Instant Pot Sloppy Joes: Flavorful ground beef in a delicious sloppy joes sauce, cooked in the pressure cooker, and served on buns.
Sloppy joes, slop-sloppy-joes! No matter how old I get, when I think about sloppy joes, I think about Billy Madison. Never fail. And that makes me smile. But this sloppy Joe recipe makes me smile for a completely different reason. It is just the right amount of sloppy (sauce-y, thick, and full of flavor), and something the whole family loves. Plus it cooks quickly in the instant pot pressure cooker.
INSTANT POT SLOPPY JOES
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I grew up eating sloppy joes made with a Sloppy Joe packet mix. My grandmother made them frequently for us in the summers. She was an excellent cook, and made almost everything from scratch, so I have no idea why she always used the packets. I liked them, but never loved them.
Well one summer, my mom was asked to make sloppy Joe mix for one of the extended family gatherings. I remember watching her make it in the slow cooker. She went out to the garden and picked a bell pepper. She carefully measured out the Worcestershire sauce, and the ketchup.
I was shocked.
Wait, you don’t have to use a packet? I remember smelling it simmer all day long, and my stomach was growling in anticipation. And I remember taking my first bite, and realizing that this…this is why people love Sloppy Joes.
Then I am sure I ran off with my cousins and forgot all about it.
Well, several years later I got married. And my new husband told me something that shocked me. He said, “My favorite food is sloppy joes.” What??? Like of all the foods out there, from Steak with Garlic Mushroom Cream Sauce, to French Dip Sandwiches, your favorite is Sloppy Joes?
I was flabbergasted. But, being the good wife I am, I decided I would make them for him. So I bought a packet. They were only ok.
Then I remembered the magic of homemade. And realized toasting the buns could make them so much better. And I have been making them the way since. Many a birthday, or busy weeknight means sloppy joes. I have experimented with the recipe, added this and that. But this is our favorite classic recipe for Sloppy Joes, make in the instant pot pressure cooker to speed things along.
Tips for Good Sloppy Joes
- Brown your beef, and drain it if you use a fatty beef.
- Deglaze the pan by adding your liquid and scrapping the bottom of the pot before turning on for pressure. This will help it come to pressure instead of reading “burn”.
- Be sure to simmer after cooking so the sloppy joes are not too runny. You want a sloppy, Sloppy Joe, but not one that is dripping and creating too soggy of a bun.
- Check out this Complete Guide to Cooking with Instant Pot for more tips and tricks!
When you cook in the instant pot you get really delicious flavors all melded together faster than regular. When I make sloppy joes the traditional way, I like to wait a day before eating them. I like to give the flavors a chance to really mingle and meld. But when I make sloppy joes in the instant pot, I don’t need to.
Why are they called “Sloppy Joes”?
Like many things, the origins of the name are uncertain, but the most commonly believed story is that a cook named Joe at Floyd Angell’s café in Sioux City, Iowa, added tomato sauce to his “loose meat” sandwiches and called it a sloppy Joe. It caught on, and the rest is history!
Great Sloppy Joe Sides
Part of the joy of a good sloppy Joe is serving it with great sides. My favorite sides for this loose meat, tomato-based sandwich include:
- Great chips or crisps. I recently discovered Proper Crisps, a New Zealand crisp company that makes parsnip, sweet potato, and other crisps that are SO GOOD. You could buy some, or make your own. I love these Plantain, Yam, and Beet Chips.
- Cowboy Caviar with chips: Always a popular favorite.
- Summer Fruit Salad: This is my kiddos favorite addition to a sloppy Joe dinner. So flavorful, colorful, and fun.
- Classic Mustard Potato Salad: A great potato salad is always going to be a hit with sloppy joes.
- Light creamy cucumber salad: This one is loaded with dill and is creamy and delicious! A personal favorite.
Other Recipes You will Love
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Mississippi Chicken
- Rainbow Macaroni Salad
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
If you haven’t purchased an Instant Pot yet, what are you waiting for? This is the one I recommend: 6 Qt Duo. And don’t be intimidated, this Complete Guide to Instant Pot Cooking will help you learn how to use it like a pro.
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Yellow onion diced small
- 1 red bell pepper diced small
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tbs yellow mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup beef broth
- Turn instant pot on to saute function and add olive oil to the bottom of the pan
- Add ground beef, onions, and red pepper, and saute and brown the ground beef. This should take 5-7 minutes.
- Once browned, add all sauce ingredients. Stir well.
- Put lid on, and lock into place.
- Set valve to sealing.
- Set pressure to Manual/pressure cook, 5 minutes.
- After the 5 minutes, let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes.
- Then quick release pressure.
- Stir pot, and if sauce needs to reduce, turn on to saute, and cook until desired thickness is reached.
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