Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes – Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they’re cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that’s waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they’re a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes Recipe

One of my favorite childhood meals were sloppy Joes, complete with a jar of Manwich and piled on thick on top of a good ‘old white hamburger bun! Great memories!

My love of sloppy Joes is still there but I one-upped classic sloppy Joes and instead made cheesy sloppy Joes in the slow cooker.

As we all know, everything truly is better with cheese, sloppy Joes included.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

This homemade recipe for cheesy sloppy Joes, or cheeseburger sloppy Joes as they’re sometimes called, is super easy and convenient. I have provided both stovetop and slow cooker directions in case you’re partial to one or the other.

The sloppy Joes meat sauce recipe is a little sweet thanks to the ketchup and brown sugar, a little tangy from the vinegar, a little smoky from the barbecue sauce, and optionally a little bit spicy from pickled jalapeños. 

Best of all, it’s all homemade and a guaranteed family favorite classic recipe that everyone will be begging you to make, over and over.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Ingredients in Cheesburger Sloppy Joes

To make homemade slow cooker cheesy sloppy Joes, you’ll need a variety of common and easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients including the following:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Pork sausage
  • White or yellow onion
  • Green bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Ketchup 
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Light brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Yellow or Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers, optional for spiciness
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Buns, toast, Texas toast, etc., for serving

Note: For a more complete listing of ingredients with amounts, scroll down to the recipe card section of this post.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

How to Make Cheesy Sloppy Joes in a Slow Cooker 

Making Crock-Pot cheesy sloppy Joes is so easy and great for when you want to have a hot meal waiting after a long day at school, work, or away from home. Simply do the following:

Step 1: To a large skillet, add the ground beef, sausage, and saute until done and no longer pink.

Step 2: Add the onion, peppers, garlic, and saute until softened.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Step 3: Transfer the mixture to a large 7 to 8-quart slow cooker and add the tomato sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, optional jalapenos, stir and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Tip: If you’d rather make this exclusively on the stove, you don’t need to transfer the mixture to your slow cooker and can just continue simmering on the stove after adding the above ingredients.

Step 4: After slow cooking for 4 to 6 hours, if desired stir in shredded cheese until it melts.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Or just sprinkle cheese on top of the sloppy Joes meat on your bun and dig in! 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy!The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Can I Make Cheesy Sloppy Joes on the Stove?

I know many people adore their slow cookers but for me, I almost always find it easier to do things on the stove. I know, I know – but I just find it tricky to plan ahead for dinner 4 or 6 hours in advance!

If you’re like me and want to make these cheesy sloppy joes on the stove in about 20 minutes, at the point where you’ve browned the proteins, onions, and peppers, and are to the point of transferring the mixture into your slow cooker – don’t.

Just add the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire, and optional jalapenos right to the same skillet and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the cheese, allow it to melt, and you’re ready to serve your stovetop cheesy sloppy Joes.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

What’s the Best Protein for Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes?

When I make sloppy Joes, I use whatever protein I’m in the mood for or have on hand.

Feel free to select from whatever singular protein or combination thereof that you desire including the following:

  • Exclusively 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef + 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef + 1 pound ground turkey or chicken

Tip: I do not recommend using exclusively ground turkey or ground chicken because they are very lean. However, if you are determined to go this route, when you’re browning the protein, you’ll need to add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or they’ll dry out.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

What Kind Of Buns are Best for Cheesy Sloppy Joes

You can serve your slow cooker cheesy sloppy Joes on a variety of buns.

Basically, pick-a-carb:

  • Hamburger buns
  • Hot dog buns
  • Toast
  • Texas toast
  • Regular bread
  • Kaiser rolls
  • Hawaiian rolls

If you’re trying to reduce your carbs, serve them Asian lettuce-wrap style in butter lettuce or in Romaine lettuce like I do in these Copycat P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps or in these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Serving Suggestions For Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe’s

When I think of sloppy Joes, I always think of quick and easy dinners or casual summer get-togethers or tailgating.

Therefore, they go well with other simples salads and sides including the following:

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Can I Halve or Double the Cheesy Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes Recipe?

Yes by all means, feel free to either halve or double this easy slow cooker cheesy sloppy joes recipe based on whether you’re feeding a smaller group or a big one.

Doubling the recipe is great if you’re planning to serve these for a get together like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, graduation parties, tailgating or game day parties.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Can Cheesy Sloppy Joes Meat Be Frozen?

Yes, this homemade cheesy sloppy joe sauce and meat mixture freezes very well. Let it cool to room temperature and then you can freeze for up to three months. 

When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, reheat gently on the stovetop.

