Maid Rites Loose Meat Sandwich + Video

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Maid Rites’ loose meat sandwich may look like a sloppy joe, but it tastes nothing like one. The flavor of these sandwiches is so much better, and with our recipe, you can make them at home!!

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 sandwiches –  Perfectly seasoned ground beef served on a warm, slightly sweet bun with pickles and diced onion. 

maid rites loose meat sandwich with ketchup and pickles

My husband and his family grew up enjoying maidrite sandwiches. I wanted to create a homemade version to replicate the restaurant classic. After a lot of trial and error, I came up with this crockpot loose meat sandwich recipe. Trust me, this one is a keeper!!

raw meat in crockpot

Maid Rites

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! 

I don’t have a Maid Rite near me, and you may not either, but it’s okay! Now you can enjoy maid rites anytime!! Run (do not walk) to your kitchen and make this Maid Rite recipe!!!

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


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

cooked beef for maid rites loose meat sandwich

Making Our Loose Meat Sandwich Recipe

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

  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.
ground beef in crockpot

Maid Rites 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.

Serving Suggestions

Pair your Maid Rite sandwich 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.

2 maid rites loose meat sandwiches on serving tray with 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.

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How To Store 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.

open maid rites loose meat sandwich


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

loose meat sandwich with pickles and ketchup on bun

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Other Easy Crockpot Sandwich Recipes

maid rite sandwich with pickles onion and ketchup

Maid Rites Loose Meat Sandwich + Video

Donna Elick
Maid Rites are an Iowa favorite. Use our Maid Rite recipe to create a loose meat sandwich that tastes just like the restaurant original!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
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!
maid rites loose meat sandwich close up

Originally published April 2014, last updated July 2022

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  1. The best Maid-Rite is in Rolla, Missouri. We have eaten at many different ones and none compare!!!
    A big secret is to add a bit of water to the burger when you begin cooking it and cover with a lid. Also use a good dehydrated minced onion.

    1. I was born and raised in Rolla so was my husband. And our parents took me and my siblings to what was called Bill Smith's long before it became Maid rite.. we are there several times a week..and ice cream for treats after church on Sundays and Wednesdays. It was where all the high school kids hung out on the weekends after cruising the town..I miss my hometown Rolla.

  2. We've been to many, but by far, the best Maid-Rite is in Rolla, Missouri.
    Remember when cooking your meat , make sure you steam cook it! That's the one of the biggest differences in the taste of the burgers. Just add water and cook with lid on.
    Also, try using minced bionic (dehydrated) onions instead of raw onion.

    1. We used to have one in Waukegan, IL when I was younger, like 50 yrs ago, lol. It closed though eons ago. Iowa is the home of Maid Rites though. Yum!

  3. Love to try this, but NO WAY would an Iowan serve a Maid Rite with ketchup. The Iowa way is mustard, pickles, onion. Period.

    1. I'm from Sioux City. I would have to agree in that ketchup should not be allowed. However, my son will only eat these WITH ketchup and mayonnaise. If I! But then again, he also dips his pizza in a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise. Eww..

    2. I either eat my hamburgers with tartar sauce or by mixing ketchup and miracle whip together on a garlic bun! I also dip my fries in either tartar sauce or the ketchup and miracle whip mixture!

  4. I used to work at Maid Rite and I can sau, unequivocally, that there is NO paprika, or any other spicy type of seasoning. I have been making the posted recipe for years and know that it is the correct one.

  5. Ijust made these was so disappointed followed the recipe exactly it was not a copycat recipe I grew up in Newton Ia it needed alot more seasonings and I even added a few liquid never cooked off had to strain it, believe me I know what a maidrite should taste like and this didn't even come close!

  6. Even if the hamburger is lean, fat needs to be drained off, didn't see anything about doing that. Fat needs to be drained off after meat is browned and before other ingredients are added so that the other ingredient don't get thrown out with the grease.

    1. No you never drain it; use 95/5 ground beef and the meat is never browned. It is slow cooked in liquid and crumbled.

  7. I use to watch Roseanne on tv and she made this same sandwich and called it a loose meat sandwich at her café and it is very tasty. Marie Goodson

  8. Chicken base and chicken bouillon in this recipe can be used interchangeably, can't them? I see that they are basically the same in every aspect (except for the shape and packaging)

  9. The original Maid-Rite was made with bull meat. Very lean. Try asking your butcher for bull meat and see what kind of response you get after he stops laughing.

  10. My dad ran a Maid-Rite for 50 years and I worked there 12 years and all it is is boiled hamburger no ingedances

  11. I grew up on maid rites and was told to use coca cola in the recipe. My mother swore by it. Anyone ever heard that?

  12. In Wichita, KS, there is a chain of restaurants called Nu-Way, been around forever. They make a loose-meat sandwich that sounds identical! Does anyone know if the recipes would actually be similar? They sure are yummy,

  13. I cooked all day in my 3-1 cooker. I left the steam vent open (the vent is for pressure cooker mode) it came out fantastic. Also, I used fresh Spanish onion and grated it before putting in the mixture.

  14. We have a similar loose meat sandwich here in Nebraska called Tastees. Ground beef, onion, water, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper,worcestershire sauce and cream style horseradish. Served on a bun with a pickle and mustard. I've made it a lot over the years but never in a crockpot.

  15. Had to try it. I have to say, even the olfactory memories came rushing back while it was cooking. Loved it!!!

  16. I have to comment that KETCHUP is wonderful on a Maid Rite. I've from Peoria IL and although we used to have Maid Rite a local place that serves "loosey burgers" drove them out of business. So try out "The 50's Diner" if you want the best one in central, IL.

  17. I plan to veganize the recipe, so I will be replacing the beef with a TVP product that's already cooked. I'm assuming the first hour is not only to flavor but to cook the beef. If my protein is already cooked, would you first cook it an hour for the flavor or cook it for a shorter time, maybe 30 min.? Thanks! Bob

  18. I can't find a link for the video anywhere on this page. What am I doing wrong?

    (Yes, I *AM* partially blind.)

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