Iowa Girl Eats · Oct 23, 2013

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Last weekend I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends if they’d like to see a crock pot recipe on the blog this week. There were so many exclamation marks in the comments, which I took to mean heck yes!, that I immediately started brainstorming.

Everyone knows that crock pot recipes are a busy person’s best friend, but many of them can be heavy and at times unappealing, right? While thinking about a new and interesting crock pot combo I decided that:

  1. It’d have to use beef as I have exactly one beef crock pot recipe on the blog (Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce.)
  2. It’d have to be easy, of course. Nobody likes crock pot recipes with several cooking steps before you even plug the dang thing in.
  3. It’d have to be very delicious, unique, and not gloopy whatsoever.

With the aforementioned criteria in mind, I finally settled on Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches. A new flavor combo to come out of my crock pot which has zip, zing, and is seriously mouthwatering.

Chuck roast is slow cooked for 10 hours in a mixture of hot pepperoncini peppers, Giardiniera (an insane-tasting Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich topper – say that 5 times fast!) Italian salad dressing mix, and beef broth, then shredded and served on a chewy hoagie bun with melted provolone cheese. Crazy (CRAZY) good, and made with just 5 ingredients!

At first Ben was skeptical about eating the crock pot version of one of his favorite sandwiches, which is typically made with thinly sliced beef. “Oh…I’ve never heard of a shredded Italian beef sandwich…” he said in a tone that I knew meant, I am definitely going to hate this.

But guess what? He didn’t! While I stood hunched over the crock pot eating the shredded beef like a rat, he “mogged” down (his words,) a sandwich in under 2 minutes. That is to say, this dish was a total hit!

Start by trimming any large pieces of fat off a 3lb chuck roast then cut the roast into seven or eight big hunks and place ‘em in the bottom of a 5.5-6 quart slow cooker.

Next, sprinkle in a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix. I like this pre-packaged mix because I recognize all the ingredients.

Now add 8oz sliced pepperoncini peppers (hot or mild – your call) plus a splash of pepperoncini juice, and 8oz Giardiniera.

I’d never had Chicago-style Giardiniera, a type of relish made with pickled olives and veggies that’s packed in herbs and oils, but Ben insisted it go into this dish. I’m so glad he did because OH MY GOSH it is so good! It’s supposed to go over Italian beef sandwiches, but I could have eaten forkful after forkful all by itself.

Because it’s packed in oil though, which would add unnecessary fat to the dish, I scooped out the mix with a fork and let it drain away. You can get Giardiniera that’s packed in vinegar, but I found this style to be a real treat.

Finally, add a can of beef broth then place a lid on top of the crock pot and let it cook on low for 9 hours, or until the beef can be easily shredded with a fork. Beef needs the low and slow action, vs cooking it on high, to make sure the meat gets very tender.

Once the roast can be easily shredded with a fork, shred then slip back into the slow cooker to cook in the juices for 1 more hour on low. Scoop the meat onto hoagie buns then slap a slice of provolone on top to melt from the heat of the beef. Serve with extra pepperoncini peppers and Giardiniera, and you’re golden!

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

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Serves 6

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

3lb chuck roast, trimmed of visible fat and cut into large hunks
1 envelope Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
8oz pepperoncini pepper slices splash of juice (plus extra for serving)
8oz Giardiniera (Chicago-Style Italian Sandwich Mix,) drained (plus extra for serving)
14.5oz can beef broth
provolone cheese slices
hoagie buns


  1. Place chuck roast into the bottom of a 5.5 – 6 quart crock pot then sprinkle with salad dressing mix. Add pepperoncini peppers plus a splash of juice, Giardiniera, and beef broth then lift up chuck roast pieces to get broth underneath. Place a lid on top then cook on low for 9 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred then place meat back into crock pot and cook on low for 1 more hour.
  2. Split buns in half then scoop the shredded meat mixture on top and add provolone cheese slices. Top with additional pepperoncini peppers and Giardiniera, if desired, then serve.

This is absolutely one of my favorite crock pot recipes to date. Could not have been easier to make, and the flavors from the pickled veggies and hot pepper rings really made the beef sing. Let’s not forget that chewy hoagie bun either, which soaks up all the yummy juices. So good. Hope you’ll give it a try sometime!

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