Crockpot Sloppy Joes

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The ultimate BEST EVER Crockpot Sloppy Joes!! A super easy and delicious comfort meal dinner! via chelseasmessyapron.com | #crockpot #sloppyjoes #dinner #easy #slowcooker #bread #familyfriendly #kidfriendly #sloppy #joes

Our favorite Crockpot Sloppy Joes! The slow cooker makes the meat filling ultra-tender and deeply flavorful. We load that savory and slightly sweet meat filling onto toasted brioche buns for a dinner people won’t be able to stop raving about!  These sandwiches are great to serve to a crowd and perfect for summer BBQs or game-day eating.

Looking for more game-day meals? These French Dip Sliders and 7-Layer Bean Dip are both wildly popular!

Crockpot Sloppy Joes on a plate

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

It’s no secret we’re obsessed with Sloppy Joes — who doesn’t love these messy, saucy, slightly sweet sandwiches?! My kids would eat them for every meal if I let them!

While I’ve already shared a quick stovetop Sloppy Joes recipe and a more nutritious recipe using ground turkey (Turkey Sloppy Joes) I wanted to share how we prepare Sloppy Joes using the slow cooker.

You may be wondering: If we have to brown the beef and sauté the veggies before anything even goes in the slow cooker, what’s the point of using this kitchen appliance? Here’s why this recipe works:

  • This is how we like to make this recipe ahead of time. When we’ve got a game to go to, piano lessons to attend, or something else going on in the late afternoon, it’s nice to get everything in the slow cooker, run to the event, and return to a delicious meal (and intoxicating aromas!).
  • Having the mixture in the slow cooker is a great way to serve this recipe to a crowd. The slow cooker keeps everything nice and warm for guests to prepare their sandwiches when they’re ready to eat. This recipe doubles and triples exceptionally well so these Crockpot Sloppy Joes can feed a lot if needed!
  • The slow cooker makes the meat ultra tender in a way the stove-top just can’t replicate. Even though the beef is browned first, the slow cooker ensures everything gets ultra tender and the flavors meld together in an unforgettable way! You end up with an intensified, deeply savory meat filling.
  • There are some things a slow cooker cannot do, though, and browning meats and veggies is one of them. The process of browning creates caramelization (scientifically called the Maillard reaction) and an intense umami flavor. Taking the extra few minutes to brown the meats and veggies makes a world of difference in the flavor of these Sloppy Joes!

QUICK TIP

A slow cooker by any other name? Crock-Pot® is a trademarked product of the Rival/Sunbeam corporation. However, many recipes call for a crockpot and really mean any of the many brands of slow cookers. I actually use Crock-Pot brand slow cookers, but you may be able to adapt your own slow cooker to these recipes. The size and wattage of various cookers can affect their cooking times.

Process shots--sautéing the veggies; adding the ground beef; browning and crumbling the meat.

Crockpot Sloppy Joe Ingredient Tips

There are a few ingredients that elevate the flavor of these Sloppy Joes. I’ll explain those ingredients (none of which are sponsors of the site) below:

  • Crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes make a big difference flavor-wise, so we recommend good-quality tomatoes (such as Cento Marzano®, Carmelina Marzano Italian®, or Muir Glen®)). For even more flavor, pick fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct, smoky flavor. You get more flavor without any extra work.
  • Ketchup. I can’t recommend Heinz® ketchup enough — it’s so good in these Crockpot Sloppy Joes! It’s robustly flavorful without being overly sweet or too tangy.
  • Beef bouillon. This powder not only seasons everything nicely, but it also adds a deeper, intensely savory flavor that enhances the ground beef in this recipe.
  • Light brown sugar. This ingredient can make or break the Sloppy Joes — too little and the filling will lack the traditional sweetness of these sandwiches. Too much and the meat filling can become too sweet and unpalatable. Add very slowly, tasting to desired preference.

Process shots--adding beef mixture to the slow cooker; adding remaining ingredients; mixing all together; cooking until ready.

