Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes are made with ground beef and a juicy, savory tomato-based sauce. They’re super easy to make in a slow cooker!
We love a good homemade sloppy joe with chips and Caramelized Onion Dip, or a cool and creamy Instant Pot Potato Salad.
These super easy sloppy joes are one of the BEST summer dinners! No need to heat up the house with the oven!
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
The best thing about sloppy joes is that they’re so quick to put together, and the sauce is really easy to make.
The ground beef and onion go into a frying pan for a quick fry with the spices and then into the slow cooker it goes with the sauce!
Here are the ingredients you need for homemade sloppy joe sauce. As always, you can always find the measurements in the recipe card below.
- Ground Beef – lean ground beef works well.
- Yellow onion – a sweet variety or white works best.
- Tomato Sauce
- White Vinegar – distilled
- Brown Sugar
- Salt & Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Hamburger Buns – with or without sesame seeds.
- Cheddar Cheese
How To Make Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe Sauce
COOK GROUND BEEF in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring to break it into small chunks. Cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add in diced onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until onions are soft.
ADD SEASONING after the ground beef and onion are cooked, you may need to drain any excess grease from the ground beef before stirring in the seasonings.
PRO TIP: Don’t pour grease down the sink! Make a tinfoil cup and pour the excess grease into it for easy cleanup that won’t clog your plumbing.
TRANSFER TO SLOW COOKER and add tomato sauce, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
This cooks the spices and flavors into the sloppy joe sauce to make it extra delicious, and the beef becomes super tender!
ASSEMBLE SLOPPY JOES by placing a slice of cheddar cheese inside the hamburger bun, then spooning the filling onto the bun.
What is the difference between a Sloppy Joe and a Hamburger?
Hamburgers are traditionally a sandwich made with ground meat and dry seasonings, which is then shaped into round patties and fried or grilled.
Sloppy Joes are a sandwich also made with ground meat (usually beef), but then cooked with a tomato-based sauce and other spices.
Both are traditionally served on a hamburger bun.
Sloppy Joe Variations
It’s so easy to customize sloppy joes!
- Add spice by dicing up a fresh jalepeño and put it in the slow cooker with everything else.
- Add pinto or kidney beans for added protein and fiber.
- More veggies? Dice up red bell pepper and add it to the frying pan with ground beef and onion.
- Cheese or no cheese, these are delicious! You can use a different variety such as gouda, gruyere, or havarti for a delicious cheesy twist.
Make Ahead Sloppy Joes?
Yes, you can make these sloppy joes ahead of time. Follow the recipe as directed (without buns or cheese), cool, then freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months before thawing, heating, and serving.
More Ground Beef Dinner Recipes
Need more ideas for dinner using ground beef? Here are a few to try…
- One Skillet Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Ground Kung Pao Beef
- One Skillet Mexican Beef and Rice
- Creamy Beef and Shells
I sure hope you love slow cooker sloppy joes as much as we do!
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
- Frying Pan
- 2 lb ground beef
- 2 cups onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 16 oz. tomato sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 8 hamburger buns
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- In a large frying pan cook the ground beef over medium heat, stirring to break into small chunks. Cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in diced onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until onions are soft, then stir in garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Transfer ground beef mixture to slow cooker and add tomato sauce, ketchup, white vinegar, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce.
- Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours. Stir the mixture and serve beef spooned onto hamburger buns with a slice of cheddar cheese.
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