These toasty Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are made with slow cooked roast beef served on crusty rolls with melty cheese and savory au jus. The prep is less than 15 minutes and then the crockpot does all the work for you. These are so good!
There is something amazing about savory, shredded beef with melted provolone cheese on a crusty ciabatta roll that soaks up the rich au jus sauce served on the side. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Pile your roast beef up thick on your roll and top with swiss or provolone cheese (whatever floats your boat) and stick them under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese and toast the roll. Oh my. It's the stuff dreams are made of. At least my dreams.
Why this recipe works
- The meat cooks in a savory au jus made of beef broth and french onion soup mix, adding it's own delicious meat juices, and then once it is fall-apart-tender you pull it out and shred it.
- What makes it even better is that these are slow cooker french dip sandwiches so 90% of the work is done in the morning and then you don't have to worry about what's for dinner later in the day!
- Little to no prep work, especially if you opt not to sear the meat first before sticking it in the slow cooker.
French dip sandwiches actually originated in Los Angeles in the early 1900's. It's name is a reference to the original type of bread used than the sandwich actually being brought here from France.
Some of the lore behind the sandwich is that it was invented when a chef or server dunked a beef sandwich into a pan of meat drippings after receiving a complaint that the bread was stale!
- Beef chuck roast: Look for a well-marbled piece of meat for the best flavor and the most tender results.
- Dry onion soup mix: I always have a few packages of this floating around in my pantry, but you could make your own onion soup mix at home if you don't have some.
- Beef broth: I often will just use Better-than-Bouillion's beef bouillion mixed with water to make beef broth if I don't have cans of it on hand. Beef consomme will also work.
How to Make French Dip Sandwiches
Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, generously season all of the sides of the chuck roast with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully place the roast in the hot pan. Sear it on all of its sides by letting it sit without moving for about a minute or two on each side before flipping it. Searing won't take very long - you just want to quickly brown the roast to add in the flavor and seal in the juices.
Transfer the roast and the juices and brown bits from the bottom of the pan to your slow cooker and sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over the meat. Add in the water and the beef broth. Cook the meat on HIGH for 4-6 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours.
When the meat is tender enough that it can shred easily with a fork, remove the roast from the slow cooker and then shred it. Serve it by piling the shredded meat onto sliced, crusty rolls with a slice of provolone or Swiss cheese.
Toast the cheese and top bun under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bun starts toasting. Serve with the juices from the slow cooker as au jus for dipping in individual bowls.
Yes, you can! If you have some brisket available use it up. While it may not shred as easily when it’s finished cooking, you can still slice it thinly. Either way, you’ll have a delicious French dip sandwich to enjoy.
No, you do not. You could just season it with salt and pepper, then stick the roast in the slow cooker with the other ingredients and you will still get pretty darn fantastic French dip sandwiches at the end of the day. But it does add a layer of flavor that we enjoy and takes little time, so I almost always make the little bit of extra effort.
Yes, you could use a roast straight from the freezer, but it will increase your cooking time by at least a couple of hours.
- Use a fat separator to remove the layer of fat from the top of the au jus broth before transferring it to individual bowls for serving.
- Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Remember that it's quite a bit of meat so you want to provide enough seasoning so the sandwiches and au just sauce aren't bland.
- I love using these crockpot liners (affiliate link) in my slow cooker to make cleanup ridiculously easy. I also use them when making Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches. And if you like using your slow cooker, check out my slow cooker archives for even more recipe ideas!
- Feel free to serve your sandwiches on crusty artisan or ciabatta rolls, as I have done here, or on softer hoagie rolls, if you prefer.
Instant Pot Instructions
If you prefer to make this in the instant pot, follow the same process as the slow cooker except sear the roast in the Instant Pot using the saute function. Then remove it to a plate and add the water, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
Add the roast back to the pot with the remaining ingredients and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes with the valve set to sealing, followed by a 15 minutes natural pressure release.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Kalua Pork (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi)
- Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork
- Crispy Mexican Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Escabeche
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 (1-ounce) packages dry onion soup mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans beef broth
- 6-8 slices swiss or provolone cheese
- 6-8 crusty rolls like ciabatta
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, generously season all sides of the chuck roast with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully place the roast in the hot pan and sear it on all sides by letting it sit without moving for a minute or two on each side before flipping it. Searing won't take very long - you just want to quickly brown the roast to add flavor and seal in the juices.
- Transfer the roast and the pan juices to your slow cooker. Sprinkle onion soup mix over the roast and add water and beef broth. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
- When the meat is so tender that it shreds easily with a fork, remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred. Serve by piling the shredded meat onto sliced, crusty rolls with a slice of Swiss cheese. Toast the cheese and top bun under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bun starts toasting. Serve with the juices from the slow cooker as au jus for dipping.
- Using a frozen roast: You don't have to thaw the chuck roast if using it straight from the freezer. Instead, just add it to the slow cooker with the other ingredients, including salt and pepper for seasoning. Cook as directed, but be aware that you will need to increase your cooking time by at least a couple of hours in this case.
- Searing the meat: You do not have to sear the meat first. Instead, you could just season it with salt and pepper, then stick the roast in the slow cooker with the other ingredients and you will still get pretty darn fantastic French dip sandwiches at the end of the day.
- Storage: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and are excellent for using in other dishes like chimichangas, shredded beef tacos, or beef and gravy.
- Freezing: The meat and au jus sauce can be frozen separately in airtight containers for 2-3 months, then reheated before serving.
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches: If you prefer to make this in the instant pot, follow the same process as the slow cooker except sear the roast in the Instant Pot using the saute function. Then remove it to a plate and add the water, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the roast back to the pot with the remaining ingredients and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes with the valve set to sealing, followed by a 15 minutes natural pressure release.
This post was originally published in June, 2016. The photos and content were updated in September, 2021.
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