Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

This Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes recipe is full of flavor and can be made in the Instant Pot or the Stovetop! It’s a yummy twist on a classic comfort food.

Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes over baked potatoes

These Korean sloppy joes combine my love for the classic comfort food with the Korean flavors I grew up on. I love making it because not only is it a fun way to enjoy a crowd favorite dish, it’s a healthy sloppy joe recipe that even kids will love. Plus, it’s a great weeknight meal because it’s so easy and quick!

Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes Recipe

These Whole30 sloppy joes are low in sugar, because instead of using a high amount of ketchup like in traditional sloppy joes, it uses coconut aminos for that naturally sweet but umami Asian flavor. The sauce is thickened with a small amount of starch at the end, and the result is so addicting and tastes like bulgogi if you are familiar with Korean food!

Plus, depending on your preference you can make these Korean sloppy joes in the Instant Pot or the stove top. Both methods are easy and yield the same delicious result!

how to make sloppy joes in the instant pot
korean sloppy joes served over baked potato

How to Make Sloppy Joes in the Instant Pot

While it’s way more common to cook on the stove top, making this healthy sloppy joe recipe in the Instant Pot is way less hands-on. The cooking times for both methods are comparable, but with the Instant Pot, you don’t have to stand over the meat while it’s cooking with the sauce.

You simply sauté the beef with the vegetables, stir in the sauce, and let the Instant Pot simmer everything together. No splatter of the sauce and no stirring needed. You just need a bit of extra time at the end to thicken the sauce, and these Whole30 sloppy joes are done with minimal effort.

healthy sloppy Joe recipe in the Instant Pot

Ways to Serve These Korean Sloppy Joes

I like to make a double batch of these Whole30 sloppy joes and eat them in a variety of ways, because I never get sick of them. Here are some of my favorite ways I enjoy them:

  • stuffed in baked potatoes or sweet potatoes (pictured)
  • between sliced sweet potato “buns”
  • in lettuce wraps
  • alone, with a side of veggies or salad
  • in gluten free buns (not Whole30)
  • over cooked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
  • alongside plantain chips to dip with
  • over cauliflower rice
  • over mashed potatoes

The possibilities are endless with this delicious and healthy sloppy joe recipe with an addicting Korean twist. Whether you make it in the Instant Pot or on the stove top, it’s a quick and easy recipe that the whole family will love on those busy weeknights!

Whole30 sloppy Joes recipe with a Korean twist

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Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Korean
Keyword: asian sloppy joes, easy weeknight meals, how to make sloppy joes in the instant pot, instant pot sloppy joes, kid friendly recipes, weeknight meals instant pot, whole30 instant pot recipes
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Pressure Building/Release Time (Instant Pot Method): 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 327kcal


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger minced
  • 2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 green onions sliced, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  • 1/4 pear cored and roughly chopped (or use 1/2 if you like sweeter sloppy joes)
  • 3/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup bone broth or beef broth or water
  • 2 tbsp sugar-free ketchup or sub with gochujang (you can find a paleo version in Korean Paleo!)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp Korean red pepper flakes or red pepper flakes


  • Place all ingredients for the sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Instant Pot Method

  • Turn on the Instant Pot and press Saute. When it indicates that it's "Hot," add avocado oil.
  • Add ground beef and onion, and cook while breaking up the meat until it's no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 1 more minute.
  • Hit Cancel, then put on an oven mitt to carefully remove the pot to drain the excess fat. I poured it over a colander then placed the meat back in the pot.
  • Return the pot to the Instant Pot and stir in the sauce.
  • Cover with lid and set the pressure valve to Sealing. Cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.
  • Once it beeps to a finish, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before opening the lid.
  • Place the Instant Pot back on Saute and stir in arrowroot starch.
  • Let it simmer and thicken for 5 more minutes, then remove from heat. Taste, then add more salt if needed.
  • Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds before serving.

Stove Top Method

  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add ground beef and onion, and cook while breaking up the meat until it's no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 1 more minute.
  • Drain the excess fat into the sink over a colander.
  • Add the sauce and stir together well. Continue to stir while cooking for 6-7 minutes and the sauce is reduced.
  • If there's too much liquid, stir in arrowroot starch and simmer for up to 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Taste, then add more salt if needed.
  • Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
Amount Per Serving (1 serving – makes 5)
Calories 327 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 1242mg 52%
Potassium 578mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 0.8%
Vitamin C 3.7%
Calcium 2.4%
Iron 20.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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16 thoughts on “Paleo & Whole30 Korean Sloppy Joes (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

  1. Irena Macri

    I kid you not, I was just thinking the other day how fun would it be to have a Koren version of sloppy joes and then your recipe popped up. This is just perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joni Gomes

    Made this recipe and loved it, especially the sauce! I’m a huge fan of these flavors and the toasted sesame oil! Will make again 🙂

  3. Amy

    We tried these last night and the recipe is soooo good. Great flavor and so versatile. We tried it with potatoes but also thought it would be great with broccoli and/or snow peas. Thank you!

    1. Jean Choi Post author

      So glad you enjoyed! Yes, agreed with enjoying it with broccoli & snow peas. I’ll have to try that next time!


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