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.

121 comments

  1. Marcia – As long as your slow cooker can hold a larger amount of meat, etc., you can absolutely double or triple this recipe.

  2. Oh man! I just came across this recipe and it looks fabulous!! I’m making it on payday for sure!! :)
    If you’re short on time, you can get angus roast beef at the deli and pan fry it in au jus also. We do that with ciabatta rolls when we’ve got a french dip craving.

  3. What would be a good substitute for the red wine? I don’t drink and would rather not use it in my baking. Looks really good!

  4. I made this for my significant other (who loves french dip like you could not imagine), and we both loved it. However, it tastes nothing like a french dip. Instead, it’s almost like eating a shredded pot roast on a french roll. For someone looking for that authentic-tasting french dip, it’s not that. But it is really, really delicious.

  5. What kind of red wine do you use or recommend?! I do not drink it so want to make sure I buy the right thing. Thanks.

  6. Sounds wonderful! I’d like to try making this in my thermal cooker, a sort of traditional electricity-free slow cooker that uses residual heat in an insulated pot to cook a meal – they used to be called “hay boxes” . Because thermal cookers don’t use electricity, I won’t be able to follow through on the instruction to slice the meat, then return to the crockpot on ‘slow’ unless I return some liquid to the pot and rewarm it. What’s the purpose of this step? Will it still be a proper French-dip sandwich if I skip it? Could I rest the sliced meat in its braising liquid? Thanks!

  7. I subbed the onion soup with a packet of lipton beefy onion, and then just added 10.5 oz water, but next time I will only do half a packet. I have a dairy allergy so I cant do the condensed soup. Tastes delicious, The meat has more of the pot roast flavor but I think thats expected when using a slow cooker, the au jus tastes very much like a french dip! used red cooking wine and it worked great! Thanks for the recipe its a keeper! We also pair it with baked yukon gold french fries. Delicious!

  8. OMGosh!!! This was the best sandwich ever!!! And I don’t really like these types of sandwiches!! I’m making it again this week, but getting an even bigger roast so that we can have more left overs! I can’t wait to make this for our church group! Thanks so much for the recipe!!! :D

  9. I made this as well. Didn’t have the condensed French Onion Soup, so instead I used Watkins Onion Soup Flavoring and mixed that with 10.5oz of water. Was FABULOUS!

  10. I don’t drink and also don’t want any alcohol in something i will be feeding my kids, so I was wondering if there is something I could use to substitute the wine?

  11. @adri – the alcohol should cook out

  12. Adri, the alcohol will cook out of the wine, so it is safe for the kids. I have it in the crock right now. Can’t wait!

  13. You will be fine leaving the wine out. This recipe is amazing!
    The broth, onion soup, meat and slow cooking gives it wonderful flavor! I didn’t even put the garlic in it.
    You will not be disappointed!

  14. It’s a myth that all the alcohol cooks out. I love making au jus out of beef broth and drippings. I don’t use alcohol and I add a dash of worchestershire sauce. This recipe looks great! I’m always curious what cuts of meat other ppl use. Thanks for posting this!

  15. I do this & it is one of our favorites.Ican beef broth, 1 pkg. onion soup mix,1 bottle of beer. That’s it.YUM!!

  16. You don’t have to add the wine if you’re not a drinker, my mom used to make this recipe ALL the time and never added wine, we’re not drinkers.

  17. This recipe has become a family favorite because it’s so yummy and so filling.
    I use a splash of cooking sherry (‘cuz that’s usually all I have), and Lipton onion soup mix, and then serve it open faced on big bakery buns…

  18. Not so good. Does not taste like French dip and that’s the taste I wanted. Tastes like eating pot roast on a bun.

  19. Had this dish with my family. It was delicious and my house smelled good all day.

  20. For those of you who are worried about feeding this to your children since it has alcohol in it, don’t worry. The alcohol will cook out completely by the time the meat is done. The wine is just there for flavor.

  21. The alcohol will definitely cook out and the added flavour makes the wine key. When cooking with wine, you should never use a wine that you wouldn’t drink on it’s own. If you don’t drink, I highly recommend a Beaujolais.

  22. I was tentative to try this recipe because of multiple reviews that said it just tastes like a pot roast on a French roll, and yes, the texture is just that. I couldn’t find a way to slice it to get the nice, thin slices of French dip like at a restaurant (probably user error) but as far as flavor goes it was spot on!! I even had a different size chuck roast (smaller) so I didn’t convert the ingredients and measure them out for my size roast and it still turned out great with me just throwing things into the crock pot. My house smelled amazing all day and it was so easy, definitely a no hassle meal for a night when you know you wont have time to cook.
    As far as the alcohol goes its actually not at all a myth that it burns out. I don’t drink and I’m pregnant so to be on the safe side I heated it and let it reduce in a small pan for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently before throwing it in and letting it cook for an additional 8 hours. Trust me, if there were any alcohol left I’d get a lot more from a shot of benedryl than from this.

  23. Thank you for this recipe. I’m 12 weeks pregnant and have just gotten past the yucky morning sickness every single day phase. Food has suddenly sounded so good. Unfortunately, I’ve been wanting food that’s not so good for me. My latest craving has been an Arby’s french dip sandwich with seasoned fries. I found this recipe and it hit the spot perfectly!! I was so thankful to have leftovers. Oh man it’s probably the best thing I’ve cooked in a long time. I did make a few changes- I didn’t have the red wine, so I used cofee instead and a few dashes of worcestshire sauce. It defintely tasted like a french dip sandwich- not pot roast on a bun like others had said. I put it on ciabatta rolls with a slice of provolone cheese and toasted it in the oven and we had it with oven seasoned fries. I could close my eyes and swear I was eating at a bar and grill type place. Definitely better than Arby’s!! Thanks again :)

  24. Tried this and it was awesome!! Used onion soup mix with 10oz of water, 5 oz coffee and 1 oz worchester since we did not have red wine. Very moist and delicious, will make again & again

  25. Another version of French Dip sandwitches is as follows.
    1 Can french onion soup
    1 Can beef Consume
    1 Can Campbells beef broth
    2 tsp beef bouilion granuals (I crush 2 bouillon cubes)
    3 Pounds of the cheapest cut of beef such as chuck roast or rump roast.

