French Dip Sandwich (Crockpot)

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Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker — no extra work required!

Overhead image of the French Dip Sandwich

French Dip Sandwich

One of the most viral recipes I’ve ever shared are these French Dip Sliders — they’ve been pinned over a million times and the page has been visited by millions!

So it’s about time I shared a regular French Dip Sandwich Recipe. And I really think you guys are going to love this one! It took a few months to get it just right, but I’m happy to report these sandwiches are every bit as good as the sliders. We think these are the best slow cooker French Dip Sandwiches and I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

Process shots-- images of the beef chuck roast being prepped and then browned in a skillet

What Is A French Dip Sandwich?

Also known as a “beef dip” is a hot sandwich with thinly sliced or shredded beef. The meat is typically served on a French roll or baguette. It can be served plain or topped with cheese and onions. The sandwich is dipped in an “au jus” which is a dipping sauce made during the meat cooking process. ‘Au jus’ translated from the French simply means ‘with juice.’

What Is The Best Meat For French Dip Sandwiches? 

A beef chuck roast is by far our favorite — especially a good well-marbled roast! The beef cooks to be so tender, it literally falls apart– so we prefer shredding the meat instead of cutting it. 

QUICK TIP

Other favorite recipes where we use a beef chuck roast: Mississippi Pot Roast, Beef GyrosBeef RaguCrock Pot Roast, and this Crockpot Beef Stew.

Process shots of French dip sandwiches-- images of the roast being added to the crockpot and the onions being cooked

How To Make French Dip Sandwiches 

While a lot of slow cooker French Dip recipes add everything into the cooker without browning the meat first, I highly recommend taking the time to sear the beef and onions. This is going to result in the most flavor possible and create the tastiest pan juices (Au jus sauce). This recipe is practically a dump-and-go thing, with just that one preliminary step.

  • So we start by searing the beef until we’ve got a nice crust — we’re creating layers of flavor here!
  • Next, we quickly sauté the onions and remaining sauce ingredients so we can release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (which are where tons of flavor is hidden).
  • Transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook until the meat literally falls apart because it’s that tender!
  • Spread some softened butter on sub rolls, sprinkle the rolls with garlic powder, top with beef, and broil until toasted.
  • Serve the sandwiches with the juice from the slow cooker. Dunk and enjoy!

Process shots-- images of the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth being added to the onions and it all being transferred to the crockpot until meat is cooked through

What Is The Best Bread For French Dip Sandwiches?

White sub rolls are our go-to for French Dip sandwiches. And our “secret” flavor-enhancing tip? Spread melted butter on the rolls and then top with a light sprinkling of garlic powder — divine!

QUICK TIP

Thoroughly drain the meat before adding to the sub roll to avoid soggy sandwiches. Watch very closely as the sandwiches broil — they can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds!

Process shots of French Dip Sandwiches-- images of the meat being added to the bread and cheese being added on top

French Dip Sandwich FAQs

1What is A French Dip Sandwich?

A classic French Dip Sandwich is a hot sandwich filled with thin slices of cooked beef. The beef is topped with shredded cheese or cheese slices and the entire sandwich is broiled. The sandwich is then dipped in a flavorful sauce made from the pan juices (“Au Jus”).

2What is Au Jus sauce?

Au jus is French, meaning “with juice.” This sauce is simply the juices that come from the meat during cooking. The sauce that results from the meat in our recipe is unbelievable! It’s well-seasoned, rich, and indulgent tasting!

 

3Why is it called a French Dip Sandwich?

According to Philippe Mathieu, a restaurant founder, the sandwich was invented in 1918 when he accidentally dropped a French roll into a roasting pan filled with juices. The waiting customer said he would eat the “dipped” sandwich and so the French Dip was born!

4What's the difference between Italian Beef and French Dip?

Typically Italian Beef is coated with Italian herbs, spices, and plenty of garlic while French Dip focuses on a more savory beef flavor without Italian-inspired herbs and spices.

5Is a French Dip Sandwich healthy?

Enjoyed occasionally and in moderation with nutritious side dishes, this sandwich can be part of a healthy diet. Note that these sandwiches are typically quite high in sodium and fat.

If you wish, you can lighten the sauce from a fat perspective. Take the juice and strain it through a fat skimmer. It will remove most of the fat, but not the flavor.

