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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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  • Sam A
    January 12, 2012

    Just finished dinner & that was DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for a great recipe! Shredded more than sliced here, too, but….YUM.

  • Tami
    January 14, 2012

    Made this tonight, it was delicious!! Thanks 🙂

  • Katie
    January 19, 2012

    Best French Dip EVER. Go-to recipe always.

  • courtney
    January 24, 2012

    this was amazing, my husband said it was his favorite thing I’ve ever made! This will be a regular meal in our menu! Thanks

  • Haley
    February 2, 2012

    Oh, dear goodness. This looks so good.

  • Hannah
    February 4, 2012

    Made this a few months ago and was chowing down on it for a few weeks, there was alot and IT WAS SO GOOD. Thank you!

  • Tisha Rockholt
    February 15, 2012

    I was so excited when I found this receipe, because I knew my husband loved to order this at resturants. He didn’t care for the beef chuck roast because it was shredded. Any suggestions??

  • mbk
    February 23, 2012

    Tried this recipe twice. First time outstanding – second time I tried a leaner cut of beef and it wasn’t near as good. Stick with the chuck roast and skim the excess fat from the au jus.

  • sandy manion
    March 5, 2012

    Bought a tiny crock pot since I live alone. I was the envy of all my co-workers with this. It is so good and I have another roast just wating to be prepared…thanks

  • Jennifer Rodman
    May 22, 2012

    I have never, EVER had a french dip sandwich believe it or not, but since I’ve discovered that I’m anemic I’ve been craving beef and trying to get more of it into my diet. This is tomorrow night’s dinner and I can’t wait to try it. We don’t have ‘chuck’ roast here in Canada so I opted for a cut that was recommended by my butcher.

  • marcia
    May 31, 2012

    this looks amazing. planning to make it for a big event. silly question though – if I would like to serve about 2-3x as many people, can I just double or triple the recipe or do slow cooker recipes not work as well like that?

  • Nicole
    May 31, 2012

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

  • Katy
    June 29, 2012

    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.

  • Angela
    July 5, 2012

    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!

  • Heike
    July 10, 2012

    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.

  • Stephanie
    July 19, 2012

    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.

  • Elizabeth
    July 27, 2012

    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!

  • Dani
    August 10, 2012

    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!

  • LeAnne
    August 13, 2012

    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!!! 😀

  • Aja
    August 15, 2012

    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!

  • adri
    August 18, 2012

    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?

  • Bethany
    August 30, 2012

    @adri – the alcohol should cook out

  • Amber
    September 1, 2012

    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!

  • sandy
    September 5, 2012

    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!

  • angela
    September 25, 2012

    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!

  • Brenda
    September 25, 2012

    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!!

  • Haylee
    September 28, 2012

    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.

  • Maggie
    October 5, 2012

    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…

  • Kindra
    October 14, 2012

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

  • Jessica
    October 22, 2012

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

  • Nikki
    October 24, 2012

    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.

  • Lily
    November 6, 2012

    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.

  • Kaitlin
    November 8, 2012

    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.

  • Jayna
    November 29, 2012

    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 🙂

  • Christy
    December 5, 2012

    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

  • Connie
    December 8, 2012

    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.

  • Erin
    January 4, 2013

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

  • Patty
    January 13, 2013

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


  • Anna B
    January 17, 2013

    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.

  • Chelmo
    February 17, 2013

    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.

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