Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes


Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were one of my Mama’s favorite weeknight suppers for busy days and I’ve always loved them. I have my skillet Sloppy Joe recipe on here already (click here) but this one is what I use on those days where I don’t have time to brown my beef so I just throw it all in the slow cooker. Yup, you don’t even have to cook the beef (as long as you use lean ground chuck)! Toss it in, turn it on. Supper is ready when you are.

I grew up in a small neighborhood populated with families, kids, and bicycles. We’d all congregate at the vacant lot three doors down and across the street from my house. At best, it was only 1/2 an acre but all the neighborhood kids referred to it as “The Big Field”.

Once, we had a new neighbor move in named Miss Sandy. She had teenagers mostly and we didn’t know what to think about them. Then, one day Miss Sandy opened up her screen door and started making popcorn in her kitchen. It wasn’t long before the scent drifted across the road to my yard and curious kids began showing up. She peeped her head out the screen door with a grin and held out two brown paper lunch sacks, filled to the brim with freshly popped kernels. “Who wants popcorn?” We left a dust cloud as we raced over, not believing our luck as more and more sacks appeared until we were all sitting in her driveway on our bicycles, holding brown paper bags like we were some type of popcorn loving huffy bicycle gang.

About the time we finished our popcorn, someone rode by on a bicycle and yelled  “Hey! We’re going to play kickball at the big field. You wanna play?” and a slew of bicycles fell in line as we shouted behind us to Miss Sandy’s kids to join us, telling them that they just had to because we had so much fun there.

We played with new friends until we heard our Mama’s calling us and then we picked our bikes up off the ground and pedaled on back to our waiting suppers and hot baths that would wash our dirt necklaces off. After supper, a few of the kids made an appearance outside again to catch lightning bugs in jars with orders from our Mama’s not to get dirty again, then we’d head back into the house and watch a little television in our parents laps before heading off to bed.

I don’t think about those as the “good old days” like some people do, though. Because if you spend your time looking too wistfully to days gone by you miss all the good in days that are still here and yet to come. There is just as much good in today as there was in yesterday, that hasn’t changed, our appreciation and ability to recognize it has.

Now let’s make some Sloppy Joes.

Don’t forget to wash your dirt necklace off before coming to the table. :)

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

You’ll need: Diced tomatoes, Ketchup, Mustard (maybe), BBQ Sauce, and Sweet Relish.

And also some LEAN Ground Chuck, buns, and whatever you want to serve with your Sloppy Joes.

Note : A lot of this stuff is optional and you can easily customize this. You might want to add chopped onion, garlic, omit the mustard, etc. You really need to use the ketchup, bbq sauce, and tomatoes, but other than that knock yourself out playing with it.

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

And I really like to add a tablespoon or so of these puppies.

They aren’t enough to make it hot, but it is enough to give it a weeee little kick.

  Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Okay so the beauty of this is that you can put your ground beef in the slow cooker uncooked.

See? This really is an easy one. Toss it in sometime in the morning with no prep work needed.

Chop up your ground beef a little bit.

Now, I know from emails that a lot of folks find the appearance of raw ground beef rather unappetizing. If you fit into this category, I strongly suggest that you have your servants prepare this meal. If you find yourself without servants, I strongly suggest you get used to the appearance of raw ground beef. It’s looked mighty fine to me going on about forty years now! 

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Add all of your ingredients in on top of your beef.

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Stir that up good.

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker

Then put the lid on and place this on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
  • Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
  • 1+1/2 pound lean ground chuck*
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno (optional)
  • 8 hamburger buns, for serving
  1. Place raw* beef in slow cooker and break up with a beef chopper or large spoon. Pour all other ingredients over beef. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high, 3-4 hours or low, 6-7 hours.
  2. Scoop out with slotted spoon onto buns. Serve hot and enjoy!
  3. Makes 8
  4. *Using lean ground chuck is crucial in this recipe because your meat will be terribly greasy cooking it this way if you use regular ground beef. However, if all you have is regular ground beef, simply brown it in a skillet ahead of time, add it to the slow cooker with all other ingredients, and cut cooking time in half.

“A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all — he’s walking on them.”

~Leonard Louis Levinson

Submitted by Bonny (thanks, Bonny!). Click here to submit your quote. New ones always welcome!


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  1. Deanna says

    Well, shoot! Wish I had seen this last night. I’m already at work. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day!

    We love to eat our sloppy joes open faced with mustard ON, not in. You are so right that this recipe can be easily customized, and probably a jillion different ways.

