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Juicy, tender and flavorful Crock Pot Italian Beef is an easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for busy days. Serve the shredded meat and pepperoncini on a hoagie roll with giardiniera and melted Provolone cheese for a classic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich, or pair the roast beef with mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice for a cozy comfort food supper. You can’t beat the convenience of an all-day slow cooker meal!

Close up front shot of Crock Pot Italian Beef served on a toasted hoagie roll with giardiniera

Everyone loves the ease and versatility of succulent, shredded Italian roast beef that cooks slowly all day while you go about your hectic schedule. When you walk in the door hungry and tired, you’re greeted with the rich aroma of seasoned Crock Pot Italian Beef that’s fall-apart tender and ready for sandwiches, mashed potatoes, or tender egg noodles. It’s one of those great meals that everyone at the table can agree on!

Adding a plate of onions and garlic to the bottom of a slow cooker

What is the difference between roast beef and Italian Beef?

While these meats are quite similar — and both are delicious in sandwiches — there are a handful of differences between the two. Italian beef is slow-cooked until it’s fall-apart tender in a blend of beef broth, Italian seasonings, and pepperoncini, then served with its juices on a roll with giardiniera. By contrast, roast beef is cooked just until medium-rare, then thinly-sliced and served in a sandwich or on its own. Really, the Italian beef sandwich is quite similar to a French Dip, with the addition of the zesty Italian seasoning and pickled vegetables. The Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich is not served with a side of au jus for dipping, so it’s less “saucy” than a French Dip.

Seared chuck roast on a platter

Italian Beef Sandwich

The Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich originated in Chicago in the 1930s. It includes sliced or shredded seasoned roast beef that’s served au jus on a long French roll. The sandwich is usually finished with Chicago-style giardiniera (called “hot”) or sautéed, green Italian sweet peppers (called “sweet”). If you like melted cheese on top, try Provolone, mozzarella, cheddar or Swiss.

What cut of beef is Italian beef made from?

The best cut to use for Crock Pot Italian Beef is a boneless (or bone-in) chuck roast. It has great marbling, making the roast tender and juicy when braised. Chuck roast is cut from the shoulder just above the short rib, so it’s tougher (and therefore more affordable) than those cut from the front part of the animal, like the sirloin or short loin. If you prefer, sirloin, top round, or bottom round will all work here as well.

Pouring beef broth from a Dutch oven into a Crock Pot

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a tender, juicy Italian Beef sandwich recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable box at the bottom of the post.

  • Onions and garlic: slowly flavor the meat as it cooks.
  • Chuck roast: the best cut of meat for Italian beef! When cooked low and slow, it becomes flavorful, juicy, and fall-apart tender.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Vegetable oil: to sear the meat in a hot Dutch oven.
  • Beef broth: the liquid used to braise the beef.
  • Italian salad dressing seasoning mix: a packet of this dry seasoning mix gives the dish it’s great Italian flavor. I use the Good Seasons brand, but any similar packet of Italian seasoning will work.
  • Pepperoncini: these tangy, pickled sweet chili peppers add a little bit of heat and acidic flavor to the dish, without making it too spicy.
  • Hoagie rolls and provolone cheese: for assembling the sandwiches.
  • Giardiniera: a blend of pickled vegetables, which is sold in both “hot” and “mild” varieties. This is a classic addition to an Italian beef sandwich, as the acidic veggies brighten up the dish and balance out the richness of the meat. That said, you can certainly omit this ingredient if you like.
Adding pepperoncini to a slow cooker

How to Make Italian Beef in Crock Pot

Once you prep the ingredients in the slow cooker, this is a great set-it-and-forget meal that you can leave cooking on your kitchen counter all day!

  1. Arrange onions and garlic in the bottom of a Crock Pot.
  2. Sear the beef in a Dutch oven, then transfer to the Crock Pot.
  3. Add the beef broth to the Dutch oven, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Pour the broth into the slow cooker.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle with Italian seasoning mix, and finish with pepperoncini.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
  6. Shred the beef with two forks. You know it’s done when it’s fall-apart tender!
  7. Stir the shredded beef back into the juices.
  8. Assemble the sandwiches on toasted rolls, place them in the oven so that the cheese melts, top with giardiniera, and serve!
Overhead shot of hands holding a bowl of slow cooker Italian beef with two forks for shredding

What to Serve with Crock Pot Italian Beef

If you’re serving the Italian roast beef on its own, pair it with mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices. A side of green beans, roasted broccoli, or Caesar salad will complete the dinner.

