Slow Cooker Italian Beef

5 from 13 votes
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This meltingly tender Italian beef, cooked with tangy pepperoncini, giardiniera, and Italian dressing mix, makes classic slow cooker Italian beef sandwiches a delicious recipe the whole family will love!

Also, honey garlic chicken, rump roast, and short ribs are must-have additions to your slow cooker lineup. The slow cooking process brings out incredibly rich and deep flavors!

Four Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches arranged on a black plate.


Italian Beef Crock Pot

If you’re busy, you probably already have a very affectionate relationship with your slow cooker. Me, too, friend! The crock pot and the instant pot are my besties. If it’s not this crock pot recipe, then I’m definitely working on my instant pot Mississippi pot roast! It’s one of the simplest ways to get dinner on the table with minimal effort and no babysitting the stove.

The slow cooker is especially wonderful for gravy-rich, fall-apart braised dishes, which is what we get in this easy recipe for Italian beef! Bursting with meaty flavor and the tangy, zesty zip of pepperoncini and Italian salad dressing mix, this is one of those beef recipes that will quickly become a favorite. It’s the best way to prepare a hearty meal for any occasion, especially game day.

This beef can be served with many different sides, but it’s most famous as an Italian beef sandwich recipe or a French dip sandwich. When you set out one of these beefy sandwiches and a cup of the juices for dipping, you’ve got a dinner your family will devour—guaranteed!

Overhead shot of ingredients for Italian Beef.

Ingredients For Italian Beef Sandwiches

Another great thing about making Italian beef slow cooker style, is that you only need a handful of ingredients and hardly any prep.

  • Beef: This dish works well with chuck roast, but any cut of braising beef will work. Cut it up into 4-inch chunks.
  • Olive Oil: For browning the beef.
  • Italian Dressing Mix: You’ll need a packet of dry Italian dressing mix to flavor the beef. If you want to use homemade mix, that’s fine, too!
  • Pepperoncini: You’ll need the slices of pepperoncini, as well as some of the liquid from the jar.
  • Giardiniera: Mild or spicy giardiniera. Whatever you like, for a milder or spicier dish.
  • Broth: I find that a couple of cups of beef broth work perfectly to make the saucy beef, but if you like, you can use half broth and half wine, or even just use water (although you may want to add a little more of the pepperoncini juice).
  • Italian Seasoning: Dried Italian seasoning is a great way to add a lovely balance of herbs to the recipe.
  • For Serving: To serve the Italian beef on sandwiches, have some sliced Provolone, toasted buns or hoagie rolls, and extra giardiniera.

How to Make Italian Beef

Making this crock pot Italian beef is simple. It’s a great recipe to start in the morning so that you can have a flavorful dinner ready with virtually no prep at the end of the day! Just brown the beef and place it in your crockpot, deglaze the pan, and put the juices in with the beef—and dinner is practically done!

overhead shot of slow cooker insert filled with liquid, beef chuck roast, pepperoncini, and giardiniera
  1. Brown the meat: Let the meat rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the beef for about 4 minutes on each side. If you’re short on time, skip this step and place the beef directly in the slow cooker.
  2. Deglaze the pan: Transfer the seared beef to the slow cooker. Add a splash of beef broth to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits, cooking for about one minute. Pour this liquid over the beef in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the ingredients: Sprinkle the Italian dressing mix over the beef, then add the pepperoncini, its juice, and the giardiniera.
  4. Cook: Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
  5. Shred beef and soak: Remove the beef, shred it with forks, and return it to the slow cooker for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Enjoy: Serve the shredded Italian beef on toasted buns or hoagie rolls with provolone cheese and giardiniera.
overhead shot of shredded slow cooker italian beef

