These flavor-packed French Dip sandwiches are cooked slow and low in the crockpot, resulting in deliciously tender meat without all the work! The recipe includes instructions for making your own au jus from scratch, and Instant Pot instructions too! Using the slow cooker for these tasty sandwiches means you can have a dinner waiting for you without heating up the house in the process. This recipe contains no processed packets or gravy mixes, just pure from scratch goodness!
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Don’t you just love the crockpot for easy meals? Slow cookers make easy work of preparing a yummy supper for your family, with most of the hands on work done in the morning. This is great for those who work outside the home, but it’s great for stay at home moms too. There is something about the evening hour that brings out the crazy in the day, am I right?
So it’s great to not have to worry about getting a meal on the table when you have a toddler throwing a tantrum, a baby wanting to nurse, or a dozen broken eggs to clean up (ask me how I know?). Whatever your situation, chances are you love using the slow cooker to make easy work of those busy evening hours.
A Great Summer Crockpot Meal
As much as we love crockpot meals, then tend to be of the hot and soupy variety. This is great for those fall months, but when it comes to the summer we need an alternative to White Chicken Chili or Easy Pot Roast and Gravy! We need something that won’t heat up the house, and is great for serving up on those hot summer days. Enter these ah-may-zing French Dip sandwiches.
French Dip Sandwiches are the perfect summer crock pot meal (but can be eaten all year round, tbh). You can prep them in the cool morning hours, and then come home to shred the beef, reduce the au jus, and serve on store bought rolls. Easy, right? You can serve it with classic summer sides like Buttermilk Coleslaw or even just potato chips for a super easy meal.
Using The Leftovers
I also love this meal for leftovers. You can transform the leftover French dip meat into so many different dishes. I love making a panini with sourdough bread, or even adding to a tossed salad with ranch dressing for an easy on-the-go lunch for the following day. This is one recipe that is truly versatile and a comfort classic. I’m definitely going to be putting this on the meal plan rotation now that it’s warming up.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
The beauty of this recipe is how simple it is to make. You need just a few basic ingredients to create this tender, meaty sandwich filling.
- Beef Roast: You can use chuck, outside round, inside round, rump roast, or any other inexpensive beef roast. Be sure to trim off any large pieces of fat for the best results.
- Beef Broth: You can use commercially prepare beef broth, or you can use homemade beef bone broth. A lower sodium option is a good choice if using store bought, since it can be higher in sodium. You can always adjust your salt to taste if you find it needs more.
- Onion: You want to finely slice your onion. It will make its way into your au jus later on in the cooking process, so you want it to be as thin as possible.
- Olive Oil: This is rubbed on the outside of the beef roast, giving the seasonings something to stick to and providing flavor for the beef.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Beef’s best friend! Worcestershire sauce adds a lovely rich flavor, and just that special something we all know and love.
- Butter: This is my secret when it comes to sauces made with drippings. Something about a touch of butter makes the sauce so much more decadent and delightful. I always use salted butter for this purpose, but unsalted is fine if that’s what you have on hand.
- Rolls: Traditionally French bread or hoagie rolls are used, but you can use any longer sandwich style roll. You can also use homemade rolls if desired, but opt for something on the sturdy side since it will need to hold up to being dipped into au jus.
- Cheese: This is an optional ingredient, but who doesn’t love a little cheese added into the mix!? My preference for these crockpot French dip sandwiches is to use provolone, but you can use any melting cheese you prefer.
How to Make French Dip Sandwiches Using a Crockpot
It is SO EASY to make these sandwiches, you’re not even going to believe it! And then you’re going to want to make them again and again and again! These were always one of my favorite items to order when we went out to eat, but now that I can make them at home there is no stopping me!
All you have to do is layer one finely sliced onion in the bottom of a crockpot and rub a beef roast with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasonings.
Then, you pour in beef broth and some Worcestershire sauce. Cook this baby on low for 8-10 hours, and then you have the most succulent and tender sandwich beef to ever come out of a crockpot! With the drippings, we make a scrumptious au jus for dipping, which I detail below. You are going to be obsessed with this easy crockpot meal!
How to Make Au Jus for French Dip Sandwiches
The best part of a French Dip sandwich is the “dip” itself: au jus. This is just a fancy way of saying “with juice” and it’s comprised of the drippings from your cooked beef roast, plus a few other ingredients for flavor. It’s so easy to make your own au jus from scratch, and it absolutely makes the sandwich!
To make the au jus, you will start with the liquids left in the crockpot after you’re done cooking the meat for your French Dip sandwiches. Remove the meat from the crockpot and transfer the juices to a medium sized saucepan. Add the dried thyme and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
Once the mixture comes to a simmer, add your butter and stir well until melted. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer until the drippings reduce by 1/3. A good way to see how much the juices have reduced is by looking at the line on your saucepan. If you’re in a hurry, you can use a skillet like I did. This exposes more surface area, and evaporation happens a little more quickly than if you were to use a saucepan.
