Instant Pot Sloppy Joes


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sloppy joes on a white plate with fries

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes get that simmered-all-day flavor in just a few minutes. The filling is sweet and tangy in these classic messy sandwiches that are served on soft hamburger buns. Want an easy side? Make pot-in-pot home fries at the same time.

A few months ago I realized that I had spent my first five and a half years of parenting without this classic kid-friendly meal. While not a super common feature of my childhood, I have fond memories of sweet and tangy ketchup-based Sloppy Joes simmering in my mom’s slow cooker. It only took one bite of this version of Sloppy Joes to bring back all the nostalgic vibes. This version is super fast, thanks to the Instant Pot. 

Want to give it a bit more of a homemade feel? Use the Pot-in-Pot Method to make home fries to serve on the side. It’s easy! Here’s how to do it…

adding green peppers to ground beef in the instant pot

Instant Pot Sloppy Joe Ingredients

  • Ground Beef – Use ground beef that is at least 93% lean. This will give you a super tender Sloppy Joe filling that won’t be greasy. This would also be great with another ground meat like ground chicken or ground turkey. 
  • Green Bell Pepper – This gives the filling flavor and texture. Red bell pepper would work fine, or you can skip this if you want to keep things really simple.
  • Onion – Use finely diced yellow onion to build flavor in the filling. You should have about 1 cup of diced onion which is a small to medium sized onion. 
  • Ketchup / BBQ Sauce – It doesn’t get much more classic than putting ketchup in the filling for these Sloppy Joes. I’m from Kansas City and never met a tomato-based BBQ sauce I didn’t love, so I think BBQ sauce makes a great Sloppy Joe as well. If using a sweet BBQ sauce, skip the extra sugar. 
  • Worcestershire Sauce – There’s no replacement for the umami flavor that Worcestershire sauce gives this dish, but in a pinch you can use soy sauce as a substitute.
  • Brown Sugar, Dijon Mustard, Salt, and Pepper – Pantry staples that add flavor to the dish. 

stirring sloppy joes in the instant pot

a spoonful of sloppy joe mixture

How to Make Home Fries Using Pot-in-Pot

Use the Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Method to cook potatoes at the same time as the Sloppy Joes and you can make amazing home fries to serve on the side. (Not familiar with this handy method that allows you to cook two things in the Instant Pot at the same time? Check out this post on the Pot-in-Pot Method for the Instant Pot.)

sloppy joe mixture in an instant pot with a metal trivetFor this recipe, the potatoes are steamed at the same time as the Instant Pot Sloppy Joes are cooking. They come out tender, but it’s in the next step when things start to get really good. Take the potatoes out and slice them in half. Saute them in oil in a skillet for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Then season with some salt and pepper. These are guaranteed to be the best “fries” you’ve ever had served on the side of a Sloppy Joe.

sloppy joes and potatoes in an instant pot

browning fingerling potatoes in a cast iron skillet

6-Minute Instant Pot Guide

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes are taken straight from The Ultimate Guide to 6-Minute Instant Pot Meals {Classics}. This one is Sloppy Joe + Ground Beef + Potatoes. Check out that post for many other recipes that use the pot-in-pot method to make complete meals right in the Instant Pot.

Kid-Friendly Dinners (that are loved by adults too!)

  • Simple Chicken Noodle Soup with Miso – The addition of flavor-packed miso and a tiny list of ingredients make this a cozy, comforting Chicken Noodle Soup that can be made any night of the week.
  • Instant Pot Mac and Cheese – Forget the boxed stuff, this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is just as fast, almost as easy, and so much more delicious.
  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Biscuits – The rich, creamy soup base for Slow Cooker Chicken Stew is made without any heavy cream and gets great flavor from chicken and vegetables simmered slow.
  • Taco Casserole with Ground Beef – With layers of seasoned ground beef, tortillas, enchilada sauce, and cheese, Taco Casserole is a fun weeknight meal that can be made ahead and is freezer-friendly.
  • Slow Cooker Mississippi Roast  – Mississippi Roast is a slow cooker pot roast that found its way to Pinterest fame in recent years. This is a clean version of the classic recipe that uses no packets, no processed ingredients, no MSG.

