Skip to Content

How Much Sloppy Joes Per Person (meat, filling, & sandwiches)

Wondering how much sloppy joes per person? Learn how much filling to serve on each sandwich and how much meat to plan per guest. Plus, get tips on serving crowds and stretching the food.

Sloppy joes on a sesame bun.

Are sloppy joes on the menu for your next shindig? It is a crowd favorite AND a simple recipe guaranteed to satisfy a big group. This will be an effortless dish if you know how many sloppy joes you need per person.

How much sloppy joes meat should you plan per person? Plan on ½ cup of sloppy joe meat filling per sandwich when served on a regular-sized hamburger bun. This is about 2½ ounces of meat per sandwich. Estimate 1½ sandwiches per person to ensure there is enough food.

You can reduce this amount by about 25% if several side dishes are also served. In addition, if you have smaller buns (slider size) and a variety of toppings, you can get away with less meat per person.

To know exactly how much filling per person, you need to figure out the number of expected guests, the bun size, toppings, and side dishes.

Estimate the Number of Guests

You won’t feel overwhelmed when planning food for your party if you know how many people to expect. This can be tricky to gauge unless the invitees are on top of their RSVPs.

To be safe, you may feel more comfortable planning 10-15% more food than expected guests. Everyone remembers the get-togethers where there wasn’t enough food. That isn’t what you want your friends to remember after the party.

And since sloppy joe leftovers can be frozen, you know the food won’t go to waste if you make a little extra.

You may also be interested in how to doctor up Manwich sloppy joes. Easy tricks for a better tasting sandwich.

How Much Sloppy Joe Meat Per Sandwich

Two standard-sized buns, one with 1/2 cup of filling and one with 1/3 cup of filling.

Plan about ½ cup of the filling for each serving. This is a generous amount for a standard-sized (3½-inch) hamburger bun. You can also get away with ⅓ cup per bun.

Are you supplying larger buns? Do some guests have larger-than-average appetites? (Teenagers, hungry college students, my husband). If so, you may want up to ¾ cup per sandwich.

Two large buns, one with 3/4 cup of filling and one with 1/2 cup of filling.

However, if you’re feeding young eaters (10 and younger), ¼ cup might be enough.

Half a cup of filling equals about 2½ ounces of meat.

How Much Sloppy Joes Meat Per Serving

Meat per sandwich

Number of servings

@ ½ cup per serving

2½ ounces

1 serving

1 pound

6 servings

1½ pounds

10 servings

1½ to 2 pounds

12 servings

2 to 2½ pounds

15 servings

3 to 3½ pounds

20 servings

4 pounds

25 servings

4½ to 5 pounds

30 servings

6 pounds

40 servings

8 pounds

50 servings

9 pounds

60 servings

16 pounds

100 servings

24 pounds

150 servings

Meat is seldom sold in ½ pound increments. Round up to the nearest pound for plenty of filling.

How Many Sloppy Joes Sandwiches to Plan Per Person

Now you know how much meat you need per sandwich (see the chart above). But what if some people want more than one sloppy joes sandwich?

How many sloppy joes sandwiches should you plan on per person? Supply enough filling and buns for 1½ sloppy joes sandwiches per person. Some people will have two, most will have one, and a few won’t eat one at all. (Like the vegetarians in the crowd.)

If you plan on 1½ sandwiches per person, you should have enough food for everyone. Especially if you have sloppy joes toppings and generous side dishes.

How Much Sloppy Joes Meat (1½ sandwiches per person)

Meat per person

@ 1½ sandwiches per person

(½ cup of filling per sandwich)

3 to 4 ounces

1 person

2½ pounds

10 people

3 pounds

12 people

3½ pounds

15 people

4½ pounds

20 people

6 pounds

25 people

7 pounds

30 people

9½ pounds

40 people

12 pounds

50 people

14 pounds

60 people

23½ pounds

100 people

35 pounds

150 people

Meat is seldom sold in ½ pound increments. Round up to the nearest pound for plenty of filling.

If you have leftovers, no problem. Both buns and sloppy joes meat can be frozen. No food will be wasted.

Counting on 1½ sandwiches per person is a general rule. But you should know your crowd and have an idea of their appetites.

If it is a Boy Scout campout, you may need to plan two sandwiches per person. If it is a 6-year-old’s birthday party, one sandwich per person may be just right.

