Maid Rite Recipe Loose Meat Sandwich + Video

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Use our Maid Rite recipe to create a loose meat sandwich that tastes just like the restaurant original! Each ground beef sandwich may look like a sloppy joe, but it tastes nothing like one. The flavor is so much better, and with our recipe, you can make them at home!!

maid rites loose meat sandwich with ketchup and pickles


This loose meat sandwich recipe may seem simple, but trust me — there’s something special about these sandwiches. They’re easy to make and irresistibly scrumptious! 

Maid Rite Recipe

If you live in the Midwest, you may already be familiar with Iowa’s famous Maid-Rite restaurant franchise.

They’re best known for their loose meat sandwich —  perfectly seasoned ground beef served on a warm, slightly sweet bun with pickles and diced onion. 

My husband and his family grew up enjoying the Maid Rite sandwich, so I wanted to create a homemade version.

After a lot of trial and error, I came up with this crockpot loose meat sandwich recipe. Trust me, this one is a keeper!!

For a delicious twist on a ground beef sandwich, make a batch of burger bombs. They’re made with frozen dinner roll dough — the perfect game-day food!

ground beef in crockpot

How to Make a Maid Rite Sandwich

At the restaurant, the ground beef is prepared in very large pots. But for this recipe, you’ll be using a crock pot.


Watch the video in this post to see us make this Maid Rite recipe from start to finish!

  1. Slow cook the ground beef. 

    Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, then cover and cook on High for 1 hour.

    Remove the lid, then continue cooking for 2-3 hours, or until most of the liquid is gone.
  2. Assemble the sandwich.

    The classic Maid Rite sandwich is served on a steamed bun. If you have a steamer, you can use that. Otherwise, warm or toast the buns.

    Scoop the seasoned ground beef onto the bread. Use a slotted spoon, otherwise the liquid will make the buns too soggy.
  3. Add your favorite toppings.

    At Maid-Rite, you can order a “Cheese-Rite,” which is the original loose meat sandwich topped with cheddar cheese, onion, and pickles.

    Other popular toppings at the restaurant are jalapenos, BBQ sauce, and cheddar cheese sauce.
cooking ground beef in crock pot

Serving Suggestions

Pair this Maid Rite recipe with any of your favorite cookout or picnic side dishes.

You can’t go wrong with a side of corn (which Iowa is also famous for) or a side of French fries.

If you’re feeding a crowd, skip the fries and whip up some potato salad or crockpot baked beans with bacon instead.

scooping cooked ground beef out of slow cooker

Loose Meat Sandwich Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between a Sloppy Joe and a loose meat sandwich?

While both are made with seasoned ground beef, Sloppy Joes feature a rich tomato-based sauce.

The meat mixture is slightly sweet and often enjoyed without additional toppings.

Loose meat sandwiches like Maid Rites, on the other hand, have no sauce at all. The meat has a bold beefy flavor, and the sandwich comes with pickles and diced onion on top.

How do you reheat Maid Rite sandwiches?

Allow the meat to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend storing the assembled sandwiches, because the buns will become soggy.

Reheat the meat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop, adding a splash of liquid as needed to keep the meat moist.

copycat Maid Rite sandwich with pickles and ketchup

Prep Ahead Instructions

This Maid Rite recipe is perfect for meal prep! Toss everything in the crockpot and let it cook for a few hours while you go about your day.

If needed, you could also cook the meat ahead of time and reheat it later. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

loose meat sandwich with pickles and ketchup

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close up: ground beef, pickles, ketchup on toasted bun

Other Easy Crockpot Sandwich Recipes

maid rite sandwich with pickles onion and ketchup

Maid Rite Recipe Loose Meat Sandwich + Video

Donna Elick
Use our Maid Rite recipe to create a loose meat sandwich that tastes just like the restaurant original! Maid Rites are a childhood favorite.
5 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 8


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium beef base, or a bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium chicken base, or a bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef

For Serving

  • 8 hamburger buns

Optional Toppings

  • cheese
  • pickles
  • diced onion
  • ketchup


  • Set slow cooker to high.  Add all ingredients except ground beef and stir to combine. Add beef and stir again; be sure beef is completely coated.
  • Cover slow cooker and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to break up ground beef. 
    After 1 hour of cook time, remove lid and continue cooking on high for 2 ½ – 3 hours, until most of the liquid has cooked off.  Continue to stir occasionally and break up any chunks of beef.
  • Using a slotted spoon, serve a heaping spoonful on a warm bun and load it up with your favorite toppings.  We love cheese, ketchup and pickles!
  • Serve and enjoy!


