Easy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes are a hit for a quick, affordable, and kid-friendly weeknight dinner recipe! Pressure cooker sloppy joes are just as easy Manwich, but with a more intense, tangy, and sweet, finger-lickin’ taste!
Ingredients needed for this recipe
The best instant pot sloppy joes starts with ground beef and some simple, affordable ingredients, many of which are kitchen staples! If you love sloppy joe nights, try another family-favorite – Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole!
- Ground beef – Use any type of preferred beef or ground turkey to make a healthy recipe.
- Brown sugar
- Tomato paste
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce
How To Make Sloppy Joes in the Instant Pot
Although making stove top sloppy joes, are pretty effortless, making them in a pressure cooker has its advantages. While stove top needs time to simmer and infuse flavor, using an instant pot develops a strong, rich flavor in minutes because it’s cooked under pressure.
Plus, you won’t have to wait until the next day for optimal flavor. Serving straight from the pot tastes just as good as letting the flavors marinate overnight.
(For another easier, yet flavorful, pressure cooker recipe, check out Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas!)
- First heat the pressure cooker to medium heat by using the SAUTE button. Add olive oil to the pot and cook the ground beef with onion. Saute the garlic once the beef has cooked through.
- Hit CANCEL and stir in water, worcestershire, and brown sugar. On top of the beef layer ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, salt, and hot sauce. Do not mix so you will not get a BURN message.
- Close lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes with 10 minutes natural release. Let out any remaining pressure.
- Stir and serve! If the sauce needs additional thickening, turn pot back to SAUTE and simmer to reduce liquid or add additional tomato paste.
Intimidated by using an Instant Pot? Learn in minutes with this Easy Start Instant Pot Guide full of tips, hacks, and tricks.
What to serve with Sloppy Joes
Whether you are doubling the recipe for a party, or serving at a family meal, here are some ideal side dishes to serve with sloppy joes. As pictured, they are served on brioche buns, but soft gluten-free hamburger buns may also be used.
Sloppy joes in the instant pot do not have to be served only on hamburger buns. They also go great on instant pot baked potatoes, waffle fries topped with cheese, on spaghetti (inspired by Cincinnati Chili!), or in grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas.
- Veggies – Corn on the cob, green beans, steamed broccoli, or roasted zucchini
- Starches – oven fries, Baked Mac and Cheese, tater tots, Potato Packets, potato chips, baked beans
- Salads – Coleslaw, Pasta Salad, Sweet Potato Salad, Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Fruity – Frozen Fruit Salad, Jello Salad, Strawberry Salad, Creamy Orange Jello Salad
Healthy Sloppy Joes in the Instant Pot
If you are looking for a healthier dinner, there are easy adjustments to lighten the calories. Consider making sloppy joes with ground turkey or using a leaner beef, such as ground sirloin.
If doubling the recipe, sometimes I will do a mixture of ground beef with ground turkey to maintain some of the flavor, while making the recipe lighter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use frozen ground beef?
To make instant pot sloppy joes with frozen beef, place the beef in the pressure cooker, close lid, seal valve, and cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes with quick release.
Carefully open lid and break up meat with a wooden spoon. Add the onions and saute until beef is browned, cooked through, and onions are tender. Proceed with the rest of recipe as written.
Why did I get a BURN message?
A burn message comes when food settles on bottom and sticks, resulting in a message from the instant pot that something is “burning.” Typically recipes with tomatoes or tomato paste will yield this message.
To avoid this, layer the ketchup and tomato paste on top of the ground beef without stirring. The ingredients won’t touch the pot, but still seep and flavor the meat. Once it has finished cooking stir the meat with sauce to combine.
How to serve sloppy joes
Serve sloppy joes as is or layer on toppings such as, sliced cheese, pickles, pepper rings, sliced onion, bacon, or coleslaw.
Storing / freezing
Once the meat has cooled sloppy joes may be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
This recipe is also very freezer friendly! Make a double batch and store in a ziplock freezer bag up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.
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Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- hamburger buns, for serving
- (optional) sliced cheese, for serving
- Heat the pressure cooker to medium heat by using the SAUTE button. Add olive oil to heat and then add the ground beef with onion. Cook and brown beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain liquid in a colander and return beef and onion back to the pot. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Hit CANCEL.
- Stir in water, worcestershire, and brown sugar with the beef. On top of the beef layer ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, salt, and hot sauce. DO NOT MIX. Close lid, seal valve, and pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes with a 10 minute natural release. Let out any remaining pressure.
- If the sauce needs additional thickening, turn pot back to SAUTE and simmer to reduce liquid or add additional tomato paste.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND RATE BELOW!
Using Frozen BeefPlace the frozen beef in the pressure cooker, close lid, seal valve, and cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes with quick release. Carefully open lid and break up meat with a wooden spoon. Add the onions and saute until beef is browned, cooked through, and onions are tender. Proceed with the rest of recipe as written.
Storing / freezingOnce the meat has cooled sloppy joes may be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container. This recipe is also very freezer friendly! Make a double batch and store in a ziplock freezer bag up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.
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This was great! Added green pepper per suggestions. Had it over a baked potato. Delicious!
Melissa Erdelac says
Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
anyone know of gluten free hamburger buns that is not to bulky.
Do you have a Culver’s around you? You can buy their gluten-free buns and I find them to be very good!
Have made this twice already. I added green pepper and red pepper also, just for some added color. Best sloppy Joe recipe.
The peppers are always a great addition and sound wonderful! I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipe. In fact, we are having it tonight for dinner!
I Like this recipe I will try this at home.
Thanks for sharing the great idea!!!
You are very welcome, enjoy!