Quick tips

  • Sweeten to taste. You will likely want to adjust how much brown sugar you use, depending on the crushed tomatoes and the ketchup used (some are sweeter than others). 
  • Use a food processor. This helps get your veggies (onion, carrot, and pepper) finely chopped without spending forever at the cutting board. Just add them to the processor bowl and pulse a few times. Don’t over-pulse the veggies or liquefy them; just pulse enough times to get them into small pieces equivalent to a dice.
  • Add the Crockpot Sloppy Joe mixture to the bun right before eating. This helps to avoid soggy buns.
  • Season to taste. Before serving, be sure to give the mixture a quick taste test. Add additional salt until the flavors sing.

Image of the buns being buttered and toasted for Crockpot Sloppy Joes

Toasted Brioche Buns are a Game Changer!

Serve Crockpot Sloppy Joes on toasted brioche buns — it’s truly the “secret” to the best Sloppy Joes! Plus, toasted buns don’t get soggy as quickly!

Here’s how to do it: Spread some softened/room temperature butter over the inside of the top and bottom buns. Either grill the buns on a hot grill for 20-30 seconds, gently toast in a 350 degree F oven until buns are warmed through and barely crispy (about 5 minutes), or brown in a sauté pan for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat (or until lightly browned). 

Crockpot Sloppy Joe on a plate

 

Side Dish Suggestions

Serving Crockpot Sloppy Joes to a crowd? Put out some other side dishes on the table for guests to choose from. Below are some of our go-to pairings:

Helpful Visual Guide: check out how to cut a bell pepper

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Crockpot Sloppy Joes

5 from 27 votes
Our favorite Crockpot Sloppy Joes! The slow cooker makes the meat filling ultra-tender and deeply flavorful. We load that savory and slightly sweet meat filling onto toasted brioche buns for a dinner people won't be able to stop raving about!  These sandwiches are great to serve to a crowd and perfect for summer BBQs or game-day eating.
Print Recipe

Crockpot Sloppy Joes

5 from 27 votes
Our favorite Crockpot Sloppy Joes! The slow cooker makes the meat filling ultra-tender and deeply flavorful. We load that savory and slightly sweet meat filling onto toasted brioche buns for a dinner people won't be able to stop raving about!  These sandwiches are great to serve to a crowd and perfect for summer BBQs or game-day eating.
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword Crockpot Sloppy Joes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 loaded Sloppy Joes
Calories 207kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $8.96

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (72g) finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup (72g) finely diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (72g) finely diced carrots
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 oz; 411g) crushed tomatoes (we love Muir Glen fire-roasted)
  • 1 tablespoon (16g) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (140g) ketchup (we love Heinz)
  • 1-3 tablespoons (11g) light brown sugar Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon (17g) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • Hamburger buns (we LOVE Brioche buns) + 2-3 tablespoons of butter (optional)

Instructions

  • PREP VEGGIES: Peel an onion and dice finely. Finely chop the red pepper and carrot. Mince the garlic. Alternatively, add a coarsely chopped carrot, coarsely chopped red pepper, coarsely chopped onion, and garlic to a food processor and pulse into diced pieces -- don't over-pulse, though; we don't want to liquefy the veggies.
  • COOK VEGGIES: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté for 6-8 minutes or until liquid from the veggies has evaporated and veggies are soft and turning golden. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Using a wooden spoon, press the veggies to the edges of the skillet and add 1 pound ground beef in the center of the pan. Let stand for 45 seconds in the heat and then stir and crumble the meat into small pieces. Cook until no longer pink and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. As you crumble and cook the meat, incorporate the veggies into the meat. If there is any grease from the meat, drain it off here.
  • SLOW COOKER: Add beef and veggies to the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients (except the hamburger buns) to the slow cooker. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, but add to taste preference (table salt is different so you'll use a lot less). Stir everything together. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring the mixture occasionally if you can. Taste and adjust any seasonings (adding extra salt, pepper, or brown sugar) if desired -- the flavors should sing!
  • FINISH: Spoon the mixture on top of toasted buns (See Note 2). Add the filling right before eating and enjoy immediately to avoid soggy buns!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sugar: Add brown sugar to taste -- if you don't like it sweet, you may only want a teaspoon or two and on the flip side you may want up to 3+ tablespoons. Remember, you can always add more at the end!
Note 2: Buns: I like to toast the buns; it adds flavor and keeps the buns from getting soggy too quickly. Spread some softened butter over the inside of the top and bottom buns. Either grill the buns on a hot grill for 20-30 seconds, gently toast in a 350 degree F oven until buns are warmed through and barely crispy (about 5 minutes), or brown in a sauté pan for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat (or until lightly browned). 
Nutritional information does not include buns as those will vary.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4200IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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87 Comments