Donna’s Notes

  • To make this recipe JUST like the Maid Rite restaurant does, steam the hamburger buns before you load them up with loose meat.


Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 373cal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 574mg | Sugar: 7g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 6mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): maid rites loose meat sandwich close up

Originally published April 2014, updated and republished June 2023

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  1. Made this for Xmas. Followed the recipe exactly except used some real onions and 5 lbs of hamburger. It came out perfectly and we all thought it tasted exactly like a maid rite. It was very easy. Thank you!

  2. I was introduced to Maid Rite when we drove with some friends to Iowa and it was love at first bite. Unfortunately, the only ones anywhere near us closed down years before I discovered it. I don't know if I'd love them as much if they were more readily available, but I think I would. I've seen a number of copycat recipes and there are some variations. Looking at the ingredients here, I think this one sounds right. I'll definitely have to give it a try. Oh, and I'm not a fan of mustard. Maybe it's not "right", but I do love mine with ketchup and onions. I can't wait to give this recipe a try!

  3. Just wanted you to know. We had a 50's Date night party at Central Baptist Church in Moline, IL. There used to be a lot of Maid rights in this neck of the woods. And while they have diminished over the years, we still have a hand full of them in the general area. So everone at the the party has probably eaten quite a few of them in their lifetimes. My wife got a ton of compliments using your recipe, along with rquests for the recipe. As far as I am concerned I need look no farther for the perfect Maid Rite recipe. Oh by the way. We had to name them Maid-Rong for this event, because we prined a full menu and what ever they ordered, they got a Maid-Rong. It was a blast. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  4. We had a 50's date night at Central Baptist Church in Moline, IL. We had the fellowship hall decorated in a 50's style. Had a couple of places to have pictures taken.
    My wife got a ton of compliments using your recipe. She also got requests for your recipe, which we will print and give them (with your permission). We used to have quite a few Maid-Rites in this area. But it has dwindled down to a hand full. None the less, I assume most everyone at the event had eaten quite a few Maid-Rites in their lifetimes. Based on their response, they (as well as I) think it's the best copy cat recipe ever. By the way, we had to take poetic license and name them Maid-Wong's. The reason being, we printed out full menus and whatever they ordered off the menu they got Maid-Wong's and fries. It was a great time and your recipe made it a great success. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  5. Hadn't heard of Maid-Rite before, but this was good. And so convenient! The little bit of sweet from the Kings Hawaiian bun was a good enhancement. Another keeper, thanks.

    1. P.S. It's even better the second day after the flavors have blended more. Bob put cole slaw on of his & said that made it "gourmet". Thanks again.

  6. The recipe I have for Maid Rites at home is:
    2 lbs hamburger
    1 large onion
    1 c. catsup
    1T vinegar
    Dash of dry mustard
    Salt and pepper

    Brown hamburger, drain. Brown onion and add other ingredients. Let simmer for 10 min. I'm not saying this one will taste better – it is just one my parents used (they grew up in southern Iowa) and doesn't use a slow cooker.

    1. How fun! Thanks so much for sharing Karla. Where in Southern Iowa? I have been receiving emails all morning about going to Ottumwa Iowa to try the Canteen's Loose Meat Sandwiches. Your parent version sounds very tasty. Let me know if y'all give this one a try.

    2. Rosanne show loose meat restaurant was modeled after the Canteen Lunch in Ottumwa, which has been in existence since 1927. Rosanne was married to Tom Arnold of Ottumwa who took her there and gave her the idea. Most Ottumwans visit the Canteen whenever they go back home. Unlike any other place.

  7. I don't think I heard of the loose meat sandwich until I heard and read about it because of the Rosanne show. I'd love to try it! My personal preference would be to add ketchup
    (I do this with meat loaf), mustard is okay but I'd like a little ketchup. Also, I doubt I would like a sweet Hawaiian roll with a savory sandwich. But if I ever find myself in Iowa or one of its neighbor's, I'd love to try one as intended!

  8. I've loved these for years and have tried to duplicate them. One guy said he used to work at a MR and the secret was root beer & soy sauce. Tried it and yuck. I mean, the meat was okay but definitely NOT a MR. Can't wait to try yours.

    1. It would most likely need longer to cook. I would check it at the give time and keep an eye on it. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!

  9. Growing up I always thought these were great despite the love for them from my Dad and Grandma. Living on the East Coast now they are such a novelty. Passing this one along to the lovers.

