This slow cooker Italian beef sandwich recipe is a family favorite and a crowd pleaser every time. Get an easy start on dinner today and use the leftovers all week long!
These hot beef sandwiches are always a crowd-pleasing favorite around here and are my constant go-to recipe for serving large parties. Prepped in almost no time at all the shredded beef sandwiches are always ready to serve up for lunch or dinner.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s convenient. Just prep it in the morning and it’s ready to go by lunchtime or dinner, depending on how fast you want it. It’s so easy to make ahead of time and have ready to go when everyone is home and hungry.
- You can adjust the recipe to suit your tastes. Add in more or fewer pepperoncini peppers depending on how spicy you want the meaty sandwich filling. Serve with or without cheese on toasted buttered buns.
- The roast will be nice and fork-tender when it’s done. It should easily fall apart as you slice it up for the sandwiches! I like to slice/shred the Italian roast beef and then add it back to the cooking liquid for about 30 minutes so it has a chance to absorb all those great flavors.
Ingredients for Hot Beef Sandwiches
- Beef roast
- Garlic cloves
- Lare tomato
- Fresh parsley sprigs
- Fresh basil sprigs
- Fresh sage sprigs
- Dried oregano
- Beef broth
- Beef bouillon cube
- Worcestershire sauce
- Bay leaf
- Black pepper
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Add your onions, garlic, herbs, pepperoncini, and tomatoes to the bottom of a large crockpot.
- Season the roast with salt and pepper and then place it into the crockpot, placing it right on top of everything else.
- Pour the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce into the crockpot, right next to the roast.
- Add in the bouillon cube.
- Place the lid onto the crockpot and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours, checking after about half of the time to make sure that there is enough lid in the pot. The liquid should be up to the bottom of the roast as it stays sitting on top of the veggies.
- When the beef is fork-tender, remove it from the crockpot and slice or shred it on a cutting board.
- Remove the herb stems and bay leaf and discard them.
- Add in fresh chopped parsley or basil if desired.
- Place your shredded meat back into the crockpot and stir together with the liquid to absorb as much as possible.
- Assemble the sandwiches.
- Butter the insides of rolls or buns and place them butter-side down onto a griddle until golden brown.
- Once finished, place a slice of cheese on the bottom bun before topping with your shredded roast.
- Drizzle with extra cooking liquid or any desired sauces.
- Add the top bun.
- If you want the cheese to melt completely, then wrap the sandwich in foil and place it onto a baking sheet to cook at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes.
- Skim the fat off the cooking liquid and use it as a nice dipping sauce for the sandwiches.
If you don’t have fresh herbs, substitute dried herbs in the following quantities:
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
Recipe Tips for Shredded Beef Sandwiches
The secret to a great tasting roast is in the onions! I know this seems like an excessive amount of onions but trust me when I tell you that it really makes a difference! I love eating them on the Italian beef sandwiches, but even if you don’t like eating them, you need to add them! It makes everything delicious.
The next key to this recipe is the pepperoncini! I buy these in a jar. You can find them with the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers in the Italian section of the grocery store. If you like to serve them on your sandwiches, get the sliced ones but if not, just add them whole. I usually add 3-4 for mild spice and 7-8 for high heat. If you want to kick it up another notch, add a couple of tablespoons of the pickling liquid!
I just season the roast and then add it to the crockpot, you could definitely sear it in a pan before adding it if you have the time! It adds a nice bark to the meat and great flavor.
Instant Pot Shredded Beef
If you’d like your sandwiches made a little more quickly so that you can serve them earlier in the day, using your Instant Pot is a great alternative to the slow cooker! By making these hot roast beef sandwiches in your instant pot you can cut the time down to taking less than 2 hours instead of 7!
To make the shredded beef instant pot version all you need to do is add all of the ingredients (as listed) to your instant pot. Cook on High Pressure for about 60 minutes and then do a Natural Pressure Release for about 10-20 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
You don’t want to release the pressure too soon or hot liquid will splatter all over the place. Also, you will still need to remove the roast, shred it and stir it back in with the liquids as you would with the crockpot version.
You can use any type of beef roast for this recipe although a pork roast may also work well too. Traditionally it is made with a chuck roast. I often find that a chuck roast or sirloin roast work best as those are my go-to choices.
Yes, you can! One of my favorite things about making roast is that we can usually get a few more meals out of it! If I have more than I can use during that time, I’ll portion it out and stick it in the freezer. It can last in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
These sandwiches would be perfect when paired with a side of fries, potato chips, coleslaw, potato salad, or macaroni salad too. If serving them up for dinner roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts are usually a nice pairing for a fuller meal as well.
Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwich
- 3-4 pound beef roast see note
- 6 onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 pepperoncini whole or sliced, see note
- 1 tomato large, about 1 1/2 cup, diced
- 3 sprigs parsley whole, see note
- 2 sprigs basil whole, see note
- 1 sprig sage whole, see note
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 beef bullion cube
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Place the onions, garlic, herbs, pepperoncini, and tomato in the bottom of a large crockpot.
- Season the roast with salt and pepper and place on top of everything in the crockpot.
- Pour the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce around the roast.
- Add the bullion cube.
- Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for about 7-8 hours, checking halfway to make sure there is enough liquid. The liquid should come up to the bottom of the the roast as it’s sitting on the vegetables.
- When the beef is fork tender, remove it from the crockpot and slice or shred it on a large cutting board or plate.
- Remove the herb stems and bay leaf and discard them. Add freshchopped parsley and basil, if desired.
- Place meat back in crockpot with cooking liquid to absorb as much of it as possible while you assemble the sandwiches.
- Butter the insides of the rolls or buns you are using and place them on the griddle until golden brown.
- Once done, place sliced cheese on the bottom bun, add the meat, drizzle with extra cooking liquid or your desired sauce, and place top bun on top.
- If you’d like the cheese to melt completely, wrap them in foil and put in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
- Skim fat and strain cooking liquid for a nice dipping sauce for the sandwiches.