With our Instant Pot sloppy joes recipe you’ll make delicious sandwiches every time.
With two soft buns sandwiching a flavorful meat filling and crunchy veggies in between, sloppy joes are everyone’s favorite comfort food. It’s suitable for parties or gatherings, your guests can assemble themselves their own perfect sandwich to suit their likings.
The filling is usually cooked over a stove, but when dealing with larger portions, the Instant Pot makes life a lot easier. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or ten more people, everything will fit inside the pot and take just 35 minutes.
Is Our Recipe Healthy?
Our sloppy joe burgers are nutritionally well-balanced: there are high amounts of carbs, fats, and proteins in every sandwich. Furthermore, our recipe uses shredded cabbage, which contains health-promoting micronutrients and fiber to support gut health.
Unlike other recipes, ours has safe levels of sodium and saturated fats. Experts found that overconsumption of these is linked to diseases and hence, recommend us to consume less of them.
To make the filling, we first sauté the aromatics (garlic and onion). This is a crucial step in most recipes — your dish will be less flavorful if skipped.
Going next into the pot isn’t the meat, but a variety of diced vegetables. We’re using celery, carrots, and bell peppers to add different layers of savoriness with soft, juicy pieces to accompany the meat filling for a more satisfying dish.
Once the veg is cooked to perfection, next up is the beef.
2. Choice of Beef
We chose 85% lean ground beef. The balance of proteins and fat makes it a healthy, tender filling that’s not too dry nor too greasy.
If you prefer a leaner choice but can’t find one, you can go for fat-trimmed chuck or round cuts and make the ground beef at home. Simply chop the meat into small cubes and let your food processor take care of the rest.
3. Seasoning and Sauce
Once the beef fat has been rendered out and the meat is a little caramelized, it’s time to add the seasoning.
A sloppy joe’s filling is tomato-based so we added ketchup to enhance the tanginess and brown sugar to balance it out. Then we splashed a dash of Worcestershire sauce over everything to take the savoriness one step further.
Naturally, we then seasoned the sauce with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Next, we added some mustard to bring out that great meaty flavor. You won’t find it in a traditional sloppy joe burger, but we think it’s a great improvement.
For a spicy kick, we added paprika and chili powder. Adjust the heat accordingly by reducing or increasing the amount of these spices, or if you prefer, skip them altogether.
Finally, we cooked the beef together with our homemade tomato sauce. The consistency should be fairly thick, but for more flavor, we simmered it with chicken broth and then brought back the thickness with cornstarch.
4. Burger Buns and Toppings
The ten minutes it takes for the meat filling to cook is just the time you need to get the buns and toppings ready. Slice the buns (if they’re not pre-sliced), shave the cabbages with a mandoline, and grate the cheese.
For convenience, you can use a frozen coleslaw mix and grated cheddar/ American cheese.
The chances are you’ve got packaged buns so as soon as they’re sliced, heat them on a skillet over medium heat. Warm, soft bread makes better sloppy joes.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover
Keep your sloppy joes good for one week by storing the filling, the toppings and the buns separately in the fridge. It’s important to separate them because they are reheated differently: the filling in a pan and the buns in the oven.
You can also freeze them, so they will last for up to three months:
Add the shredded cabbages to a Ziploc bag, wrap the buns in foil, put the filling in containers, and place all in the freezer.
The cheese stays good in the fridge for months as long as it’s wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, whether grated or in blocks. You don’t need to freeze the cheese.
You can reheat the filling and the buns as above. For the cabbages, give them a good rinse under room-temp water and they’re ready.
In general, burgers can be paired perfectly with fries and a coke. However, we’re going for healthier options today — a salad and a juice, which, we think, are just as satisfying.
We chose our Greek salad for its abundance of freshness and tanginess to balance out the burger’s savoriness. We think you’ll find it pleasing to have something crunchy and palate-cleansing in between bites.
We also found that our orange pineapple juice was the ideal beverage to accompany this dish with it’s wonderful combination of sweet and sour fruits, and, of course, its wealth of vitamins.
Indulge in These Savory Instant-Pot Beef Recipes for a Tasty Mealtime Experience
This recipe combines the classic flavors of a pot roast with a tangy twist from the addition of pepperoncini peppers. The Instant Pot makes it easy to create a tender and flavorful meal in a fraction of the time it would take in the oven or slow cooker.
This article offers a recipe for making goulash using an Instant Pot. The dish features tender beef, hearty vegetables, and plenty of spices for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
If you're looking for more amazing Instant Pot beef recipes to add to your repertoire, check out our hand-picked selection of the best ones out there.
Select the “sauté” mode on the Instant Pot. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp unsalted butter. When the butter has melted, sauté 2 tsp garlic, 4 oz diced onions, and 2 oz diced celery for 3 minutes. Stir in 4 oz bell peppers to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add 14 oz ground beef to the pot and break it apart so it cooks more evenly. Add 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp ketchup, 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp Dijon, and cook everything for 5 minutes.
Stir in 1/3 cup tomato sauce and add 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth. Close the lid and turn the steam handle to “sealed”. Select the “meat stew” option and adjust the timer to 10 minutes.
When the machine finishes, place a kitchen towel on top of the steam handle and switch it to “venting” with a spoon. Wait for the steam to release and then quickly stir in 3 tbsp all-purpose flour. Select “sauté” mode again and cook for another 2 minutes.
Assemble the sloppy joes with the burger buns, the meat, the shredded cabbages and the cheese. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 558Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Vitamin A 1750IU
Vitamin C 57mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.