Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Make this tasty French Dip Sandwich in your SLOW COOKER or INSTANT POT! Tender beef, caramelized onions and melted cheese, with au jus on the side for dipping. VIDEO BELOW!

I thought you might need a little comfort food. Maybe you’ve been snowed in this weekend? Maybe you have the January blues? Or maybe you just need a warm and hearty meal? Tender meat, caramelized onions and melted cheese shoved into a crusty roll fits the bill perfectly. Don’t ya think?

FRENCH DIP SANDWICH

This easy recipe can be made in your SLOW COOKER or INSTANT POT! The base recipe is the same, which means no matter which way you make it you’ll end up with a juicy sandwich that is to die for.

  • Start by sautéing the beef. Put a roast in a hot pan, and get a nice brown crust on it. If you want to skip this step, and dump everything and go, you can, but browning it really adds extra flavor.
  • Saute the onions and garlic in the meat drippings (flavor, flavor, flavor!).
  • Cook the meat, onions and garlic along with beef broth, worcestershire sauce and a bay leaf for several hours in the slow cooker, or for 1 hour on high-pressure in the pressure cooker.
  • Slice or shred the meat and place it on crusty rolls. Top with cheese and pop it in the oven quickly to melt.
  • Strain the juices left in the slow cooker/Instant Pot and use those tasty juices for DIPPING!

INSTANT POT FRENCH DIP SANDWICH:

The thing I love the most about using the Instant Pot for this recipe is that it is made completely right in the Instant Pot. Since the Instant Pot has a sauté function, you can brown the meat and onions right in the pot before cooking. Note: There is nothing “instant” about this recipe. In the Instant Pot it still takes about 2 hours from start to finish, most of this is hands-off time though. This amount of time is needed in order to get the meat really tender.

SLOW COOKER FRENCH DIP SANDWICH:

This is the original way I have always made this recipe, and it is still my favorite. Yes, it takes 2-3 times the amount of time than the Instant Pot, but I love that I can peak at the meat, and check it for tenderness during the last hour or two of cook time (no guessing like with the pressure cooker). I also think that the meat is more tender when slow-cooked, it is always super tender and falling apart.

WHAT TYPE OF MEAT FOR A FRENCH DIP SANDWICH?

A rump roast or chuck roast is most often used for this type of French Dip Sandwich. I have also used a Boneless Bottom Round or Top Sirloin Roast which are a bit leaner. Fat in the meat will add flavor and tenderness. Choose according to your taste preference and budget. Also, remember that you can trim off excess fat before cooking, if desired.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AU JUS?

The au jus/dipping juice for these sandwiches is made from beef broth, worcestershire sauce, and the flavorful drippings from the meat and the sautéed onions and garlic. Simply strain out the solids from the liquids after cooking, and you’re left with au jus. It will be thin, and it should be, it is not gravy consistency.

Servings 4 – 6 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 pound beef chuck roast or rump roast trimmed of excess fat (I’ve also used a sirloin roast and boneless bottom round for a leaner option)
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt/pepper
  • 4-6 rolls nothing too soft or it will fall apart once dipped
  • 8-12 slices cheese (provolone, swiss, havarti or monterey jack)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Liberally salt and pepper your roast.
  • In a large glass measuring cup, combine the beef broth and worcestershire sauce and set aside.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, dutch oven or in your Instant Pot in sauté mode, heat oil on medium-high heat, add the meat and sear on all sides until each side has a nice brown crust formed. Transfer meat into your slow cooker (if using) OR remove the meat from your Instant Pot and continue.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, and in the same pot you browned the meat in, add the sliced onions and cook for 5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional minute or two. Pour a couple tablespoons of the beef broth mixture into the pot with the onions and using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (this will add lots of flavor).

SLOW COOKER:

  • Transfer the onion mixture and all accumulated juices into the slow cooker (with the meat) and add in the remaining broth and the bay leaf. Cook in your slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat to a cutting board and thinly slice it or shred it, set aside.
  • Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and carefully pour the juices from the slow cooker through the strainer and into the bowl (this is your au jus). Set aside the onions that remain in the strainer, discard the bay leaf.
  • Transfer the sliced meat and the onions back into the slow cooker. Pour over a little bit of au jus to moisten the meat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining au jus for dipping. If you’d like more au jus, you can stir in a little beef broth to make it stretch farther.
  • Toast your rolls, fill with meat and onions, cover with the cheese of your choice. Melt the cheese in a 375° oven or under the broiler until melted. Serve with the au jus on the side for dipping.

INSTANT POT:

Add the beef to the onion mixture in the Instant Pot, add in the remaining broth and the bay leaf. Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, followed by a 20 minute natural release. Remove the meat to a cutting board and thinly slice it or shred it, set aside.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and carefully pour the juices from the Instant Pot through the strainer and into the bowl (this is your au jus). Set aside the onions that remain in the strainer, discard the bay leaf.

Transfer the sliced meat and the onions back into the Instant Pot. Pour over a little bit of au jus to moisten the meat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining au jus for dipping. If you’d like more au jus, you can stir in a little beef broth to make it stretch farther.

Toast your rolls, fill with meat and onions, cover with the cheese of your choice. Melt the cheese in a 375° oven or under the broiler until melted. Serve with the au jus on the side for dipping.

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Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches