Dr. Pepper Sloppy Joes

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes are smothered in a sweet and slightly spicy cherry Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce, maraschino cherries and ready to devour in 30 minutes.

It’s easy to love delicious, classic Ultimate Sloppy Joes, but it’s also fun to try new variations on Sloppy Joes Recipes. With over 33 recipes and counting, we’ve got you covered!

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes sandwich on plate


These mouthwatering BBQ Sloppy Joes are about to be your new favorite tailgate, party, or weeknight dinner! They are so easy to make and packed with flavor! The spicy, fruity cola brings out both the sweet and savory in a simple homemade BBQ sauce. After one bite, you’ll be hooked to using Dr. Pepper in all your glazes and sauces.

When you think of Dr. Pepper, or cola in general, naturally you are thinking of it as a drink. But cooking with cola is an amazing way to get a different depth of flavor. In Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes, the soda makes the sauce thick and adds sweetness without overpowering the dish.

These Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes go beyond just adding a can of soda to your sauce. Along with tasty BBQ flavor, there are hints of cherry cola too! Instead of using artificially flavored Cherry Dr. Pepper, there are maraschino cherries and cherry juice to add another layer of natural sweetness and flavor.

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes sandwich filling in pan

The easy homemade barbecue sauce used in these Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes is made from common pantry ingredients. It takes about 30 minutes, so you will want to make it ahead or plan an extra 30 minutes for cooking time. Once you taste the thick, sticky sweet sauce you’ll know it’s  worth the extra time!

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes have a mild, sweet sauce that is perfect for kids parties or family friendly dinners. There’s no spicy heat and everyone will love the subtle smoky cherry Dr. Pepper flavor. To serve for a crowd, you can easily double this recipe and keep it warm in a crockpot. You can cook these in a slow cooker too, see the instructions below.

Sweet and savory Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes go great with all the classic barbecue side dishes like Mac and Cheese and Coleslaw. You can also serve this sloppy joe mixture as a topping for hot dogs and Tater Tot Waffles or as the filling in these Grilled Cheese Sloppy Joes!


Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes sandwich filling in pan


  • BBQ Sauce: If you don’t want to make BBQ sauce from scratch, substitute ¾ cup store bought BBQ sauce, 1 can Dr. Pepper, and reduce to ¼ cup beef broth. 
  • Pineapple: You can use diced pineapple and pineapple syrup (from the can) instead of the maraschino cherries in Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes.
  • Peppers: Sliced pickled peppers like piquanté (Peppadew) peppers would taste delicious in Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes. You can also add jalapeños, pepperoncinis, or banana peppers, depending on the level of spicy you like.
  • Pork: Pork and Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce are amazing together. Make Dr. Pepper Pork Sloppy Joes by using ground pork sausage, or blend of ground pork and sausage.
  • Toppings: Top Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes with crispy fried onions (canned or Homemade Fried Onions), Fritos, cooked bacon, or other crunchy toppings to add texture. 

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes

    • Brown the ground beef in a skillet with the onions and bell peppers, drain grease.
    • Add the beef mixture to the crockpot along with the remaining ingredients (minus the buns) and stir to combine.
    • Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.
    • Stir before serving on brioche buns.



  • Serve: The Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joe mixture can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it needs to be chilled.
  • Store: Place cooled Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes into an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Cool completely before freezing. Store Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes in a sealed container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes sandwich on plate

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Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes

Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes are smothered in a sweet and slightly spicy cherry Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce, maraschino cherries and ready to devour in 30 minutes.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef , 85/15
  • 1 yellow onion , diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes , drained
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries , chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 brioche buns , toasted


  • In a large skillet add the beef, onions, green bell peppers, salt and pepper, cooking well, breaking it apart but leaving some chunks for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add in the canned diced tomatoes, cherries, cherry juice, beef broth, bbq sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, cooking until the sauce starts to evaporate and the mixture becomes "sloppy", about 5-6 minutes.
  • Spoon the mixture onto the brioche buns.


Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 1353mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 232IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 5mg
Keyword: Dr. Pepper BBQ Sloppy Joes

Dr Pepper Sloppy Joes collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Hello Sabrina! Can you clarify the substitute recipe for the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce? Do you just mix 3/4 cup store bought BBQ sauce, 1 can Dr. Pepper, and 1/4 cup beef broth — and then reduce to BBQ sauce consistency? Thanks in advance for the help, I’m looking forward to making the recipe!

    1. Thanks for following up. I was actually wondering about the substitute for the Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce. In the variations sections, it says:

      “BBQ Sauce: If you don’t want to make BBQ sauce from scratch, substitute 3/4 cup store bought BBQ sauce, 1 can Dr. Pepper, and reduce to 1/4 cup beef broth.”

      The last part of that sentence has me confused. Do you just mix the three ingredients and then reduce? Help! 🙂

      1. Sorry for the confusion. Instead of the sauce you can add the two ingredients above and lessen the beef broth to only 1/4 cup.

  2. I don’t see the recipe for Dr. Pepper bbq sauce. It’s just listed as an ingredient with no instructions on how to make it.

    1. I’ve edited to show a link to the recipe for the sauce. Not sure why it wasn’t showing up when it originally posted. You can use the search bar on the site too if the link isn’t sticking. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. You’re saying Dr Pepper BBQ sauce as one of the the ingredients, not how to make it!
    Should it be only Dr Pepper as the ingredient?