These are the easiest Instant Pot Sloppy Joes, served in a delicious tangy tomato sauce on hamburger buns. It’s the perfect make ahead meal!
Ingredients in sloppy joes
You don’t need much to make these sloppy joes.
Here’s what you need on hand:
- ground beef
- celery stalks
- yellow onion
- green pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- tomato sauce
- buns, coleslaw and chips, to serve
How to make sloppy joes in the Instant Pot
It’s easier and quicker to make sloppy joes in the Instant Pot than it is on the stovetop, and you get a deep flavour from pressure cooking the meat and veggies.
Here’s how to make them:
- Set Instant Pot to saute mode, then saute the ground beef, celery, onion, garlic and salt & pepper for 5 minutes until browned.
- Stir in worcestershire, soy sauce, brown sugar and tomato sauce, then turn off saute mode.
- Pressure cook for 2 minutes, then open the lid and stir.
- Serve on hamburger buns and top with coleslaw mix. Serve with chips and enjoy!
What is a sloppy joe?
These loose meat sandwiches are most often made with ground beef or pork, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, and other seasonings and spices.
All of the ingredients are mixed together, simmered, and served on a toasted hamburger bun.
“Loose meat” sandwiches were popular during and after the Great Depression as a cheap, filling meal. They were most often found at lunch-counter restaurants and were known for being sloppy and messy to eat.
The name appears to come from a diner in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930s. Joe, a cook there, was the first to use tomato sauce in the recipe, and the name has stuck ever since.
This sloppy joe recipe is fairly simple, but there are a few things that can be substituted as needed.
- Ground beef – ground turkey or pork will also work
- Marinara – replace with equal parts tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- Worcestershire sauce – substitute with an equal amount of soy sauce
- Veggies – try shredded carrot or zucchini instead
- Hamburger buns – pretzel or brioche buns add extra flavour
What goes with sloppy joes?
Just about everything pairs well with these sandwiches! Grab a bag of your favorite potato chips or try one of these easy sides:
- French fries
- Macaroni or potato salad
- Raw or roasted vegetables
- Baked beans
- Corn on the cob
More topping ideas
Choose something that either blends with or contrasts the savory flavours of the sandwich. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Cheese slices: American, Cheddar, or Pepper Jack would taste great
- Dill pickle chips: these add extra tang and a nice crunch
- Onion: either red onion slices or fried onion rings
- Crispy bacon: use sliced or crumble into pieces
- Jalapeno slices: cut your own or use a jarred pickled variety
- Fried egg: a runny yolk adds a rich, creamy sauce
Storing and reheating
To prevent the buns and vegetables from becoming soggy, it’s best to store the sandwich components separately. As a result, you can enjoy the entire meal again without any complaints. 😉
Transfer any leftover filling to a shallow, airtight container. Then, store in the refrigerator and use it within 4-5 days.
When reheating, place one portion at a time in the microwave until warmed through. Or, add the meat filling to a skillet and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Then, assemble the sandwich as originally directed.
Freezing the beef
First, allow the sloppy joe filling to cool completely. To do this, transfer it to a bowl or container, cover with foil, and place in the refrigerator.
NOTE: For food safety purposes, it’s best to cool the meat in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.
After it’s cool, spoon the mixture into a freezer-safe container or storage bag and keep in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. Also, for easier meal prep, you can store individual portions. To do this:
- Divide the filling into portions and add each to a small ziploc bag.
- Squeeze out the air and seal shut.
- Lay the bags on a sheet pan and freeze until solid.
- Place the individual bags into a large freezer-safe storage bag and keep in the freezer.
To thaw, let the filling sit in the refrigerator overnight. Then, reheat as directed above.
More Instant Pot beef recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 (680mL) jar tomato sauce
- 4 hamburger buns
- coleslaw mix
- kettle chips, fries or side of choice
- Set Instant Pot to saute mode and wait for it to heat up. Once hot, add olive oil, ground beef, celery, onion and garlic, sauteeing for 5 minutes until browned.
- Add worcestershire, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt & pepper and tomato sauce, then turn off saute mode. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then pressure cook for 2 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure, then notify you it's done by beeping. Press the Cancel button then do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Stir meat mixture then serve overtop of hamburger buns, adding the coleslaw mix in between the meat and the top bun if desired. Serve with kettle chips or choice of side and enjoy!