  1. Thanks for offering the giveaway, Chelsea!! I would love to win a Colts Croc-Pot! It would be perfect to make your Sloppy Joes for holiday get togethers! My grandsons favorite!!

  2. Hi – This sounds yummy and easy – I will be making it tonight. Thanks for the recipes – and I would LOVE a Wisconsin Badgers Crock Pot!!!

  3. I live in a family full of 49er fans, so I would pick that one. I would be really excited if they featured MLB teams, then i would love a San Francisco Giants crockpot.

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVE your recipes! My crockpot burns everything and needs to be replaced!as a teachers, I can’t live without it! I would LOVE an OSU crockpot.

  5. would love to win the cardinals slow cooker. Use slowcookers all the time. Such a time saver especially this time of year

  6. I was hoping I might win a Patriot’s crock pot…..we here in Mass. are crazy about the Pats and to carry a crock pot with their logo on it to a potluck would be….as we tend to say here…WICKED COOL!!

  7. Maybe the Cleveland Browns will start winning if enough people have a new Crock Pot with their logo….. probably not but we would have good tailgate food! Thanks for a fun giveaway!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe looks awesome!! I would love to win a Cincinnati Bengals Crock Pot!! Thanks for your fantastic recipes, Chelsea!

  9. 5 stars
    Oh, yum! These take me back to my childhood days and I’m sure yours taste 30 times better, lol. I would love the Atlanta Falcons one!

  10. 5 stars
    My crockpot is 20+ yrs old?. I’d love to win the Dallas Cowboys crockpot! My kids keep asking, “Is this a Chelsea dinner?” Ha!

  11. 5 stars
    I would love to win the Jacksonville Jaguars one! First time in the playoffs in 10 years! And I love crock pot recipes. Will definitely be trying this sloppy joes one!

  12. Recipe sounds delicious! I will be trying it tonight. Would love to win the Panthers carry and go crock pot! Love your blog. Keep up the good work.

  13. Yum!! This recipe looks so yummy! Love me so Sloppy Joe’s ? I want the Denver Broncos Crockpot so bad!!!! ❤

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is so good! I would love the Clemson Tiger cook and carry crock pot! Thanks for all your fabulous recipes!

  15. 5 stars
    My family loved this recipe. I’m going to make it again. Can you tell me if the calories include the toasted buns?
    Thanks

    1. I’m so glad they did! The calories are for the meat filling (buns vary so much from brand to brand!) Thanks! 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    Super flavorful, easy and delicious! Def crowd pleaser! I know sloppy joe’s aren’t rocket science…but the balance of flavors here was great and so is the ease of the crockpot method! Thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    I would love an Auburn Tiger one…WDE!!! I am trying your crockpot recipes as I am disabled mentally and physically so these really help me out and I appreciate you…thank you so much and you are AWESOME!!!

  18. Easy and delicious. Seconds requested! Used frozen pepper and onion mix which seemed to work well. Will definitly make again.

  19. 5 stars
    I love your recipe site and your simple to follow instructions.
    Oh… If I should win the Crock Pot
    My FAVORITE team is the..
    TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
    Than3

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