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Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich

French Dip Sandwich

If you’ve never had a French dip sandwich, you’re missing out. The sandwich starts out with beef that is roasted until extremely tender, which is then thinly sliced and put onto a not-too-crusty roll, either with or without cheese. The juice from cooking the meat is collected, seasoned and poured into a small dish. As you eat the sandwich, you dip each bite into the juices on the side, making the meat extra juicy and getting a huge boost of flavor.

The sandwich is not french at all. The name comes from the fact that it is made with a french roll – a medium sized white bread roll that resembles a baguette with a softer crust and makes good sandwiches in general – and it is dipped into beef juices as you eat it. Dipping does not make the bread soggy, much as dipping a cookie into a glass of milk does not make it soggy as long as you pick up the cookie and eat the milk-soaked bit immediately; prolonged soaking will cause sogginess, but that is why the sandwich is called a dip and not a soak.

I love this sandwich, but not all restaurants do it well, so I’ve been wanting to try and make it at home for some time. I started with an extremely popular recipe from Allrecipes that calls for using a slow cooker to make the meat tender. I used the same technique, but changed some of the flavoring ingredients and used a different cut of beef. The result was amazing. The beef was incredibly flavorful, as was the “au jus” that the recipe produced. I made three huge sandwiches with it but if I had used smaller rolls, I would have been able to easily satisfy 4-6 people. This is definitely a new staple recipe for me.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
approx 3 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast
16-oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 10.5-oz. can condensed French onion soup
6-oz red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese, optional

Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.
Pour beef broth, condensed French onion soup, red wine and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slow cookers have different time intervals that you can select, so work with your cooker. Depending on how the settings on your slow cooker work, the time will vary. Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. Mine took 7 1/2 hours and was falling apart tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low or very low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls, if using. Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the beef juice* into ramekins or other small bowls and eat everything while it is hot. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.

Seves 4-6.

*Note: If there is excess fat in your au jus, simply pour it from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup and let it stand for about 5 minutes so the fat separates. Skim it off, then pour the juice into serving cups.

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122 Comments
  • Lori
    February 27, 2008

    That looks so good! I’ve had French dips that are good and some that weren’t so good at restaurants. I may have to try this one.

  • Dani
    February 27, 2008

    Oh my. That looks terrific. Cooler weather wil be hitting the southern hemisphere soon and I’ll be cranking up the crockpot. This is definitely on my list of things to try.

  • Kalyn
    February 27, 2008

    I’m saving this recipe right now. This was my absolute favorite food in the world when I was in college; I used to eat a French Dip sandwich at least once a week.

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    February 27, 2008

    My new slow cooker will be very happy to have me cook this dish in it!

  • Carrie
    February 27, 2008

    Oh, man, I just gave up red meat for health reasons a month ago, but this recipe doesn’t make it easy! That looks amazing!

  • Miso Doll
    February 28, 2008

    I love french onion soup! We are travelling and i don’t have my slow cooker now but i can’t wait to try this recipe out.

  • bfmomma
    February 28, 2008

    Similar to one that a friend shared about 5 years ago… in that one, you put in two envelopes of Good Seasons Italian Dressing and 2 cups of water. To make it even better, half an hour before serving, stir in half a jar of either sandwich pepper rings (mild) or Giardinera (spicy). YUM! I need to make some soon… 🙂

  • Karen
    February 28, 2008

    French dip sandwiches are my favorite–even my supremely health-conscious mother will indulge in a warm French dip with steak fries at our neighborhood family restaurant. It’s such great, simple comfort food! Thanks for the slow-cooker idea, what a treat!

  • Deborah
    February 28, 2008

    This is one of my favorite sandwich! I’m saving this recipe!

  • Carrie
    February 29, 2008

    This looked so good that I had to make it last night. It was delicious.
    Can’t wait to have leftovers tonight!

  • Andrea
    February 29, 2008

    Oh, I love French Dip sandwiches, but you are right that so many restaurants botch them up with yucky overly-fatty meat. This one looks really good!

  • lowrahk
    March 3, 2008

    Once again, I was not disappointed when I tried this recipe! Thank you! We had a few people over and we pigged out on these delicious sandwiches. The provolone was so necessary. Served with succulent asparagus. I really enjoy your simple, tasty, flavorful recipes!

  • Christy
    March 5, 2008

    I am definitely going to save this one! We recently tried a slow cooker french dip and it didn’t turn out quite so well, so looking forward to trying this.

