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Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Meltingly tender shredded beef is slow-cooked in tangy pepperoncini and giardiniera, and seasoned with Italian dressing mix to make classic Slow Cooker Italian Beef. It’s a mouthwatering main course everyone will love!

Italian Beef Recipe in the Crock Pot

If you’re busy, you probably already have a very affectionate relationship with your slow cooker! It’s one of the simplest ways to get dinner on the table with minimal effort and no babysitting the stove. I use mine all the time, even with the arrival of the Instant Pot!

In fact, the Instant Pot is a great way to cook up your sides, like rice or veggies, while the slow cooker is wonderful for gravy-rich, fall-apart braised dishes. That’s what you get in this easy recipe for Italian beef! It’s a dish that’s bursting with meaty flavor and the tangy, zesty zip of pepperoncini and Italian dressing. This beef can be served with lots of different sides, but it’s most famous as a French-dip style 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 shredded slow cooker italian beef

Ingredients For Italian Beef

Another great thing about making Italian beef 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.
  • Serving Ingredients: To serve the Italian beef on sandwiches, have some sliced Provolone, toasted buns, and extra giardiniera.

Which Cut of Beef Is Best for Slow Cooking?

The best cut of beef 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 with melting juiciness, thanks to its generous marbling. However, you can also make great brisket, skirt steak, and even top or bottom round in the slow cooker. Use what you love! Or have on hand.

Overhead shot of ingredients for Italian Beef.

How to Make Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Making this Italian beef is so 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!

  1. Brown the Beef. Before cooking, take the beef out of the fridge, and let rest on the counter for 20 or 30 minutes. Cool, but not cold, beef cooks better! Next, heat a swirl of oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Sear the beef in the hot oil for about 4 minutes on each side. P.S. You can definitely skip the browning part if you don’t have time, and just put everything in the slow cooker, all at once.
  2. Deglaze the Pan. Transfer the seared beef chunks to the insert of the crockpot. Place the skillet back on the burner, and pour a splash of beef broth into it. While the pan is on the heat, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Let the broth cook for about one minute.
  3. Add the Broth and Other Ingredients to the Slow Cooker. Carefully pour the deglaze liquid over the beef chunks in the slow cooker. Then sprinkle the Italian dressing mix in, and add the pepperoncini, the juice from the pepperoncini jar, and the giardiniera.
  4. Slow Cook Until Tender. Cover the crockpot, and let the beef cook for several hours, until it’s fall-apart tender. This should take 8 to 10 hours on LOW, or 5 to 6 hours on HIGH.
  5. Shred the Beef, and Soak It in the Juices. Use a large slotted spoon to take the beef out of the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board, or in a large dish to shred it. Shred the beef with a couple of forks, and then place it back in the slow cooker to cook for about 20 minutes longer.
  6. Enjoy! Serve your flavorful shredded Italian beef on toasted buns, with provolone and giardiniera. 
overhead shot of slow cooker insert filled with liquid, beef chuck roast, pepperoncini, and giardiniera

Tips for A Great Italian Beef Recipe

Before making this easy crockpot recipe, look at my top tips for creating the best Italian beef. This is going to be delicious, you guys!

  • Trim the Fat: To keep the dish from being too greasy, trim off any large pieces of extra fat before cooking the beef.
  • Don’t Skip the Browning: 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 is an important step! It allows the meat to absorb extra flavor and juiciness, creating the perfect sandwich.

Serving Suggestions

The classic way to serve Italian beef is on hoagie rolls, to make scrumptious hot sandwiches, topped with giardiniera, pepperoncini, and cheese. But, you can also serve Italian beef in a lot of other ways! Here are just a few:

  • With Rice: For those of you following a low-carb diet, try this easy Cauliflower Rice! It’s so good with flavorful, saucy foods like Italian beef.
  • Over Mashed Potatoes: Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes are a favorite around here, and play well with the tangy, robust flavor of this slow cooker meal!
  • With Veggies: 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. It’s a healthy and addictive side dish that goes with everything!
Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches arranged on a black plate.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • To Refrigerate: Pack leftover beef, along with the juices, into airtight bags or storage containers. You can even use mason jars! Place in the fridge, and use within 4 to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Pack the cooled leftover beef and juices into your favorite freezer containers or bags. Leave a little bit of room (half an inch to one inch is fine) for the liquid to expand as it freezes, if there is a lot of liquid. Freeze 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.

ENJOY!

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

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Katerina | Diethood
Meltingly tender Italian beef is slow cooked with tangy pepperoncini and giardiniera and seasoned with Italian dressing mix.
5 from 10 votes
Servings : 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Resting Time (Before Cooking) 20 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Pull meat out of the fridge and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Heat 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 meat is fall apart tender. You can also cook it on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Remove beef from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board; shred it.
  • Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker; cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Serve the shredded beef on toasted buns with provolone and giardiniera.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 574 kcal | Carbohydrates: 29 g | Protein: 48 g | Fat: 41 g | Saturated Fat: 12 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17 g | Trans Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 156 mg | Sodium: 1237 mg | Potassium: 1016 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 167 IU | Vitamin C: 35 mg | Calcium: 52 mg | Iron: 5 mg | Net Carbs: 28 g

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.

Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef crockpot recipes, chuck roast recipes, Italian beef sandwich
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13 comments on “Slow Cooker Italian Beef”

  1. 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. 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.

  2. Avatar photo
    Della Christian

    I hate to sound dumb, but what is giardiniera?? I have a roast in the freezer that I got on sale and was saving it for a special recipe. This sounds like the one but I don’t know what giardiniera is.

    1. No, not dumb at all. My mom and grandmas made their own, so I didn’t even know that there was a name for it – we just called it pickled vegetables. 😊 It’s like a relish of mixed pickled vegetables. You can click on this Amazon affiliate link to see it 👉 https://amzn.to/482Y6WP

  3. This is a Good recipe… I want to share this idea with you too . I’m in Chicago and we are known for talian beef and Pizzas .. I like to partially freeze the raw Meat then slice it into long thin strips ….( It’s not shredded up ) heat up a good reserved beef broth that is only used for Italian beef which is seasoned using only Organo – salt -Bay Leaves peppercorn and an onion quartered bring the broth to a boil and lower temp to medium add room temperature beef and cover simmer 5 minutes. turn off heat and let sit .. the longer the better… put in a bun with Gardinara and Beef Broth Drizzle all over on top You have to eat them leaning up over your plate it’s a Sloppy sandwich at times LOL.

  4. This looks wonderful! But, I don’ t care for pickled foods, so giardeneira and pepperoncini aren’t in my playbook. Do you have suggestions for substitutions? Add some acid and omit these items? Thank you in advance for your help!

  5. Avatar photo
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

    I know for sure this Slow Cooker Italian Beef would be a huge hit in my house!

  6. I always love the way chuck roast recipes turn out in the crock pot, and this one is a new favorite! So tender and flavorful…the whole family loved it. Thank you for an easy keeper recipe!

  7. Avatar photo
    Jessica Burgess

    My husband is head over heels in love with this recipe! Thank you for sharing it because now I’m a hero for making it. Haha. YUM!

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