French Dip Sandwich Recipe {Crockpot or Instant Pot}

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Featuring juicy, tender beef, provolone cheese, and the most flavorful au jus, this is the best French Dip Sandwich recipe. It can easily be made in the crockpot or Instant Pot – your choice!

The Best French Dip Sandwich Recipe

Whether you’re making a French dip sandwich for the first time or you’re looking for a quick and easy new recipe, you’ll love this slow cooker French dip sandwich recipe. Chuck roast is seasoned and then quickly seared before being placed in the slow cooker along with onions, broth, and beer. A few hours later and you have tender, juicy meat and super flavorful au jus – the perfect combination for the best beef dip sandwich.

Prefer using your Instant Pot? No worries – I’ve included directions for Instant Pot French dip sandwiches too. The end result is just as delicious and it comes together in just over an hour.

Over you have your shredded beef, add it to a toasted roll with provolone and serve with au jus on the side for dipping. The perfect dinner for busy weeknights!

Overhead view of French dip sandwiches on a cutting board

What Is A French Dip Sandwich?

A French Dip sandwich is made with thinly sliced or shredded beef on a French roll (or baguette), served with au jus on the side. It may or may not be topped with cheese and often comes toasted. The name French dip simply comes from it originally being served on a French roll and dipped into the au jus. You may also hear it referred to as a “beef dip sandwich”.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need just beef, seasonings and aromatics, broth, and a few other ingredients to make these mouth-watering beef dip sandwiches.

  • Beef chuck roast – When slow cooked, chuck roast becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper, oregano, and fresh thyme help season these beef sandwiches.
  • Olive oil – For sauteeing the onions.
  • Onions – I used yellow onions for a more mild flavor.
  • Garlic
  • Beef broth – I recommend low-sodium beef broth to avoid overly salty sandwiches.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds savory notes and depth to the flavor.
  • Beer – Beer helps to tenderize the beef and adds flavor to the sandwiches.
  • Provolone cheese – Melted on top to gooey, cheesy perfection!
  • Rolls – Any sturdy hoagie roll will do.

What is the Best Beef for French Dip?

I am using a whole chuck roast for making these. When cooked in the slow cooker the beef becomes tender and gets to the point it practically melts in your mouth. Rump roast is another good option.

What is the Best Bread for Beef Sandwiches?

When making these beef sandwiches, you want to make sure you are using a sturdy bread that won’t fall apart when dipped into the au jus.  I find that most hoagie or sub rolls work well, but I prefer a nice French bread when possible.  It has that tender soft bread inside and a crunchier crust that allows for a strong base for the sandwich that won’t fall apart easily when dipped.

Should I Add Cheese to My French Dip Sandwich?

Traditionally, when making a french dip sandwich, the cheese to use is provolone. I think it gives the best flavor and I love the texture it gives as it melts on the sandwich. If you have a cheese you prefer, you can change it to the one you like best, like Swiss or American. Or, alternatively, you can skip the cheese completely and keep the focus on the juicy, tender meat.

How to Make Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Making French dip sandwiches in the slow cooker is so easy. You’ll just need to sear the beef quickly and then let the crockpot do the rest of the work.

  • Sear the beef. Season the chuck roast with the salt, pepper, and oregano. Heat the oil over medium high. Sear the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set aside.
  • Cook the onions and garlic. Add the onions. Saute until softened, then add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add to the slow cooker. Place the onions, beef, and remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  • Shred the beef. Remove the beef from the slow cooker. Drain the sauce over a colander into a large bowl to thicken for the au jus. Shred the beef then return to the slow cooker with some of the juice to keep it moist.
  • Assemble the sandwiches. Place cheese on the inside of the hoagie rolls and toast on a baking sheet in the oven at 450F, just until the cheese melts. Top with the shredded beef and serve with aus jus on the side.

How to Make Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches

If you want to make your beef dip sandwiches a bit quicker, the Instant Pot also does the trick! And it all comes together in just 25 minutes.

  • Sear the beef. Season the beef with salt, pepper, and oregano. Turn the instant pot to SAUTE HIGH. Once the oil is hot, sear the beef for 5 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Cook the onions. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Press cook. Add the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker. Nestle the beef in the liquid. Add the lid and seal the valve. Cook on high for 45 minutes, then allow to naturally release for 25 minutes.
  • Shred the beef. Shred the beef and assemble the sandwiches as directed above.
A French dip sandwich without cheese

How to Thicken Au Jus

Au jus is the juice created when you’re cooking your beef. It can be poured into little serving dishes and served as-is or you can thicken it in more of a sauce. If you’d like to do that, all you need to do is:

  • Make the slurry. Melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute.
  • Add the au jus. Slowly whisk in the au jus. Continue whisking and bring it to a bowl. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Cool a bit. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. It will continue to thicken as it sits.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for serving up the best beef dip sandwiches.

