Italian Beef Sandwiches are fun to make, and even more fun to eat! Tender and moist flavorful beef served on toasted hoagie buns with melted cheese, and all your favorite toppings. This is the ultimate party and holiday food, and perfect for tailgating/game day!
Italian Beef Sandwiches are a mainstay of Chicago cuisine and a must eat if you visit the city. You can make Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches at home, using your crock pot, Instant Pot, or the stovetop to make this tender, slow cooked, flavorful beef.
Slow-braised beef, spicy pickled vegetables, and Italian seasonings come together to create mouthwatering italian beef, ready to load up on hoagie rolls with melty provolone cheese.
If you’ve never had real Chicago Italian beef sandwiches, you are in for a real treat! And if you’ve enjoyed the real thing before, you’ll love how well this recipe for Italian beef brings you back to that experience.
Love shredded beef? You’ll love this recipe for Mexican Shredded Beef Tacos too.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Simple Slow Cooker Meal – Shredded beef is cooked low and slow in a crockpot to make it tender and fall-apart delicious. Start this meal in the morning and enjoy your Italian beef crockpot sandwiches at dinner time. You can make this in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop as well.
- Giardiniera and Pepperoncini – These pickled peppers and spicy pickled vegetables are what gives Italian beef its amazing flavor. We’re cooking with them and using them as sandwich toppings.
- Serves a Crowd – This recipe makes 6 servings easily, and can be used to do appetizer servings for a larger group.
This Italian condiment is needed to give your Italian beef sandwiches their iconic flavor. Typically, giardiniera is spicy pickled vegetables, including cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and sometimes other things like cucumbers or celery.
You can buy hot or mild Giardiniera, and use it in salads, as an appetizer, or a topping for sandwiches.
Different brands will have slightly different mixes. I can usually find this in the Italian section of my grocery store. Some stores might have it near the pickles instead. Or I just order Giardiniera in a pack 12 from Amazon.
Ingredients in Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Chuck Roast: Use a 3 lb roast for this recipe. Rump roast can be substituted too. Use whichever you prefer or is easy to get.
- Salt and Pepper: Season the meat well before cooking.
- Vegetable Oil: Prior to slow cooking, we’ll sear the meat to keep the juices in.
- Beef Broth: Used to deglaze the pan after searing, and add more flavor to the meat.
- Italian Seasoning: This dried herb blend gives lots of savory flavor to the beef. I have a great recipe for homemade Italian Seasoning that you can follow.
- Italian Dressing Mix: These convenient packets are filled with more italian seasonings, plus celery salt, extra garlic, and onion.
- Dried Oregano: There is oregano in the previous two ingredients, sure, but we want more!
- Bay Leaf: This herb is always delicious with slow cooked meats and stews.
- Pepperoncini: Look for already sliced pepperoncini, or slice them up yourself.
- Giardiniera: you can choose a mild or spicy version. Drain off the juice, we don’t need it in the slow cooker.
- Hoagie Rolls and Provolone Cheese: I like extra sharp provolone for these sandwiches, along with soft, bready rolls.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Season and Sear: Season the beef on all sides with salt and pepper, then brown the meat on all sides in a hot cast iron skillet or dutch oven with vegetable oil.
- Deglaze: Transfer the beef roast to the slow cooker, and deglaze the pan with beef broth, then transfer the liquid to the slow cooker on top of the beef.
- Season: Sprinkle the seasonings over the beef, add the bay leaf, then top with pepperoncini and giardiniera.
- Cook: Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. You’ll know it’s done when the meat reaches 202°F and shreds easily.
- Shred: Remove the meat from the slow cooker and transfer to a baking sheet. Shred the meat using two forks.
- Continue Cooking: Skim any fat from the liquid, then return the meat to the slow cooker and cook on low for 30 more minutes so that the meat can absorb the juices.
- Toast Rolls: To toast the hoagie rolls, split them open and place on a sheet pan. Place under the broiler until toasted.
- Top with Meat and Melt Cheese: Using tongs or a slotted spoon, top the rolls with shredded beef followed by provolone cheese and return to the broiler to melt.
- Serve: Top with pepperoncini and giardiniera. Serve with a little sauce (jus) on the side for dipping.
What to Serve with Italian Beef Sandwiches
A side of potato chips would be enough to round out this meal, but for a nutritious dinner, try serving a veggie side, like my Air Fryer Mushrooms, or Instant Pot Garlic Green Beans, or a simple green salad to add some freshness.
Other Ways to Cook Italian Beef
No Slow Cooker? No Problem! Beef can be braised using a dutch oven on the stovetop. Follow the same instructions, simmering on low heat for 2-3 hours until done.
The Instant Pot can also be used to make Italian beef sandwiches. You can follow your manufacturer’s instructions for a 3 pound beef roast, but in my experience, it takes 75 minutes at high pressure with 15 minutes of natural release.
Frequently Asked Questions
The braised Italian beef is delicious on these Chicago style sandwiches, but equally delicious on top of mashed potatoes or rice. Staying low carb? Skip the bread all together and serve with your favorite vegetable sides.
Absolutely! Cook the beef according to the recipe and store, refrigerated for up to 5 days. When ready to eat, the meat can be reheated in the slow cooker, on the stovetop, or even in the microwave.
This recipe works equally as well with a beef chuck roast or a beef rump roast. I usually choose whichever is less expensive or available.
The origins of this sometimes sloppy Chicago specialty are said to lie in the city’s immigrant population in the early 1900’s. Back then, men working in cattle stockyards or meatpacking factories had access to tough cuts of meat that wouldn’t sell. They would bring it home where it would be cooked slowly to create tender meat for sandwiches. Italian beef was served at weddings, on street corners, and finally in restaurants, becoming the staple that it is today.
I know you’re going to enjoy this recipe, it’s a perfect hands-off dinner to serve your family. Make sure to pin this recipe so more people can learn to make Italian beef too!
For more delicious sandwich recipes, check out my Cuban sandwich recipe, chicken parm sandwich, and this incredible Nashville hot chicken sandwich!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
Italian Beef Sandwiches Recipe
- 6-quart Crockpot or larger
- 1 x 3 pound chuck roast or rump can be used, excess fat trimmed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 x 0.7 oz pack dry Italian dressing mix
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 8-oz sliced pepperoncini plus additional for topping the sandwiches
- 8-oz Giardiniera mild or spicy, roughly chopped. Plus additional to top the sandwiches. (don’t use juice).
- 6 hoagie rolls
- 12 slices extra sharp provolone cheese
- Season the meat with salt and pepper from both sides.
- Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven, and using tongs brown the meat from all sides (about 10 minutes to develop a crust).
- Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
- Deglaze the skillet with beef broth (this will give flavor to the meat), and transfer the liquid to the slow cooker on top of the beef.
- Top the beef with the seasonings (sprinkle over the beef), add the bay leaf, then top with pepperoncini and giardiniera.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. Or until the meat is tender and shreds easily, should reach 202°F.
- Remove the meat from the slow cooker, shred it using two forks.
- Skim any fat off the liquid.
- Return the meat in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 30 more minutes. The meat will absorb the juices.
- To toast the hoagies, split them open and place them on a sheet pan. Place under the broiler at 350°F for 5 minutes or until they’re toasted.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, top the rolls with shredded beef followed by slices of provolone cheese, and place under the broiler to melt the cheese.
- Add any desired toppings. I top with pepperoncini and Giardiniera.
- Serve with a little sauce (jus) on the side for dipping.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen
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