Sloppy joes are such a particular dish that it can be difficult to find suitable side dishes for sloppy Joes. They are a little bit savory, but they already have bread with them, and you might even add some cheese for something creamy.
Plus, you often eat them at picnics or outside, so you don’t want to have a side dish that is too difficult to make or too overpowering. Plus, it needs to be easy to eat outside.
We know it can be hard, which is why we compiled a list of the best side dishes for sloppy Joes. They are easy to make, fun to eat, and complement that flavor profile of your sandwich, no matter how you make it.
What To Serve With Sloppy Joes
If you are making sloppy Joes, you probably want healthy side dishes, easy to make side dishes, or something that combines the two. Luckily, there are plenty of options you can pick from to create a meal that will suit everyone.
1. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a traditional side for sloppy Joes because the flavors compliment each other so well. Corn on the cob is also pretty easy to make, so you won’t have to spend all your time focusing on it. You can just clean your corn, slather it with cold butter, and then grill it for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also steam your corn if you don’t want to fire up your grill.
If you want something a bit more adventurous, you can make a Mexican style corn called elote. To make this, you just have to cover your ears of corn with butter and then slather a mayo and chili mixture on them. You can finish with some great cojita cheese, cilantro, and paprika.
This will take that traditional flavor and feel that makes corn on the cob such a great side for sloppy Joes, but it won’t feel boring. If you have a lot of kids, definitely take this one outside.
2. Potato Chips
If you are looking for the easiest side dish for your sloppy Joes, pick up a bag of chips. Go for a brand that is lighter and crispier, as they will serve as a great alternative to flavor and texture. People can then use the chips to scoop up meats. Or, you can skip the bun altogether and cover the chips.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can even make your own chips with more seasonings. The fresher the better, so fry them up when you are just about to serve your meal.
3. Onion Rings
Another classic that people love but probably don’t eat all that much because they are a bit difficult to make? Onion rings! They are a natural side dish for Sloppy Joes because they have a great crunch that will balance out the softness of the sandwich.
They will also go a lot further than something like fries because people don’t tend to eat them mindlessly.
Make sure that you add some cornstarch to the batter so that your rings are extra crunchy. You can also add beer or cheese to change up the taste. Just remember that you should also make something to dip the rings into!
4. Cole Slaw and Variations
Probably the first side dish most people will think about for Sloppy Joes is coleslaw. It is simple, durable, and easy to make. There are a few different types of coleslaw that you can make, including a creamy coleslaw with a base, an Asian style coleslaw with napa cabbage and sesame oil, or even a Mediterranean fennel salad. No matter which one you choose, the fresh ingredients will help to cut some of the fat that comes off of the Sloppy Joe.
5. Mac and Cheese
Another classic side dish for Sloppy Joes is mac and cheese, and why not? The cheesy mac pairs almost perfectly with the Sloppy Joe and everyone loves when the two flavors mix.
Mac and cheese is great for a crowd of people, especially children. It will even help to ensure that vegetarians have something to eat.
Of course, you can add different flavors and textures to your mac and cheese. Add peas or onions for a bit of crunch, croutons for some crunch, peppers for some spice, or add in tomatoes for a looser feel.
If you do have a crowd, set up a mac and cheese bar where people can add their own toppings to their dishes.
6. Green Salad
A health side dish for Sloppy Joes will help you to feel a bit better about indulging in a second sandwich. Make a large, lettuce-based salad with baby greens and a light vinaigrette to help offset some of the heaviness of the Sloppy Joe instead of something that is creamier.
Choose crisp, complex leafy greens that will play against the meat and sauce combination. Maybe add in some carrots, celery, and onion to get some more flavors in there. Of course, you can also add some crunch here with croutons, chickpeas, or cabbage.
7. Tater Tots
Fries are great, so are potato chips. However, most of us will eat those on a regular basis. To get something really interesting, you should fry up on tater tots. Their unique shape makes them feel special and they can hold up to the sauce that will run off of your sandwich.
8. Dill Pickles
If you aren’t a fan of coleslaw but want something healthy to cut the fat of your sandwich, consider a side of dill pickles. They are crunchy, juicy, and a bit spicy, which makes a complex flavor that you will love. You can either buy jarred dill pickles or you can make your own.
To make your own dill pickles, add cucumbers and onion spirals into a jar with some dill fronds. Pour water and vinegar into the jar and add salt and pepper to your jar to your taste. You will need to keep them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
If the healthy factor doesn’t matter, you can fry your pickles too!
9. Steamed Green Beans
If you truly are going for a healthier side dish, steamed green beans are great. They are kind of like fries in that they have the same texture and crunch, but they don’t have the fat content. Steam your beans extremely well and maybe add some sauce that you can dip into instead of covering them.
10. Baked Beans
Of course, the classic side dish for Sloppy Joes is baked beans. Why mess with a classic? They complement each other in a way that few foods can.
Take your beans, add some brown sugar and bacon bits, bake, and enjoy. Almost everyone loves beans, so you can’t go wrong and they get some fiber.
Sloppy Joes are a classic meal that most people will enjoy. Whatever side dish you throw with them will be better just because they are sitting next to a classic. Try to add a different flavor or a different texture if possible, but just go with what most people will like!