Slow cooked, tender, flavorful beef, served on top of crusty bread with melted cheese, dipped into the delicious cooking juices; honestly, what could be better? Slow cooker French dip sandwiches are such an easy family dinner to prepare and are loved by all. You can customize your sandwich with whatever bread and cheese fits into your dietary needs.
The story behind the French dip
The French dip sandwich is also known as the “beef dip” in some places. Typically, it features beef piled on top of a piece of French bread, topped with onions and Swiss cheese. The sandwich is then dipped into au jus, beef broth, or gravy.
As with any popular recipe, there are so many variations of this sandwich. The origination of the sandwich isn’t certain either; there is a story that the sandwich was invented accidentally when a sandwich was dropped into a pan of meat drippings.
Regardless of how it was created or where, it is a delicious sandwich; we can all agree on that. It’s such a treat to order this sandwich at your favorite pub, but now you can make it at home, too.
My love / hate relationship with the slow cooker
When I made this recipe, it was a work day. I love having easy-to-prepare meals lined up for work days when I am out of the house all day long; sometimes that means using the slow cooker, sometimes that means cooking something that only takes 15 minutes from start to finish.
I was so excited to come home to this meal, because I just knew it was going to be delicious. My husband, on the other hand, said to me, “I have to say, I really don’t like slow cooker meals.” (This was before he tasted it).
And I can’t say I blame him. Sometimes the slow cooker just results in a mushy, sloppy meal. And that’s why I don’t use it much. I have a few slow cooker recipes, and they are recipes that do well texturally in the slow cooker. All of the recipes I make in the slow cooker end up being shredded. So cooking the meat in the slow cooker is actually beneficial, resulting in a really tender, juicy meat, that then gets shredded.
But this is why I don’t have a huge repertoire of slow cooker meals. I am super picky when it comes to texture and taste of meals, and sometimes, the slow cooker just doesn’t do justice to food… unless it’s shredded up like this.
But, for this recipe, it’s a winner. It slow cooks the beef and makes it incredibly tender and flavorful, and it creates the au jus (or the thin gravy for dipping) right in the slow cooker. This eliminates an extra step of making gravy on the stove top.
Check out my other slow cooker recipes:
How to make slow cooker French dip sandwiches
To prep the beef for this recipe, make sure it is trimmed really well. This means that if you purchase a 2 1/2 lb piece of beef, you might end up with a 2 lb piece of beef. Keep that in mind when building your recipe to calculate the stats here.
Prepare the cooking liquid by adding all of the ingredients together in a bowl (the broth, the Worcestershire, the balsamic, Dijon, and bouillon. Quarter the onion, and smash the garlic cloves.
Once the beef is trimmed, pat it dry with paper towels. Then, season it with the salt and pepper. Preheat a frying pan over medium high heat, and then add some olive oil spray. Then, sear the meat for about 2-3 minutes per side or until a golden brown crust forms.
Then, add the beef to the slow cooker, and pour the cooking liquid on top. Add the onions, garlic and bay leaves to the crockpot as well. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
How to serve the French dip sandwiches
Once the beef is done cooking, use two forks to shred it up, and mix the beef around in the cooking liquid. Toast up some rolls, and add spray butter if desired. Then, top with the cooked beef and cheese.
For this recipe, I used store-brand hoagie rolls from the bakery department, and Sargento ultra-thin Swiss cheese slices.
As a forewarning, the recipe below does not include the stats for the bread or cheese I used. There are so many options and variations out there when it comes to bread and cheese, that it is not as straightforward to include these in the stat calculation.
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- slow cooker
- frying pan
- 2 lbs lean chuck meat, lean chuck roast, lean chuck steak, trimmed of all fat
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil spray
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves, dried
For Serving (not included in calculation)
- hoagie rolls
- ultra thin or light cheese slices, swiss, mozzarella, or provolone
- Trim the beef of all excess fat.
- Pat the beef dry with a paper towel.
- Season the beef with the salt and pepper.
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add olive oil spray.
- Sear for 2-3 minutes on both sides just to form a golden brown crust.
- Mix the broth, Worcestershire, balsamic, Dijon, and bouillon together with a whisk.
- Add the beef to the crockpot, and pour the broth mixture on top.
- Quarter the onion and smash the garlic cloves. Add them to the crockpot. Add the bay leaves to the crockpot.
- Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours).
- Shred the cooked beef using two forks. Ladle the cooking liquid into small ramekins or bowls for dipping each sandwich.
- Lean, cooked chuck steak is 1 WW point per cooked ounce.
- The au jus is 0 points per serving.