Easy Slowcooker Italian Beef & Sausages

Easy Slowcooker Italian Beef & Sausages

A juicy, falling apart Italian Beef sandwich which is perfect for a delicious weekday dinner or a bustling weekend.

The Windy City is known for its “Pile It All On” food with no Chicago pizza going too deep or a good ol’ Chicago dog stacking too high.


However, the mightiest of them all is freshly made Italian beef still freshly dribbling Au Jus from the dunk. Even though the dish traces its roots back to Italian immigrants, the beef sandwich is a staple in many Midwestern households.


For many people, we can thank the Italian beef restaurant itself, Portillos, for popularizing this messy sandwich after its appearance on Food Network. 


Luckily, my family made this recipe a staple as the cool winds from Fall arriving often accompanied the start of “Crockpot Season.” Few things were as welcoming than walking into your warm home from a cold day and having the rich aroma wrap its arms around you like a tight hug.  

Slicing the fall-apart roast and stacking the roll sky high with peppers, beef, and cheese was undeniably a crowd favorite. The roast makes perfect leftovers for busy school nights when no one had time to devote to cooking.


If you’re anything like me, then the hardest part of the sandwich is waiting until the sunsets before indulging in the beefy goodness.

What kind of roast is best for Italian Beef?

Slowcooker Italian Beef

Unlike for other quick weeknight dishes, the perfect cuts of meat are the large roasts with a large connective tissue. The kind of beef cuts that have little white lines called marbling littered throughout the meat’s muscle when you examine it in the store.


Typically, these meats tend to me tough and chewy if they are quickly cooked on the stovetop like a steak. However, longer cooking times allow the connective tissue to slowly dissolve resulting in scrumptious cuts of meat that break apart by just looking at it.


When you go shopping keep an eye out for these cuts of meat:


  • Chuck roast

  • Bottom Round Roast

  • Rump Roast

  • Top Round Roast/London Broil

  • Shoulder Roast

Often your grocery store will have these large roasts for the price of 1-2 ribeye steaks, but with the proper attention and patience you will have Rolls Royce of beef dinners for a fraction of the popular steak cuts. 


Why do you have that step?

The first thing you want to do before browning the roast and sausages is to take the roast and poke holes ½ inch deep with a sharp knife. You will insert the garlic into the holes which creates stronger flavors over the course of the day. 


If you are a lover of garlic like me, then I strongly encourage you to try this trick for any future roasts to enhance your culinary creations.


Next is searing the meat. While not totally required if you want to keep this dish simple, the nice crust on the roast and sausages creates an additional  depth of flavor that enhances this easy weeknight dish.


Unlike the last step, I strongly recommend you to add a packet of dry onion soup mix if your local grocery store carries any. The dry soup mixture plays well with the beef’s juices creating a scrummy gravy you can store for future meals if you have any left over.   


At our local grocery store my mother always bought Lipton’s soup mix, but creating your own and keeping it stored away in a tight jar is always a delicious option to have on hand.


While creating your own soup mixture may sound daunting for some, do not fret. You can find the majority, if not all, of the ingredients in any grocery store and takes less than 10 minutes to create.

Italian Beef ingredients

If you have gotten to this point, then you know putting cheese on your Italian beef can be a very controversial topic. While I go either way depending on my mood for that night, here are a few types of cheeses I enjoyed melting on top of my sandwich:


  • American– while considered the quintessential cheap cheese, this kind is meant to easily melt which makes it a great choice


  • Provolone- the classic choice if you opt for cheese. Provolone pairs well with beef and onion making it a cult classic


  • Swiss– While used left often, swiss can be a fun nontraditional choice


  • Mozzarella- Place a few pieces on your sandwich and broil it to have a cheesy pull only rivaled by the Chicago pizza.  

Store the leftovers for easy dinners rest of the week

After making the roast, it stays good for 2-3 days stored in the crockpot. For future dinners, all you need to do is to place the roast back in the slow cooker and warm for easy dinners the rest of the week.


Maybe it is just me, buteating the roast on the next day always tastes slightly better from the flavors combining further overnight. 


I hope you give this recipe a try on a busy week and you fall in love like many midwesterners have with this simple but scrumptious family meal.  

Italian Beef Sandwhch

Slowcooker Italian Beef & Sausages

A juicy, falling apart Italian Beef sandwich which is perfect for a delicious weekday dinner or a bustling weekend
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 Peope


  • 1 Slowcooker/Crockpot


  • 3-4 lb beef roast
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 lb Italian sausages
  • 2 tbsp oil needs to have high smoking point
  • 1 sliced medium onion
  • 2 sliced bell peppers
  • 1 2 oz dry onion soup mix I used Lipton or you can make your own
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 loaf hard bread I used French rolls
  • 1 slice cheese optional
  • giardiniera optional


  • Place the roast on a cutting board and with a sharp knife pierce holes 1/2 inch deep. Push the garlic cloves into the holes until they are fully inside the roast.
  • Take out a large cast iron skillet and turn the heat up to High. While the pan is heating up, lightly rub the roast in oil. Place the roast on the hot skillet and sear each side 1-2 minutes or until the roast begins to carmalize. Take the roast out and sear the Italian sausages 1-2 minutes. If the pan is dry, add more oil if needed
  • Turn the skillet off and place the beef roast and sausages in the slowcooker.
  • Add the sliced onion, peppers, onion soup mix, pepper, salt, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes in the slowcooker. Then pour the beef stock on top of the seasonings, vegetables, and meat.
  • Cover the slowcooker and let the roast cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours.
  • As the Italian beef is done cooking, place your oven on broil and place your bread of choice in the oven for 2-3 minutes to crispen.
  • With tongs, remove your roast and place on a cutting board. At this point the roast should easily shred and fall apart. Place the shredded beef back into the slowcooker.
  • Stack your crispy bread with tender beef, sausages, peppers, onions, cheese, and giardiniera.
  • Don't forget to add extra gravy on top and enjoy!
Keyword Dinner, Easy, Meal prep, Quick

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