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Quick Ground Beef Recipes: Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

If we’re talking about pure comfort food and classic family-friendly meals that you can make in the Instant Pot, I’m gonna talk about sloppy joes.

This is a meal I grew up eating and loving. Of course, we didn’t make it in the Instant Pot (do you even remember pre-Instant Pot days?) and we didn’t use all real food. But it was similar. My Instant Pot sloppy joes recipe captures all of the nostalgia and flavors of my childhood – just made a little cleaner and a little more convenient.

What’s not to love?

Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

When I say healthy sloppy joes, I mean clean ingredients and lots of flavor. Most sloppy joes recipes call for ketchup or canned tomato soup.

Instead, this recipe uses tomato paste plus a few more ingredients to lock in that sloppy joe flavor without the questionable stuff.

For the buns, you have lots of options. Use your favorite hamburger buns – whether that’s a homemade recipe (try this one!), a certain brand you love, or simply a baked potato.

If you are gluten-free, we like the Udi’s brand gluten-free burger buns. If you are on a ketogenic diet, try cloud bread!

Serve your sloppy joes with a big salad or your favorite coleslaw recipe on the side to make sure you get plenty of veggies with this easy weeknight dinner.

Instant Pot sloppy joes

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

As long as you thaw your beef ahead of time (or don’t, and cook it frozen in the instant pot first!), you can get this recipe ready to cook in just a few minutes. After you start your Instant Pot, it only takes 5 minutes of cook time. Remember that the Instant Pot takes at least 10 minutes to warm up and 10 minutes to release the pressure naturally.

The genius of the Instant Pot is that you only have to spend about 10 minutes actively cooking your sloppy joes dinner. After that, just let the machine do the work. Thirty minutes later, dinner is ready.

Where to Buy an Instant Pot

This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!

If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.

If you’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.

You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.

If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.

Quick Ground Beef Dinner

To make my Instant Pot sloppy joes as quickly and unfussily as possible, I skip chopping the onions and peppers that most recipes call for. Instead, I use dried minced onion and I ignore the peppers completely. I know some people prefer sloppy joes with diced bell peppers, but that is not the case for my family, so I simply add more veggies to our meal with a big side salad.

To Freeze Sloppy Joes for Meal Prep:

Sloppy joes is a perfect make-ahead freezer meal. Simply double or triple the recipe (whatever your family needs to make several meals’ worth). After cooking it, let the sloppy joes cool, then store them in a container in the fridge overnight so that they cool completely. (Before freezing food, you want it to cool completely so it does not form ice crystals after you freeze it.)

The next day, pack it in a freezer-friendly container (glass jars, freezer bags, or whatever you use right now), leaving a little space at the top for the liquid to expand as it freezes. Then label it. I use a permanent marker on a piece of masking tape to label my freezer meals.

Freeze the sloppy joes for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat them, simply let them thaw in the fridge overnight (depending on the size of the container, it might take up to two days), then heat and serve.

You’re Just *7 Days* Away From Easier Meals with Your Instant Pot

Whether you have a few fav meals in your Instant Pot or still aren’t using it regularly yet, I can show you the secrets to SAVE time (and money) with my favorite appliance!

May I send you my best hacks to maximize my fav appliance so you can spend more time with your family AND nourish them well?

Get IP hacks in short emails and transform the way you serve dinner:

Family-Friendly Ground Beef Recipe

Sloppy joes is an easy, family-friendly Instant Pot recipe. One batch serves 4-5 people, but you can double it to feed a family of 6 or more. Don’t forget to serve it with coleslaw or a side salad (or veggies and dip) for a balanced meal.

Most sloppy joes recipes call for ketchup or canned tomato soup. In order to substitute these with cleaner ingredients, I use tomato paste, a handful of seasonings, and other ingredients to give my sloppy joes that rich, sweet, and savory flavor.

Ingredients for Healthy, Quick Instant Pot Sloppy Joes:

  • Ground beef
  • Dried minced onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Tomato paste
  • Water or broth (beef or vegetable)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Mustard
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar

Making the sloppy joes is as easy as browning the ground beef in your Instant Pot on the sauté setting, then stirring in the rest of the ingredients. Then cook it on manual pressure for 5 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally. Give it a good stir and serve.

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes That Kids Love

Because it’s so easy and hands-off, Instant Pot sloppy joes is the perfect recipe for kids to make and enjoy. If they’ve learned the basics for handling an Instant Pot safely, sloppy joes is a delicious and rewarding meal for kids to cook by themselves for the whole family.

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Instant Pot sloppy joes

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes Recipe

  • Author: Stephani Jenkins
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-5 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Sloppy joes are a comfort food for many. Use this real food based sloppy joes recipe for a quick Instant Pot dinner.


  • 1 lb. beef
  • 1 Tbs. dried minced onion (or 1 cup diced onion)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • One 6-oz. can of tomato paste (in glass jars, no BPA!)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. molasses
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


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  1. Set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting. When it is warm, drop the ground beef into the instant pot and brown it. (If you are using fresh onion, add that about halfway through the browning process.)
  2. When the beef is browned, add the dried onion, garlic, paprika, and salt. Stir and cook for one minute. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix until the liquid is uniform, without any chunks of tomato paste.
  3. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and seal it. Set it to cook for five minutes on the manual cook setting.
  4. After it’s done cooking, let the pressure release naturally. Then remove the lid and give it a good stir.  Serve on your favorite buns alongside a big salad or coleslaw.


Optional: You can add one diced bell pepper if you love that flavor and texture in your sloppy joes. Simply add it halfway through browning the ground beef and cook the rest of the recipe as usual.


  • Serving Size: 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 759mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 29g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg

Keywords: comfort food, simple meals, quick dinner

What’s your favorite easy comfort food?

Real food Instant Pot sloppy joes
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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