Healthy Sloppy Joes with Homemade Spice Mix (Paleo Friendly, Gluten and Dairy Free)

Who else loved sloppy joes as a kid? My mom would always buy the spice packets and I would smell them as I walked in the door after school. I still do love making them; however, instead of buying a premade spice mix, it’s so easy to whip up your own homemade blend! This sloppy joe spice mix is gluten free, dairy free and it’s paleo friendly. If you remove the sugar you can make it sugar free, so it’s keto and whole30 compliant. This recipe is so flavorful from the spices you won’t even notice the sugar missing. 

sloppy joe recipe


Most spice mixes are shockingly high in sodium, added sugar, colors and additives. It is so much better to just throw your own spices together. Make a large batch and keep it in a glass jar for later. This mix is actually good for anything from a rib rub to coating roasted potatoes. You can never have enough spices or herbs in your kitchen!

So What Are The Sloppy Joe Seasoning Ingredients?

You may already have all these spices on hand in your pantry or you may need to add some new items onto your grocery list. However, you can never have too many spices. 

  • Minced onion 
  • Minced garlic
  • Smoked paprika (or sweet variety)
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Coconut sugar or cane sugar (optional)

How To Make Sloppy Joe Seasoning Ahead of Time?

  1. All you need is a small bowl, measuring spoons and a whisk or spoon, plus a glass jar for storage.

  2. Follow the recipe by measuring all spices and placing them into the small bowl. 

  3. Whisk for about 1 minute until all spices are evenly blended together. 

  4. Carefully pour or scoop the spice blend into a glass spice jar. 

  5. Use immediately or store in a cool pantry cabinet for a couple of months.

How Much Sloppy Joe Spice Mix Do You Use For A Recipe?

This really depends on the type of protein (beef, chicken, turkey or tofu) you’re cooking with. But I would recommend starting out by adding 2 tablespoons to 1 pound of meat, as a starting point.

Always remember when cooking to smell and taste test before you’re done. That way you can add more spice blend to amp up that sloppy joe flavor! 

What Can I Sub in to Add Moisture if I Don’t Have Tomato Sauce? 

I like to always have a simple jarred tomato sauce on hand in the pantry. Look for one with no added sugar and minimal ingredients. However, if you don’t have tomato sauce, I like to use 1 can of tomato paste and mixed with 1 cup of water or broth to create a creamy tomato like sauce. This will give you enough liquid to add the spices to the beef and let it simmer to create that nice thick sloppy joe texture.  

What Protein Can You Use For Sloppy Joes? 

Anything you have in your fridge! The best thing about sloppy joes is the variety you have while making this recipe. I personally love using ground beef, as I grew up with that traditional flavor. However, you can use ground chicken, ground turkey, ground bison or ground yak. I get all my sustainable, pasture-raised, grass fed and finished meats from Buy Ranch Direct, as I know the quality is unmatched. I’ll even get their beef boost, which has 10% liver. The spice blend hides the liver flavor but you get all the nutritious benefits from eating organ meats.  

Can Sloppy Joes Be Plant-Based? 

Of course! If you’re feeling plant-based you can use tofu, lentils, beans, or even chickpeas. The spice blend goes so well with anything but cooking times for legumes and lentils will vary. Sometimes I just buy canned varieties to make it easier for a 10 minute meal! That way you just have to drain, rinse and add cans to a small pot. Follow instructions below to heat and add additional ingredients to make it a classic sloppy joe.

This classic dish is a childhood favorite. I can’t wait to hear what you think about this spice blend and see what tasty creations you’ll be whipping up in your kitchen! 


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