Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 8 hours


16 servings

Updated: Aug. 17, 2023
My mom made the best Italian beef. I’ve added to it over the years, but it’s still her recipe. She made these Italian beef sandwiches for family reunions, and there were never leftovers. —Mary McVey, Colfax, North Carolina
Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 boneless beef rump roast or bottom round roast (2 pounds), halved
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (2 pounds), halved
  • 1 beef sirloin tip roast (1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 envelopes Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 envelope zesty Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 envelope (0.87 ounce) brown gravy mix
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 16 hoagie buns, split
  • Optional: Sliced provolone cheese and giardiniera


  1. In a large skillet, brown each roast in oil on all sides. Drain. Transfer meat to a 7-qt. slow cooker. Combine the water, onion, garlic, salad dressing and gravy mixes, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce; pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
  2. Remove beef; cool slightly. Skim fat from cooking juices. Pour juices into a large bowl. Shred beef with 2 forks; add to bowl. Using a slotted spoon, place 1/2 cup on each bun. Top with cheese and giardiniera if desired.

Can you freeze slow-cooker Italian beef sandwiches?

Cool meat and juices; transfer to freezer containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a Dutch oven; heat through. Using a slotted spoon, place 1/2 cup on each bun. Top with cheese and giardiniera if desired.

Italian Beef Sandwiches Tips

How else can you cut the Italian beef?

In addition to shredding the meat, you can thinly slice it with a sharp chef’s knife or an electric knife. Electric knives make cutting Italian beef and other types of meat like turkey and chicken a breeze.

Can you put giardiniera in the slow cooker with the Italian beef?

Yes! Giardiniera is a tangy mix of pickled veggies that will add extra flavor as the meat cooks. Be sure to drain off the oil before adding to the slow cooker, and have some extra giardiniera on the side for guests to add to their sandwiches.

How else can you serve Italian beef?

In addition to making sandwiches, Italian beef can be served over mashed potatoes, rice and skillet mac and cheese.

How should you store leftover Italian beef?

Store leftover Italian beef in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If you liked this Italian beef recipe, solve your "what’s for dinner?" dilemma on other nights with more slow-cooker beef recipes.

Julie Schnittka, Taste of Home Senior Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 sandwich (calculated without cheese and giardiniera): 450 calories, 16g fat (5g saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 969mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 1g fiber), 37g protein.