Food Hussy Recipe: CopyCat Maid Rites! (The Iowa Specialty!)

In Iowa, Maid Rites are a staple. The Maid Rite is a tasty loose meat sandwich - but there's more to it than just ground beef! This Iowa Maid Rite Copycat Recipe will teach you all the secrets to one of my favorite hometown foods!

How to Make the Traditional Maid Rite recipe? 

The Iowa Maid Rite Copycat recipe is easy to make - you start with hamburger and add a bunch of seasonings to them and cook them down until the liquid has evaporated! All the ingredients are listed below! You'll love it! 

Now if you don't know what a Maid Rite is - think back to the days of Roseanne. Remember when she opened a diner and they served "loose meat sandwiches"? Well - there you go! It's like a sloppy joe without the sauce. 

What's the difference between a maid rite and a sloppy joe? 

The Maid Rite - aka Loose Meat Sandwich - doesn't have a sauce. You have the liquid and seasonings but they cook off and the meat is "dry" whereas Sloppy Joes have a thick tomato sauce. 

Honestly - when I think back to eating Iowa Maid Rites as a kid - I really can't picture Neil Wicks (he ran the Maid Rite in my tiny town) putting all these ingredients in the sandwich. All I remember of him is him standing over the griddle with a big stogey hanging out of his mouth. 

Can you Make Maid Rites in the Crock Pot? 

Yes. To make your Iowa Maid Rite Copycat Recipe in the crock pot - just brown the ground beef first and then add all the seasonings and beef to the crock pot and put on low for a couple of hours. If you're serving these loose meat sandwiches for a crowd - you can just leave it on low for the party! 

What to serve with Maid Rites? 

I tend to get obsessed about Iowa foods - I love big tenderloinscheesy queso from "Mexican"-ish restaurants and traditional MAID RITES - oh man - I almost forgot about Taco Johns Potato Oles! It's not that Ohio doesn't have amazing food - but Iowa is home - so I have a soft spot for all things Hawkeye. (If you're looking for a cheesy loose meat sandwich - you can also ramp up the Maid Rite to a Cheese Rite or even Sliders!) 

Be sure to use the $1 buns - the cheaper, the better! Fresh, cheap & soft - that's the best way to go. Spoon a heap of the loose meat onto your cheap bun and you're ALMOST ready to go! Just don't forget the dill pickles and mustard!

Copycat Maid Rite Loose Meat Sandwich

Yield: 4
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 25 M
Maid-Rites are an Iowa specialty that I've eaten since I was 3 years old.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Dill pickle slices


  1. Brown ground beef & onion - chopping vigorously until the pieces are tiny!
  2. Add bouillon, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
  3. Stir and continue chopping ground beef.
  4. Simmer until liquid has evaporated.
  5. Top a heaping spoonful onto your cheapest hamburger bun and top with dill pickles, mustard and ketchup and you too will be reveling in the delight of the Iowa Maid Rite!


OR Make it a Cheese-Rite by adding a slice of Land O'Lakes American Cheese - I heat it in the microwave to melt the cheese and soften the buns a little. OR make them baked sliders!!! 

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  1. Or stop at the Maid Rite in Greenville OH and load up.

    1. I've been there! Gum wall and all!

    2. Used to original Maid-Rite's these were not that good. Bland just loose hamburger..

    3. Sorry you didn't love them - I think the seasonings, worcestershire and soy really add a bunch of flavor to the meat!

  2. Iowa Maid-Rites are an institution! I remember when the Maid-Rite in Lake Mills, IA burned down about 1969. I was pretty young, but remember a long period of mourning. They rebuilt and I was raised in that place. Your recipe looks great...I'm gonna try it. I make them now with beef broth and a little black strap molasses. I wrap each one in wax paper before I serve them to make it feel just like a real Maid-Rite. It's awesome!

    1. Yaaaaaas!!!! I love them! pickles, ketchup and cheese and it's Cheese-rite perfection!

  3. I wasn't expecting them to taste sweet. I followed your recipe to a T.

    1. There's a little sweetness but not too much - hope you still liked them!

  4. I will be trying this recipe tonight, but thought I would let you know your beef will chop up finer and more easily if you add water to pan while browning it. In this case, I may try mixing the liquid ingredients from the recipe and adding it with the meat so it all cooks at the same time. I use water with the ground beef anytime I want it super taco meat to resemble taco bell texture.

  5. Heather this recipe for the Maid Rite sandwiches are so good and so easy to make. I am so surprised I made this last night and both my husband and I loved this dinner meal.

  6. This recipe was amazing! I made over a pound for 2 and there is nothing left! So good and can't wait to share with friends!

  7. Using salt? As the Made Rite sandwich uses finer broke up ground beef, try adding your salt as the last step of the recipe. With this method, you can break up the ground beef finer and easier. So you are getting closer to the original recipe.

  8. I love this recipe. I added one final step. Load up the bun with meat, wrap in parchment or waxed paper and microwave for 15 seconds. Perfection! Just like the real deal!