant-based ground meat alternative or cooked lentils for a vegetarian version.
- Use gluten-free French bread and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free for those with celiac or a gluten allergy.
- Sprinkle the cheesy layer with breadcrumbs or crushed crackers before baking, adding an extra crunch.
Storing & Reheating Sloppy Joe Garlic Bread
Storing: Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap for up to 4 days. Freezing with the bread is not recommended, as the bread will become too soggy when thawed.
Reheating: To reheat garlic bread with sloppy joes, preheat your oven to 350℉ and place it on a baking sheet. Heat for 10-15 minutes or until it's thoroughly warmed and the cheese is bubbly.
Yes, you can prepare the sloppy joe mixture up to two days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator before using.
Cover the top loosely with aluminum foil if the bread is browning too quickly to prevent further browning. This allows the cheese to melt properly without overcooking the bread.
For crispier garlic bread, lightly toast the bread in the oven for a few minutes before applying the garlic butter mixture. This pre-toasting helps to create a firmer, crunchier base that holds up well to the sloppy joe topping.
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Sloppy Joe Garlic Bread
For The Bread
- 1 loaf French bread
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pound ground beef
- ⅓ cup green bell pepper seeded and diced
- ½ cup yellow onion diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ¾ cup Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Slice French bread in half lengthwise and place on the prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, add softened butter, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning. Mix until well combined. Evenly spread the garlic butter mixture over the two halves of bread.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until browned, breaking up the ground beef with a spatula.
- Add onions, green peppers, and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they become soft. Then, drain off excess grease.
- Add tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, onion powder, and paprika. Stir until combined and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Divided the sloppy joe mixture in half and top each loaf of garlic bread. Then, sprinkle the cheese over the top of each loaf. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Cut into pieces before serving and enjoy!
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.