Favorite Tools

  • 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo – This is the Instant Pot / pressure cooker I use to test all meals on this site. It easily makes enough to serve the 5 members of our family (usually without leftovers). Though this recipe was not tested in the larger 8-Quart Instant Pot, it should work in that version. 
  • Instant Pot Rack – This 2.3-inch rack is just the right height to hold a bowl above the other ingredients to cook using pot-in-pot method described in this recipe.
  • Instant Pot Bowl (for pot-in-pot method) – I test all of my recipes using a glass Pyrex bowl for the pot-in-pot method. Either a 4-Cup Round Pyrex Dish or a 7-Cup Round Pyrex Dish will fit in the 6-Quart Instant Pot. The 4 cup bowl works well for rice or potatoes, but the 7 quart is ideal for pasta (so that the pasta can be completely covered in water). 
  • Lodge Cast Iron Skillet – If you’re making the home fries, a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet will give those potatoes the best golden edges. 

sloppy joes on a bun on a white plate

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Instant Pot Sloppy Joes on a white plate
4.70 from 10 votes

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

The Instant Pot makes Sloppy Joe filling in just a few minutes that tastes like it simmered all day. The filling is sweet and tangy in these classic messy sandwiches that are served on soft hamburger buns.
Bonus! Want to make delicious home fries to serve on the side of the Sloppy Joe’s? The recipe below gives optional instructions for steaming potatoes in the Instant Pot at the same time.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Natural Release: 10 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker
  • 2-inch tall Metal Trivet
  • 7-inch wide Glass Bowl


Sloppy Joes

  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil (I use grapeseed or avocado oil)
  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (93% or more lean)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced (if the onion is quite large, just use half; you need about 1 cup diced onion)
  • 3/4 cup Ketchup or BBQ Sauce (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Hamburger Buns

Home Fries (optional)

  • 1 lb Baby, New or Fingerling Potatoes (use very small potatoes, with less than a 2-inch diameter)
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil (grapeseed or avocado oil)
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Brown Ground Beef: Before cooking this dish, you’ll need to brown the ground beef in 1 Tbsp cooking oil. I prefer to do this in a separate skillet over medium-high heat which takes 5 to 7 minutes. (I think a separate skillet gives the meat the best texture.) If you don’t want to use the skillet, you can absolutely brown the meat right in the Instant Pot, using the Saute function on Normal / Medium.
  • In the bowl of the Instant Pot combine browned ground beef, bell pepper, onion, ketchup (or BBQ sauce), Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. (Note: If you don't want to add the pot-in-pot potatoes, skip ahead to Step #5.)
  • Top the meat with a 2” metal trivet. Place a 7” wide glass bowl on top of the trivet. (Be sure that both the rack and bowl are approved for use in the Instant Pot.)
  • Fill the bowl with potatoes and ¼ cup water.
  • Close and lock the lid.
  • Set the pressure valve to Sealing.
  • Cook on manual / high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • When done cooking, leave the machine on Warming (most machines automatically revert to this after cooking). Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. (Tip: I like to set a kitchen timer so that I don’t get distracted and forget.)
  • Manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove the bowl of potatoes and rack.
  • Drain potatoes and let cool for a few minutes. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half. Heat a skillet with 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and saute until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper.
  • Toast hamburger buns.
  • Fill buns with Sloppy Joe filling (it will be messy!). Serve with home fries on the side.


Ketchup is classic in Sloppy Joes, but I love the dish with BBQ sauce as another option. Most BBQ sauces have more depth of flavor and make super flavorful Sloppy Joes. If using a sweet BBQ sauce, skip the brown sugar in the recipe. 
Optional Pot-in-Pot Potatoes - Feel free to skip the pot-in-pot potatoes here. Just skip over the steps to add the trivet, bowl, and potatoes. Follow all other instructions (including cook time) as written.


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1595mg | Potassium: 1363mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $11.00
Calories: 698
Keyword: easy dinner, instant pot, pot-in-pot
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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    1. Hi Mike – just scroll to the bottom of the page to find the full recipe. If you’d like to print it, there is a button for printing included in the recipe.