Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

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Right off the bat, I have to clarify that I don’t enjoy calling a recipe healthy. It’s such an ambiguous term that means something different to every individual. That said, it’s the easiest way classifying a recipe as a lower calorie and in this case, higher protein, than its alternatives. Like all of my recipes, I’ve made these healthy Instant Pot sloppy joes with the active person and fitness enthusiast in mind.

I must admit my research was limited, but I feel confident in dubbing this recipe one of the healthiest recipes for sloppy joes on the web. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve stripped all the flavor and sloppy goodness away from them. Using lower calorie substitutions and a unique ingredient lineup, I feel I’ve made it even tastier than your traditional sloppy joe.

healthy sloppy joes on a cutting board with an Instant Pot in the background

Oh, and don’t worry, I made ’em extra sloppy for ya.

What’s so special about these Instant Pot sloppy joes? 

Well, other than being one of the few food bloggers dropping Billy Madison references, I specialize in making high protein and low calorie recipes. Whether a food is part of a low carb, high carb, ketogenic, plant-based, or any other type of diet, my primary focus is on swapping ingredients for lower calorie and higher protein options.

That’s exactly what I’ve done with this Instant Pot sloppy joes recipe. Even with a plain and simple hamburger bun, you’re only looking at a 260-calorie sloppy joe with 28 grams of protein.

As for ingredients, there are a few obvious substitutions like reduced sugar ketchup and a lean approach to seasoning the recipe. But there are also a few not so obvious additions, such as a calorie-free sweetener to balance some of the spice in this recipe. Let’s take a look at the swaps and other ingredient notes.

healthy instant pot sloppy joes recipe

If you want an extra protein boost, I originally published this recipe with a scoop of unflavored protein powder in the sauce mixture. 

Is there a big difference between reduced sugar ketchup and regular ketchup? 

Ya. On a dipping your french fries level, maybe not so much. But when we’re talking about 3/4 cup of ketchup, it really adds up fast. As in, 180 calories and 48 grams of sugar saved by using the reduced sugar version.

Making swaps like this is a key to making healthier recipes. Another ingredient in this recipe, the Walden Farms Pancake Syrup, is also a great example of this. Using an ingredient like this instead of a sticky sweetener like honey or maple syrup saves more than 200 calories and almost 50 grams of sugar. Low calorie food swaps for the win!

healthy instant pot sloppy joes recipe

Making this recipe without an Instant Pot

Most Instant Pot or pressure cooker recipes are best left untweaked as it’s difficult to replicate the cooking method without one. The last thing you want is undercooked food, after all. The beauty of this Instant Pot sloppy joes recipe is that it’s one that carries over quite well. Since you’ll be using the saute function before sealing the Instant Pot, the meat is technically cooked without pressure.

So, as long as you’re careful not to burn the sauce, and you’re okay with a slightly longer cook time, a skillet will work fine for this recipe. I’ve left notes at the bottom of the recipe below for instructions on cooking without an Instant Pot.

healthy instant pot sloppy joes recipe 4

Final Notes for These Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

Check out the video below if you’d like to see this recipe in action. It’s crazy easy to make.

 

And since this recipe is so easy to make, you’ll have plenty of time to make some sides. Check out my spicy sesame air fried green beans, southern style pasta salad, low carb cauliflower tots, or copycat Wingstop fries to pair with your sammiches. 

Okay, that’s it. Be sure to let me know what you think about these sloppy joes! Snap a pic of your creation and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff or join my free Facebook group and share it with the group.

healthy instant pot sloppy joes recipe
4.46 from 22 votes
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Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

A simple, tasty way to make sloppy joes in an Instant Pot or on the stove. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot, sloppy joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 9 servings
Calories 143 kcal
Author Mason Woodruff

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Beef macros with 96/4 beef
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 C White Onion diced (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp Salt and Pepper to taste

Sloppy Joe Sauce

  • 3/4 C (204g) Reduced Sugar Ketchup
  • 1/4 C (60g) Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 C (60mL) Walden Farms Pancake Syrup or a sugar free syrup or sticky sweetener
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne Pepper to your spice preference

Instructions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to its saute function and wait for the "hot" notification. Spray the pot with nonstick cooking spray before add the minced garlic, onion, salt/pepper, and ground meat.

  2. While the meat cooks, mix remaining sauce ingredients together in a bowl. 

  3. After your meat has browned, give it one last stir before adding your sauce to the top. DO NOT stir. Leave the sauce on the top, close the Instant Pot, and cook on manual for 10 minutes with a quick release.

