4.50 from 2 votes

Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes

Make your favorite takeout rodeo burgers sloppy joe style! Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes are easy to make and always a hit. Ground beef, bacon, BBQ sauce, veggies, and onion rings come together for a mouthwatering family meal.

A rodeo sloppy joe on a plate with onion rings.

Also called Cowboy sloppy joes, this is a hearty twist on a classic American recipe. In fact, after one bite, you’ll make this your favorite slow cooker recipe of all time! It resembles a classic sloppy joe recipe at its base, but then it’s elevated with BBQ sauce, green bell pepper, and crispy onion rings. 

It’s the onion rings that make this a family favorite! The sticky-sweet ground beef mixture contrasts perfectly with the crunchy and bold onion rings. Eating them makes you feel like you’re eating a five-star recipe. 

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Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes

  • Made from scratch and tastes better than if it is made with canned sauce. 
  • The perfect family meal that everyone loves. 
  • Easy to customize for each member of the family. 
  • Lip-smacking combination of sweet and savory flavors. 


The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

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    Even though they taste delicious, they are made with straightforward ingredients to find at the grocery store. Here is what you’ll need when you make them. 

    • Ground Beef: This is the base of the sloppy joes.
    • Bacon: Use thick-cut bacon for the biggest flavor. 
    • Onion: White onion will taste best with bell peppers. 
    • Green Bell Pepper: Any color of bell peppers will work, but green is the most often used. 
    • BBQ Sauce: Any flavor or variety of BBQ sauce will taste incredible with the other ingredients. 
    • Brown Sugar: Use dark brown sugar for a richer and sweeter taste. 
    • Oatmeal: As it cooks, you won’t be able to taste or notice it; the oatmeal thickens the sloppy joes. 
    • Buns: Use thick buns so they hold up better. 
    • Onion Rings: Golden brown onion rings make them rodeo sloppy joes.
    • American Cheese: Any cheese will taste delicious, but American is the classic choice. 
    Ingredients to make slow cooker rodeo sloppy joes.

    How to Make Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes

    • Step One: Into your slow cooker, add your cooked and drained ground beef, cooked diced bacon, diced onion, diced bell pepper, water, oatmeal, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar.
    • Step Two: Stir to combine.  
    • Step Three: Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
    • Step Four: Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Step Five: Place a slice of cheese on the bottom bun and place your sloppy joe mixture on top.  Top with two onion rings. Serve!
    Steps to make slow cooker rodeo sloppy joes.

    Equipment Needed

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    • Slow Cooker – Use at least a four or 5-quart slow cooker so it holds everything. 
    • Wooden Spoon – You need a sturdy spoon to stir the ground beef mixture. 
    • Ladle – A serving spoon like a ladle will best serve the sloppy. 
    • Cutting Board–  You need something to cut up the onion and bell pepper. 
    • Knife – Use a chef’s knife to cut the bell pepper and onion. 

    What to Serve with Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes

    This sloppy joe recipe is the perfect choice when you want something different but don’t have time to cook. Here are some of my favorite sides that will turn the sloppy joes into the perfect meal.     

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Make it spicier. You can add diced jalapenos to the mix before cooking for a kick.  
    • Use different types of cheese. You can use American or cheddar cheese, even pepper jack.
    • Make the flavors deeper. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce for a well-rounded taste. 
    • Make it keto. If you need low-carb recipes, use brown sugar substitutes, make keto onion rings, and place them on keto buns. 
    A slow cooker rodeo sloppy joe on a plate.

    Storage Instructions 

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot. You can also freeze the ground beef mixture. Store it in a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for up to six months. 

    Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes Tips and Tricks

    • Use your favorite bbq sauce; if you like it spicy, add spicy BBQ sauce.    
    • The oatmeal helps thicken the sloppy joes; you will never know it’s there. 
    • Use a Crock Pot liner to make cleanup easier. 

    Stovetop Instructions 

    You can also make this recipe on the stove. First, brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Then, drain the grease and return the meat to the skillet. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet and cook everything on medium heat until the peppers and onions soften. 

    After everything is fully cooked, add them to the buns with the onion rings and American cheese. 

    A rodeo sloppy joe on a plate.

    Instant Pot Instructions 

    Using an Instant Pot will infuse the meat with even more flavor. Here’s how to make rodeo sloppy joes in the Instant Pot. 

    Brown the ground beef in the Instant Pot on the saute setting. Once it is fully cooked, add the vegetables. Saute them together for a few minutes. Next, add the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and oatmeal. Mix it well. Close the lid and pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes. It will take a little while for everything to heat up. Do a quick release of steam, and then remove the lid. 

    Add the sloppy joe mixture to the hamburger buns with the onion rings and American cheese. 

    What Kind of Buns Work Best with Rodeo Sloppy Joes?

    You’ll need hearty hamburger buns since rodeo sloppy joes are so thick and heavy. I suggest potato buns. Or grab some pretzel rolls or sourdough rolls from a local bakery. They will soak up the flavors and sauces in the best way. 

    What Are the Main Differences Between Traditional Sloppy Joes and Rodeo Sloppy Joes?

    Classic sloppy joes are usually made with tomato sauce and tangy ingredients like vinegar or mustard. Then they are served on hamburger buns without any other toppings. 

    Rodeo sloppy joes are made with BBQ sauce and added to hamburger buns with onion rings and a slice of cheese. 

    A hand holding a rodeo sloppy joe.


    Can I make sloppy joes with ground turkey?

    You can make sloppy joes with ground chicken or lean ground beef. Ground turkey or chicken has less flavor, so you might have to add more BBQ sauce. 

    What spices taste best in sloppy joes?

    This recipe is a winner without having to add anything to it. But if you want to add more herbs and spices, stick with the basics. A pinch of garlic powder and a little sea salt will add flavor. 

    How many servings does this make? 

    This recipe makes six servings. 

    Sloppy Joe Recipes    

    Want more tasty sloppy joe recipes that you can make at home? Here are some of my favorites:

    Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, Facebook at Simply Stacie, TikTok @simplystacierecipes or Pinterest at @simplystacie and let me know how you liked this recipe and my other recipes.

    4.50 from 2 votes

    Slow Cooker Rodeo Sloppy Joes

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 6
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 6 hours
    Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
    Make your favorite takeout rodeo burgers sloppy joe style! This easy weeknight dinner recipe is easy to make and always a hit. Ground beef, bacon, BBQ sauce, veggies and onion rings come together for a mouthwatering family meal.


    • 1 ½ lb lean ground beef browned and drained
    • 8 slices cooked bacon diced
    • 1 small onion diced
    • 1 small green pepper diced
    • ¼ cup water
    • 1 cup BBQ sauce
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • ¼ cup old fashioned oats
    • 6 buns
    • 12 frozen breaded onion rings cooked to bag directions
    • 6 slices American cheese


    • Add the ground beef, bacon, onion, green pepper, water, oats, BBQ sauce and brown sugar to a slow cooker. Stir to combine.
    • Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours.
    • Add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Place a slice of cheese on the bottom bun. Top with sloppy joe mixture and two onion rings. Serve hot.


    Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1401mg | Potassium: 672mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 383IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 265mg | Iron: 14mg

    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.

    Course Sandwich
    Cuisine American
    Keyword sloppy joes

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