This easy French Dip Sandwich Recipe is made with perfectly cooked, melt-in-your-mouth chuck roast served on crusty bread with melty cheese and cooked onions. Dipped in leftover cooking gravy (au jus), it’s a simple, comforting classic loaded with amazing flavor!
There was a diner in the town where I grew up, and my mom always ordered the French Dip sandwich. At just six years old, I preferred their grilled cheese. Anyway, an old lady now like my mom was back then (*kidding*), I absolutely understand the appeal of a soft and crunchy roll topped with tender beef, melty cheese, and jammy onions. But mostly, I love dipping this sandwich in savory beef consomme, aka beef drippings, feeling the light grease coat my lips with each bite.
Key Features of a French Dip Sandwich
The French Dip sandwich is a hot sandwich that originated in the United States – not France- despite its name. The origins of this iconic sandwich are disputed, as two Los Angeles restaurants, Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet and Philippe The Original, both claim to have invented the French Dip in the early part of the 20th century.
Traditional French Dip sandwiches feature,
- Thin slices of roast beef served on a ‘French roll’ or baguette.
- It comes served with a side of hot ‘au jus’ for dipping. The au jus is usually made from the juices of the roast beef.
- It is often topped with melted cheese (usually Swiss or provolone), onions, and sometimes horseradish or mustard for added flavor.
How to Make French Dip Sandwiches
The long list of steps may seem intimidating, but the process is really quite easy. If you prefer to cook your roast in the Crock pot, you’ll find the instructions to do that below.
1. Get started by preheating your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, rub the seasoning mixture (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper) all over the chuck roast.
2. Heat the vegetable oil (or olive oil) in a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Sear the seasoned roast on all sides until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the roast and set aside.
3. As the roast is browning, add the beef broth, beer (or coke – or even red wine), Worcestershire sauce, and beef bouillon to a large measuring cup, stir to combine, then set aside.
4. After the roast has been removed from the pot and set aside, melt the butter in the same pot or Dutch oven. And the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions start to soften. In the last 30 seconds, stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
5. Pour the prepared broth into the pot with the onions and bring to a simmer. Add the roast back to the pot, carefully spooning the broth over the top of the roast. Add the thyme and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to the preheated oven and allow the roast to cook for 3 hours or until cooked and tender.
6. Once the roast is fully cooked and tender, carefully remove the roast from the pot and set it aside on a large cutting board to rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing into thin pieces or shredding with a fork.
7. Strain the cooking liquid (your au jus!) through a fine mesh sieve removing any solids and set it aside for dipping. Meanwhile, reserve the onions for topping the beef dip sandwiches (if desired).
8. Next, increase the heat of your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Slide your French rolls, buns, or hoagie rolls in half, but trying to keep them connected if possible. Generously butter both sides and place them on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until lightly toasted.
10. Remove the rolls from the oven and place the sliced or shredded beef on one side of each roll with a portion of caramelized onions on the other side. Top the meat with 2-3 slices of provolone cheese.
11. Return the baking sheet with the prepared French Dip sandwiches back into the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 8-10 minutes.
12. Serve with a small bowl of warmed au jus as your dipping sauce.
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
1. Rub the seasoning mixture (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper) all over the chuck roast.
2. Add the beef broth, beer (or coke – or even red wine), Worcestershire sauce, and beef bouillon to a large measuring cup, stir to combine, then set aside.
3. Heat the vegetable oil (or olive oil) in a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Sear the seasoned roast on all sides until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. This helps to lock in the juices and flavors. Remove the roast and set aside.
4. Place the seared roast in your slow cooker and add the sliced onion and minced garlic. Pour the broth mixture into the slow cooker.
5. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef is very tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
Once the beef is cooked, continue with steps 6-12 outlined above.
Storage and Freezing
- Leftovers: The ingredients for this sandwich can be stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Freeze the beef and au jus separately for best results. Allow each to cool first before placing it in a freezer-safe container or bag and placing it in the freezer.
- Thawing and Reheating: Thaw the roast beef and au jus in the refrigerator overnight. Warm the roast beef and au jus separately.
What to Serve with French Dip Sandwiches
The most traditional side dish for a beef dip sandwich is French fries, of course! (Nothing to do with the name, sweet potato fries are just as yummy). Some other great sides to consider include a mixed salad, coleslaw, potato salad, pickles and potato chips, or soup (like tomato soup or vegetable soup).
More Sandwich Recipes
- Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)
- Reuben Sandwich
- Freezer-Friendly Croissant Breakfast Sandwich
- Avocado Toast
- Hamburgers Recipe
If you try making this French Dip Sandwich Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
French Dip Sandwich
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper - plus more to taste
- 1 (4-5) pound chuck roast
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 (8-ounce) can stout beer - or Coke
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tabelespoon butter
- 3 Vidalia onions - thickly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic - sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 French rolls - or hoagie rolls/buns
- 12 slices provolone cheese - or Swiss cheese
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rub this seasoning mixture all over the rump or chuck roast, then set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then sear the seasoned roast on all sides until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the roast and set aside.
- Add the beef broth, beer or Coke, Worcestershire sauce, and beef bouillon to a large measuring cup, stir to combine, then set aside.
- Melt the butter in the pot, then add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until they become slightly soft, then add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Pour in the prepared broth and bring to a simmer, then place the roast and thyme in the pot and cover with the sauce.
- Cover the pot with a lid, transfer it to the preheated oven, and let the roast cook for about 3 hours or until tender.
- Once the roast is cooked, remove it from the pot and place it on a cutting board to rest for at least 15 minutes.
- Slice into thin pieces. (My roast was so tender it was falling apart even after resting for 30 minutes, so do your best with this part.)
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any solids- this will be your au jus sauce for dipping, but keep the strained onions for the sandwiches.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the rolls in half lengthwise while still keeping them connected, and generously butter both sides before placing them on a baking sheet.
- Toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Place the slices of beef on one side of each roll, and add a portion of caramelized onions to the other side, along with 3 slices of provolone cheese on top of the roast.
- Place the baking sheet with the assembled sandwiches into the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 8-10 minutes.
- Serve the sandwiches with au jus served hot in a small bowl on the side.
- Roast Beef: Once cooked, allow the roast beef to cool, then slice it into thin pieces. Place it in a freezer-safe container or bag and place it into the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
- Au Jus: Allow the au jus to cool completely, and place it in a separate freezer-safe container for up to 3-4 months.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)