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Maid Rite Sandwich Recipe

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Maid Rites, or loose meat sandwiches, are a super quick and easy dinner that your family is sure to love. Maid-Rite restaurants are a staple in Iowa and throughout the Midwest, now you can have one of these classic sandwiches at home no matter where you live!

Two maid rites served with fries and ketchup, ready to eat.

If you are looking for a super simple dinner for a busy night, this maid rite recipe is definitely a great answer. They are one of those dinners that nobody complains about and it will likely take you longer to make the sides than the main dish.

Plus they scale so easily, so they are perfect for parties too.

What Are Maid Rites?

Have you ever had a maid rite? They are a classic in the Midwest, especially if you live anywhere near Iowa.

If you are unfamiliar, maid rites are a loose meat sandwich made from ground beef. It’s like a sloppy joe without the tomato sauce. 

Ingredients including ground beef, onion, salt, pepper, sugar, mustard, and soy sauce ready to be made into homemade maid rites.

Or you could say they are like a hamburger, but in little pieces rather than a patty. And while it is a little bit like both of those, it is also something completely different and wonderful.

It is quicker and easier to make than either a sloppy joe or a hamburger and possibly more fun to eat too. There is just something about a good maid rite sandwich that makes in extra good.

Maid-Rite Restaurants

There is a chain of restaurants here in the Midwest that is famous for them. In fact they share the same name as the sandwich.

Maidrite ingredients in skillet, ready to be cooked.

The original Maid-Rite restaurant was opened in Iowa in 1926. You can find franchises throughout Illinois and a few in Missouri as well.

I have never been to any of the others, but I am sure the one in our town is best. It is definitely a fixture here.

In addition to the namesake sandwiches, they make the most fabulous from scratch pies. They have quite the list of pies available each day and choosing one is the hardest part.

I used to always go for one with a mile high meringue. There is just something about getting a pie topped with a fluffy white cloud!

Cooked crumbled maidrite filling in skillet, ready to be made into sandwiches.

Maid rites don’t have to be reserved for the restaurant though, they are easy to make at home. In fact we had them quite a bit during my childhood.

This Maid Rite recipe has just the right balance of flavors.  It’s simple enough but still really flavorful.

What to Put on Your Maid Rite

The toppings are definitely a matter of taste.  A lot of people swear by just mustard and diced onions.

I prefer mine plain or with pickles. My husband likes ketchup, mustard, and a slice of American cheese. 

Maid rite sandwich with crumbled ground beef filling on hamburger bun.

Little Dude likes ketchup and cheese. The cheese technically makes them a cheese rite, but we won’t split hairs.

I think pickled jalapenos and cheese would be a fun twist too! Really, you can use any of your favorite burger toppings.

What is the difference between a maid rite and a sloppy joe?

Both are made with a crumbled ground beef filling that is usually served on a hamburger bun, but they are different for sure.

Maid rites and sloppy joes both make great quick and easy family dinners. They are also both great for parties. Just keep the meat warm in a slow cooker and it will be ready when you are!

A maid rite sandwich is very beef forward. The crumbled beef is definitely the star of the show.

A little onion and seasoning is added, but that’s about it. (If you aren’t from the Midwest, you may know this as a tavern burger.)

A sloppy joe, on the other hand, has a sweeter tomato based sauce.  After the meat is drained, a ketchup based sauce is added and simmered down.

tavern burger with lots of loose meat between hamburger buns.

We have a great recipe for big batch sloppy joe sandwiches you should check out. It is a great recipe for a party.

Or for a regular family dinner, check out the recipe for cola sloppy joes. They have a fabulous sweet and tangy sauce that is sure to please.

What to Serve With Maid Rites

If you are looking for some fun side dishes to go with your maid rites. May I suggest some instant pot mac and cheese or maybe some loaded baked beans.

Some loaded potato salad or tangy coleslaw would be good too and both can be made ahead of time for an easy dinner.

Maidrites on soft but served with fries and ketchup.

So grab some ground beef and buns. These maid rites are a perfect busy night dinner that are sure to make their way into your rotation.

Maid rite sandwiches on plate with fries and ketchup.

Maid Rite Sandwiches

Servings: 6 Sandwiches
Author: Carlee
Maidrites, or loose meat sandwiches, are a super quick and easy dinner that your family is sure to love. They are a staple around here and for good reason.
4.80 from 276 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce


  • Mix all ingredients in a large skillet.
    1 pound ground beef, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, ¼ cup diced onion, ¼ cup water, 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Brown over medium heat until meat is cooked through and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  • Adjust salt to your liking and serve on buns with desired toppings. 


Don’t use super lean ground beef. We like using 85/15.
This recipe scales easily. You can make several pounds of burger on the stove ahead of a party and put the meat in a slow cooker to keep it hot. It’s a great way to feed the team or a hungry crew.
Leftover meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can also make the meat ahead of time to reheat later, but the recipe is so quick to make it usually isn’t necessary.



Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 14gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 440mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Monday 10th of June 2024

My Dad loved to make these for church socials. He called them hot beef sandwiches and they were always a hit.


Monday 10th of June 2024

Aren't they wonderful?

Saturday 8th of June 2024

Original recipe is steamed meat. In Wichita, they are Nu-ways. My parents both worked there in the 1930's and 1940's.


Sunday 9th of June 2024

Most people don't have steaming tables at home, so this is good way to get a similar flavor quickly and easily.

Kevin Jackson

Tuesday 12th of March 2024

We just had honest to goodness Maid-Rites in Christopher, Illinois. It has been there since before WW II. They steam the meat, place it on a steamed bun, and top it with chopped onions and mustard. If you order one without the mustard and onion, it is called a maid-wrong. $4.35 each.


Tuesday 12th of March 2024

Aren't they tasty? We still have a restaurant here too.


Tuesday 26th of December 2023

Can you expand on the history of this recipe you have provided us? My mom does not use soy sauce or sugar, nor does she cook the beef with the mustard in the skillet.

They had found the recipe from a website focusing on historic Rockford Ill. establishments. That’s all I know. So I’m curious the history of your recipe!

Thanks, Nate


Wednesday 27th of December 2023

The recipe is one that is passed around my local area and it is scaled up for fundraisers and served at athletic events out of roasters. I am not sure of the exact origins, but I do live in a region that takes Maidrites seriously. The soy sauce helps to boost the meaty umami flavors and the mustard and sugar help to round it out. There isn't much of any of it, so the beef flavor still shines but the extras give it a little pop. Carlee


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

My mom's side of the family is from Iowa. As a very young boy, we took a family vacation back to Iowa (Council Bluffs, Newton, Kellogg) in the 60's to "make the rounds" visiting them. I didn't know the proper names of them... I only knew them as "Iowa Hamburgers". Here it is 61 years later, and I stumbled onto this recipe. I had a bunch of leftover Hamburger meat with taco seasoning... so I threw in the diced onions, mustard, the leftover meat and a bit of water in a skillet, put it in a bun with a slice of American cheese.

With my first bite, I was 9 years old again, and back in Iowa!


Wednesday 25th of October 2023

I'm glad I could take you on a trip down memory lane. I love fun food memories!