Best French Dip Sandwiches – Slow Cooker

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I’ve loved a good french dip basically my whole life. I’d order them pretty much everywhere I ever ate out…because sadly, I didn’t know that I could make them at home! Fortunately I have an awesome mother-in-law who just happens to be an excellent cook. Unfortunately, most of her delicious food is not attached to a recipe! While eating dinner at her house back when we were newlyweds, we had these amazing french dip sandwiches. I was actually afraid to ask if I could have the “recipe” because I knew heartbreak would occur when she said she didn’t one. They were the best french dip sandwiches I had ever eaten. I NEEDED to be able to make them myself. Often. So, I asked and braced for her usual answer. But miracle of miracles she said she did have a recipe this time! She had gotten it from one of her friends! And so, my years of french dipped bliss commenced.


Making Them Even Better!

Now, I also have a fabulous recipe for crusty rolls (found on Pinterest) that I make for most family gatherings. (I usually divide into 8 rolls instead of 6 mini loaves.)  My brilliant sister-in-law Natalie thought to use them for the french dips instead of buying rolls or using something homemade but softer. I honestly didn’t think that these sandwiches could be more delicious. I was wrong. Now I want to eat them every single day. (I don’t…but I want to!) You are still welcome to use rolls or hoagies of your choosing but I do suggest these. My 3 year old even ate 2 whole sandwiches the first time I used these rolls, and he doesn’t like to eat!

The original recipe calls for a chuck roast and that is what I’ve used for years. It’s great but very greasy. You have to strain the fat off the Au Jus before serving. The last time I made it, I used stew meat. Working on a ranch means we have a lot of beef, and a lot of random packages of meat that we don’t use – stew meat especially. I only make stew a few times per year and every time we butcher, we get a lot more than a few packages of stew meat. I’ll tell you what, save your chuck roast for something else! No fat, shredded perfectly, cooked faster…I loved using stew meat. Just as tasty (or more so) with less work.

For those of you who buy your meat, go with whichever is cheaper but keep in mind that the chuck roast will have a lot of fat and usually a bone that won’t be usable when calculating the cost.

Now please proceed for the best french dip sandwiches to ever grace your mouth.

Best French Dip Sandwiches - Slow Cooker

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours

Yield: Depends on roll size and amount of meat per sandwich. I've fed 4 adults and 2 children with leftovers.


  • 1 3lb chuck roast or around 3lbs of stew meat
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Buns/rolls for serving
  • Optional cheese


Place meat in slow cooker. It can still be frozen, it will cook for a long time so it doesn't need thawed first.

Add all other ingredients except the buns (obviously) to the crockpot.

Cook on high for around 6 hours. I often cook it longer - like all day. This increases the tenderness of your meat and also seems to increase the flavor. I've also been short on time and only cooked it for about 4 hours. Still good.

When the meat is cooked, remove from Au Jus (the broth) and shred. Place on toasted buns or un-toasted crusty rolls. (Toasting the crusty rolls makes them a little too hard.) You can top with cheese of choice but I never do.

If using chuck roast, strain the fat from the Au Jus and pour into individual serving dishes for dipping.


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