Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

I think my mom makes the best sloppy joes around. Her secret? Tomato juice that she has canned herself, preserving fresh sweet summer tomatoes. While I’ve never canned tomatoes myself, I always wish I had a few jars waiting for me in the pantry whenever I’m hungry for awesome just-like-Mom’s sloppy joes.

My sloppy joes have never been any kind of consistent. I’ve always thrown in a bit of this and a bit of that until it comes together, all the while wishing I had a recipe written down. Since we bought this multi-cooker/slow cooker last fall, following a recommendation from my sister Jessica, I’ve been playing around with perfecting a sloppy joes recipe of my own. I love that I can brown the meat right in the multi-cooker, then add all the other ingredients, switch the setting to slow cook, and let it finish on its own. And the multi-cooker is a cinch to clean up. {love!}

So this is it. This is my Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes recipe, the one I now turn to when I’m craving that classic American messy sandwich. The recipe makes a nice big amount, perfect for inviting some friends over for a casual meal, or for just making ahead for a few meals during the upcoming week. Because sloppy joes leftovers are some of the best leftovers around. They make me hugely happy. Grab some chips and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Yield: 15 to 20 servings


  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef (I also do a combination of ground beef and turkey, usually 2 lbs. beef & 1 lb. turkey)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1-1/2 c. finely chopped celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 c. chili sauce
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. prepared mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T. dry mustard
  • 1 T. medium chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • additional salt, to taste


In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion together until beef is cooked. (If using a slow cooker like I own - the Cuisinart Cook Central Multi-Cooker - simply brown right in the cooker.) Drain off fat and transfer to slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Serve on buns - I like to use whole wheat dinner rolls - with pickles and potato chips. If you have the time and initiative, butter the buns and toast on a hot griddle - this adds great flavor to the sandwich!


from a farmgirl's dabbles


49 Responses to “Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes”

  1. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — November 26, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I always forget about good ole sloppy joes! My little guy would gobble this up!

  2. #
    keane — November 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Sloppy Joes are a personal favorite and I don’t feel that they get the love they deserve! Way to make them pretty!

    • Brenda replied on November 28th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      So true, Keane. Sloppy Joes are way overlooked. Some of the best comfort food around! :)

  3. #
    Megan @ Country Cleaver — November 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Sloppy joes are the quintessential kid food – and I love kid food nights – I just never have neough of those and now that Ben and I have bought a bunch of ground beast, I gotta put it to good use! Thanks for the idea :)

  4. #
    Mom — November 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    So enjoyed these Sloppy Joes the evening before Thanksgiving, Brenda.
    Yummy recipe!

  5. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — November 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Sloppy Joe Night is always a happy night in our house!

  6. #
    Sommer@ASP — November 27, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Oh Brenda, I haven’t had a sloppy joe in YEARS. It’s totally time! Looks delicious.

  7. #
    Angie — November 27, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I love sloppy joes! But I never thought to put them in the slow cooker, great idea!!!

  8. #
    Shaina — November 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

    What a great weeknight meal

  9. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — November 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

    This would be perfect for supper TONIGHT! YUM!

  10. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — November 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I just felt a bit of summer time warmth after looking at these photos! Those look wonderful! My hubby never eats sloppy joes because of all of the onion and peppers in the mix, but if I can make it from scratch and leave those out, he can finally enjoy a sloppy joe! yay!

  11. #
    nest of posies — November 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

    my kids & i love sloppy joes! i’m sure your recipe tastes a million times better than the can! lol


    • Brenda replied on November 28th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Oh goodness…yes, WAY better than the can!! ;)

  12. #
    Melissa — November 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I love sloppy joes, your recipe looks great!
    saving to try soon!

  13. #
    Leah @ Whitefoot Blog — November 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    This sounds fantastic – thanks for sharing!

  14. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — November 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Oh Brenda, I have been craving sloppy joes! These look incredible!

