This easy Italian beef au jus recipe is made in the slow cooker with minimal prep. Seasoned to perfection, this slow cooked beef is served with the best au jus, on french rolls with your favorite giardiniera.
Italian beef sandwiches are a classic Chicago food and something our family misses since moving away. They are typically thinly sliced beef served with au jus or gravy. They can be topped with hot or mild giardiniera, sweet peppers, pepperoncini peppers or sometimes cheese.
This simple recipe for homemade Italian beef sandwiches is a great meal that the entire family will love. Serve these delicious sandwiches alongside baked mostaccioli, minestrone soup or cast iron pizza for the perfect meal!
For even more delicious recipes, check out what to serve with Italian beef for other salads, pastas, veggies and more!
🍅 Ingredient notes
- Beef - A boneless chuck roast is the best cut of beef for making Italian beef sandwiches. It's well marbled and breaks down into a super tender beef that melts in your mouth. Top sirloin, top round or bottom round also have great flavor and could be used as an alternative cut of meat.
- Rolls - French rolls are typically used for Italian beef sandwiches. Other types of hoagie rolls or buns can be used as well. It's best to choose something pretty sturdy so it holds up well with the juices and gravy dip.
- Toppings - We like our Italian beef sandwiches classically served with hot or mild giardiniera. This is an Italian-style relish made of mixed vegetables that have been pickled. It's briny and spicy flavor pairs perfectly with the rich and hearty beef. Sweet or hot peppers can also be added as well whole pepperoncinis or a slice or two of provolone cheese or mozzarella cheese.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Gluten Free - To make these Italian beef sandwiches gluten free, simply serve them on a gluten free french roll or lettuce wraps.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, season the roast with salt and pepper. Sear it in a large skillet on medium-high heat on the stovetop until it's well browned on both sides. Then, place it in the bottom of a slow cooker.
Add the onions and garlic, along with all of the seasonings to the pan. Sauté over medium heat for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
Add some of the beef broth to the skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping all of the browned bits off of the bottom. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce and then pour it over the beef in the crock pot.
Add the remaining beef broth to the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the roast is very tender. Using kitchen tongs or two forks, shred the meat into small pieces.
Mix the shredded meat with the juices and serve it on the french rolls topped with the giardiniera, if desired.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Searing the roast in the skillet and sautéing the garlic and onions is an easy way to add a ton of flavor. In a pinch, everything can just be added to the crock pot and cooked as directed.
- Make sure the beef roast is cooked until it is super tender so that the connective tissue has time to break down and make it easy to shred.
- This Italian beef recipe can be served "dry" with just the beef on the bread. They can also be served "wet" with extra au jus sauce ladled over the whole sandwich. Alternatively, they can be served with the au jus on the side as a gravy dip or french dip style sandwich.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Beef broth is a liquid that is cooked with beef and vegetables to become a flavorful liquid. Au jus is the pan drippings that come from cooking beef that sometimes includes the addition of beef broth or beef stock.
Italian beef is typically slow cooked with Italian herbs and spices, thinly sliced and topped with giardiniera or sweet peppers. French dip is typically just thinly sliced roast beef cooked in beef broth and served with the au jus on the side for dipping.
🥘 Alternative cooking methods
OVEN - Follow the directions for searing the beef as well as cooking the onions and garlic. After the beef broth is reduced with the onions and garlic, add the roast back to the skillet. Add the remaining beef broth, cover and cook in a 300˚ oven for 3-4 hours until tender enough to shred. Make sure to use a large oven proof skillet or dutch oven so you have room for the roast and the broth.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
This Italian beef sandwich recipe can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Make sure to cool the beef completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The shredded beef can be heated back up in the crock pot, the oven or also in the microwave. Make sure to add some of the au jus so that the beef doesn't dry out.
🥡 Storage suggestions
Leftover Italian beef au jus will keep for 3-5 days when stored separately from the rolls in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Make sure to cool it completely before storing.
🥘 More slow cooker recipes
If you loved this Italian beef au jus recipe, check out these other slow cooker recipes that I know you will love too.
Italian Beef Au Jus Recipe
- 3-4 pound beef chuck roast
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced thinly
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cups beef broth divided
- french rolls
- hot or mild giardiniera
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat on the stove top and season both sides of the chuck roast with the salt and pepper.
- Add the olive oil to the skillet and sear the roast in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove the roast from the pan and place it in the slow cooker.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the onions, garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes, while stirring occasionally until the onions start to soften.
- Deglaze the pan by adding 1 cup of the beef broth and scraping the bottom of the skillet to remove any stuck on bits.
- Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced and then pour it over the beef roast in the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining beef broth to the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender.
- Using two forks or kitchen tongs, shred the beef into smaller pieces and mix it with the juices.
- Serve the beef on the french rolls topped with the giardiniera.
- Searing the roast in the skillet and sautéing the garlic and onions adds a ton of flavor. In a pinch, everything can just be added to the crock pot and cooked as directed.
- Sandwiches can be served "dry" with just the beef on the bread, "wet" with extra au jus sauce ladled over the sandwich or with the au jus on the side for a gravy dip or french dip style sandwich.
Substitutions and Variations
- Beef - A boneless chuck roast is the best cut of beef for making Italian beef sandwiches. Top sirloin, top round or bottom round could also be used.
- Rolls - French rolls are typically used for Italian beef sandwiches. Other types of hoagie rolls or buns can be used as well. Make sure they are sturdy so they hold up well to the juices.
- Toppings - Instead of giardiniera, sweet or hot peppers, pepperoncinis or sliced mozzarella or provolone can be added.
- Gluten Free - Serve the beef on a gluten free french roll or lettuce wraps.
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