slow cooker sloppy joe featured image
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes simmers the meat and homemade sweet and spicy sauce low and slow to create a comforting make-ahead meal. A delicious dinner the whole family will devour!
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Table of Contents
  1. Crock Pot Sloppy Joes
  2. Why We Love This Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Crockpot Recipes
  11. Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes Recipe

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes are made with lean ground beef and peppers, mixed with a sweet and spicy homemade sauce and simmered low and slow in the crockpot. This hearty meal is so easy to make using simple ingredients that cook for hours to create a tender meat mixture full of deep rich flavor.

slow cooker sloppy joe hero image

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

These Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes are an easy way to feed your family and friends in true set-it-and-forget-it form with a comforting, homemade, make-ahead meal.

This simple recipe may resemble those messy sandwiches from your youth, but I’ve made them even tastier and more flavorful with the help of my crockpot; no powdered packets are needed.

Browning the beef first (before you dump and go) ensures that the meat filling has a chunky, homestyle texture; then it’s as easy as combining all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker and letting it simmer for 4-6 hours.

And while you could cook this dinner on the stovetop, slow cooking gives the spices and sauce ample time to meld with the meat, intensifying the flavors and making the filling tender, tasty and delicious.

While Sloppy Joes are traditionally served as a sandwich, my Sloppy Joe Pie, Sloppy Joe Dip, and Sloppy Joe Casserole recipes are a fun way to serve your filling.

Why We Love This Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare in the crock pot in under 15 minutes.
  • Uses simple ingredients to create a classic dish.
  • Homemade meal is better and more fresh than the kind from the can.
  • Simmering in a slow cooker draws out the flavor and makes the meat super tender.
  • Double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd or enjoy leftovers for lunch.
  • Family-favorite weeknight dinner that can be made ahead or as a freezer meal.
  • Perfect for summer BBQs or game-day gatherings.
slow cooker sloppy joe

Ingredients

  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ketchup: You can substitute your favorite bbq sauce for the ketchup.
  • Water
  • Brown Sugar
  • Chili Powder
  • Mustard
  • Hot Sauce

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

Substitutions and Additions

  • Meat: You can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef in this recipe.
  • Vegan Version: If you want to make this a meatless meal use one pound of meatless crumbles instead of ground beef. There’s no need to brown the meatless crumbles because they’re already cooked. Just add to the slow cooker along with the other ingredients.
  • Tasty Toppings: Add your favorite toppings such as cheese, pickles or raw chopped onion.
  • Large Skillet
  • Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
  • Measuring tools
  • Cookie scoop
slow cooker sloppy joe ingredients

How to Make Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes takes minutes to prepare; once you brown your beef, it becomes the best “dump and go” recipe and a perfect make-ahead meal. Made with real ingredients (no powdered packets here!), this delicious dinner is full of flavor and is a family favorite.

  1. Brown The Beef: Brown your ground beef over medium high heat and drain off any grease.
  2. Cook: Add your cooked beef, onion, bell peppers, garlic, ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili, mustard and hot sauce to the crockpot, stir, and cover. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
  3. Serve: Serve in hamburger or brioche buns.
sloppy joe cooked inside slow cooker

Tips

  • I suggest using a leaner beef such as 90% lean ground beef for your sloppy Joes. It’s still got a lot of flavor, but without all the grease.
  • I like to toast my buns before serving so that the bread doesn’t get soggy under all the saucy meat.
  • Add a seeded diced jalapeño if you want to add a spicy kick.
  • You can serve this on sliders for a party.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the sloppy joe mixture in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze my sloppy joe filling?

Yes, the sloppy joe filling can be frozen once it has cooled completely. Place your leftover filling in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible. Flatten it out and freeze for up to 3 months.

What should I serve with my sloppy joes?

Sloppy Joes pair perfectly with a side of potato chips, Air Fryer french fries, Corn Ribs, Italian pasta salad, KFC Coleslaw, Broccoli Slaw, or a simple salad.

Do I have to serve my meat filling in a bun?

Instead of serving the meat mixture in between a bun, you can opt to use the meaty sauce as a pizza topping, serve it over rice, or as a filling for baked potatoes.

Why is the meat browned before adding it to the slow cooker?

There are some things a slow cooker cannot do, and browning meats and veggies is one of them. The process of browning creates caramelization (scientifically called the Maillard reaction) and an intense savory flavor.
It only takes a few extra minutes to brown the meat and veggies before adding to the slow cooker, but it makes a big difference in the taste.

slow cooker sloppy joe in 3 buns

Other Easy Crockpot Recipes

5 from 1 vote
slow cooker sloppy joe featured image

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Serves — 10
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes simmers the meat and homemade sweet and spicy sauce low and slow to create a comforting make-ahead meal. A delicious dinner the whole family will devour!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins

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 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • ½-2 tsp hot sauce

Instructions
 

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

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the sloppy joe mixture in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or defrost in the microwave.
Tips:
  • I suggest using a leaner beef such as 90% lean ground beef for your sloppy Joes. It’s still got a lot of flavor, but without all the grease.
  • I like to toast my buns before serving so that the bread doesn’t get soggy under all the saucy meat.
  • Add a seeded diced jalapeño if you want to add a spicy kick.
    You can serve this on sliders for a party.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 576mg | Potassium: 692mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 843IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 4mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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