This easy French dip sandwich recipe is perfect for when you're low on time but needing something comforting and tasty at the end of a long day.
Busy days don't have to mean overpriced or unhealthy take-out for dinner anymore! If you've been a frequent visitor of the blog, you'll know that we are big fans of dinners that are insanely delicious, filling, and easy to make. This French dip sandwich easily checks all those boxes!
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Learn how to make this hearty crowd pleaser with only minimal amounts of prep. We'll give you a French dip recipe for both your slow cooker or an Instant Pot. We know you're amazing at doing ALL the things, but when it comes to dinner we've got your back!
When To Serve French Dip Sandwiches
Sometimes French dip sandwiches get overlooked for more basic cold cut sandwiches. However, few sandwiches can beat the rich, savory flavor of the French dip thanks to the tasty au jus dipping sauce. With such a robust flavor profile combined with easy preparation, this sandwich is perfect for:
- Family dinner at the end of a long and busy day. Work days, competitions…you get the idea. You can easily pop this recipe in the slow cooker in the morning and have it almost ready to go by your return, or quickly whip it up in the Instant Pot. Nothing better than a warm meal ready right when you need it!
- Parties! Super Bowl parties, baby showers, retirement parties, the options are endless. Instead of large hoagie buns, make them as sliders with their own individual dipping cups. So fun!
- As a meal to share. We all could use a little help now and then, and providing a family with all the sandwich fixings after the birth of a new baby or a surgery can do wonders to lift a heavy burden. Pro Tip: Grab some disposable foil pans to deliver the sandwiches in. Then the family you're helping doesn't have to worry about getting your dishes back!
Tips For The Best French Dip Sandwich
In order to make a truly delicious French dip sandwich, high quality ingredients make a difference.
First and foremost, you want to pick a good beef roast. Having nice, tender shredded or sliced meat in the sandwich makes this French dip practically melt in your mouth. A poor cut of meat will make it tough and less enjoyable.
Some things to look for when selecting your beef roast are:
- Select either a chuck roast or rump roast. Both offer the tenderness we're looking for.
- Choose a roast that has a deep red color. Anything that is grayish-brown may have been on the shelf longer and will not be as tender or flavorful.
- Look for meat that has bright white fat marbling throughout. Meat that is too lean will be—you guessed it—tough and flavorless, and that is not what we are going for! However, too much fat can also create an unpleasant texture, so look for something in the mid-range.
- There are different meat “grades” that you'll see on the packaging. USDA Prime grade beef will be the highest quality, with the most tenderness and flavor. The down side, however, is that it is the most pricey. Since we like to keep things on the frugal side, we usually spring for the USDA Choice grade beef, which is still tasty but less expensive.
Some other things to consider when crafting your French dip are the bread and cheese you want to use. While the roast will be the biggest flavor component, don't hesitate to upgrade your rolls or cheese to something more deluxe if you so desire. If that's not an option right now, don't stress! Even basic hoagie rolls and pre-sliced cheese can construct an amazing sandwich!
French Dip Sandwich Variations
French dip sandwiches are so delicious that it might be one of those “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” situations, but there are still variations that are yummy and worth a try. A few to consider are:
- Change up the meat – a pork roast in place of a beef roast is a great alternative if you're trying to avoid red meat or just looking to switch things up.
- Switch up the cheese – provolone cheese is the classic topping, but Swiss cheese is also a great option. If neither of those sound good, feel free to try American or cheddar, or no cheese at all! Let your personal taste guide your choices.
- Add toppings – there's nothing wrong with keeping the sandwich simple, but we LOVE adding caramelized onions to our French dip sandwiches. Sautéed mushrooms are also easy to add and so delicious!
What To Serve On The Side
Pairing your French dip sandwich recipe with a good side can really make the meal complete. Here are some of our favorite sides for a French dip:
- Au jus dipping sauce – of course! It wouldn't really be a French dip without this trusty sidekick, now would it? Keep reading and we'll tell you exactly how to do it.
- Fries – steak fries or sweet potato fries are our personal favorites, but why stop there? Curly fries, onion rings, or even tater tots could work well too. We have an amazing recipe for sweet potato fries that gives you three different recipe methods!