  • Don’t skip the sear. While it may be tempting to just throw it all right in the crockpot, taking the extra 10 minutes to sear the roast really adds flavor to the recipe. I don’t recommend skipping it!
  • Don’t go crazy with the salt. When seasoning the beef, avoid being too heavy-handed with the salt – especially if you’re not using low-sodium broth.
  • What can I use instead of beer? If you don’t want to add beer, just use more beef broth. (Though keep in mind the beer is primarily for flavor – the alcohol will cook off.)
A slow cooker french dip sandwich cut in half

Serving Suggestions

I recommend toasting the buns before assembling and serving and adding the cheese so it gets perfectly toasted and melty in the oven. You can also just toast the rolls, add the beef, and top them with the provolone.

French dip sandwiches are always served with au jus on the side, whether you choose to thicken it or serve as-is.

For sides, chips, French fries, and coleslaw are all good options. You may want to add a side of roasted veggies to round out the meal as well.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Once assembled, the sandwiches should be enjoyed immediately. But the beef and au jus can be stored.

  • Fridge. Leftover French dip beef can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The au jus should be stored separately, although you want to keep some of the juices with the beef to prevent it from drying out.
  • Freezer. You can also freeze the beef. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container with some of the juice. Freeze for up to three months then thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheat. You can reheat leftover French dip beef in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker. Be sure to reheat with the juices to prevent it from drying out.

More Slow Cooker Recipes:

A slow cooker french dip sandwich cut in half
5 from 3 votes

French Dip Sandwich Recipe

Featuring juicy, tender beef, provolone cheese, and the most flavorful au jus, this is the best French Dip Sandwich recipe. It can easily be made in the crockpot or Instant Pot – your choice!
Servings: 10
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds whole beef chuck roast
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup beer
  • provolone sliced cheese
  • hoagie rolls

Thickened au jus-

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • au jus sauce

Instructions

Crockpot Directions

  • Season beef with salt, pepper, and oregano.
  • Warm oil over medium high heat on a large plan.
  • Sear seasoned beef on both sides until a beautiful brown sear color occurs (about 3-4 minutes per side).
  • Remove beef and set aside.
  • Into the same pan, add onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Place onions and beef and remaining ingredients into a slow cooker. Close with lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  • Once beef is cooked, remove beef and set to the side. Drain sauce over a colander into a large bowl. The juice left over is the au jus that can be thickened. (Note below.)
  • Shred beef and return to the slow cooker with some of the au jus to keep moist.
  • To assemble sandwiches, place cheese into the inside of a hoagie roll and toast in the oven over 450 degrees for a few minutes, or until cheese melts.
  • Top hoagie rolls with shredded beef.
  • Serve with au jus to dip into.
  • Serves: 8-10 sandwiches

Au just can be served as is, or can be thickened by cooking a slurry and adding in the au jus.

  • Melt butter in a medium pot over medium high heat.
  • Add flour, whisk and cook for a minute and slowly whisk in the au jus.
  • Continue whisking and let it come to a boil.
  • Once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, and the sauce will thicken a bit more once cooled down.

Instant Pot Directions

  • Season beef with salt, pepper, and oregano. Turn on pressure cooker to SAUTE HIGH and heat oil. Place seasoned beef in pot and sear for 5 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  • Add onions to the pot and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds.
    Place onions and remaining ingredients into Instant pot. Stir. Add beef back to pot, nestling in the liquid. Place on lid and seal valve. Cook on HIGH pressure 45 minutes then allow pressure to naturally release 25 minutes. Let out any remaining pressure.
  • Proceed with crockpot directions above.
  • For sandwiches: Preheat oven to 375°F. Open up sliced hoagie buns and butter the insides. Place opened buns on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, add a slice of provolone cheese to each roll, and bake for 1 minute longer. Divide beef between buns and serve immediately serving with au jus for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 10g | Calories: 322.12kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 27.17g | Fat: 21.02g | Saturated Fat: 8.18g | Cholesterol: 96.9mg | Sodium: 601.69mg | Potassium: 567.63mg | Fiber: 0.58g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 68.98IU | Vitamin C: 2.17mg | Calcium: 39.88mg | Iron: 3.4mg

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7 comments on “French Dip Sandwich Recipe {Crockpot or Instant Pot}”

  1. Hi I want to make this but I don’t want to add the beer. Is there anything I can substitute or can I just leave it out?

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe once already and it is DELICIOUS. Husband approved! I am having a small diner party and wanted to make this into sliders. Therefore, I need to double the recipe. Would I be able to put two roasts in the same crockpot?

    1. Thanks Ashley, I think it would depend on the size of the roasts and the crockpot. Make sure you have some room around the sides.

  3. 5 stars
    My mom made this for us for lunch last week and it was AMAZING!! I am gluten and dairy free so she had to make a few substitutions but it was soooooo yummy!!! I just printed the recipe so I could make if for my family. Thank you! 🙂

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