These slow cooker sloppy joes are made with ground beef, tomato sauce, brown sugar and spices, all cooked to savory perfection. An easy crock pot meal that’s kid friendly and perfect for serving a crowd.

Once you’ve tried homemade sloppy joes, you’ll never go back to the kind that comes in a can. This slow cooker sloppy joe recipe takes just 10 minutes to assemble. Let your meat simmer all day long, then serve on buns for a meal that the kids will love.

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Slow cooker sloppy joes on a bun served with fries and pickles.

I don’t think there’s a better feeling than sitting down with classic comfort food like these slow cooker sloppy joes. Not only are they simple to make, but you can easily double the recipe and have leftovers. It’s one of my favorite meals and I know my family will agree. Be sure to check out my ground beef stroganoff recipe for another traditional kid friendly option!


These crock pot sloppy joes are extremely easy and quick to throw together. They’re made with ground beef, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and spices, cooked to a savory perfection in the crock pot.  The simmering really draws out the flavor and makes the meat super tender. I guarantee these will be a family favorite!

Ground beef, onions, tomato sauce, brown sugar and spices in a slow cooker.

I suggest using a leaner beef such as 90% lean ground beef, in your crock pot sloppy joes. It’s still got a lot of flavor, but without all the grease. Ground turkey can be used instead of beef but make sure you use 93% lean ground turkey and not the 99% lean turkey breast.

Slow cooker sloppy joe meat with a serving spoon.

If you want to mix up this dish and make it your own, you can add other ingredients such as bell peppers, herbs, bacon or sriracha. It’s also popular to add a slice of cheese to your sloppy joe sandwich – we typically use cheddar cheese. Make sure to use a sturdy hamburger bun and toast it before serving so that your bread won’t get soggy under all that saucy meat.

A slow cooker full of sloppy joe meat.


It’s not quite certain exactly who created the sloppy joe, but the creation is largely attributed to a cook name Joe. He added some tomato sauce to some loose meat he had and thus the sloppy joe was born. However, there’s also two other versions of the story. One story says sloppy joes were created in Havana at a saloon, and the other says it was in Florida at a famous bar.


The original sloppy joe recipe hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s such a basic and easy mixture that there wasn’t much to switch around. However, the original mixture includes ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, sugar, salt, and pepper.

A crock pot sloppy joe on a hamburger bun served with french fries.

With school starting back up, I’ve really been making sure I have some recipes planned that the whole family will happily eat. However, they have to be easy and something I can toss together in just minutes. I love crock pot sloppy joes because I can literally dump it and go–the perfect dinner for a busy night. Looking for a different flavor combination of this class recipe? Be sure to check out my nacho sloppy joes!


Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes Video

4.97 from 55 votes

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

AuthorSara Welch
Slow cooker sloppy joe on a bun served with fries and pickles.
These slow cooker sloppy joes are made with ground beef, tomato sauce, brown sugar and spices, all cooked to savory perfection. An easy crock pot meal that's kid friendly and perfect for serving a crowd.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef I use 90% lean
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
  • Place the ground beef in the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
  • Add the onion and cook for an addition 4-5 minutes.
  • Place the beef and onion mixture in the slow cooker along with the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
  • Spoon the meat onto the hamburger buns then serve.


Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 494mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 4.2mg

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    1. You really just want to make sure it’s broken up into small pieces and partially cooked, it doesn’t need to be 100% browned and cooked through.

  1. why do you brown the beef before putting it in the crockpot? I usually put the meat in raw, so wondering if that will work and I just need to add time to the cooking or if it will throw off the intended taste / texture.

    1. You brown the meat first because if you place a big block of meat in the crockpot it won’t separate into crumbles, you need to manually crumble it hence the browning. Plus browning makes it taste better!

  2. Never liked Sloppy Joes. But I made them using the can sauce for my Husband. But this recipe is so easy and a no brainer. Great flavor I love this recipe.

  3. I mixed all the ingredients except the ground beef already and was planning to add the ground beef to the ingredients once I brown the beef. Do you think the onions and peppers will cook ok in the crockpot? I forgot that they were to be added to the beef when it was browning.