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Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches have slices of fork-tender beef on crusty French rolls. Serve with au jus on the side for dipping!
What is a French Dip?
A traditional French Dip is a hot sandwich of sliced beef on a French roll or baguette. It’s served with a bowl of beef broth or au jus (which means “with juice”).
You might be surprised to learn that a French Dip Sandwich is not considered French cuisine. According to Wikipedia, two different Los Angeles, California restaurants each claim to have served the first French Dip sandwiches – and the name solely refers to the type of bread this sandwich is served on.
Regardless of who was the first, this is one very delicious sandwich. The juice soaks into the bread, absorbing all of the luscious flavor, and the beef in every bite is super tender. Trust me – there’s a reason this recipe is SO popular!
Plus- cooking French Dip in a crock pot makes this one of the easiest recipes around.
What is in the French Dip sauce?
In our recipe today, the au jus served with our French Dip is the broth that the beef cooked in, while in the slow cooker, so its extra beefy and delicious. We stirred in some red wine and Worcestershire sauce before serving for additional rich flavor.
Other versions of this recipe simply serve the beef sandwich with a bowl of hot beef broth on the side. If you made this sandwich with sliced, oven-roasted cuts of beef instead of braising in a slow cooker, a flavorful beef broth is the best option.
Why you’ll love Slow Cooker French Dip
- It’s one of the easiest – and most delicious – sandwich recipes around!
- This is a perfect meal to serve a crowd, and it’s budget-friendly too.
- The leftover cooked beef (if there are any) can be used in other recipes.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chuck Roast – We think a chuck roast is the ideal cut of beef for French Dip – especially when you make it in a crock pot. Chuck yields the best flavor and texture, plus it’s typically cheaper than other cuts of beef.
- Beef Broth – You can simply use canned or boxed beef broth (or homemade if you have it on hand). But – we used the “Better Than Bouillon” brand of roasted beef paste added to water to create our broth. This paste adds a fantastic deep flavor.
- Vegetables – A simple mix of onions, garlic, carrots, and celery flavor the broth.
- Herbs, spices and other flavorings – The cooking liquid is flavored with fresh, Italian flat-leaf parsley, bay leaves, salt and pepper, plus tomato paste.
- Red Wine – Used to deglaze the pan and to flavor the au jus before serving, you can use beef broth to deglaze the pan and leave the wine out of the sauce if you prefer.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Also stirred into the au jus for extra flavor.
- Crusty French Bread – We used French Rolls which are individual-sized loafs, perfect for sandwiches. You can also slice baguettes into sandwich-size portions.
Use Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Paste and water to create the base for your French Dip Au Jus.
Special Tools Needed
- Large pan, to sear the meat. (Choose cast iron or carbon steel which can tolerate high heat.)
- Large slow cooker – Our roast was 4 ½ pounds and we used a 6 quart slow cooker.
- Butcher’s Twine, to tie the herbs together
- Fine mesh strainer
- Saucepan, to heat the au jus
How do I make Slow Cooker French Dip?
- Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Sear the beef on all sides in a hot skillet with a little vegetable oil.
- Deglaze with red wine and tomato paste.
- Place cut onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seared beef on top of the vegetables and pour in the liquid from the pan.
- Add parsley, bay leaves, beef broth, and water to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook about 5-6 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low. (See Alternative Cooking Method below if you’d like to make this in the oven.)
- Remove beef from the crock and set aside on a platter while you prepare the au jus.
- Skim off any fat floating on top of the cooking liquid and discard.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and wine to the cooking liquid. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Heat over low heat until ready to serve.
- To carve, separate the cooked meat by the natural separations in the roast and cut out all large pieces of fat or gristle. Lay the pieces on their side on your cutting board and with a sharp slicing knife, slice thick slices against the grain.
- To serve, cut French rolls in half and dry toast on a griddle (do not use butter – you want the bread crispy to absorb the au jus)
- Lay thick slices of the pot roast onto toasted rolls. Ladle the au jus into small bowls to serve on the side of each sandwich for dipping.
Alternative Cooking Method
- You can also make this French Dip recipe in the oven. Instead of a slow cooker, place the ingredients in a 6-Quart Dutch oven, cover, then bake in a 325 degrees F oven for four hours.
Tips & Tricks
Cook the beef ahead of time, then chill before slicing. The meat is easy to slice when it is cold – and always slice against the grain of the meat. Then reheat in a skillet with a little of the cooking broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the beef the day before, then store the meat and juices in the refrigerator in a covered container. When ready to assemble your sandwiches, reheat the meat and juices in a pan on the stove.
- Can I add cheese to my French Dip Sandwich? Sure – you can top the sandwich with anything you’d like. Cheese, caramelized onions, etc.
You might like these other Beef Recipes:
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Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
4–6 pound chuck roast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or any high smoke point oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups red wine, divided (such as Merlot or Cabernet)
1 large onion coarsely cut up
1 rib celery, coarsely cut up
1 large carrot peeled and coarsely cut up
2 garlic cloves smashed
1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
4 cups water (depending on the size of your roast and slow cooker)
2 cups beef broth (boxed, canned, homemade, or made from a jarred paste such as Better Than Bullion Roasted Beef Base
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 French rolls
- Pat the beef dry and coat with the salt and pepper on all sides.
- In a large skillet that can withstand a high heat (such as cast iron or carbon steel), heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Sear the meat in the oil on all sides for approximately ten minutes. Remove to a platter.
- Lower the heat to medium and add tomato paste and cook one minute.
- Add one cup of the wine and cook one more minute then remove from heat.
- In your slow cooker, line the bottom with the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic then add the seared meat and the liquid from the pan.
- Tie the parsley and bay leaf together using butcher’s twine then nestle beside the beef.
- Pour in the water and beef broth.
- Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.
- Remove beef and set aside to set up while you prepare the au jus.
- Skim off the fat that floats to the top and discard then add the remaining half cup of wine and the Worcestershire sauce.
- Heat and strain into a saucepan to keep warm.
- Split the French rolls and dry toast on a griddle. Do not use any butter so the roll can absorb the au jus.
- To serve, slice the pot roast into thick slices against the grain, then lay out onto the toasted rolls.
- Ladle the warm au jus into individual bowls.
- Serve the French Dip sandwich with the bowls of au jus on the side for dipping.
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