- Potato salad – meat and potatoes are a classic pairing, so it only makes sense to whip up this tasty Southern potato salad to serve with your French dip sandwich.
- Green salad – throw together your favorite greens and dressing of choice to create a balanced meal.
- Pickle spear – the cool, crunchy, briney flavor of a classic dill pickle spear offers a great contrast to the warm and savory sandwich.
- Fruit salad – if you prefer a side that's a little more sweet, a simple fruit salad is both light and delicious. This easy fruit salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Learn How To Make A French Dip Sandwich
Now that we've discussed just about everything related to a French dip sandwich, let's get to the actual recipe, shall we? We've included instructions for both your slow cooker and an Instant Pot French dip version. You can thank us later!
French Dip Recipe
- 3 lbs beef roast
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 packet french onion soup mix
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 6 hoagie buns or sandwich rolls (French bread works too)
- 6 slices provolone cheese
SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS
- Trim the extra fat from the roast and discard. Place trimmed roast in a slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk beef broth, soup mix, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder. Pour mixture over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- When fully cooked, pull roast out and shred on a plate. Set broth aside in a bowl or container to use for dipping.
- Place all of the hoagies on a baking sheet. Slice hoagies in half and butter both sides. Put provolone cheese slice on top half of open-faced bun and place under a broiler until cheese is melted. (Make sure to watch closely so bun doesn't burn.)
- Remove and distribute meat on hoagies. Dip in reserved broth.
INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
- Trim the extra fat from the roast and discard. Place trimmed roast in your instant pot.
- In a medium bowl, whisk beef broth, soup mix, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder. Pour mixture over roast. Secure lid, and set pressure valve to sealing.
- Select manual, and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes.
- When done cooking, select cancel, and allow to natural release for 30 minutes before removing lid.
- When fully cooked, pull roast out and shred on a plate. Set broth aside in a bowl or container to use for dipping. Proceed to steps 4 & 5 listed in slow cooker instructions above.
Repurpose Your Leftover French Dip Meat
To be honest, we'd be a little surprised if you had any leftovers of this amazing dinner. No shame in going back for seconds! But, if you do have meat remaining, there are plenty of ways to put it to good use:
- Put a Mexican spin on things and add the shredded beef to these steak quesadillas or delicious chimichangas. Or go even easier and create some cheesy shredded beef nachos piled high with all your favorite toppings!
- Repurpose the meat into this tasty Shredded Beef Chili from That Low Carb Life.
- Create a savory breakfast hash by crisping up the beef, a bag of southern-style hash browns, peppers, onions, and seasonings in a pan. Or, throw some meat in with our amazing sweet potato breakfast hash! So good!
How To Freeze & Reheat French Dip
This sandwich recipe is also a wonderful meal to prep in advance and freeze for later use. Simply follow the directions in the recipe to cook and shred the meat. Once it has cooled, placed the meat in a zipper freezer bag and seal it tight, pushing as much air out as you can. You can then place the reserved dipping broth in a separate bag or container and do the same. Label and date them both, and place in the freezer.
When you're ready to prepare the sandwiches, place the bags of meat and broth in the refrigerator to thaw for a few hours or overnight. Once softened, you can reheat the meat either in a pan on the stove, in a dish in the oven, or in the microwave. The broth can be placed in a saucepan and warmed on the stove.
Once your broth and meat are warmed, follow the recipe instructions to assemble the sandwiches. Voilà! Dinner is served!
We hope this recipe becomes a favorite staple at your home! Tell us in the comments how your family likes their French dip sandwiches, we'd love to hear!
If you need more recipe inspo, we've got you covered:
- Stop stressing about what's for dinner! Our Shelf Cooking Subscription Plan will send you a list of fabulous recipes every week!
- Love your slow cooker? You gotta try this easy Salsa Chicken recipe or this delicious slow cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork.
- If you can't get enough French bread lately, these 20 minute French bread pizzas will hit the spot!
- These delicious Oven Roasted Carrots are a perfect side dish to any meal.
As the French say, bon appétit!