Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
Learn how to make french dip sandwiches in the slow cooker. The meat is slow cooked with onions, garlic, and herbs. In the end, you’ve got the most tender beef and au jus. Add the meat to your favorite hoagie rolls. Top with cheese and pop it into the oven to get it all nice and toasty. Then, serve it with our homemade dipping sauce!
French Dip Sandwiches!
Tender slices of beef that has been slow cooked for hours in the crockpot with onions and garlic and herbs. Then, we stuff it between a soft hoagie roll and layer on a little cheese and give a little oven lovin’ till it’s all crispy crunchy. And on the side is a bowl of that au jus to dip and dunk your french dip sandwich in till your heart is content.
A couple of weeks back I ran a poll on Instagram to see whether you guys wanted to see my recipe for 20-minute instant pot mashed potatoes first or this fall-apart tender french dip sandwich. And though the taters won by a hair, (seriously, like two votes) I knew it would be a great day when I could share my crock pot version of this classic beef sandwich with you.
What I love about this french dip sandwich (and most slow cooker recipes) is that you can toss it all into the slow cooker in the morning right before you head out the door for work. Before a family member can make their way to the door to greet you, you’ve got the most heavenly smells of slow-cooked beef welcoming you inside. Seriously, take my word on this. Your house is going to smell AH-MAZING when you put these easy french dip sandwiches together!
For those that work from home, (the way I do) you know how hard it is to concentrate on work when you can smell the salty, savory contents of your crock pot just bubbling away a few doors over. The time I made ropa vieja (or Cuban shredded beef) I was quarantined upstairs, entirely away from the kitchen, trying hard to focus. We all know I got zero work done that day. All I could think about was running downstairs, lifting the lid off my slow cooker and getting in a few good sniffs. It’s the hardest thing for me to not do that every 5 minutes.
And while we’re on the subject, I find there are two types of people in this world. The kind that loves when their house smells like their dinner and the type that despises it. I fall into the first category (as well as the hubby, thank god). But I know a few people that loathe it. They’ll light candles, plug-in candle warmers, or burn incense.
Me? I’ll just plop myself on the couch and let all those incredible smells waft through the house and make my stomach growl. Seriously, wrap yourself all around me, I don’t mind.
WHY YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THESE FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES:
- It’s easy to put together: I just need about 20 minutes of your time, and I promise you, these french dip sandwiches will be extra special. When you take that time to saute the onions and sear the beef, you’re rewarded with the most flavorful sandwiches you’ve ever eaten. Of course, there are people that will say searing isn’t necessary and there’s no need for it. I am not that person. I say sear, sear, sear!
- Simple ingredients: nothing fancy to see here! We’ve got beef, onions, broth, Worcestershire, garlic, and herbs. One thing that I always like to use when I’m making french dip sandwiches is a little soy sauce. In fact, it’s anytime I use beef or beef broth. Soy sauce adds a lot of that umami flavor to the au jus and helps the meat become a little more tender too. We likey umami.
- That dipping sauce: while we’re on the topic, that dipping sauce is something to write home about! Unlike many of the recipes for french dip sandwiches, my goal was to use the least amount of cans as possible. My goal is and always will be to eat and cook using the least amount of cans. Not saying you have to do this, but if you’ve got homemade beef broth tucked away in your freezer, use it here. It makes this recipe a whole lot more delicious! Combined with the Worcestershire, soy sauce, and all those dried herbs, that sauce is so good you can slurp it with a spoon!
- You can freeze it! We’re using 3 – 3 ½ pounds worth of beef roast, and if it’s just 1-2 people (the way it is for us), that’s a whole lot of meat to have around. So when I make this, sometimes, I pop the sliced beef and au jus into separate containers and share some with parents. Or I’ll just pop those containers into the freezer and then pull them out when I’m too lazy to cook.
That beef is so soft and tender you’re gonna want to skip the bread entirely and just pop it directly into your mouth. In times like these, being the food maker does have its advantages!
And when you’re finally done quality testing, grab a bag of the softest hoagie or bolillo rolls you can find and pile on the meat, and cheese. May I make a suggestion: provolone or gruyere or gouda if you’re super fancy or even mozzarella. Basically, any melty cheese that tickles your fancy. Pop it into the oven for a few minutes to just melt and get all gooey delicious.
Strain the dipping sauce while you wait and make sure you give yourself more than you think you’ll need because these french dip sandwiches are seriously amazing!
- 3 - 3 ½ pounds beef eye of round or rump roast
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (red or yellow)
- 7-10 cloves garlic, minced (if you LOVE garlic, use 10!)
- 3 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (salt-free)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 hoagie rolls
- sliced provolone/mozzarella (or shredded gruyere)
- SEAR: Season the beef generously with a bit of salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the meat on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Place the roast in the slow cooker. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to skillet and the sliced onions. Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes or until they start to soften.
- SLOW COOKER: Add the onions to the slow cooker along with the remaining slow cooker ingredients, cover and let cook on low for 6-8 hours.The liquid may not cover the roast entirely, and that's okay. Sometime during those 6-8 hours, just give it a quick flip. You can also cook it on high but I find the meat doesn’t get as tender as it does when cooked low and slow. When the beef is cooked, remove from the broth to a cutting board and shred or slice the meat against the grain (this makes it even more tender). Add the beef back into the slow cooker for just a few minutes so it soaks up some of the juices (with the slow cooker off).
- SANDWICHES: Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Peel back the hoagie rolls. Pile on the meat, top with sliced cheese. Cover the rolls and bake until the cheese melts (about 6-10 minutes). While the sandwiches are baking, remove any remaining meat to air-tight containers and strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Serve the au jus (cooking liquid) with the sandwiches! Any leftover au jus should be stored in a separate container from the meat so the meat doesn’t fall apart.
- Leftover meat and au jus can be frozen in air-tight containers separately.