If you are looking for more easy food ideas for a crowd, chicken salad is another fantastic option. Check out how much chicken salad per person you need based on bun size.

Provide Plenty of Toppings

Various toppings for sloppy joes, including coleslaw, bacon, cheese, pickled jalapenos, and barbecue sauce.

Most guests will spoon less meat filling on their sandwich when there are a variety of sloppy joes sandwich toppings. 

Otherwise, the sandwich will be too full and overflow. This creates an even messier sandwich than most people want to deal with.

What are the best toppings for sloppy joes? 

  • Coleslaw
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Sliced cheese
  • Dill pickles

Get even more ideas for sloppy joes toppings. You will love the list.

Serve Side Dishes

Closeup of a serving bowl full of Mexican fruit salad with serving spoon on the side.

Don’t forget the side dishes to go along with sloppy joes. Not only will sides provide additional flavors and textures, but they will also fill folks up.

With plenty of tasty sides, people will return for a second helping of sides rather than grabbing another sandwich.

What are some of the best side dishes for sloppy joes?

  • Potato salad
  • Baked macaroni and cheese
  • Potato

Check out all of great side dishes that go with sloppy joes.

Tips to Stretch the Whole Meal

An 8-inch plate and a 10-in plate next to each other.

Research has shown that when people have smaller containers to hold their food, they eat less. In other words, if you provide a smaller plate or bun, people will take less filling.

This tends to hold true unless people are really hungry (like teenage boys).

But at a party, if you have a limited budget

  • Supply smaller plates (8-inch lunch plate)
  • Serve smaller buns (3½-inch)
  • Add more veggies (onions, bell pepper, and celery) to the sloppy joes meat to bulk it up
  • Prepare several side dishes
  • Don’t forget the dessert

How to Stretch the Meat in Sloppy Joes

Slow cooker of sloppy joes meat and a basket of hamburger buns.

You need about 1 pound of ground meat to make sloppy joes to feed 6 people. However, you can stretch the meat for a large crowd. 

Increasing other non-meat ingredients in the sloppy joes filling adds bulk, reducing the quantity of meat you need. 

  • Add more onions and bell peppers. The amount of onions and peppers varies from one sloppy joes recipe to another. It ranges from ¼ to 1 cup of each vegetable per pound of meat.

    To stretch the meat, use 1 cup each of minced onions, 1 cup of diced bell peppers, and ½ cup of diced celery per pound of meat.
  • Slice mushrooms and add them to the meat. Mushrooms are a meaty food that can bulk up sloppy joes meat to stretch it further.

The following ingredients may not work at a get-together, but they could work to stretch your family meal.

  • Add a non-meat protein. Lentils are a fantastic non-meat ingredient that adds bulk to sloppy joes, stretching the ground beef further.

    When used lightly (¼ to ½ cup of cooked lentils/pound of meat) and the sauce is adjusted, your guests may be unable to tell there are lentils in the filling.
  • Stir in cooked bulgar wheat or oatmeal. These grains are also a common ingredient to stretch your meat further.
  • Try sweet potatoes. Mashed sweet potatoes thicken the sloppy joes filling without drying it out and can be a nice twist to the flavor.

Find out the shelf life of sloppy joes (in the fridge and the freezer). If you are cooking a large batch, you might have leftovers. Preserve them correctly for safe eating later.


Ingredients for sloppy joes for a crowd.
  • Lean ground beef. Buy the meat in bulk for a large get-together. Both Costco and Sam’s Club sell bulk ground beef that is often priced better than in a grocery store. If you have a membership to either store, grab the meat there.

    Always go for lean ground beef so there is less oil and fat to drain off. And don’t forget to season the meat with Montreal steak seasoning.
  • Sauce. You can make an easy sloppy joes sauce with tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
  • Hamburger buns. Costco or Sam’s Club is also a great place to buy hamburger buns in large quantities.

    Try a kaiser bun if you prefer a heartier bun that won’t get soggy. Check out the best bread for sloppy joes to get more creative bread/bun ideas.


STEP 1: Wash the bell peppers and celery. Dice the onions, peppers, and celery.

STEP 2: Brown the meat in a skillet. Sprinkle in the Montreal steak seasoning. If you have several pounds of meat, do it in batches.

Ground beef cooking in a skillet.

STEP 3: Saute the veggies in a soup pot until they are softened (about 5 to 7 minutes).