Images of the sandwiches being broiled in the oven

What To Serve With French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches can taste quite indulgent and rich, especially with a well-marbled chuck roast! We like having a lighter side such as roasted veggies or a side salad. Here’s a list of great side dish options (we usually do several of these!):

Overhead image of the French Dip Sandwich with the au jus sauce

More Slow Cooker Recipes:

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French Dip Sandwich

5 from 2 votes
Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker -- no extra work required!
Print Recipe

French Dip Sandwich

5 from 2 votes
Each French Dip Sandwich is loaded with fall-apart tender beef topped with melty cheese in a toasted garlic-seasoned hoagie roll. The slow cooker does the work to get the meat ultra tender and the sandwiches come together quickly and easily! Dip the sandwiches in the juices leftover in the slow cooker -- no extra work required!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword French Dip Sandwich
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 sandwiches
Calories 449kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $17.42

Equipment

  • 5 or 6-quart slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2.5 pounds beef chuck roast (Note 1)
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 2 small yellow onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (Note 2)
  • 2 cups beef broth (Note 3)
  • 1 bay leaf, optional
  • For serving: White sub rolls, softened butter, and slices of Provolone (or shredded Gruyere) cheese, for serving (Note 4)

Instructions

  • PREP BEEF: Remove beef from packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper to taste. I add 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (or 1 tablespoon Kosher salt) and 1 teaspoon pepper. Gently press seasonings into the meat.
  • CHAR BEEF: Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot) over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the pot, load in the beef. Brown for about 5 minutes or until you get a nice crust and it releases easily from the pan when lifted. Flip and brown for another 5 minutes. Don't skip this step. We are adding layers of flavor here. Once the beef is nicely seared with a good crust, remove it from the Dutch oven and place it in the slow cooker.
  • ONIONS: Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle in the seasonings (1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon thyme) and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Pour in the beef broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula as it bubbles. (This is where we're going to get loads of flavor.)
  • SLOW COOK: Pour all the contents of the pot into the slow cooker, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add bay leaf. Cover and cook for 7-9 hours on low or until meat is fall-apart tender. I don't recommend cooking on high, as it doesn't get nearly as tender. (But if you do, about 5-7 hours is how long it will take on high.) Pull out some butter now too so it will be nice and soft come time to make the sandwiches!
  • MAKE SANDWICHES: Use a sharp bread knife to slice sub rolls in half. Butter the insides of both pieces and lightly sprinkle with garlic powder (optional, but yum!). Place on a sheet pan and broil for 20 seconds, watching to avoid burning. Remove. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the slow cooker (shake off excess liquid) and place it on the bottom half of the rolls. Add cheese on top. Return to the oven and broil for 30 seconds to a minute or two, until cheese is melted and tops are light golden brown. Watch very closely-- they can go from perfect to burnt in seconds! Sandwich the two sides together. Spoon out liquid from the slow cooker into bowls and serve alongside (for dipping) with the sandwiches. Enjoy promptly out of the oven.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Beef chuck roast: We've tested this recipe using anywhere from 2.5 up to 3 pounds. If you use 3 pounds you'll need a bit more salt/pepper. Grab a well-marbled chuck roast for the best flavor. 
Note 2: Worcestershire sauce: Yes, it's a lot, but adds so much flavor! Use a good Worcestershire sauce for best results; this is our favorite!
Note 3: Beef Broth: we love Swanson's beef broth. We use regular, but get the low-sodium version if you prefer. Just keep in mind, a chuck roast does need a good amount of salt!
Note 4: Cheese: We love the ultra-thin sliced Provolone cheese. Swiss is another favorite and for a truly indulgent French dip try freshly grated Gruyere cheese -- delish!
Nutrition information: Calories only take into account the beef, since the bread and cheese calories will vary! If desired, you can strain the sauce through a fat skimmer to reduce the fat content of the au jus.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 781mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 5mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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9 Comments

  1. This looks so delicious Chelsea! I was wondering if it would be ok to cook the meat overnight, put in fridge in the morning before I go to work, and then reheat the sandwiches for dinner later?

    1. Thanks so much Michelle! So I actually did just that and we didn’t love it as much — the meat tasted a bit soggy (not sure how to describe it). What I have done is fully shred the meat, removing fat and liquid then adding it to a separate container from the liquid (au jus) and then reheated both gently over the stovetop. Not as good as right out of the crockpot, but better than letting the meat sit in the liquid in the fridge for an extended period of time! Hope that helps 🙂

      1. Thank you Chelsea! That’s helpful! I just put everything in the crockpot this morning and super excited for lunch time!

        I completely missed the bouillon powder and threw it in crockpot afterward. I hope it taste ok.

        I am thankful for your recipes!!! They are fantastic🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh. This is restaurant quality!! I followed the instructions with the exception of beef boullion (I didn’t have it). Definitely putting in the rotation! This was an amazing Saturday night dinner that felt like we were at a restaurant ordering it.

  3. Beef bullion is listed in the ingredient list but not in the instructions. Is the beef bullion supposed to be added in addition to the beef broth? Thanks!

  4. Looks great! Do you think the recipe could be scaled down/halved for a smaller serving size? If that’s not an option, would leftovers keep/freeze well?

    1. Absolutely! So much of this is just like making a regular sandwich you can make as much or as little as you’d like, you just might have a little bit of extra roast beef or cheese that you can use for another day!

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