Skip to Content

Maid Rite Sandwiches

Please share

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!

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

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.

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 loosemeat ground beef sandwich. 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

If you tried this recipe, or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments. Hungry for more?  Be sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Maid rite sandwiches on plate with fries and ketchup.

Maid Rite Sandwiches

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 265 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinners
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Sandwiches
Calories 201 kcal


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


  • Mix all ingredients in a large skillet.
  • 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.



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
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!

Please share

Recipe Rating


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!


Monday 12th of June 2023

Had Maid rites for lunch today.Had them in St Cloud Minn a long time ago. 5 for a buck then. they were smaller but I ate all 5 after Racketball on Tuesday.They were in St Cloud last I checked.They also had a sliced Dill Pickel on them.


Monday 12th of June 2023

Five for a buck is a steal!

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.