STEP 4: Mix the sauce ingredients into the soup pot. Stir to combine everything. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

STEP 5: Add the ground beef to the sauce. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the sauce is as thick as you like.

STEP 6: Optional: if the filling is not thick enough, mix cornstarch with cold water until it is smooth. Slowly stir it into the sloppy joes. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Sloppy joes in a large pan.

STEP 7: Serve immediately, or transfer the filling to a slow cooker to keep it warm for the party.

Sloppy joes in a slow cooker.

STEP 8: Open a bun and scoop ½ cup of filling on it. Top with cheese, coleslaw, or Fritos.

How to Keep Sloppy Joes Filling Warm During a Party

Sloppy joes being kept warm in a slow cooker.

Three of the best ways to keep sloppy joes filling warm during a party are by using a slow cooker, an Instant Pot, or a chafing dish.

  • Try a slow cooker (or two). Use a slow cooker to keep the sloppy joes filling warm during a party. If your guest list is over 50, you will need more than one slow cooker for all the meat. 

    Keep the slow cookers plugged in for the whole meal if possible. If there is no outlet near the buffet table, wait to bring the meat to the table until it is time to eat.
  • An Instant Pot is another possibility. Keep the meat in an Instant Pot on the “keep warm” setting for warm joes the whole party. You will need access to an outlet to use an Instant Pot.
  • Use a chafing dish. Serve the meat in a disposable tray on a chafing dish heated with a fuel can. You can buy fuel cans that last 4 to 6 hours. That is plenty of time for everyone to get their fill.

    Divide the sloppy joes filling into separate disposable pans. Place one pan on the food table and the rest in the oven on the lowest heat setting. When the food on the table is gone, replace the empty pan with a hot one from the oven.

With enough food to go around, you can relax with your guests. Enjoy good conversation, shared laughter, and an unforgettable good time.

And if you have extra filling, you can always make one of these fabulous leftover sloppy joe recipes.

Yield: 25 servings

Best Sloppy Joes Recipe for a Crowd

Sloppy joes on a sesame bun.

Make meaty, saucy sloppy joes to feed a large crowd. Stretch the meat with onions, green bell peppers, and celery. This is a recipe sure to satisfy a big group.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 4 cups of diced onions (about 2 medium yellow onions)
  • 4 cups of diced green bell peppers (about 4 medium peppers)
  • 2 cups of diced celery (about 4 large stalks of celery)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 pounds of lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup of Montreal steak seasoning
  • 5 cups of tomato sauce (1 (29 oz.) can + 1 (15 oz.) can)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • Salt to taste (if necessary)
  • 4 teaspoon of cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water (if thickening with cornstarch)


    1. WASH the bell peppers and celery. Dice the onions, peppers, and celery. (See note #1.) Measure out the sauce ingredients.
    2. BROWN the meat in a skillet. Sprinkle in the Montreal steak seasoning. If you have several pounds of meat, do it in batches. Set it aside. (See note #2.)
    3. SAUTE the onions, peppers, and celery in the olive oil in a large soup pot on the stove. Cook until they are softened (about 5 to 7 minutes).
    4. STIR in the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and allspice into the soup pot.
    5. COVER the pot and cook over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble. Cook for 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft and the sauce is as thick as you like.
    6. ADD the ground beef to the sauce. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
    7. OPTIONAL: If you want to thicken the sauce, mix the cornstarch into a bowl with cold water. Stir until it is smooth. Then slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the sloppy joes meat. Bring to a boil and boil one minute.
    8. SERVE immediately, or transfer the filling to a slow cooker to keep it warm for the party.
    9. OPEN a bun and scoop ½ cup of filling on it. Top with cheese, coleslaw, or Fritos.


  1. Chopping the vegetables will go quicker if you use a food processor.
  2. You can brown the meat in a skillet and saute the vegetables in a soup pot at the same time.

All images and content are © If you want to use this recipe and techniques, please take your own photos, write your own description, and link back to this page. Thank you.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

½ cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 243Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 65mgSodium 365mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 2gSugar 11gProtein 22g

Nutrition information is an estimate only and may vary based on individual ingredients added and cooking methods used.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Did you like this post? Then let’s be social. FOLLOW ME on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to keep up with the latest tutorials, favorite recipes, and interesting happenings.

Skip to Recipe