Recipe Tips And Variations

  • Trim the fat. To make the best Italian beef, keep the dish from being too greasy and trim any large pieces of extra fat before cooking the meat.
  • Sear it. While you may be tempted to set this and forget it (and that is definitely an option!), you’ll get the best flavor by browning the meat first and then deglazing the pan to get all those yummy browned bits and juices.
  • Don’t skip the soaking. Returning the beef to the slow cooker and letting it soak in the cooking liquid, aka au jus, is an important step! It allows the meat to absorb extra flavor and juiciness, creating the perfect sandwich.
  • Serve it other ways. This slow cooker Italian beef is fantastic on its own and doesn’t need to be limited to sandwiches and buns. Try serving it over rice or mashed potatoes, or stir it into pasta dishes like mac and cheese or noodles.
  • Cheese. Provolone, with its mild flavor and wonderful meltiness, pairs perfectly with Italian beef. Alternatively, you can use cheddar, mozzarella, Colby Jack, or even pepper Jack if you want to add a bit of spice.
  • Garnish. Enhance the flavor and variety by adding more pepperoncini, thin slices of roasted bell peppers, or sautéed onions in addition to the cheese.

Which Cut of Beef Is Best for Slow Cooking?

The best roast for slow cooking is often said to be chuck, and it’s true that this cut has a classically “beefy” taste and texture! It responds well to slow cooking, going from tough to deliciously tender beef with melting juiciness, thanks to its generous marbling. However, you can also make great brisket, skirt steak, and even top round roast or bottom round in the slow cooker. Use what you love or have on hand.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches arranged on a black plate.

Serving Suggestions

The classic way to serve Italian beef is on hoagie buns and crusty rolls to make scrumptious hot sandwiches topped with giardiniera, pepperoncini, and cheese. But you can also serve this tender beef in a lot of other ways. Try this easy Cauliflower Rice – it is really good paired with flavorful, saucy foods like this tender beef recipe.

Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes are a favorite around here and play well with the tangy, robust flavor of this slow cooker meal! You can never go wrong with roasted veggies! This recipe for Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables will give you the best technique and lots of easy variations.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Pack leftover Italian beef and the juices into an airtight container or freezer bag—you can even use mason jars! Place in the fridge and use it within 4 to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

To reheat, place the beef and juices in a covered saucepan or skillet over low heat. Stir occasionally as the beef heats up until it is piping hot all the way through.

Four Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches arranged on a black plate.

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5 from 13 votes

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

This meltingly tender Italian beef recipe is slow cooked with tangy pepperoncini and giardiniera and seasoned with an Italian dressing mix.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Resting Time (Before Cooking): 20 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6


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  • Pull the meat out of the fridge and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the beef chunks to the hot oil and sear for about 4 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer the beef to the insert of your slow cooker.
  • Return the skillet to the burner. Add a splash of beef broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and pour the liquid over the beef in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the packet of Italian Dressing Mix over the beef.
  • Add the pepperoncini peppers, pepperoncini juice, and giardiniera. Season with Italian seasoning and pour in the remaining beef broth.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or until the beef is fall-apart tender. You can also cook it on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Remove the beef from the slow cooker, transfer it to a cutting board, and shred it. Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker; cover and cook for 20 more minutes.
  • Serve the shredded beef on toasted buns with provolone and giardiniera.


  • Beef Cut: I used Chuck Roast, but you can also use a Brisket or a rump roast.
  • Trim Excess Fat: Avoid excessive grease by removing large fat portions before cooking.
  • Brown the Beef: For optimal flavor, brown the meat first and deglaze the pan to incorporate all the tasty juices.
  • Soak for Flavor: Immerse the cooked beef back in the liquid in the slow cooker to enhance its juiciness and flavor for an impeccable sandwich.
  • Storage: Italian beef will last up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Leftovers can also be frozen for up to 2 months.


Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1237mg | Potassium: 1016mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 167IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Helen says:

    Sounds delicious, ut I no longer have a crock pot. Can I use an InstaPot? How long would I need to cook it for and what changes would I need to make? Thanks.

    1. Katerina says:

      Yes, you can use the Instant Pot. Brown the meat as per the recipe and continue to follow the recipe up to Step #7. Then, pressure cook on High for 50 minutes.