You can even plop it back into the slow cooker again if you’re trying to just keep it warm for a few hours for an event where it would be more handy that way.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Do I Have to Add Brown Sugar to the Sloppy Joes Sauce?

Although some folks may not be familiar with why sugar is included in a Sloppy Joe’s recipe, I will explain. It’s because sugar helps neutralize the acidity of all the tomato-based ingredients, including the tomato sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce.

For example, this is why many Italian cooks will add a pinch of sugar to their tomato-based sauces, like marinara or pomodoro sauces.

Therefore, I recommend definitely adding the brown sugar for classic Sloppy Joe’s flavor.

And if you’re like me and can remember Sloppy Joes as a childhood favorite, I guarantee that those jarred and canned sauces that you probably ate are full of sugar.

If you like your Sloppy Joes sauce to read a little sweeter, add another tablespoon or so of brown sugar.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Tips for the Best Crock-Pot Cheesy Sloppy Joes

Use your favorite brand or type of barbecue sauce. We like Sweet Baby Ray’s.

As for the bell peppers, green peppers are more traditional in sloppy Joes but you also use red.

It’s up to you whether you want to use yellow or Dijon mustard. Yellow is more customary.

The pickled jalapeno peppers will make the sloppy joes meat sauce spicier and therefore are optional.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Perhaps the most important decision to make in slow cooker cheesy sloppy Joes is when to add the cheese. You have two options here:

  1. Simply sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese on top of the meat after it’s in the bun or toast.
  2. Or, stir in shredded cheddar cheese into the sloppy Joes meat mixture while it’s in the slow cooker. You can of course also sprinkle additional cheese on top after you’ve got meat mixture ready to go on the bun.

I always recommend grating your own cheese from a block rather than buy shredded cheese in a bag because bagged cheese is more resistant to smooth and even melting.

Lastly, feel free to turn your slow cooker down to the “warm” setting and let the sloppy Joes meat mixture hang out there and keep warm for a few hours if you’re making this for a party where folks can serve themselves, as desired, with the warm sloppy Joes sauce.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy!

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better because they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.
Yield: 16

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Slow Cooker Cheesy Sloppy Joes - Homemade sloppy Joes just got even better beuase they're cheesy! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, optional spiciness, and so juicy! Whether you want to prep them before work for an easy weeknight dinner that's waiting, serve them at a summer holiday party, or for tailgating or a game day event, they're a classic family FAVORITE recipe and so EASY! Stovetop directions also provided.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85 to 93% lean recommended)*
  • 1 pound pork sausage*
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced small (red bell pepper may be substituted)
  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard (Dijon may be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canned pickled jalapeño peppers, optional for spiciness
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided or as desired*
  • Hamburger buns, Texas toast, hotdog buns, etc., for serving

Instructions

  1. To a large skillet, add the ground beef, sausage if using, and saute over medium-high heat until the proteins are no longer pink and are cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Crumble and stir while sautéing to ensure even cooking. If desired or if there is a lot, you can drain off any grease.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened; stir frequently.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir constantly.
  4. Stovetop - At this point if you want to continue making this on the stove, keep going by adding the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, simmer for 10 minutes, and then stir in to melt it.
  5. OR to make in a Slow Cooker transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to a large 7 to 8-quart slow cooker (spray the bottom with cooking spray for easier cleanup), add the tomato sauce, ketchup, your favorite barbecue sauce, light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, optional jalapeños, stir to combine, cover with the lid, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6 hours.
  6. You can either stir in about 1 cup of cheese right into the meat mixture until it melts, plus top each sandwich with a bit more cheese if desired. OR you can skip stirring the cheese in and only sprinkle it on top. Your choice - first way is much cheesier than the second.
  7. Serve on top of your favorite carb such as a hamburger bun, hot dog bun, Hawaiian roll, Kaiser roll, Texas toast, or go low-card and serve like a lettuce wrap in butter lettuce or Romaine lettuce leaves.
  8. The recipe will make about 16 smaller sandwiches or 8 larger ones. Extra sloppy Joes meat will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently on the stove, microwave, or in the slow cooker before serving.

Notes

*Feel free to select from whatever singular protein or combination thereof that you desire including the following:

  • Exclusively 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef + 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef + 1 pound ground turkey or chicken

Tip: I do not recommend using exclusively ground turkey or ground chicken because they are very lean. However, if you are determined to go this route, when you’re browning the protein, you’ll need to add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or they’ll dry out.

**I always recommend grating your own cheese from a block rather than buy shredded cheese in a bag because bagged cheese is more resistant to smooth and even melting.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 789mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 21g

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