    1. As a Senior Iowan the legend was Marshalltown, Iowa, was home of the first Maid~Rite restaurant. We were told the BIG secret recipe only had ONE secret ingredient, chicken bouillon. Of course I tried that, and while good I believed there was more to the mystery than that! I am excited to try yours! I asked the owner WHY there was NO ketchup, only mustard? I was told the Hobos hopping off the train used to go in for the free ketchup, which they added to water to make tomato soup. Unless things have changed that restaurant was very small, and the few seats were needed for paying customers. I believe the tradition continues to this day. I used to put ketchup packets in my glove box, and eat my sandwich in the car, so as not to offend anyone! (Felt like desecration)! I have traveled all over our beautiful country, and can tell you truly there is nothing that comes close to a Maid~rite loose meat sandwich!! It is a yummy cuisine experience you won't forget!! I hope this adds a bit of flavor to your discussion. 🙂

    2. Still there…still small.
      It's called Taylor's. My family was there after my uncles funeral a couple years ago.My grandparents owned the cemetery in Marshalltown so most of us are there 😉 My Dad and Uncle worked at Taylor's in high school. The recipe is a secret…I think a lot of the flavor comes from the pots that they cook the burger in…they are original from 40s-50s…

  10. As a Senior Iowan the legend was Marshalltown, Iowa was the first Maid~Rite restaurant. We were told the BIG secret was only ONE ingredient, Chicken Bouillon, by those who claimed to know. I, of course, tried that, and while good, I believed there was more to it than that! I asked the owner WHY there was NO ketchup to put on my sandwich? He told me Hobos jumping off the train used to go in to the restaurant for the free ketchup, as they had no money they would mix it with water for tomato soup. Unless it has changed the first Maid~Rite restaurant was very small, and paying customers needed the few seats. I think you will still find today they don't have ketchup available, only mustard. I would tuck ketchup packets into the glove box before going and eat my sandwich in the car, so as not to affend anyone!! (Felt like desecration)! I must say after traveling all over this beautiful country there truly is NOTHING like a Maid~Rite loose meat sandwich! It's a yummy cuisine experience you won't forget! I hope this added a bit of flavor to your discussion. 🙂

  11. Debbie is correct. Taylors Miami Rite in Marshalltown Iowa was the first restaurant. It is also the best. Go in sit down ask for a Maid-Rite, wet and you will have the best Maid-Rite experience ever whether you like it with onions, mustard, or yes even kethup!

  12. Almost perfect! Next time I'll cut down or leave out the apple cider vinegar. Made it a bit to tart compared to the real thing. I grew up on Maid Rites in Quincy IL. Walked home from school and regularly stopped for a snack of a Maid Rite on the way home. 24 cents each in 1973!!

  13. I can't compare to anything as I've never had the real deal, but these were delicious. Love the slight bit of tartness from the ACV! Yum 🙂

  14. Your recipe sounds wonderful. Never had one before but have heard of loose meat sandwiches. Now my search continues for the recipe for my beloved Lumburger recipe. Lum's was a great restaurant in Fla when I was growing up in the 1960's that had the best food – large hot dogs steamed in beer among other things but the Lumburger was the best!!! It was kinda a loose meat/sloppy joe kinda thing that tasted out of this world!!!!

  15. I made this and it tastes just like a Maid-right! I used 80/20 ground beef. In Iowa they serve them with "everything" on top. That's ketchup, mustard, pickle and chopped onion.

  16. My husbands family is from Iowa and make these every time we are there. Nope, Not Impressed At All. Being from South Louisiana we Like Flavor, No Not everything Hot and Spicy, just Flavor! We've been making our version of loose meat burgers for years.
    2# ground meat, lightly browned. Drain fat add 2 cans Campbells Onion soup. Onion powder, salt pepper. Bring to boil reduce heat cook until soup cooks down. Yes add mustard and pickles on your bun and enjoy. Now this is Much Better Than the other, and easy!

  17. In Greenville,OH, there is a restaurant called Maid Rite and they make a loose meat sandwich that people drive for miles to get. They serve theirs with chopped onion and cheese if you want it. Very good!

  18. I grew up near Marshalltown, Iowa and still love to go to Taylor's when I am back in the area, you can watch them prepare the maid rites while you eat- ground beef, steamed, salt pepper and onions served with mustard and pickle. The secret is in using quality beef! They have also in recent years caved and the blasphemous unfaithful can get cheese and/or ketchup.

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