  2. Amy says

    I think you have your crockpot hrs mixed up. It says 3-4 hrs on low and 6-7 on high. :) Thanks for the recipe, if I had seen it an hour ago we would be having this for dinner instead of chicken. But it will work for tomorrow!

  3. Sheri Speegle says

    This looks really good…the only thing is I can’t have red meat so…can I do ground turkey the same way? I mean we put uncooked chicken in crockpots shouldn’t we be able to do the same with turkey? Just wondered if you knew for sure. I haven’t used the crocks since realising I couldn’t do red meat anymore. But I am planning on using them more this summer…so I guess I’d better find out. Thank you

  4. Dorothy Andrews says

    I am going to make Sloppy Joes Friday night. They really sound very good.
    When I was growing up, we had about 1/2 acre we rode our bikes and played in called the “red spot”–from the red clay in Alabama.

  5. Su says

    It seems like everybody had a vacant lot near their house growing up. 😉
    We had a really big piece of land in my street that was empty for years. My house was the last one and then for ages it was empty until the next house. We used to ride our bikes into it. Lots of good afternoons and weekends spent there!

  6. Rebecca says

    I was just thinking about Sloppy Joes!! So glad to see this! I have the same piggy spatula thingy as well! I think I got mine at Big Lots (santa put it in my Christmas stocking!)

  7. Bobby-Q says

    Jennifer – If you used ground beef with 20% fat (standard ground beef) you would have a lot of grease mixed in with the ingredients. It is not a food safety thing, just a good way to save some calories and make it taste better. Hope that helps.

    P.S. Hi Christy, I still check out your e-mails and blogs and recipes, just don’t often post. :)

  8. Darrelyn J Cowan says

    Reading this made me think I was reading my daily devotion and Jesus was talking right to me. You see, I’ve been thinking about when I was younger…..a lot lately. I keep going back in the past & wishing things in this world were like they were 30yrs ago. But you are right. I need to think more about the present and be grateful for what I do have in the here & now. Thanks for the reminder, Christy.

  9. Floyd Stipe says

    Christy, I love your recipes and your website. The simplicity and photos are wonderful. I am having a problem though. Ever since the day the Cracker Pie came on line your pages will never completely load so I cannot print the pages anymore. It says that you cannot print the pages until it finishes loading. Do you have any suggestions for help for me. Thanks and keep up your great work !!!

  10. SC says

    I have a picky eater in my family and one who does not like chunks of tomatoes. Would it work to use tomato sauce or tomato paste instead of the diced tomatoes? Love your site!

  11. Marsha M. Los Angeles CA says

    I had already decided to make Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight when I saw your recipe. I will make your recipe next time. We always put the mustard on the meat mixture too, instead of mixing it in, but this sure does sound good!

  12. judy morano says

    Haven’t made sloppy joes in a long time but I’m making this soon. Wondering what that gadjet is that you are using to break up the meat in the pot. I want one!

  13. Cassie Wilkins says

    oh my word,, tooooo funny! I am ‘boiling’ some ground beef n sausage to make sloppy joes and then was taking a little break and what do I find?? lol I will do it in the crock pot next time, less heating up the kitchen that way.
    Loved your message up there, Christy. Getting those dirt necklaces was always a heck of a lot of fun!

  14. Vickie Hill says

    I grew up wearing dirt necklaces too. We lived down a dirt road until i started 3rd grade. I would also follow my big brothers down to the wooden bridge and we would fish thru the cracks between the boards. We weren’t allowed to get close to the sides of the bridge. Even if there had been any fish, I don’t know how we would’ve gotten them through the boards. 😉

  15. Sandi says

    I had a “Big Field,” too! It was right across the street from my house and full of prickly sandspurs that always stuck to our socks. :) I’m not a fan of sloppy joes, but reading your story made my click over here well worth it. Thanks, Christy!

  16. Becky says

    Hmm, am I the only one wondering if I could just paint my crock-pot up all cute like that? I just bought a new one and they didn’t have cute ones! : )
    MMmmmm, sloppy joes! A great easy weekend food, right? We’ll have to give this a shot.