What cut of beef is best for French Dip?
Since you will be cooking your beef slow and low, you can make excellent use of some of the less expensive cuts of beef. Rump roast, chuck roast, and inside or outside round are all great options. I like to trim off any excess fat, but some marbling in the meat is fine and will add to the flavor of your French dip sandwiches.
What kind of cheese is best for French Dip sandwiches?
Any cheese that melts well can be used for French Dip sandwiches. Provolone is a mild cheese with excellent melting qualities, and so it is a top choice for French Dip. You can also use mozzarella, swiss or gruyere. Traditionally, French Dip sandwiches are served without cheese, but many prefer to top this delicious sandwich with a nice cheesy layer.
What kind of sauce can I serve on French Dip sandwiches?
Most French Dip recipes make an “au Jus” for dipping your sandwiches in (hence the name French “Dip”). This provides a lovely juicy, flavorful sauce for dipping your crusty sandwiches onto. If you really want to amp up the sauce game, you can add a horseradish mayo or homemade horseradish sauce to your sandwiches.
This recipe for Creamy Horseradish Sauce from A Family Feast looks absolutely delicious! I bet it would be amazing on these Crockpot French Dip sandwiches.
What Goes with French Dip Sandwiches?
There are so many great side dish options for French Dip sandwiches. Here are a few easy ones that are sure to satisfy:
- Potato chips
- French fries
- Coleslaw (like my Southern-style Buttermilk Coleslaw)
- Potato salad
- Crudités and Ranch dressing
- Tossed salad
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make French Dip sandwiches in the Instant Pot. While the slow and low cooking of a crockpot is preferred, you can still get great results from an Instant Pot. First, sear your roast on all sides using the “sauté” function of your Instant Pot. Deglaze the pot with your beef broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits. Add the remaining ingredients (except for cheese, bread, and butter) and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes.
Let the Instant Pot do a 30 minute natural pressure release, and then remove the beef to a plate. Shred or slice the beef as desired. Switch your Instant Pot to the “sauté” function add the butter to the juices. Stir well and slowly simmer until the au Jus has reduced and is thicker in consistency. Serve the shredded beef on hoagie rolls with cheese (optional) and provide a small bowl for dipping au jus on the side.
French bread or Hoagie rolls are the traditional bread used for French Dip sandwiches, but if you can’t find these in your local grocery store you can use any long sandwich style roll. Mini baguettes are a great option that hold up well in dipping your sandwich into au jus.
I find the meat dries out once it has been refrigerated, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be reheated! By using some of the au jus, and a little bit of water, I’ve had success with reheating the leftover meat in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Just add enough water to moisten the meat, and serve as desired.
You can use your leftover meat to make a classic sandwich, panini, quesadilla, wrap, or to top a salad.
Yes! Cool the meat completely before packing into freezer bags and removing all excess air. Place in the freezer on a flat surface and leave until frozen solid. Transfer the bag to a more convenient location in your freezer, or to a deep freeze. Thaw the meat completely before reheating with au jus or a little bit of water in a saucepan.
- 4 lbs Beef Chuck Roast (or any other inexpensive beef roast)
- 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. Ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. Dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Ground sage
- 1/2 tsp. Dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 1/2 cups Beef broth
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. Salted butter
- 8 Slices Provolone cheese
- 8 Hoagie rolls
- Add the finely sliced onion to the bottom of the slow cooker in an even layer.
- Combine the kosher salt, ground black pepper, oregano, sage, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub the beef roast with the olive oil and sprinkle all over with the spice blend. Rub it in well.
- Add the roast to the slow cooker.
- Add in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours, turning the beef once if you can.
- Remove the beef and slice or shred, as desired.
- Add the juices from the slow cooker to a small saucepan and add the dried thyme. Bring the drippings to a simmer over medium heat.
- Add the butter and stir until melted. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the jus is reduced by at least 1/3 (about 5 minutes).
Leftover French Dip meat can be reheated in a saucepan with a bit of the au jus and some water to help it remain moist. Then serve with leftover toasted buns, or make creative use of your leftovers by serving in a sandwich, quesadilla, or on top of salad.
1. Sear your roast on all sides using the "sauté" function of your Instant Pot.
2. Remove the roast from the Instant Pot and deglaze the pot with your beef broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (except for cheese, bread, dried thyme and butter) and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes.
4. Let the Instant Pot do a 30 minute natural pressure release, and then remove the beef to a plate. Shred or slice the beef as desired.
5. For the au jus: Switch your Instant Pot to the "sauté" function add the butter and dried thyme to the juices. Stir well and slowly simmer until the au Jus has reduced and is thicker in consistency.
6. Serve the shredded beef on toasted hoagie rolls with cheese (optional) and provide a small bowl for dipping au jus on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 1 Sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 753Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 981mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 68g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.
Origins of the French Dip Sandwich are Soaked in Mystery – Gunther Toody’s