This Instant Pot Sloppy Joes Recipe is a classic American comfort food made easier! It’s sweet, saucy, and oh-so-flavorful!
I absolutely adore sloppy joes…there’s something SO comforting about them. Today’s sloppy joe recipe is made in the Instant Pot, making it perfect for a quick and easy dinner that I promise the whole family will love.
PSST – No instant pot? No problem! Check out my stovetop sloppy joes. If you’re looking for a twist on sloppy joes, check out my turkey sloppy joes, asian sloppy joes, or instant pot lentil sloppy joes!
These sloppy joes are made with pantry staple ingredients that I’m sure you already have on hand — great for a last minute dinner!
- Ketchup, Brown Sugar, Yellow Mustard, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Hot Sauce – makes up the sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy classic sloppy joe sauce. Reduce or omit the hot sauce to make this recipe more kid friendly.
- Olive Oil – used to brown the beef before pressure cooking it to add another layer of flavor.
- Ground Beef – I recommend using a lean ground beef so there is less grease to drain after it’s cooked, but use whatever you have on hand!
- Yellow Onion and Green Bell Pepper – adds texture, nutrients, and slightly sweet flavors.
- Worcestershire Sauce and White Vinegar – adds saltiness, a bit of tang, and moisture to the meat.
- Buns, Cheese, Pickles, etc. – for serving!
How to make
This instant pot version of a classic takes just 15 minutes to prep!
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and hot sauce until well combined.
- Hit SAUTE on your instant pot. Once it reads HOT, add in olive oil, beef, onion, and peppers. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Hit CANCEL then remove the beef mixture and drain any excess grease.
- Deglaze the pot with Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, scraping up any brown bits so you don’t get a “burn” notice.
- Place the beef mixture back in and pour in the sauce. Don’t mix but cover and lock the lid and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- Allow a natural release for 5 minutes then hit SAUTE and bring the mixture to a simmer until thickened to your liking before serving!
Do you have to brown the beef first?
Yes, you need to brown the beef first. Browning the beef not only helps to cook the beef, but it adds additional flavor and helps draw out excess grease that needs to be drained. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it’s a quick step and it doesn’t require any extra cooking vessels!
How to thicken sloppy joe sauce
If your sloppy joe filling came out too thin or runny, you have a couple of thickening options:
- Simmer longer. After the mixture is done cooking, let it simmer (uncovered) for 5 minutes so it can thicken. If it’s still not thick enough, simply let it simmer longer.
- Make a cornstarch slurry. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Whisk very little bits of that at a time into the sloppy joes filling mixture while it’s simmering until it’s thickened to your liking.
Can you make sloppy joes without an instant pot?
You sure can! No instant pot? No problem! Check out my stovetop sloppy joe recipe instead!
What to serve with sloppy joes
Turn your sloppy joe sandwich (I like a toasted bun with cheese) into a meal with a couple of yummy side dishes!
How to store
Store leftover sloppy joe filling in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To reheat, microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.
Can you freeze sloppy joes?
Yes! Sloppy joe filling freezes beautifully so it’s great to make ahead of time and have on hand for an easy dinner later on.
To freeze, store in an airtight container or in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
To reheat from frozen, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or warm on the stove.
Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 green bell peppers diced
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- Buns cheese, pickles, etc. optional for serving
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and hot sauce until well combined. Set aside.
- Hit SAUTE on your 6 quart Instant Pot.
- Once it reads HOT, add in olive oil, beef, onion, and peppers.
- Cook, breaking up the meat as you go, until the beef is no longer pink.
- Hit CANCEL on the Instant Pot, remove the beef mixture, and drain any excess grease.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot with Worcestershire and vinegar, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom.
- Place the beef mixture back into the Instant Pot, then pour the sauce mixture on top - DO NOT MIX - this helps avoid a BURN reading.
- Cover and lock the lid - make sure the pressure valve is pointed toward SEALING.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
- Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 5 minutes before flipping the pressure valve to VENTING.
- Hit SAUTE on the Instant Pot, bring the mixture to a simmer, and simmer until thickened to your liking, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Serve with a slotted spoon if it’s too saucy for you.
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.