Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwich
A Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwich that tastes just like the Chicago style Italian Beef Sandwich that’s famous around the world. This super easy to make slow cooker Italian Beef is made with just a few ingredients like banana pepper, Giardiniera, beef roast and beef stock to create the most mouthwatering sandwich you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
If you’ve ever been to Chicago, then you may have heard about the famous Portillo’s Italian Beef Sandwich. This thing is legendary and for good reason. The sandwich is packed full of tender, juicy roast beef that’s been dunked in a savory, tangy gravy. It’s topped with chopped banana peppers and Giardiniera, a pickled vegetable mix, that makes the sandwich out of this world delish.
Mouth watering yet? It should be!
Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwich
Many Chicago lifers will probably call this Italian Beef Sandwich an imposter….but it is truly inspired by the original. When you’re not in Chicago, you have to make do with what you have and since I can’t always find the exact ingredients I used what I knew you would all be able to find easily at your local grocery store.
I usually make my own Hot Giardiniera but when I don’t have time (even though it only takes less than an hour to pickle) I buy it at the store. But it’s almost impossible to find a hot giardiniera at our grocery store so I just buy the regular. THEN, to add some spice, I use hot pickled banana peppers. The flavor is almost identical to the Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich I had at Portillo’s.
So, even though this isn’t traditional with sweet peppers and hot giardiniera, it is pretty close to the authentic Italian Beef you’d find in Chi-town.
How to Make Italian Beef
This slow cooker italian beef sandwich recipe is super simple to make, it’s really similar to my French Dip recipe I made awhile back but is much tangier in flavor because of the pickled vegetables.
A classic Italian Beef is made, usually, with a sirloin or a bottom round roast. I use a Chuck Roast for this recipe because it’s economical and breaks down into a melt in your mouth, tender beef when braised in the slow cooker.
To start, you’ll need to brown the roast until a crust forms. You can skip this step but browning does add a ton of flavor you wouldn’t get otherwise so, if you have time, then definitely do it. Plus, if you have a slow cooker that has an insert that’s safe for the stovetop, you have all those brown bits that just amp up the flavor party! This is the slow cooker I have and LOVE….I’ve had it for years and the browning insert is amazing.
Place the roast in the slow cooker and pour the Italian dressing over the entire roast. Add half the giardiniera and the banana pepper, stir in the beef stock, lid it up and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
When the roast is done cooking, simply shred it up with two forks and then fill a roll with it. I like to add some freshly chopped giardiniera and more banana peppers that weren’t used in the cooking liquid but you can repurpose them if you want. I think they break down too much during cooking so they’re like sacrificial vegetables that I don’t eat later. Like when you make chicken stock.
We like to melt provolone cheese on top by filling the roll with the beef and placing the cheese over the beef. I put them under the broiler (on a baking sheet) for a few minutes just until melted. Then, EAT!
These sandwiches are AWESOME for game day because they feed a big crowd and guests can serve themselves. You can make them a little earlier on the day and just keep your slow cooker on warm to keep things hot.
What’s the difference between a French Dip and Italian Beef?
The only difference really is in the preparation and ingredients used for the sandwiches, themselves. Technically, a French Dip is made with thinly sliced beef and braised in a broth or au jus while an Italian Beef is braised with lots of Italian herbs, spices and the pickled vegetables giving it a distinct tang that the French Dip doesn’t have.
You can serve your sandwich like an Italian Beef Dip by offering a bowl of the au jus or braising stock to dip the sandwich in. It definitely is not a bad idea. Try it and let me know what you think!
We will definitely be serving this Italian Beef Sandwich during our next game day party…it’s super easy and guests always devour it.
Looking for more easy CrockPot recipes, we LOVE this easy Italian Pork Sandwiches….they’re just like our favorite Philly classic. OR you definitely need to try these easy Philly Chicken Cheesesteaks. If you’re not feeling the chicken….this Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is just like the real thing but it’s not made in the crockpot…yet.
Get the Recipe: CrockPot Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 lb Boneless Chuck Roast
- 8 ounces bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
- 1 cup banana pepper rings
- 1 cup chopped Giardiniera
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 10 long rolls
- 1/2 lb sliced provolone cheese
- slow cooker
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Add the roast to the pan and cook until golden brown. Turn the roast over and cook until browned. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the dressing, 1/2 the banana peppers, 1/2 the giardiniera, stock and italian seasoning to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook the beef for 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.
- Remove the roast from the slow cooker and transfer to a platter. Skim the broth to remove some of the fat that floats to the top and discard. Shred the beef with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Continue cooking for 30 minutes so the beef can soak up the juices.
- Serve the beef on long rolls with the reserved peppers and giardiniera. Top with cheese, if desired.