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The Best Maid Rite Sandwiches

Thanks for sharing!

Maid-rites, tavern burgers 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!

maid rite sandwich on plate with seasoned fries.

If you are looking for a super simple dinner for a busy night, maid rites are 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.

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

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

Or 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 the sloppy joe or hamburger and possibly more fun to eat too. There is just something about a good maid-rite sandwich that makes in extra good.

skillet filled with ground beef and spices ready to be made into maid rite sandwich filling.

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.

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.

plate of maid rite sandwich with cheese and ketchup with cheese and broccoli rice in background

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.

I don’t think to make them very often, they had kind of fallen off my radar. Then a coworker brought in a slow cooker full of maid rites for us all a few weeks ago.

It got me back in the maid rite mood and we’ve been having them almost every week since. My guys aren’t complaining, they are both excited to see them on the menu.

made right with cheese and ketchup served with cheesy broccoli rice.

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

The toppings are definitely a matter of taste.  I prefer mine plain or with pickles. My husband likes ketchup, mustard and cheese. 

Little Dude likes ketchup and cheese. Pickled jalapenos and cheese would be a fun twist too!

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

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

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 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.

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

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.

tavern burger with lots of loose meat between hamburger buns.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store leftovers?

Leftover meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can also premake the meat to reheat later, but the recipe is so quick to make it usually isn’t necessary.

How can I make Maid-Rites for a large group?

You can brown multiple pounds of ground beef in a skillet and put it in a crock pot with the seasonings and keep it on low for several hours. Then assemble the sandwiches when you are ready to eat. Alternatively you can scale up the recipe to match your crowd size and make it all in a big roaster. Just brown the meat at a higher temperature and then turn it down to hold it until you are ready to serve.

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.

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.

Love this recipe? Give it a review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 6 Sandwiches

Maid Rite Sandwiches

maid rite sandwich on plate with seasoned fries.

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!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large skillet.
  2. Brown over medium heat until meat is cooked through and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  3. 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.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 420mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 21g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Maid-rites, tavern burgers or loose meat sandwiches, are a super quick and easy dinner that your family is sure to love! This easy maid rite recipe is a staple around here and for good reason!

Thanks for sharing!

Virginia Thulen

Sunday 12th of March 2023

I lost a recipe just like this one a zillion years ago. It's wonderful to find it again.


Sunday 12th of March 2023

I am so glad I could help you find it, enjoy!


Saturday 4th of March 2023

I made these tonight and thought they were yummy! We live in Muscatine IA and are still able to go out to enjoy a Maidrite and frosty mug rootbeer for lunch once in a while. Thanks for the recipe!


Sunday 5th of March 2023

I am so glad you liked them!


Saturday 4th of February 2023

Why is there sugar in the Maid_rite sandwiches?


Sunday 5th of February 2023

It's just a bit and it adds balance. You can leave it out if you want.


Friday 13th of May 2022

The original Maid-Right was made with bull meat. Try finding that at your butcher shop today. haha Be sure to steam and leave out the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and sugar.


Friday 13th of May 2022

I've seen people say it is made with beef heart and tongue too. We love it this way, but you can sure leave out the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sugar if you prefer.


Friday 18th of March 2022

We have a Maid Rite shop here in Ohio Theirs are made with hamburger cooked then steamed, mustard, salt, pepper and, sugar on a steamed bun with pickles and a little mustard! You can get them with onion and cheese too! We always have to wait in a long line to get them!


Saturday 19th of March 2022

It is funny how something so simple could be so good!

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