Quality ground beef enhanced with a tomato based sauce is the base for this delicious Sloppy Joes For A Crowd recipe.
Big Batch of Sloppy Joes Recipe
Saucy Sloppy Joe meat generously fills a soft, fresh bun and is served along side potato chips to make a great way to feed a big crowd. This is one of our popular recipes for a crowd.
We make these Crock Pot Sloppy Joes regularly for our family and wanted to adapt the recipe to feed 30 people at Vacation Bible School at church. We’ve also made them for a homeless shelter and served along with Peanut Butter Sheet Cake. Both recipes got lots of compliments!
Just like our Shredded Chicken Sandwiches, this recipe holds really well on warm in a crock pot. While making Sloppy Joes For A Crowd takes some planning and preparation it is still a very economical and easy way to feed lots of people a quality meal.
We also appreciate that this big batch ground beef recipe is easier to make and a bit more budget friendly than our Shredded Beef Sandwiches.
Why This Recipe Works
- Crock Pot Sloppy Joes for a crowd hold well on warm and are a hassle free way to serve a food at a fundraiser or concession stand.
- Serve a family style meal at church or a family reunion.
- Low stress meal to share with friends at a birthday party along with our famous Chocolate Cake With Pudding.
- Easy to make ahead and reheat the day of the event.
- The amount of sauce is a general guideline and can be varied based on how much meat is available.
Make Ahead Details
Brown the ground been a couple pounds at a time in a big skillet, drain and season. Pour into large self-sealing containers and refrigerate or freeze.
The day of the party or big meal heat the ground beef mixture in a large crock pot and stir often. Turn to low and serve.
Meal Prep Considerations
- Have enough containers to allow the smaller batches to cool off a bit before chilling.
- Putting 5 to 10 pounds of hot meat straight in the refrigerator or freezer is not safe because the meat will not chill evenly and quickly
- Distribute smaller containers throughout the refrigerator and turn the temperature down for food safety.
- If making Big Batches of Pasta Salad or Fruit Salad for a Crowd plan refrigerator space accordingly.
How Much Hamburger for Sloppy Joes for 150
Use 20 pounds of ground beef to make 150 sandwiches with 1/3 cup of meat. This amount of meat works well on a medium sized bun.
We always use a metal measuring cup and level off the top to guarantee equally sized portions. Using a serving spoon means the amount of meat in a scoop or sandwich will vary significantly depending who is scooping.
While testing this recipe we made a two pound batch (1/5 of the recipe in the card at the bottom of the post) and physically measured out how many servings.
How Much Meat Fits In A Crock Pot?
This big batch of sloppy joes uses 10 pounds of meat and fits in an 8 quart crock pot with just enough room to stir.
If making a bigger batch I would use multiple crock pots or an electric roaster. I find that slow cookers are much easier to transport than roasters.
I can easily carry a warm slow cooker myself, but a warm roaster is more difficult since you need to hold it out away from yourself while walking.
Step By Step Instructions
Begin by softening all of the onions in a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Stir often until the chopped onion is translucent. Set aside and divide into fifths when mixing into meat.
Cook and crumble defrosted ground beef in a skillet over medium or medium high heat.
Drain any fat. We like to use lean ground beef so there’s less to drain. Here’s great pictures on how to drain ground beef.
This is the most difficult step and the limiting factor in how much beef can be made at once.
Add 1/5 of the ketchup, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
Measure out 1/5 of the spices and sprinkle as evenly over the top as possible.
Mix well again.
Add 1/5 of the softened onions and stir it up.
Allow to simmer on low for 10 – 15 minutes before serving or put in a crock pot on low.
If making the recipe ahead then pour into containers. We like to store 1 to 2 pounds of sloppy joes in each box so that it can cool more evenly which is important for food safety.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Buns come in various sizes which will greatly impact the amount of meat used.
- The limiting factor in how much you can make at once seems to be how much beef fits in your schedule and can be successfully drained.
- If an exact amount of meat is available then use a measuring cup to share equal portions.
- At an event with kids I like to have slider rolls available for people who prefer smaller portions. This helps save meat from being wasted.
- Leftover meat is great on these Hawaiian Roll Sliders.
More Recipes For A Crowd:
- Sloppy Joe Meat also tastes great as an option for a Loaded Baked Potato Bar topping.
- If you have a plate and silverware Cheesy Potatoes in a Roaster are delicious!
- Ham in a Roaster is a great compliment that is also fairly economical to these sandwiches.
- Corn for a Crowd adds cream cheese, milk and sugar for a delightful side dish.
Sloppy Joes For A Crowd
- 10 pounds lean ground beef
- 5 small onions
- 60 ounces tomato sauce
- 3 cups ketchup
- 5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 3 teaspoons black pepper
- In our home kitchen we divide the recipe into 5 batches for ease of handling.
- Brown ground beef in two pound batches in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Drain fat.
- Add 1/5 of all remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir together until mixed well.
- Add meat mixture to a lined or greased slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 4 – 6 hours or high for 3 – 4 hours. Stir at least every hour.
- OR once cooked, store in a self-sealing container and allow to cool before refrigerating or freezing. Defrost if necessary and heat on high in a crock pot for 2 – 5 hours depending how full the crock pot is. Stir every 45 minutes for best results and most even warming.
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