Slow Cooker and Freezer Friendly French Dip Sandwiches

August 18th, 2011, Baby Barney Kneeknuckles was born via c-section.  Exactly one week later, Mr. Boy turned two and I had the BRILLIANT idea of inviting family and close friends over for a small birthday party.

Yeah, I was hobbling all over the place, unable to laugh or cough without experiencing searing pain.

But this Mama was determined to have some type of birthday celebration for my (newly-made) middle child.

While deciding to host guests so soon after having a baby might not have been the brightest idea I’ve ever had, the meal I served was pure genius.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches have been my go-to meal for years now.   They’re rich and delicious — can easily be stretched to feed a crowd — and thanks to the slow cooker, it can be made using cheaper cuts of roast.  That’s right — yummy, cheap goodness that is perfect for company.

My. Kinda. Food.

It’s one of my Husband’s favorite meals (he was shocked when I revealed I had yet to blog this recipe even though I make it pretty frequently) and one that has him volunteering to clean the kitchen after we eat.

So, yeah, I guess you could say it’s also a magical recipe to have in your back pocket.

(In case you’re tired of kitchen duty.)

The onions just melt during the long hours of cooking, adding depth and comforting flavor to the broth.  By the time the meat is fully cooked, you have created the rich, warm flavor of French Onion soup … perfect for dipping your assembled sandwich.

Curious about the list of herbs and spices in the recipe?  That’s my concoction for “homemade” French Onion Soup mix; at one time, I used a prepackaged soup mix in this recipe, but after looking at the ingredient list (and sodium amount), I decided to start making my own.

So, I guess one can say this recipe is even healthy without all of those crazy additives in pre-packaged soup mixes.

Yummy.  Frugal.  Crowd-Pleasing.  Magical.  Healthy.

And now you know all the reasons we love this recipe around here.


French Dip Sandwiches

The perfect, family-friendly slow-cooker meal for any time of year and any number of people.


  1. 3-5 pound Roast
  2. 1 12-oz bottle of Dark Beer
  3. 2 cups Beef Stock — reserve 1/2 cup
  4. 1 large Yellow Onion, sliced
  5. 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  6. 1 tablespoon of Adams House Rub*
  7. 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  8. 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  9. 1/4 teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
  10. 1/8 teaspoon Celery Seed
  11. 1/8 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  12. 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked Black Pepper
For Sandwiches:
  1. 1-2 Sandwich Rolls per person**
  2. 1 slice of Provolone Cheese per sandwich


  1. Season all sides of the roast with the Adams House Rub and then place the roast In a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the bottle of Dark Beer and 1.5 cups of Beef Stock, pouring it around the roast.
  3. Next, in a heavy duty skillet, heat the Olive Oil over medium heat and then add the sliced onions, onion powder, minced garlic, parsley flakes, celery seed, smoked paprika and black pepper.
  4. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring to give all the spices opportunity to “bloom” from the heat.
  5. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of broth and lower heat slightly, cooking till the onions are tender (about another 5 minutes).
  6. Pour the onion mixture into the crockpot.
  7. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours (low 6-8 hours) or until meat is fork tender and shreds easily.
  8. At that point, remove the roast, use forks to shred it, and then return the meat to the broth.

To Assemble Sandwiches:

  1. Slice the sandwich rolls in half and place the bread (open-faced) on a cookie sheet.
  2. Top one half of the open bread with a slice of cheese.
  3. Toast under your oven’s broiler for 2-5 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese melted.
  4. Remove from the oven and add meat to each sandwich.
  5. Serve with cups of the broth for dipping.


*Adams House Rub is a spice mixture of roasted garlic, pepper and salt. It can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store.

**A sturdy sandwich roll (like a sourdough or “bolillo/pan frances” style of baguette) is best to hold up to the dipping broth, keeping the sandwich from getting too soggy.

The leftover meat and broth can be put into a freezer-friendly container and stored for another meal; I typically can get two to three meals out of a larger chuck roast, giving us ready-to-heat and serve freezer meals for busy school nights.

Copyright ©
Recipe by Rachel Lacy



  1. Doris says

    These are amazing. I have fixed them several times now for company, and they are always a hit. I usually make a bit more broth so that when I freeze the leftovers there will be plenty to go with the rest of the meat. YUM!

  2. Aiman says

    Hi Rachel, I would love to try this recipe out, however, can you suggest a replacement for the beer?

    • says

      There are alcohol free beers available — but, if you are looking to be completely beer free, you could add an additional 1/2 cup of beef broth, mixed with a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoons of soy sauce. It won’t be exactly the same but will still definitely satisfy any french dip cravings! :)

  3. says

    Whenever I can’t decide what to get in a restaurant I go for the french dip. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could just make them at home!

  4. Nikki says

    I made this recipe for a holiday party and it was well recieved. I used lean Elk so I added 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. It turned out great.

  5. says

    Now that the weather is cooling down and my blog is heating up (HA!) I am looking for more than my fair share of slow cooker recipes. This one will most definitely be on my list soon.

  6. says Seriously going to bust out the crock pot and if I didn’t have a newborn I’d already be at the store buying ingredients! Any tips what I could sub for the beer? More stock?


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