  17. Barbara Miller says

    your recipes are so easy! i made this yesterday. used 1 1/2 lbs. 80/20 ground chuck frozen in a chunk. dropped it into a sprayed (i never use canola anything) 4 Qt. crock pot. Added stuff to empty out my fridge….1 cup hunts ketchup, 1/2 bottle bullseye bbq sauce, 1/2 bottle texas pete honey mustard, 1 Tbsp kraft tartar sauce, 2 heaping Tbsp hot chow chow, 2 Tbsp kraft blue cheese anything goes dressing…….just pour it in out of the bottles and don’t bother to mix it. i put 1/4 cup water in the ketchup bottle and shook it to get every last drop then poured it into the empty bbq bottle and shook it and so on down the line to “clean” out the bottles. so, if ya don’t have bottles to clean out just add 1/4 cup water to the pot. cover with the lid. I let it cook on low for 6 hours then broke up the meat, I wish I had that meat breaking thing you have…Where did you get it? I remember you telling but cant find it. THAT’S AN IDEA FOR A WHOLE BLOG! “Christy’s Kitchen Gadgets and Treasures.” any way i stirred it up and turned it on high and left the lid cracked ever so slightly so it would boil and the liquid would cook down. this idea of yours is fantastic! it was soo good Ed ate the last of it for breakfast this morning!

  18. Barbara McGeee says

    Christy, can you tell me what you call the tool that you used to break up the meat with? Would like to have one but have not been able to find one in the store.

    • Glenda says

      I think you can find the tool used for breaking up ground beef for sale on the Taste of Home website. You might check Bed, Bath, and Beyond too, if there’s a store in your area. They have lots of kitchen gadgets.

      Love reading the recipes – what a good thing it is to be reminded to treasure each other and to look to the future! Thanks for that. :-)

  19. Angela Regan says

    I think the ground chuck I usually see at Food Lion is 80/20, do you have to request that lean chuck be specially ground for you? I’ve seen very lean regualr hamburger 96/4…..


  20. John Brislenn says

    Hi Christy,

    I am one of the ones having a problem printing your recipes. The problem is that the page doesn’t fully load. (At least that’s what my Windows computer says, using AOL.) It says that you can’t print until the page fully loads. No I don’t use the print button at the bottom of the recipe because I like to have the picture in my recipe for reference. The only way to get that is to print your recipe post with all the pictures. (Love the process pictures.) Being a little familiar with HTML, it looks as if maybe the final code for the post page is not present or something. Hope this helps.

  21. JennV says

    I made this one with ground turkey a couple of nights ago. I had two pounds of turkey and thought I would need a little extra BBQ (1.25 cup) and Ketchup (1 cup). It turned out a bit on the soupy side, but Hubby said it was some “Mighty Yummy tasting stuff” so we made open faced sandwiches and kept on eating! LOL! My thought for next time is to maybe even cut down on the ‘sauce’ a little to make up for the texture difference with the turkey.

    Thanks again for the recipe Christy! You Rock!

  22. says

    What do you suppose would happen if I left it on low for around 8.5 hours? I leave for work at 7:10am and get home around 4:40ish and would love to get home to this one! Melbourne winter is disgusting this year!

  23. Amanda says

    Hi Christy! I love your site and visit it often. I have tried many of your recipes and most were good (I love the easy cinnamon rolls made with frozen dough), but just didn’t care for this one. It had a funny taste. As with all recipes, you find some you like and some you don’t. Keep on keeping on girl. Your such a sweet soul! Good Bless!

  24. Rachel says

    For an even budget friendlier version (or veggie version) try sloppy lentils! Or mix lentils in with your ground meat. The texture is very meaty. I also often use lentils in my taco meat, or a use refried beans. Also, is 80/20 lean enough not ro brown first and can ypu cheat and use sloppy joes sauce or would it be too dry?

  25. Lynette says

    I can’t wait to try this! I’m going to use ground turkey. In t-3 minutes, your famous deep dish pizza will be ready for Dinner. ..2nd time I made it! My Picky 71 Year old hubby loves it. .. salad and done

  26. Becca from says

    I love that you just tossed in the raw beef, Christy! I use ground turkey, so I never seem to worry much about the grease factor. To me, it makes no sense to mess up a frying pan and then toss everything into the slow cooker to basically just warm it through. What’s the point? 😉

  27. Tracey says

    Hi pls help, i didnt not read probably and put ground lean minced beef in crockpot and mixed with remaining ingredients, i didnt cook it first. Is it ruined or will it be ok to cook like that x


  1. […] *Using lean ground chuck is crucial in this recipe because your meat will be terribly greasy cooking it this way if you use regular ground beef. However, if all you have is regular ground beef, simply brown it in a skillet ahead of time, add it to the slow cooker with all other ingredients, and cut cooking time in half. NOTES Source: Southern Plate […]

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