    Put beef in crock pot, add all 3 soups and bouillon granuals. Cook over night on low for about 10 hours. Wake up shread beef with 2 forks and leave in crock pot in warm. Put beef on hoagie rolls with shreadded motzerella cheese and serve with some of the broth from crockpot to dip.

  26. Made this last night and the dinner table was very quiet. It was delicious! Husband’s comment was “perfect”.

  27. Nicole, this is in my crock pot right now, and it smells incredible! Can’t wait to eat it. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Patty

  28. I made this last night and it came out amazing, The texture said pot roast, but the taste said French dip. My picky 8yo ate two sandwiches (small rolls) and asked if we could put the leftovers in his lunch box for today – I call that a success! (and he normally won’t touch pot roast). I served the sandwiches on heated water rolls (French rolls were nowhere to be found, and with an egg allergy in the family, finding rolls at all can be difficult!). I also made thin French fries, were were also yummy in the au jus. Thanks for sharing the recipe! BTW, I didn’t have enough time to cook on low, so I did it on high for 5 hours and it was falling apart tender.

  29. It is NOT a myth that the alcohol cooks out; it is science. I am a chemist, so I should know. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. As long as your cooking temperature surpasses the boiling point, the alcohol will cook out. In fact, the alcohol in wine is ethanol and has a boiling point of 78.5 deg C whereas the boiling point of water is 100 deg C. So if your broth is boiling (which is mainly composed of water), the alcohol has already boiled out. If you are unqualified to speak on a subject, you shouldn’t.

  30. I have this in my crock pot right now, it smells delicious, can’t wait till dinner. I didn’t put this in till around one so I turned the heat up to high so it can cook till six. I hope it will be ready in time!

  31. I see several comments above saying they do not use red wine so what can they subsitute for that. I use a dash of worchester sauce when I do the quick version to french dips. But can not wait to do this when I find the meat on sale.

  32. Chuck roast has a distinctive flavor. I personally would try this with either a rump or sirloin roast. I also prefer slices of beef, and with chuck, you’ll end up with either chunks or shredded beef.

  33. @Chelmo – Alton Brown has done a segment on this, and has shown that no matter how much you cook something, there is always some alcohol that remains. He showed that the longer you cook something, the less alcohol remains, but that there is always some left.

  34. Delicious! My husband raved about this, which he rarely does. I sliced the beef thin, added the provolone on ciabatta bread and toasted until the cheese was melted. Thanks for the great recipe!

  35. Folks, for those of you that “don’t drink” or are concerned about serving this to your children because it calls for red wine, understand that the alcohol in the wine EVAPORATES when it is heated. I can assure you it will be gone after 6-8 hours of cooking. If you have ever been out to finer dining establishments, chances are you and your children have already had many foods where wines were part of the ingredients.

  36. mj121…I would completely disagree with you on this subject. The poster who is the chemist is absolutely correct. Alton Brown is a cook and simply a TV personality and his educational background is in drama, not science. While if you ran the food through a lab I guess you could technically say that 100% of the alcohol doesn’t evaporate, however the question is…is it enough to worry about? The answer is no. If that was true, then every restaurant would have to “card” for every dish served that contained alcohol in the cooking process. By the way….your body produces a certain amount of alcohol naturally…every single day.

  37. Made this with a elk roast, which doesn’t have much fat on it and if cooked for too long can have a tendency to get very dry… But with this recipe it was delicious! I love the layers of flavor… Thank you! Btw, I omitted the wine, just because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to run to the store… And it was still delicious.. M m m m :)

  38. Making it as we speak, in crock pot now :) Can’t wait to try

  39. It never ceases to amaze me how much cooking critics get up in arms with their opinions. They’ll rate the recipe as ok or great but put a ton of changes in there that they made personally. Geez…just take the time to submit your own will ya ? Hilarious.

  40. I made this last night and it was delicious!!! I didn’t realize I was out of red wine until after I started making it so I decided to go without and hope for the best. I was still very good and tender, I can’t wait to try it with the wine. Thanks for posting.

  41. This is an excellent recipe and so easy! Thank you for sharing!
    godslittlegrace.blogspot.com

  42. All should give this a try….have been making them for years. With greatest respect for those that do not want to consume alcohol, it cooks out and adds a great flavor…….just as vanilla added to all the sweet treats we eat……it’s made with vanilla beans soaked in vodka or spirit of choice. I made huge amounts for wedding favors, then shared larger bottles with all my cooking friends……..one of whom would not use because of alcohol…..hmmmmm!

  43. I read many of the comments and was debating whether or not to try this recipe. So glad I did! I followed the recipe exactly (maybe added a little extra splash of wine!) and it turned out great. I used eye round roasts (used 2 small ones), and the flavor was great and the meat was very tender. The gravy is perfect for dipping the sandwiches!

  44. Substitute a tbsp of tomato paste for the wine

  45. Thank you for this recipe! We make this almost weekly!
    Katie
    godslittlegrace.blogspot.com

  46. Thanks for this recipe! It was delicious. I forgot the red wine, but I don’t think it made a difference for us, the roast was soooo tasty!! We’ll be having this again and again!

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