Sweet, spicy, and packed with a punch of garlic, these Slow Cooker Korean Sloppy Joes put a unique twist on a classic, turning it into a quick, savory, and flavorful meal that will become a family favorite. It’s a fusion dish that delivers an explosion of flavor in each bite, making every dinner something to look forward to.
Take your favorite sloppy joe recipe and make a Korean beef version that wakes up your tastebuds and pulls you out of the monotony of making the same thing every week. This crock pot recipe tastes like you’re at a Korean BBQ restaurant, but it’s as easy as adding ingredients to the pot and cooking it all day.
The spicy flavors give traditional sloppy joes an Asian twist. This is a good choice when looking for easy ways to feed the whole family.
Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker Korean Sloppy Joes
- Set and forget. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, turn it on, and it will be ready for dinner.
- Feeds a crowd. It’s easy to double or even triple this recipe and make enough to feed many people. You can make as much as your slow cooker will hold.
- Customizable. It is easier to make spicier, zestier, or sweeter just by adjusting the amounts of the ingredients.
- Perfect for a busy day. Make this when you don’t have time to sit at the stove and cook! It slow cooks all day, giving you more time for other things.
- Budget-friendly. These sloppy joes are made with affordable ingredients. The priciest ingredient is the beef, and you can replace that with ground turkey.
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
- Lean Ground Beef: Make sure you use lean beef because it will produce less rendered grease.
- Garlic: A little bit goes a long way, especially using fresh garlic cloves.
- Scallions: Also called green onions, they add a sweet and earthy flavor to the dish.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Using low-sodium varieties to control how salty it is.
- Brown Sugar: This will sweeten the sauce with deeper caramel notes.
- Quick-Cooking Oatmeal: Make sure it’s quick-cooking because other types won’t cook down either.
- Cola Soda: Use a regular soda, not Dr. Pepper or diet soda.
- Ketchup: Any ketchup will work.
- Buns: Use your favorite hamburger buns; try it with brioche buns for a fancier version.
How to Make Slow Cooker Korean Sloppy Joes
- Step One: Brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain it and set it aside.
- Step Two: Add the beef to the slow cooker.
- Step Three: To the slow cooker, add your garlic, scallions, soy sauce, brown sugar, oatmeal, cola soda, and ketchup.
- Step Four: Stir to combine.
- Step Five: Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Step Six: Pile onto soft brioche buns once cooked and thick.
- Step Seven: Garnish with more scallions and serve.
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What to Serve with Slow Cooker Korean Sloppy Joes
The best thing to serve with them is some Korean quick pickles. Here are some more delicious recipes you can serve with them, too.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it spicier. Add some red pepper flakes to the sauce.,
- Make it tangy. Add a splash of rice wine vinegar for a little tangy twist.
- Kick up the flavor. A few tablespoons of hoisin sauce will intensify the umami flavors.
- Serve a rice bowl. Add the ground beef sloppy joe mixture to a bowl of fluffy white rice.
- Saute the beef in sesame oil. This adds nuttiness to the dish that everyone loves.
- Use lettuce wraps instead of buns. It’s an easy way to make the dinner gluten-free.
- Instead of ketchup and brown sugar, add your favorite BBQ sauce.
Place leftover beef mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. To freeze, place the sloppy joe mixture in a freezer-safe resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Korean Sloppy Joes Tips and Tricks
- Slow cooker liner. A crock pot liner will make it easier to wash the crock pot
- Regular cola is best. Do not make this with Dr. Pepper or diet soda.
- Make sure you drain the grease well before adding it to the slow cooker.
- Meal prep. Brown the ground beef the day before, and then all you have to do is add everything to the slow cooker.
What Are Hidden Veggies You Can Add
If you want to hide veggies in the sloppy joes, I suggest dicing them up into tiny pieces so they mix in with the beef and sauce the best. Add some sliced onion; red onion will taste the best, giving it a comforting bite.
Dice up a red or green bell pepper for additional vitamins and fiber. And if you want to make the sloppy joes creamier, add a bit of mashed sweet potato or some small, diced sweet potatoes.
Can I Use Any Ground Meat?
Even though I prefer the flavors of ground beef, you can make this with a different type of ground meat. Try this with either ground turkey or ground chicken. They have less fat content and won’t have much grease to remove.
Can I Make It Spicier?
Yes, enhancing the spice and flavor in the sloppy joes is really easy. Korean food is often spiced with red pepper flakes, so add some flakes or a teaspoon of red pepper paste.
If the saucy flavor is too salty, check the soy sauce. You should use low-sodium soy sauce to prevent the saltiness from overtaking all the other flavors.
The cooking times depend on your slow cooker. It should be ready within 3-4 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
You only need a 5-quart slow cooker to make this Korean sloppy joes recipe.
This recipe makes about four servings, so I suggest doubling the recipe if you need to make a big batch.
Sloppy Joe Recipes
Want more tasty sloppy joe recipes that you can make at home? Here are some of my favorite easy recipes you should make next:
- Big Mac Sloppy Joes
- Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
- Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes
- Garlic Bread Bowl Chicken Sloppy Joes
- Sloppy Cooker Mississippi Sloppy Joes
Slow Cooker Korean Beef Sloppy Joes
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup quick cooking oatmeal
- ¼ cup cola soda
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 green onions sliced plus extra for garnish
- 4 hamburger buns or soft brioche buns
- Cook the ground beef in a skillet. Drain the grease.
- Add the cooked ground beef to a slow cooker.
- Add soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, oats, cola, garlic and green onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook for 4 hours. Stir once or twice during that time.
- Once cooked, pile onto hamburger buns or soft brioche buns. Garnish with green onions, if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.