Easy Sloppy Joes (Slow Cooker or Skillet)

These simple barbequed Sloppy Joes make a sandwich that is a win with my whole family, and a definite win for me because they are so easy to make! With only 6 ingredients + salt and pepper, and the option of making the sloppy joe meat in the slow cooker or in a skillet, this recipe is a great one to keep on hand for those days when you need to pull out something quick and easy for dinner. If you love sandwiches you may also enjoy my Pizza Paninis, Ham and Cheese Sliders, or 3 Ingredient Amish Ham Salad.

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Slow Cooker or Skillet Sloppy Joes

Easy Sloppy Joes (slow cooker or skillet)

marilynpeight
These easy homemade sloppy joes are a recipe that is great to have on hand for a busy day dinner or even for a party main dish. This recipe can be made in a slow cooker or in a skillet to develop its sweet and tangy flavors, perfect for sandwiching in a bun!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Slow Cooker Time: 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Skillet (linked below)
  • Mixing bowl (linked below)
  • crockpot (linked below)
  • Whisk (linked below)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion optional
  • 1 1/4 cups Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce *see note
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions
 

Slow Cooker Method:

  • Whisk the barbeque sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside for now.
  • Brown the beef along with the diced onions. Season the ground beef mixture with salt and pepper, then transfer to a 2.5-3 quart slow cooker.
  • Pour the barbeque sauce over top and stir to combine, then cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. If needed, stir at the last hour of slow cooking to prevent the edges from burning.
  • Serve in a bun with a side of pickles and chips (optional). Enjoy!

Skillet Method:

  • Whisk the barbeque sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside for now.
  • Brown the beef with onions and season with salt and pepper. Pour the barbeque sauce over the beef and reduce the heat to low. Allow the beef mixture to simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes until the beef has soaked up some of the barbeque sauce.
  • Serve in a bun with a side of pickles and chips (optional). Enjoy!

Notes

You can use any brand of barbeque sauce, but may wish to adjust the amount of sugar and apple cider vinegar added (to taste). Barbeque sauces can vary slightly in sweetness or tanginess. 
Additional notes and step by step photos below. 
Keyword Sloppy Joe, Slow Cooker, with Barbeque, Easy, Homemade
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Equipment needed for these Easy Sloppy Joes:

  • Skillet A large skillet is needed for browning the beef and for cooking the Sloppy Joe mixture if using the skillet method.
  • Mixing bowl I like to use a medium sized mixing bowl for mixing up the barbeque sauce mixture.
  • Crockpot A smaller sized crockpot (2.5-3 quart) is ideal for the amount of sloppy Joe meat this recipe makes. If using a larger crockpot you may need to reduce the cooking time, or double the amount of meat, onions and barbeque mixture.
  • Whisk A whisk is helpful for mixing up the sauce until it is well combined and smooth.

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Ingredients needed for these easy Sloppy Joes: Diced onions (optional), Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, salt and pepper, ground beef and apple cider vinegar.

Should I add the onions or not?

Personally, I like the hint of onion flavor in these Sloppy Joes, but in a pinch you can skip pulling out the cutting board and chef’s knife to chop up the diced onions in this recipe. If you do not like the onion flavor, I say omit them completely. If you love the onion flavor, but don’t have time to chop an onion, you can also add in a little onion powder to the beef while browning.

Step 1: Whisk the barbeque sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside for now.

Step 2: Brown the beef along with the diced onions. Season the ground beef mixture with salt and pepper, then transfer to a 2.5-3 quart slow cooker, or add the barbeque mixture to the skillet. Continue to simmer on low heat for another 20-30 minutes.

Step 3 (slow cooker): Pour the barbeque sauce over top and stir to combine, then cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. If needed you can stir the Sloppy Joe meat at the last hour of slow cooking to prevent the edges from burning.

Step 4: Serve in a bun with a side of pickles and chips (optional). Enjoy!

Storage options for the Sloppy Joe meat:

You can freeze the Sloppy Joe meat for several months, then simply thaw the sloppy joe meat in the refrigerator for around 24 hours before reheating it to enjoy in a sandwich. You can also keep the leftovers refrigerated for 3-4 days before consuming.

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