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Our Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs have fork-tender beef and cheese nestled in a soft sub roll and topped with zesty vegetables.
Make Italian Beef Subs for your next game day party. The slow cooker makes prep super easy!
Whether you are hosting a game day party at home, or traveling with your slow cooker to a tailgate party at the stadium, today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs is sure to be a fan favorite!
What is Italian Beef?
Italian Beef is a classic Chicago dish dating back to the 1930’s. It has thinly sliced roast beef cooked in flavorful Italian seasonings until super tender. It’s served with tomatoes and zesty pickled vegetables – sometimes Chicago-style giardiniera ( a mix of different vegetables including carrots, cauliflower, and peppers in hot or mild varieties) or, as we prefer, with zesty pickled peppers called pepperoncini.
The slow cooker is an ideal way to cook the Italian Beef – and it comes out super tender from the long and slow cooking process. We like to eat it on a sub roll with provolone cheese, plus onions, chopped pickled peppers, and the tomatoes!
Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs
- It’s a delicious way to feed a hungry crowd at game day parties, but it’s makes a great weeknight meal for your family.
- Prep is super easy, then the slow cooker does the rest of the work so you can go about your day while the beef cooks.
- There’s nothing better than coming how to a house filled with amazing aromas from the slow cooker! You’ll love the fork-tender beef and zesty flavors as well.
“We made this for a football party last weekend and everyone loved it! The beef was very tender with lots of flavor. Several of my friends asked for the recipe.” – Pam
Key Ingredients & Substititions
- Beef – We selected a bone-in chuck roast, but a boneless chuck roast is also perfectly fine for this recipe. Chuck roast is a very flavorful cut of beef and it gets super tender when slow cooked.
- Onion – We cooked the beef with about a pound of diced red onion (yellow or white would also be fine). We also chopped up some additional red onion to sprinkle over the sub as a garnish.
- Red Wine – Used to deglaze the pan, you can swap in beef broth if you prefer a non-alcoholic option.
- Tomatoes – Some are cooked with the beef while others are chopped and added as a topping when serving the subs.
- Seasonings – Including ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, sugar, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaves.
- Provolone Cheese
- Sub Rolls – For serving
- Pepperoncini – Also added to the top of the sub when served.
Special Tools You’ll Need
- Slow Cooker – Ours is 6-quarts
- Cutting Board & Knife
- Large Dutch Oven or Heavy Pot – Used to sear the beef.
How do I make Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs?
- Sear the beef and cook the onions until softened.
- Deglaze the pan with wine or beef stock.
- Place tomato halves into the bottom of a slow cooker, then place the beef on top of the tomatoes.
- Pour in any liquid leftover from searing the beef and onions. Also add the seasonings to the slow cooker.
- Slow-cook on high for 8 to 10 hours, until the beef is super tender.
- Remove beef to a cutting board and slice for serving, adding in some of the cooked tomatoes and onions to the serving bowl.
- Line each sub roll with some sliced provolone cheese, fill the roll with hot cooked beef, then top with uncooked chopped tomatoes, onion, and pepperoncini.
The hot cooking liquid from the slow cooker can be served and used to dip the sandwich (similar to a French dipped sandwich) but this step is optional.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make this Slow Cooker Italian Beef ahead of time? Yes. You can make it a day ahead, then reheat in a pan or microwave before serving.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Can I freeze this dish? Yes. We would suggest only freezing the cooked beef and vegetables. Serve with freshly chopped onions, tomatoes, and pepperoncini.
This Slow Cooker Italian Beef Subs originally appeared on A Family Feast in September 2015. We’ve updated the post but the delicious recipe remains the same.
Click here for more delicious Beef Recipes!
5 pounds chuck roast (bone-in or boneless)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds diced red onion, divided
1 cup red wine, such as merlot (or beef stock if you prefer a non-alcohol option)
4 large tomatoes, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Italian herb blend
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 bay leaves
6 sub rolls
12 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup pepperoncini, stemmed and sliced
- In a large Dutch oven over high heat, sear all sides of the beef in the olive oil until completely browned (at least four or five minutes per side).
- Remove beef to a platter.
- Reduce heat to medium high and add 1 pound of the onions and cook for three minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add wine (or beef stock) to deglaze and cook down for two minutes. Remove from heat.
- In the bowl of a slow cooker, place 6 tomatoes halves along bottom. Place seared beef over tomatoes and top with liquid and onions from the Dutch oven. Add pepper, Italian herbs, sugar, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder and bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 8-10 hours. Ours was fall apart tender in 9 hours.
- Once the beef is tender, remove to a cutting board and either slice against the grain or shred like pulled pork with two forks. Add a few of the cooked tomatoes and onions to form a moist beef filling.
- Take the remaining fresh tomato and fresh onion and dice small and add to the sliced pepperoncini.
- To serve, line each sub roll with two slices of provolone, divide the hot meat between the six rolls and top with the tomato, and onion mixture.
- The hot cooking liquid can be used to dip the sandwich (similar to a French dipped sandwich) but this step is optional.
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Any leftover meat should be stored in the cooking liquid to keep it moist; however discard skim any fat that forms on the surface of the liquid.