BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes

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BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes puts a kid friendly dinner twist on cocktail meatballs with an addicting BBQ and grape jelly sauce with a tangy cream cheese topping.

What do you get when you combine my addicting Cocktail Meatballs and my Ultimate Sloppy Joes? The newest Sloppy Joe Recipe that we are absolutely obsessed with!

BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes on plate


Just one bite of a sweet and tangy Cocktail Meatball will have you hooked for life! It’s simply amazing how 3 (seemingly random) ingredients like beef, chili sauce and grape jelly, can come together to create such a delicious, can’t stop eating them, appetizer!

The only downside? While you certainly can eat a whole crockpot of meatballs in one sitting, it’s not technically a “meal”. And unless you make a triple batch, there won’t be enough to feed the rest of your family.

Of course, you could always throw the meatballs in a hoagie, but imagining them as a sandwich brought up thoughts of another family favorite – Sloppy Joes! It’s brilliant actually, you get all the delicious sweet and tangy flavor of the meatballs with so much extra sauce to soak up in a soft brioche bun.

These BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes are the best of all worlds. It’s a full hearty meal made in 30 minutes that you already know everyone will love (judging from how fast the apps go). Plus you can serve them as a party appetizers, with mini buns or Hawaiian rolls, to eat as sliders. They are easy to transition to a crockpot Sloppy Joe recipe (see below), and you really can’t go wrong customizing them.

When it comes to these BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes, they go well with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, but you can use whatever brand or flavor you prefer. You can also swap out your favorite jelly if you aren’t a fan of grape or you want to try a different taste. It’s hard to go wrong with a recipe this easy!

To round out your meal, serve your BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes with a side like Onion Rings, Potato Wedges, or Coleslaw. You could even use the Coleslaw as a topping for your Sloppy Joes. Yum!



  • Brown the Meat: Saute your ground beef and onions until no longer pink, breaking up into small crumbles while stirring.
  • Add the Seasonings: Keep stirring occasionally after you add your sauce ingredients so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Prepare Cream Cheese Spread: Mix all the cream cheese spread ingredients until smooth.
  • Assemble: Toast your brioche buns if you prefer before spreading cream cheese mixture. scooping a big spoonful of Sloppy Joe mix onto the bottom bun and covering with the other bun half.

Grape Jelly BBQ Sloppy Joes held in hands

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  • Meat: Make these a bit lighter by using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. This recipe uses 80/20 ground beef, but you can also switch to some with less fat content.
  • Chili Sauce: In my original Cocktail Meatballs recipe, I used chili sauce instead of BBQ sauce. Add a few tablespoons or swap out entirely for the BBQ sauce for an exact Cocktail Meatballs Sloppy Joe match.
  • Bacon: Crispy bacon would take these BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes to the next level! Crumble cooked bacon into the Sloppy Joe mixture at the end or use strips of crispy bacon as a topping.
  • Cheese: A creamy, white cheddar or Monterey Jack would taste delicious on these Sloppy Joes. For a more spicer cheese, try topping with some pepper jack.
  • Casserole: Without breaking them apart, slice a package of Hawaiian Rolls in half (like a bun) and place bottom half in a 9×13 pan. Spread your sloppy joe mixture over buns. Top with remaining bun layer. Brush with melted garlic butter and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.


  • Brown the ground beef with the onions, and drain grease.
  • Add the ingredients (minus the fried onions and buns) to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Prepare the cream cheese spread while BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes are cooking, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Stir before serving, scoop onto brioche bun with cream cheese spread.



  • Serve: Don’t leave your Sloppy Joe filling out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours before storing.
  • Store: Allow mixture to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Seal tightly and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Again, always allow meat to cool down before attempting to store.

Barbecue Grape Sloppy Joes in pan

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BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes

5 from 5 votes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Course: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes puts a kid friendly dinner twist on cocktail meatballs with an addicting BBQ and grape jelly sauce with a tangy cream cheese topping.


BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 pound ground beef , 80/20
  • 1 cup yellow onion , diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 6 brioche buns

Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon onion juice , or finely chopped onion
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper , to taste
  • Hot Sauce , to taste


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes:

  1. In a large skillet add the beef and onions, cooking well, breaking it apart but leaving some chunks for 5-6 minutes.

  2. Add in the salt and pepper, grape jelly, and bbq sauce, cooking until the sauce starts to evaporate and the mixture becomes "sloppy" (about 5-6 minutes).

  3. Spoon the mixture onto the brioche buns topped with cream cheese spread.

Cream Cheese Spread:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer, or with electric beaters, until smooth. Spread on brioche buns. Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 servings, Amount per serving: 492 calories, Calories: 492g, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 723mg, Potassium: 415mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 53g, Vitamin C: 8g, Calcium: 111g, Iron: 4g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes

BBQ Grape Jelly Sloppy Joes collage

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  1. Made these for dinner this evening. For some reason the sauce didnt really evaporate at all so im left with a soupy consistancy. Not sure what happened. Still delish and will try it again!

    1. Did you ground beef release a lot of fat when it was cooked? Next time if that happens, drain some of it out before adding the sauce ingredients. Hope this helps!

  2. I have never thought to add grape jelly to sloppy joes. I have been missing out! It adds a delicious flavor!! I need to do it more!

  3. This idea is genius! Love those grape jelly meatballs that are always at parties, and now I make them for dinner in sandwich form. So good.

  4. Hi Sabrina,
    Really want to try these but, you mentioned a “Tangy Cream Cheese Topping” at first and then it’s never mentioned again? Just curious? In beginning description: “BBQ Grape Sloppy Joes puts a kid friendly dinner twist on cocktail meatballs with an addicting BBQ and grape jelly sauce with a tangy cream cheese topping.”!!
    Thank you, Molly

  5. These look amazing!! But where does the tangy cream cheese part come in? I don’t see it listed in the ingredients or instructions.