Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

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Sloppy joes are a childhood favorite for a lot of people. It’s something I ate a lot growing up, because it was a simple stovetop meal that you could have ready in under 30 minutes. Our sloppy joe sauce of choice was Manwich. Just brown the meat, add the sauce and voila! Dinner is served. Since I’ve been out on my own, I have attempted to make sloppy joes a few times following various recipes, but the taste just wasn’t right. So, I decided to experiment with some different flavors and came up with these amazing slow cooker sloppy joes. These sloppy joes are tangy with a little bit of sweetness to them. There’s also a generous helping of sauce, which makes them really moist! And the addition of minced vegetables lend the sloppy joes a meatier texture. These slow cooker sloppy joes have quickly become a go-to dish for me, when I am looking for an easy meal that will keep me full. Pair with some sides, and you’ve got a complete and balanced meal. Let’s get cooking!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step-by-step instructions in a video format for this recipe are available on my YouTube channel and above the recipe card below.

Step 1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (you will see it shimmer), add 1 pound of ground beef. Using a spatula or a spoon, start to break up the ground beef into big chunks. Add in 1/2 cup chopped white onion, 1/3 cup chopped celery, and 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper and mix to combine. Stir occasionally, and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.

Browning the ground beef and cooking the white onion, celery, and red bell pepper.

Step 2. Transfer meat/vegetable mixture to a slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup Amy’s chunky tomato bisque, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons prepared honey mustard, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon ground Himalayan pink salt. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring once every hour or so.

Stirring the sloppy joe filling in the slow cooker after it's finished cooking.

Tips for Success

  • For sweeter sloppy joes, try adding a teaspoon or two of light brown sugar at the end of cooking in the crock pot when the mixture is still hot. Stir to completely dissolve the sugar. Be sure to taste test before and after each addition!
  • For a thinner sauce, omit the tomato paste. You can also try increasing the amount of tomato bisque by a tablespoon or two at the end of cooking while the mixture is still hot.
  • If you use a different tomato soup than what is called for in the recipe, and it’s thinner, you might have to add in additional tomato paste. If the sauce is too thin, stir in an additional tablespoon of tomato paste and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes in the slow cooker, uncovered.
  • If you are in a hurry, you can skip the slow cooker all together. In the same pan that the meat mixture was cooked in, add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes to let the sauce thicken and the flavors meld together.
  • For even more flavor, you can brown the ground beef. To do this, make the oil is really hot. Add the block of ground beef to the pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Then flip it over like a pancake and let the other side cook for a few minutes. Then break up the meat and add in the celery, onion, and red bell pepper. When cooking everything together, stir less frequently to allow the meat to have a longer contact time with the pan.

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A slow cooker sloppy joe sits on a plate on a tea towel. In the background is the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

These slow cooker sloppy joes are a throwback to my childhood, but with even more flavor. These are my FAVORITE! Eat on a potato hamburger roll, or over some cornbread for extra flavor!
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Print Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy dinner ideas, gluten-free
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 40.9kcal

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85/15) (OR 1 pound plant-based ground beef)
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Amy's chunky tomato bisque (OR any tomato soup)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard (OR 1 tablespoon light brown sugar + 2 tablespoons dijon mustard)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Himalayan pink salt

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (you will see it shimmer), add ground beef. Using a spatula or a spoon, start to break up the ground beef into big chunks.
  • Add in celery, white onion, and red bell pepper. Mix to combine. Stir occasionally, and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Transfer meat/vegetable mixture to a slow cooker. Add Amy's chunky tomato bisque, ketchup, tomato paste, honey mustard, ground black pepper, and ground Himalayan pink salt. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring once every hour or so.

Notes

Vegan option: Substitute plant based ground beef 1:1 with ground beef. You will likely need to adjust cooking time. You will also need to substitute a different tomato soup for the Amy’s creamy tomato bisque. It will likely be thinner than the bisque, but the tomato paste called for in this recipe should be enough to thicken it up. If that’s not the case at the end of cooking, stir in an additional tablespoon of tomato paste and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes uncovered. For the honey mustard, substitute 1 tablespoon light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons dijon mustard.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
Amount Per Serving (1 person)
Calories 40.9 Calories from Fat 32
% Daily Value*
Fat 3.6g6%
Saturated Fat 0.5g3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 49.7mg2%
Potassium 50mg1%
Carbohydrates 2.4g1%
Fiber 0.6g3%
Sugar 1.2g1%
Protein 0.3g1%
Vitamin A 277.7IU6%
Vitamin C 14.5mg18%
Calcium 5.4mg1%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Nutritional information on The Panicked Foodie is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
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