  • bobafred
    March 12, 2008

    we made this last night and it was insane. make it and eat it, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Greg
    March 15, 2008

    We made this and it was incredible! Easy and delicious! The meat was so tender it shredded rather than sliced. We put it on ciabatta rolls and grilled them in the panini maker. I guess you could say we had Italian Dip sandwiches. They were great. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Carrie
    March 19, 2008

    Could you use a dutch oven for this recipe? My crock pot is on the fritz, but I’d love to make it!
    Would you simply cook it on low for 7 hrs on the stove?
    Thanks,
    Carrie

  • A
    April 16, 2008

    I tried this recipe and it was absolutely divine! I also was able to use leftovers to make some tasty beef barley soup. I hope you don’t mind that I posted your recipe on my food blog as well (come check it out!) with plenty of credit and links. If it’s a problem, let me know and I’ll take it down.

    I love your blog and check it out frequently. Thanks for all the tasty recipes and info! Being new to the food blogging world, any advice you have for a novice would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • caitlyn
    May 5, 2008

    We just made this last night and it was *delicious*! Thank you so much for this recipe — I am excited to have another easy slow cooker dish!

  • Lynne
    May 13, 2008

    There are three different possible sources for the name of this sandwich: 1. The originator was French; 2. The roll it is served on is French; 3. French was the last name of the first person to eat one. To check out the story, go to the website for the restaurant that invented the French Dip sandwich: http://www.philippes.com

  • Sarah
    December 14, 2008

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve made it a few times now and it’s always delicious.

  • holly_44109
    April 2, 2009

    Made this last night and am going to make your pulled pork recipe over the weekend. Yummy!!!

  • Rebecca
    May 11, 2009

    My family LOVED this and the pulled pork. My husband would like to have this every day.

  • Kylee Duff
    April 11, 2010

    This was so yummy! Thanks for the amazing recipes, I want to look through the rest of your recipes! Thanks!

  • Amanda
    September 29, 2011

    I am so glad I found this just in time for the weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  • K
    September 29, 2011

    I’m nervous I’m going to put too much salt and pepper…I’m a beginning cook, so any advice I’d love! I don’t know why I’m so nervous, I just dont want to ruin it!

  • KARI
    October 4, 2011

    SOUNDS DELISH…IS IT RED WINE OR RED WINE VINEGAR?

  • Brett Bralley
    October 5, 2011

    I am so happy I found this. French Dips are a sort of comfort food for me. A Los Angeles native, I crave them from Philippe’s (the spot they were invented). But now I’m far from home, and I can’t wait to make them this weekend!

  • Gina
    October 27, 2011

    This recipe is DELISH!!! My husband and I have already made it twice & easiest thing ever to make!

  • Meredith
    October 31, 2011

    I made this on 10/30/2011 and it was a really good sandwich! I used Merlot for the red wine, and a loaf of french bread, along with provolone cheese. I cooked on high for 4 hours, but think I will cook on low next time. I still haven’t figured out how to slice the meat so it doesn’t come out like beef stew!

  • Sara
    November 6, 2011

    This was good, I will say that our chuck roast did not slice. It was more like shredded pot roast sandwich, which was still very good, I must say. I am not sure which cut of meat that would give you more of a sliced sandwich. If anyone knows, I would love to know also:) This was simple and good. We served on little ciabatta buns.

  • Rachel Wilkerson
    November 8, 2011

    I love French dips and I love my slow cooker…so glad I found this recipe!

  • lynda
    November 25, 2011

    i have the same question as someone else…red wine or red wine vinegar? thanks

  • Laurel
    November 30, 2011

    Great recipe! I used horseradish cheese instead of the provolone. It really complimented the beef.

  • shirley
    December 5, 2011

    For those asking: Use Red Wine! 6 oz. of red wine vinegar would not be so great…

  • Lisa Jones
    December 5, 2011

    What kind of red wine?

  • Carlene
    December 8, 2011

    What if you don’t have the wine. Do you reccomend something else, or would it be okay to just leave it out altogether?

  • LuLu
    December 30, 2011

    THe secret to slicing this without having it become pulled beef is to make it the day before you need it. Put the cooked beef in the fridge (along with the yummy juices) overnight. Once it’s cold, it slices like a dream. Just like at the deli!

  • Patience
    December 31, 2011

    We tried this recipe today and they turned out fantastic. We used Merlot as our red wine and I used those new Knorr Homemade stock concentrate with boiling water. The flavor was amazing! I agree with the others that my chuck roast shredded more than sliced, but it was still delicious nonetheless.

  • Amy
    January 5, 2012

    I made this yesterday for dinner. OMGosh it was so darn YUMMY!!!!!! Toasted bread nice crisp. It was great for lunch today to

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