Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches is an easy and hearty recipe for any day of the week. The beef chuck roast is seared then cooked slowly in the crockpot with the au jus for exceptional flavor development!
Wondering what to serve with French dip sandwiches? Try my Twice Baked Potatoes, Buttered Veggies, or Oven Roasted Broccoli. I’m so excited for you to try this delicious crockpot French dip! This recipe has amped up flavors — beef bouillon cubes, soy sauce, and an array of spices — make this recipe one you’ll come back to time and time again.
Why This Recipe Works
- Flavorful au jus. I’m not a fan of au jus when it is one singular flavor. That’s why I added soy sauce to provide a nice salty element and a couple of spices to add a depth of flavor. Au jus should be rich in flavor and salty. Do yourself a favor and save this au jus recipe! It’s so good!
- Juicy French dip meat. They key to juicy and tender meat is getting a good sear. By searing the meat, we create a crust on the meat. The crust seals in the meat juices so the flavor stays inside as the meat cooks.
- Tender beef chuck roast. The beef is incredibly tender for a few reasons. By cooking the meat low and slow (in a crockpot), the meat will retain moisture as it cooks instead of drying out by cooking at a high temperature really fast. The second reason is due to the Coke! Make au jus with Coke is helpful because the carbonation in the Coke helps to tenderize the meat. For another delicious recipe using beef chuck roast, try my Shredded Beef Ragu!
- Beef Chuck Roast: Chuck roast comes from the shoulder. Searing chuck roast helps develop flavor and cooking it slowly in the slow cooker helps maintain a tender texture.
- Oil: Vegetable oil or canola oil work well. Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point so it works better than olive oil.
- Hoagie Buns: If you place a lot of meat in each bun you’ll easily get 6 sandwiches. We got 10-12. Feel free to serve this French dip with your favorite buns. You can serve them on small rolls for French dip sliders!
- Provolone Cheese: You can use provolone slices, Mozzarella, Swiss, or Monterey Jack. I’d keep it to one of these cheeses since they all have a similar mellow flavor.
- Coke: Not only does the flavor of the Coke contribute to the flavor of the au jus, but the carbonation helps to tenderize the meat.
- Beef Bouillon: I use the better than bouillon paste from Costco, but you can use 3 cubes of bouillon, crushed.
- Spices: Adding additional spices to the au jus helps enhance the flavor so it isn’t bland. You want more than just the beef broth flavor to it. Adding garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, thyme, bay leaf and dried minced onions brings a delicious depth of flavor.
- Sear the roast. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the roast on each side until brown in color (about 2 minutes per side). Add the seared roast to the slow cooker.
- Add ingredients to the crockpot. Add all the ingredients (except for the cheese and bread) into the crockpot.
- Cook on low. Cook the meat on low for 4 hours.
- Cut into slices. Remove the meat and cut into thin slices. Place the sliced meat back in the crockpot and cook on low for 1-2 hours. (I cooked our s for 1.5 hours.)
- Strain. Remove the bay leaf from the mixture. Strain the fat from the sauce.
- Toast the buns. Place the buns on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-6 minutes at 350°F.
- Line with meat and cheese. Add the sliced meat to the buns and top with slices of provolone cheese. Place the buns back in the oven to melt the cheese.
- Remove and serve. Remove the slow cooker French dip sandwiches from the oven and serve alongside the au jus from the crockpot.
Ever wonder why we sear meat? Or how to sear meat? As I mentioned above, it helps develop flavor, but here’s why! When you pan sear beef, you’re quickly cooking the outer surface of the meat at a really high temperature so that it caramelizes and forms a crust. This crust then keeps all the delicious juices from the meat inside as it cooks!
When searing, use vegetable oil (not olive oil). Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point. Set a cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer add the meat. Resist the urge to check on the meat. Meat takes a few minutes to properly sear.
It’s important to toast the bread so that it doesn’t get soggy as you melt the cheese in the oven. Another option is to just add the cheese to the bread and melt that, then remove the hoagies with melted cheese and place the meat on and serve.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Store any leftover meat in the au jus sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat the meat in the au jus to retain as much moisture as possible and not dry out the meat.
To freeze the au jus, store in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the freezer. Another trick is to let the au jus cool completely and pour into an ice cube tray, freeze, then transfer the cubes to a Ziplock bag. The au jus will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months.
Yes! I promise you’ll thank me. Searing meat produces a nice crust on the exterior of the meat. This is due to the high temperature at which the meat is seared. That crust then keeps all those delicious juices inside the meat while it cooks, meaning the meat is juicier, more flavorful and much more tender!
Sure! I’d choose one that’s close to Coke for the mere flavor. I haven’t made this recipe with anything but Coke, but I bet you could use root beer or Pepsi. I’m not so sure how Dr. Pepper would turn out with it since it has a bit more of a complex flavor.
I’ve only made this recipe in a slow cooker, but if you’d like to do French dip instant pot style, I would consult with your instant pot manual/instructions to see the process for cooking a chuck roast of this size.
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- 3 lb beef chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon oil - olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil work well
- 8-12 hoagie buns - if you place A LOT of meat in each bun you’ll easily get 6 sandwiches. We got 10-12
- Provolone cheese
- 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup Coke
- 3 1/4 cups reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon - or 3 cubes crushed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- pinch thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup dried minced onions
- In a large skillet set over medium high heat, heat the oil. Sear the roast on all sides until browned, about 2 minutes each side. Place the seared roast in the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the crock pot: soy sauce, coke, beef broth, beef bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and dried minced onions.
- Cook on low for 4 hours.
- Remove roast from slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Cut the roast into thin slices. Return the sliced meat to the slow cooker and cook on low for another 1-2 hours. (I cooked ours for 1.5 hours).
- Remove bay leaf. Strain the fat from the broth. You'll use this broth for dipping.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the hoagie rolls on a baking sheet. Place the buns in the oven for 5-6 minutes or until toasted. Then add meat to one side of the bun and then place 1-2 slices of provolone cheese atop the meat. Place the meat covered hoagies back in the oven until cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven. Serve with the reserved au juice.
This recipe was originally published on May 3, 2018. It was republished on March 17, 2022, to include additional information and photos.