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Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Loaded with flavor and made with simple pantry ingredients, this easy Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes recipe is always a tasty homemade favorite for mealtime, game nights, or potlucks.

hero shot slow cooker sloppy joes served on a plate with potato chips, pickles

Adults, as well as kids, will gravitate toward the kitchen as soon as they smell this savory and meaty concoction cooking. It’s everyone’s favorite and nostalgic meal of Sloppy Joes, cooked low and slow in your crockpot for maximum flavor.

sloppy joes on buns on white plate, chips, pickles, buns, more sloppy joes n bowl for additional serving

The hearty and beefy tomato-based sauce is full of flavor from pantry staple seasonings, made outrageously scrumptious from hours of simmering in your crockpot.

close up of sloppy joes on buns ready to be served

And who doesn’t love to fill their extra-large hamburger buns with this savory mixture? It can be either a hand-held meal or one you eat with a fork, depending on how much meaty sauce you pile on the buns!

top view of sloppy joes on plate with cutting board, served chips, pickles, extra sloppy joe meat

I love this meal because the prep work is extremely minimal. Browning the meat and dicing some veggies is as hard (or easy!) as it gets. Dump it all in the slow cooker and let it simmer to scrumptiousness while you do other things.

sloppy joes ready to be served, 2 sandwiches, extra buns, chips and pickles

WHAT ARE SLOPPY JOES?

Sloppy Joes is a meat and tomato sauce mixture that’s cooked to savoriness with the addition of spices and seasonings such as onion, garlic, bell peppers, and chili powder. It’s similar to chili but without the beans.

sloppy joes sandwich ready to be served on a white plate

HOW DO YOU SERVE SLOPPY JOES?

Sloppy Joes are traditionally served on a large hamburger bun. Be sure and toast the bun so it’s sturdy enough to hold the mixture and so it doesn’t soak through.

You can keep the meaty sauce contained within the perimeters of the bun so that you can pick it up and eat it as a handheld meal, or you can ladle on the sauce between the two bun halves as an open-faced sandwich and eat it with a fork.

You can also pile other ingredients on top of the sauce, such as coleslaw, onions, and/or shredded cheese.

If you want to try something other than buns, Sloppy Joes taste wonderful served over rice or as a topping for baked potatoes.

sloppy joes sandwich served on a white platter with potato chips and pickles

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • Minimal prep work: All you need to do is brown the meat, and dice some bell peppers, onion and garlic before placing it all in the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Set the slow cooker to cook for 4 hours.
  • Feeds a crowd: The recipe as written will feed up to 10. You can even double this for parties.
  • Meal Planning Options: Again, if you have a family of 4 or 5, the recipe as written will most likely leave you with leftovers, which is excellent since they are freezer-friendly. Or, as mentioned earlier, double the recipe with intentional leftovers in mind to freeze for meal planning in the weeks and months to come.
  • No Babysitting:  After you brown the meat, it’s a dump-and-go recipe. Set your slow cooker and come back to a meal waiting to be served.
all of the ingredients slow cooked for sloppy joe in the slow cooker with a wooden spoon ready to serve on buns

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

  • Ground Beef – You’ll need 3 pounds of lean ground beef.
  • Onion – Diced. Adds flavor.
  • Bell Peppers – Red and green large bell peppers, seeded and diced. Adds flavor.
  • Garlic – Minced. If you like a stronger garlic taste, add an additional clove.
  • Condiments: Ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, mustard, hot sauce, and water. Adds savoriness and spiciness to the sauce.
all of the ingredients for the slow cooker sloppy joes in individual bowls, labeled

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER SLOPPY JOE’S

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drain off any grease.
  3. Add the browned beef to your slow cooker and add the chopped onion, chopped bell peppers, minced garlic, ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili, mustard, and hot sauce.
  4. Stir all the ingredients together until combined, then cover with a lid.
  5. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns.
all the ingredients for sloppy joes placed in the slow cooker

VARIATIONS

  • Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken, or meat substitute for a slightly different taste.
  • Amp up the spicy factor with hot sauce or jalapeno peppers.
  • Like a smoky flavor? Add in a drop or two of liquid smoke.
  • If you’re concerned about the brown sugar content, swap it out for coconut sugar or your favorite healthier alternative.
close up of the ingredients for sloppy joes slow cooked to perfection, waiting to serve on a bun with a wooden spoon

WHAT KIND OF BUNS DO I USE?

Traditionally, hamburger buns or Brioche Buns are used. Any size will work, but my family loves the extra-large buns. Younger kids may prefer slider-sized buns since they’re easier to hold.

And guess what? Hot dog buns work great, too!

If you like a more substantial bun, try brioche buns.

In a pinch, you can even use thick-sliced bread but definitely toast it first so the sauce doesn’t soak through.

full shot of meaty mixture for sloppy joes cooked and ready to eat

WHAT SIDES TO SERVE WITH SLOPPY JOE’S

Sloppy Joes pair wonderfully with any of these delicious side items:

Potato Salad

Broccoli Salad

Coleslaw

Baked Beans

Potato Chips

French Fries

Side Salad

Onion Rings

Sloppy Joes sandwiches are served on buns on a white platter with sides of potato chips and pickles

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS

Refrigerator: Leftover Sloppy Joes can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or, for individual proportions, in the microwave.

Freezer: Leftover Sloppy Joes can be stored in the freezer in a freezer-safe and air-tight container or zip-lock bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or microwave.

Your family will love these slow cooker Sloppy Joes! And so will you! It’s a simple meal to throw together and even easier if you’re just reheating the leftovers. Have your buns and sides ready and serve up this crowd-pleasing meal.

Sloppy Joe is ready to be bitten into served on a plate.

Make sure to serve these delicious Sloppy Joe’s with lots of napkins! They are called Sloppy for a reason!!

RELATED SLOW COOKER RECIPES

Slow Cooker Classic Goulash

Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef

Slow Cooker Chili

Sweet And Smoky Crockpot Chili

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Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes cooked and served on buns served with potato chips
Yield: Serves 10

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Adults, as well as kids, will gravitate toward the kitchen as soon as they smell this savory and meaty concoction cooking. It’s everyone’s favorite and nostalgic meal of Sloppy Joes, cooked low and slow in your crockpot for maximum flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Mustard
  • ½-2 teaspoon Hot Sauce

Instructions

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown your ground beef and drain off any grease.
2. To your slow cooker add your cooked beef, onion, bell peppers, garlic, ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili, mustard, and hot sauce.
3. Stir to combine and cover.
4. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Ingredients cooked in slow cooker for Sloppy Joes
5. Serve on a hamburger or brioche buns.

Notes

  • You can substitute your favorite bbq sauce for the ketchup.
  • Add a seeded diced jalapeno if you want a kick.
  • You can serve this on sliders for a party.
  • This is also great over rice or baked potatoes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 394Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 121mgSodium 613mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 16gProtein 40g

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