Sloppy Joe Squares

Sloppy Joe Squares

Boy # 4 started back to school today. The first day of his last year of high school and the first of many lasts for us this year. His older brothers will return to their respective colleges within the next couple of weeks. Summer is officially winding down.

I always like to plan a special menu full of good, hearty, kid friendly (or teenage boy friendly) meals for the first week of school that are centered around the boys and cater to their tastes. Meals like this are much needed after the stress, excitement, and first day jitters that inevitably come each new school year. And somehow it makes me feel better too. This recipe is a great one to feed your hungry Back to Schoolers and it’s also a great choice for all those upcoming school potlucks or banquets.

I came across a similar recipe a loooonnnnggg time ago in a magazine that no longer exists. It was called Hometown Cooking, from the folks at Better Homes & Gardens. I’m still trying to get over the fact that this magazine is no longer published. It was my favorite cooking magazine and every issue had a gazillion recipes I wanted to try. I still refer back to issues that are now over 10 years old, for inspiration.

The recipe calls for Sloppy Joe filling so I use my all time favorite, hands down, no contest cause it’s the winner, recipe for Cajun Sloppy Joe’s. I didn’t bother to do step by step photos back when I did the original post so we’re going to take care of that right now.

Did I mention it was good?

Sloppy Joe Squares

Grab a great big pan or you could use a Dutch oven. Add 2 pounds ground beef, the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir this, smashing the beef with your spoon, until no pink remains. Drain the grease from the pan and return it to the heat.

Sloppy Joe Squares

In go the remaining filling ingredients – tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, brown sugar, Creole or Cajun Seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper. I use about 1 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper for a little bit of a kick.  If your kids are especially sensitive to heat you can reduce this to 1/2 teaspoon.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Stir it until it is well combined and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It will cook down and thicken up a little bit.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. Open one of the tubes of crescent roll dough, unroll it and place it in the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to push it down into the pan and close the seams. Don’t worry if it’s not pretty – we’re going to cover this layer up with lots of good stuff and no one will ever see it.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Now spoon the delicious filling over the top of the crescent roll dough and sprinkle it with cheese.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Pop open the second tube of crescent roll dough, carefully unroll it and place it over the top of the filling and cheese. Lightly press together the seams. You’ll still be able to see the seams, there just shouldn’t be any open gaps. Brush a little bit of milk over the top.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and place the pan in the preheated 425 degree oven.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Bake it for 13 to 15 minutes, or till nicely golden brown.

Sloppy Joe Squares

Sloppy Joe Squares


Sloppy Joe Squares


Sloppy Joe Squares


Put a plate of this in front of them and ask them about their day. If you have a son, and he says more than three words in response, you are truly blessed.

Sloppy Joe Squares
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Servings: 8 servings
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust amount as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onions, and bell pepper until meat crumbles and no pink remains. Drain well and return skillet to heat.
  2. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper. Stir well to combine and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press one can of the crescent roll dough into the prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the Sloppy Joe mixture on top of the dough in pan and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Carefully place the 2nd sheet of crescent roll dough on top of the cheese, lightly pressing the seams together and pulling the dough out to the edges of the pan. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 13 to 15 minutes till nicely golden brown. Serve immediately.


  1. says

    What an absolutely clever dish! I love it! With the crust on the top and the bottom it is like eating a Sloppy Joe but not near as messy. Can I be a kid in your kitchen? :)

  2. says

    My husbands favorite meal is sloppy joes!! This looks so so good, and a great twist.
    I love how you plan your meals around comfort the first week of school…it’s true, so many feelings, emotions & energy packed into school days, so nice for kids to come home to meals like this.

  3. says

    i was actually thinking of doing sloopy joes or chili or chili today after a marathon day of cooking duck and sausage gumbo, tater salad, rice, homemade from scratch frenchbread and a apple, cranberry, raspberry gallette! whew, this looks perfect for today….going to make it wth baked mac n cheese and a salad…thanks -)

  4. Linda says

    I’m making lots of your recipes! I made this one tonight and we really liked it. Really yummy ingredients! Thanks for another success. Lots of love.

  5. RoadLord says

    I made this for dinner tonight. Been craving Sloppy Joe’s for awhile now, so figured, whatthehey. Cheated a little on the sauce, just used Manwich, but stuck to the rest of the recipe pretty faithfully, and, whattyaknow? It came out great, looked just like the picture. Never used unrolled crescent roll dough for a crust before, was delicious, even the bottom baked up nice.

  6. bikerfamily says

    Valerie: I made this a couple nights ago. Well, pretty close. We don’t eat much spicy, so I used my normal Sloppy Joe recipe. The family loved it!

  7. Angie says

    I make something similiar but use frozen bread dough thawed for the top and bottom layer and put in all in a jelly roll pan. the trick to rolling out the frozen bread dough is to havee it at least at room temperature. Many times I will put in in the micro for about ten seconds to warm it up. We call these Spoonburgers and the kids go crazy for them as well as the adults.

  8. MaryAnne says

    Sloppy Joes are not found here in Australia (at least, I’ve never heard of them except on American websites), but this looks good. Mince meat is a staple for pies, casseroles, stews etc. But what’s puzzling me is the dough you use. I’ve never seen it here, nor have I heard of it. We only get the choice between puff and shortcrust pastry in the supermarkets. Would either work?

    • says

      Hello MaryAnne. I don’t think puff pastry would be right for this. It’s somewhat delicate and very flaky which is quite different than the crescent roll dough. Although I’ve never had any experience with shortcut pastry, I assume it is similar to pie crust. I’d be inclined to try that over the puff pastry. Best of luck!

  9. Imalee Crow says

    I have made this using finely chopped ham, cooked, chopped cooked brocolli and swiss cheese. I’m sure you could dream up other fillings as well.

  10. Erin says

    Hi there this looks so delicious recipe. However I live in Australia and we don’t have that dough. What could I use in its place? Thanks so much.

    • says

      Since I’m not really sure what is available in Australia, it’s hard for me to say what you could substitute. I frequently use hamburger buns to make these into sloppy joe sandwiches instead.

  11. Lynne D'Eramo says

    This has been a go-to meal @ least once a week since I found this recipe & your website a month ago! THANK YOU! Being a single mom with a very picky 17 year old daughter, you hVe been a life saver!

    • says

      I’m so happy to hear that this recipe has worked out so well for you. We love it too. Thank you so much for your kind words :) Your feedback is so appreciated!

  12. pattie h says

    this is a great recipe and since there are only two of us I use an 8″ square pan and only have to use 1 tube of crescent rolls~~YUM a must try.

  13. Esther says

    Im from the uk & i had my first taste of sloppy joes on a vacation visit 14yrs ago & have wanted to find a recipe to make them since.
    We have all the ingredients too as i discovered crescent dough is the same as croissant dough.
    I have 2 kids who I know would love this I’ll definitely be trying out this recipe sometime over the summer


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