  15. #
    Paula — November 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    That Cuisinart multi/slow cooker is one lovely looking machine and your perfected sloppy joes look great. What a great meal to have waiting after coming in from the cold.

  16. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — November 28, 2012 at 11:14 am

    My household of hungry male roomates is going to be thanking you when I make this recipe! These sloppy joes look amazing, and I love your mother’s secret of using fresh homemade canned tomato juice. They look delicious and I love that I can throw it all in the crock pot in the morning and come home from work to a ready-made meal!

  17. #
    Becca - Cookie Jar Treats — November 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    It’s weird, but I’ve never had sloppy joes before. I love meat and I love burgers, and sloppy joes are basically crumbled burgers… but these look really delicious, and pretty much everything that comes out of a slow cookie is going to taste magical.

    • Brenda replied on November 28th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      You have been missing out, Becca!! ;)

  18. #
    Jessica — December 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I have several types of chili powder…which would you consider “medium”?

    • Brenda replied on December 6th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      It all depends on how much heat you like. My family, mostly due to the tastebuds of our girls, likes a medium to lower level of heat. So if your chili powder doesn’t say “medium” or “hot”, etc., just use whatever you like.

  19. #
    Nina — December 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I’m totally making these!!!

    • Brenda replied on December 6th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Yay! ;)

  20. #
    Kim — December 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I’ll be trying this recipe for our holiday potluck at work–these look awesome!


  21. #
    Camille — December 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Merci beaucoup d’avoir partagé cette recette! Toute ma famille l’a beaucoup aimé!

  22. #
    Dawn — December 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Can you make this without the brown sugar? My husband is not allowed to have sugar or a lot of carbs.

    • Brenda replied on December 22nd, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Absolutely! I just like a little sweetness. My mom always taught me to cut some of the tomato’s acidity with a little brown sugar. :)

  23. #
    Angela — April 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I just shared this recipe on my FB page, What’s for dinner? With baseball season in full “swing”, I’m always hunting quick dinner ideas, thanks for sharing!!!

  24. #
    Debbie — April 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I loved these!!! The only thing I would change is to chop up the fire roasted tomatoes more…personal preference though!! Yummy

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      I’m so glad you liked these, Debbie. And now, since I’ve read your comment, I’m craving sloppy Joes!! Thank you so much for coming back to let me know – have a great day!

  25. #
    villette — September 21, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Hi Brenda. I’ve never used chili sauce. Can you tell me more about it or a brand to use?

    • Brenda replied on September 24th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Hi! There are many different kinds of chili sauce. I used Heinz, found by the ketchup at the grocery store.

  26. #
    Karen P — January 23, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I think I will make these for the big game!

    • Brenda replied on January 28th, 2014 at 7:37 am

      Awesome! I hope you like them!

  27. #
    Olivia Perry — October 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I have to tell you that without once ounce of doubt…these were the best sloppy joes I’ve ever eaten. THANK YOU! I made these for a ladies dinner last night that we usually have weekly on Wednesdays. I think every woman there at 2 of them. I brought the leftovers home and 2 of my boys each loved them! I am eating a leftover one as I type this. I forgot the garlic – purely accidental – but they were still amazing.

  28. #
    Sheresa — October 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I made these for a food day at work and they were a HUGE hit!!! I love this recipe because it’s totally unexpected with the layers of flavor and variety of textures.

    • Brenda replied on October 29th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Yay! So glad you liked this recipe. It’s really one of my favorite home cooked meals. Thanks for coming back to let me know, I appreciate it!

  29. #
    Jace Shoemaker-Galloway — January 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I added your fabulous recipe to my article:

    27 Super Bowl Cocktails, Appetizers & Sweet Treats to Eat: Winning Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

  30. #
    Fire Foxes FF4 — February 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    THANK YOU! I made these for a ladies dinner last night that we usually have weekly on Wednesdays.

    • Brenda replied on February 8th, 2015 at 7:02 am

      You are so welcome! I just love this recipe, one of my regulars. :)


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