The best homemade slow cooker Sloppy Joes recipe, made easily from scratch without any ketchup. You won’t believe how quick this naturally gluten free recipe is!
It’s official: we have a Slow Cooker recipe category. And a Pinterest page dedicated to the craft. Plus, I have a promise to make to you: I will not post gluten free slow cooker recipes that require much prep work before piling the ingredients into the liner and setting the crock to “low” or “high.”
In fact, most of them won’t require any stovetop preparation. Even these slow cooker gluten free sloppy joes. Yup. There’s ground beef in them, but you don’t brown it first on the stovetop. That’s right. No browning. Radical? Nah.
P.S. Please serve these at least once on buns. They’re sloppy and messy just like they ought to be and we have so many gluten free bun recipes (Hawaiian buns from Bakes Bread! Hamburger buns from Bakes Bread! Soft Paleo rolls!) here on the blog that there’s something for everyone.
Here’s the secret: you have to use extra-lean ground beef. If you use ground beef (or even ground turkey) that’s at least 93% lean (96% is even better), there’s absolutely no need to brown the beef before tossing everything in there. Browning the ground beef would serve only two possible purposes: first, allowing you to drain off much of the grease (no need when you use extra-lean), and second, adding more flavor to the beef (that subtle flavor would get lost in sloppy joes anyway).
Browning the ground beef would serve only two possible purposes: first, allowing you to drain off much of the grease (no need when you use extra-lean), and second, adding more flavor to the beef (that subtle flavor would get lost in sloppy joes anyway).
I have made this recipe with all sorts of beef and meat combinations: 2 pounds straight-up extra lean ground beef (personal favorite), a combination of ground pork and extra-lean ground beef, a combination of ground beef and ground turkey, a ground ground turkey and ground chicken, and all ground turkey.
It works beautifully any which way. If you do all ground chicken or all ground turkey, though, be sure to add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil as those meats are so lean that they tend to dry out in cooking otherwise.
Most of the time, I serve it on buns. But everyone always wants more of the sloppy joes mixture, so sometimes I just serve it over brown rice. Either way, it’s super easy and packed with flavor. Dinner success!
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
1 28-ounce can tomato puree (or 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed with juices until smooth)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins brand is gluten free, at least in the U.S.)
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (18 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (or an equal amount superfine sweet white rice flour)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
2 pounds extra lean ground beef (at least 93% lean) (can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken, but you’ll need to add 1 tablespoon (14 g) extra-virgin olive oil)
Grease the liner of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with the olive oil or cooking spray. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk to combine well. In a small bowl, place the brown sugar, flour blend, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin and onion flakes, and whisk to combine and work out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the tomato mixture, and whisk to combine well.
Add the ground beef, breaking it up into large chunks with your hands as you place it in the slow cooker liner. Carefully mix in the ground beef until combined, taking care not to break it up too much more. Cover the slow cooker and set to low. Allow to cook on low for 5 hours (or on high for 3 hours), or until the meat is fully cooked and the mixture is bubbling. Mix gently before serving on buns or over rice.