When enjoying an Italian beef sandwich, try some potato chips, French fries or potato wedges and a simple green salad to round out the meal.

Overhead shot of a Chicago Italian Beef sandwich on an oval plate

Storage

Store leftover Italian beef in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrapped tightly, you can freeze leftover beef for up to 2 months in the juices. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then gently reheat on the stovetop.

Square image of slow cooker Italian beef sandwich on a dinner table

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of a chuck roast, try sirloin, top round, or bottom round in this recipe.
  • In lieu of the convenient packet of Italian seasoning mix, add your own blend of Italian herbs and seasonings to the slow cooker.
  • Provolone cheese is a great finishing touch on an Italian beef sandwich, but you can omit the cheese, or substitute with mozzarella, cheddar, or any other good melting cheese.
Side shot of a bowl of shredded Italian beef

Tips for the Best Crock Pot Italian Beef Recipe

  • Sear the meat and get some really nice color on it before you begin the slow braising process. The caramelized surface of the meat will give the dish rich flavor and the browning process will help to lock in the juices.
  • Prep Ahead and Reheat: If you prepare the roast beef a day ahead, cover and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, skim off any solidified fat and reheat it gently in a warm oven or over low heat on the stovetop.
  • Why is my slow cooker Italian beef tough? Undercooked roast will be tough and chewy. If you’re using tougher or bigger cuts of beef (other than a chuck roast), you may need to increase the cooking time to give the meat fibers plenty of time to break down and become tender and juicy. When the chuck roast is fully cooked, it should be fall-apart tender so that it shreds very easily with two forks.
Side shot of an Italian beef sandwich on a white plate with a side of potato chips

More Slow Cooker Beef Recipes to Try

Close up front shot of Crock Pot Italian Beef served on a toasted hoagie roll with giardiniera

Crock Pot Italian Beef

Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 8 hours 15 minutes
Total: 8 hours 55 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 481 kcal
Juicy, tender and flavorful Crock Pot Italian Beef is an easy dinner recipe that's perfect for busy days. Serve the shredded meat and pepperoncini on a hoagie roll with giardiniera and melted Provolone cheese for a classic sandwich!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 (3-4 lb.) boneless beef chuck roast
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
  • 1 (0.7 oz) packet dry Italian salad dressing seasoning mix (such as Good Seasons brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 pepperoncini peppers, from a 12-ounce jar, plus 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar
  • Optional, for serving: hoagie rolls; provolone cheese; giardiniera

Instructions

  • Arrange the onions and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker. Set aside.
  • Pat beef dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper on all sides.
  • Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place beef in the pot and sear for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until browned all over. Transfer beef to the slow cooker (on top of the onions and garlic).
  • Pour the beef broth into the Dutch oven; turn the heat down to medium. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. These bits add a lot of flavor to the broth!
  • Pour beef broth over the roast. Add Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with dry Italian salad dressing mix. Add pepperoncini to the slow cooker, along with 1 tablespoon of liquid from the jar.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
  • Shred the beef with two forks (it should practically fall apart when it’s done). Discard any big fatty pieces. Stir the shredded beef into the juices in the pot.
  • To assemble sandwiches: split the hoagie rolls in half and toast lightly in a 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes. Add beef to each roll and top with provolone. Return to the oven just until cheese melts. Top with giardiniera and serve!

Notes

  • Instead of a chuck roast, try sirloin, top round, or bottom round in this recipe.
  • In lieu of the convenient packet of Italian seasoning mix, add your own blend of Italian herbs and seasonings to the slow cooker.
  • Provolone cheese is a great finishing touch on an Italian beef sandwich, but you can omit the cheese, or substitute with mozzarella, cheddar, or any other good melting cheese.
  • Sear the meat and get some really nice color on it before you begin the slow braising process. The caramelized surface of the meat will give the dish rich flavor and the browning process will help to lock in the juices.
  • Prep Ahead and Reheat: If you prepare the roast beef a day ahead, cover and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, skim off any solidified fat and reheat it gently in a warm oven or over low heat on the stovetop.
  • Why is my slow cooker Italian beef tough? Undercooked roast will be tough and chewy. If you’re using tougher or bigger cuts of beef (other than a chuck roast), you may need to increase the cooking time to give the meat fibers plenty of time to break down and become tender and juicy. When the chuck roast is fully cooked, it should be fall-apart tender so that it shreds very easily with two forks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 481kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 45gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 815mgPotassium: 874mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 33IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: Crock Pot Italian Beef, Italian Beef recipe, Italian Beef Sandwich, Italian Roast Beef
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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