Slow cooker cheesy joes

ground beef slow cooker

Slow cooker dinners are awesome when my schedule runs late. We still get to eat a family dinner, and with it cooking in the slow cooker, our meal makes it on the table in record time.

This recipe is maybe the easiest thing I make for my family!  It's also one of the kids' favorite meals.  It cooks pretty fast for a slow cooker recipe, so often I'll throw this in the slow cooker before doing the pick-up rounds (my kids are different schools still). 

I use this basic slow cooker ground beef recipe (onions, salt, beef, salt) a lot and then in the end I add different things for different meals - from tomato sauce to my regular sloppy joe sauce to taco seasoning. I hope you try it and like it!


  • 16-20 oz ground beef (recommend ground sirloin or chuck, 90% or 85% lean)
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onions (I like these instead of fresh because they don't need to be sautéed before they go in the slow cooker)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • Buns of choice - we prefer Hawaiian mini sub rolls

Optional toppings

  • American cheese slices
  • Ketchup
  • Pickles
  • Whatever else you love on an old fashioned cheeseburger!



  • Place the onions in a single layer in the bottom of the slow cooker crock
  • Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of kosher salt evenly over the onions.
  • Break up the ground beef with your hands and layer over the onions as evenly as possible
  • Sprinkle the other 1/2 tsp of kosher salt over the ground beef. Then, squirt about 1/3 cup (don't bother measuring) of ketchup over the meat.
  • Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for 90 min. After 90 min, remove the lid, and use a spatula to break up the meat even further and combine well. Place the lid back on the slow cooker and cook for another 20 min.
  • Remove the lid. If you have a lot of extra liquid or fat, you can carefully use some wadded up paper towels and tongs to blot up the excess and throw it away. You want a little liquid in the pot.
  • Place the American cheese slices over the top of the mix and then stir vigorously to combine until it turns into a cheesy sauce.
  • Serve on buns with your favorite burger toppings.



Love this easy and family-friendly recipe? Want more like it?  Check out my 25 minute meal guide! 

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