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The Best Maid Rite Sandwiches

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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.

       If you are looking for some fun side dishes to go with your maid rites. May I suggest some slow cooker corny macaroni and cheeseSummer corn salad would be great too. Or this time of year a pea salad would be great!

       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

The Best 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.

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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!

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Friday 28th of May 2021

I grew up in Muscatine, and ate Maid-Rites all the time. Two ladies (sisters) who worked at the 1st one established on Cedar St. also babysat my cousins, and gave the actual recipe to my aunt, who passed it on to my mother (and, of course, I got it from there).

These are the best loose-meat sandwiches ever! I remember the shops sold A&W Root Beer. The sandwiches were normally topped with just dill pickle slices. You could have melted cheese if you wanted, usually served with french fries, and the desserts were to die for!


Friday 28th of May 2021

They are legendary for sure. Ours has crinkle cut fries and really good pies to go with the sandwiches.

Andrea Nine

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

I had never heard the term Made Rite or knew it was a franchise. Mmmm sounds and looks so good! Have a great day!


Saturday 9th of January 2021

It is definitely a regional thing, but they are really good!


Wednesday 12th of June 2019

Here's a little clarification on the Maid-rite. It is still an active chain of franchised restaurants, in the Midwest. A butcher, Fred Angell, invented them in 1926, in Muscatine, Iowa. My mother worked in the second of Mr Angell's restaurants in Muscatine, in 1936, at the age of 16. Growing up there, Maid-rite's were definitely our favorite burgers. Mr Angell's second restaurant also featured another first, in the US, Car-Hops!


Tuesday 16th of April 2019

We still have a maidright in Illinois about 40 miles away stop there a few times a year still great food but I still order mine with cheese 😊


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Ours is in Illinois too! Cheeserites are soooo good!


Sunday 10th of March 2019

Maidrites were a restaurant chain in Iowa owned by our neighbor Clayton Blue. While your recipe is similar it did not contain soy sauce sugar or mustard. We make them at our house on a regular basis. Lots of ways to change them up no matter how you season them. TheTmeat is great on a salad my kids like American cheese melted in the meat.


Thursday 14th of March 2019

We all tend to put our own touches on these simple recipes. Now my husband wants your melted American cheese version! (actually we all do!)

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