  4. The sauce should look thick and still be on top of your meat mixture, almost like the top of a meatloaf. Using a rubber spatula, fold the sauce into the meat, mixing well. It should lose its thickness and blend well. 

    healthy instant pot sloppy joes recipe
  5. Serve on your choice of bun or for a lower carb option, a bed of cauli rice or with roasted vegetables. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Each 1/2 C (150g) serving is for the sloppy joes only, without a bun.
  • A 1/2 C serving has 2 Smart Points. 
  • If you're using the stovetop instead of an Instant Pot, prepare the meat using a large skillet. Instead of pressure cooking the sauce on top, reduce the heat to low before mixing the sauce in and covering. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring often. 
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
Amount Per Serving (150 g (1/2 C))
Calories 143 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Carbohydrates 2.4g1%
Protein 21.3g43%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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17 thoughts on “Healthy Instant Pot Sloppy Joes”

  • 5 stars
    This was a great dish. I made a huge batch to take to a party and was hoping for leftovers for lunch the next day, but I brought it home empty. It was a huge hit!

  • I just tried these this week and they were amazing. They were every bit as good as your standard sloppy Joe’s but more macro friendly. Thank you mason for making things everyone can enjoy!

  • 5 stars
    This is one of my faves and the whole family enjoys it. I skip the Walden’s, but I love to add hot fire roasted hatch chiles to my recipe. I also skip the bun and eat it on a zucchini tortilla with pico de gallo. Instant Pot recipes get bonus ***!

  • 5 stars
    These sloppy joes are a staple in my fridge. I mix it up with cauliflower rice. I eat it every day for lunch. Simple ingredients, I make the sauce ahead of time, brown the meat on the stove, add sauce, heat and done. I don’t have an instant pot. My kids love this too.

  • 5 stars
    I made these sloppy joes earlier this week and my fiancé and I absolutely loved them!! I swapped the ground beef for lean ground turkey and used a different sugar free syrup I already had on hand. I used my new instant pot I got for Christmas and it’s one of the easiest meals I’ve made lately! There is so much flavor, it doesn’t even compare to the sugary, processed, canned stuff. I also love that it makes a large batch so I have lunch for the entire week.

  • 5 stars
    I absolutely loved this sauce! I had a hard time finding reduced sugar ketchup but finally found it and I used ground turkey instead of beef but I’m dying to try it with a high quality beef.. I also made some jasmine rice to go along with this for a different twist bust still great with wheat buns! Great recipe indeed

  • 5 stars
    For a while, I was making these almost weekly – they are that good.
    Great alternative, and super handy to bring to potlucks or use for lunches throughout the week.
    If you don’t/can’t eat it with a bun, I recommend using: lettuce wraps, crackers (and use it like a dip), or just into a ‘sloppy Joe bowl’: add some veggies, rice, corn, lettuce, tomatoes – go crazy!

  • First time I tried these was a fail, but was determined to try again. I’m glad I did because they were great! I added cauli rice for volume and paired with whole wheat potato slider buns. Definitely a better flavor with 96/4 beef vs turkey.

  • 5 stars
    Wow! Wow! Wow! I’m amazed! I’m not a huge fan of canned sloppy Joe, preferring my dad’s recipe for “spoon burgers” so I didn’t hold out much hope for this recipe. Boy was I wrong! It was delicious.

    My husband hates ground chicken, Turkey, venison but I made this with one half venison and one half ground chicken without his knowledge. He loved it and asked me to keep it in rotation. That’s a win win!

    There is a ton of flavor in this recipe and I especially loved the heat from the cayenne pepper. Next time I’ll cut back on the sweetness just a tad, but it is a keeper for sure!!

  • 5 stars
    I really despise ground turkey but I had some to use up and thought I’d give this a good. I didn’t have cayenne pepper but used red chili flakes and mixed it with peppers and asparagus. It was SO GOOD!!

    I will be adding this into the meal rotation

  • 5 stars
    My kids and I love these sloppy joes. So easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand. I have done them on the stove and also thrown them in the crockpot for a few hours on low until everybody gets a chance to eat. I eat it on salad or riced cauliflower. It also freezes great.

  • This is one of my boyfriends favorites! It’s actually been a minute since we’ve had it, so sounds like I’ll need to add it to next weeks menu.

    The only subs I make:
    -Just use sugar free syrup (Walmart brand)
    -cook in a skillet, since I don’t have a pressure cooker

    I always have Trader Joe’s Guilt Free Mac and Cheese as a side, and some type of veggie.

  • 5 stars
    If I ever have any leftover ground turkey or beef this is what I will use it on! TASTY!!! I like to throw this on salads, or make it into a quesadilla!

  • 5 stars
    Very easy recipe and a great “healthy” swap for Sloppy Joes. There was a bit of the artificial sweetener taste that came through, but that is to be expected whenever using alternative ingredients. Would definitely break this recipe out again!

  • 5 stars
    My new favorite sloppy joe recipe. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical adding pancake syrup to my sloppy joes, mainly because I don’t like any type of syrup, but the combination of the syrup with the condiments and apple cider vinegar was DELICIOUS!

  • 4 stars
    This was one of the first recipes I made of Mason’s! The portions were perfect. I didn’t have cayenne pepper so I used chili flakes instead and it was really good! I served them on wheat buns with the buffalo chicken bites and it was such a good lunch. This started my love for Mason’s recipes and now i make one almost every week.

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