Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!

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Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!Describing what food bloggers do isn’t easy.  95% of the time, the first response I get is “What is the best restaurant in town?”  Laura and I have our favorite restaurants, but I am in no way a food critic.  We’ve been to some good restaurants, and we’ve been to some bad restaurants.  I wouldn’t even know how to begin writing a restaurant review.

In fact, I’ve started describing myself as a ‘recipe blogger’ or ‘food writer.’  That seems to have helped a little bit, but it’s still a strange profession to describe.  Heck, blogging wasn’t even a viable career until 10 years ago, so folks are still figuring out what it means.  As difficult as it is to describe my profession to friends here in town, imagine describing it to someone who only speaks broken English.  Last May, Laura and I found ourselves on vacation in Venice, Italy.  (This was the same trip when we had to hop between boats in the middle of the Venice Lagoon.)

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!

If you’ve ever been to Venice, then you probably know about Murano.  This tiny island located just across the lagoon from the main city is home to some of the most stunning glasswork I’ve ever seen.  In 1291, Venice moved all of its glassblowing workshops out to the island of Murano to prevent fires from burning the main city.  Ever since, Murano has been home to skilled glassblowers, and Murano glass is respected worldwide.

Murano glassLaura and I decided to get a large piece of Murano glass to serve as the centerpiece of our dining room table.  We had the chance to chat with the artist himself (while sipping on a couple of espressos!), and the conversation turned to our jobs.  Laura is an engineer.  Easy enough to understand.  I then tried to describe what I do, and I just got a blank look.  Hmmm.

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!I pulled out my phone and opened up Instagram as a way to quickly show a bunch of my photos.  I’d recently posted this Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe, so I pulled up that photo.  After all, I was in Italy, so it seemed appropriate to open up an Italian recipe.  The glassblower just laughed.  “Oh, that’s not Italian food.  It’s New York Italian.”

Interesting.  New York Italian.  I’d never thought about it before, but he was right.  Italian food in America is often different than Italian food in Italy.  To be fair, they’re in the same general realm, but Italian recipes are very different than New York Italian recipes.

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Keeping in that vein, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches are definitely an American adaptation of Italian cuisine.  The sandwiches are delicious, but I’ve never seen Italian Beef sandwiches in Italy.  In fact, Google tells me that Italian Beef originated in Chicago in the early 1900’s.  Ok, so now we have Italian, New York Italian and Chicago Italian.  This is getting confusing!

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!No matter what type of Italian food this is considered, these Italian Beef Sandwiches are definitely worth making!  All you need is a good chuck roast, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings and the liquid from a jar of sliced banana peppers (a secret ingredient!).  Once the roast is fork tender, just shred it and serve on toasty buns topped with provolone cheese and giardiniera (picked veggies).  These Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches are some seriously easy (and seriously delicious) comfort food!  Enjoy!

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!Did you make these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches?  Leave a comment!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Looking for more Italian (or American Italian) recipes?  Check out these other favorites:

Italian Prosciutto Panini
Stuffed Italian Bread
Spicy Italian Sausage Roll
Italian Antipasti Salad
Homemade Italian Bread

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 sandwiches
Calories: 578kcal


For the Italian Beef

For the Sandwiches

  • 6 soft hoagie buns
  • 12 slices provolone cheese
  • 1½-2 cups giardiniera mix (see note)


For the Italian Beef

  • Using a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper; mix until well combined. Rub mixture onto all sides of chuck roast; set roast aside.
  • Using a 6- or 7-quart slow cooker, add tomato sauce, sliced bell peppers, sliced onion, pepperoncini (with liquid from jar) and beef stock; stir until well combined. Place roast on top.
  • Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours OR high for 5-6 hours.
  • Remove roast and shred using 2 forks. Return shredded beef to the slow cooker and stir until well combined with remaining ingredients.

For the Sandwiches

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Line a standard baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Open buns and lay on pan. Using a slotted spoon, add shredded beef mixture to the bottom half of each bun. Top each with 2 slices of provolone cheese. 
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted and buns are slightly crispy. Add several spoonfuls of giardiniera mix on top and serve hot.


Giardiniera, sometimes called “hot mix,” is a combination of pickled vegetables including bell peppers, celery, carrots and cauliflower.  It is commonly available in the condiment aisle.

Starting with a classic chuck roast, these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches make for an easy and delicious comfort food meal!

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  1. 5 stars
    Now I’m curious about the differences between NY Italian and Chicago Italian cuisine. But whether it’s New York or Chicago or regular Italy Italian, I want to eat it. There’s never enough Italian food in my life! And these sandwiches sound fabulous; I love that the beef is made in the slow cooker!

    1. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes total sense, right? I mean I just put Italian food into the Italian food category. But Italian food has changed as it moves around the world. I’m like you, though…it doesn’t matter where it comes from. Italian is Italian, and it’s delicious! 🙂 Thanks, Kelsie!

  2. 5 stars
    Yeah, usually when I say to people ‘food blogger’ they automatically go to restaurant reviewer for some reason. I like ‘recipe blogger’ or ‘food writer’. And you know what else I like? Sandwiches! Especially those piled high with beef and peppers! I’m craving comfort food lately like it’s nobody’s business so these would definitely be welcomed right now. Hand me one, will ya 😉 ? Have an awesome weekend, David 🙂

    1. I like sandwiches, too, Dawn! As in, I could eat sandwiches 3 meals a day and be a happy camper. 🙂 These Italian Beef Sandwiches were awesome because they made leftovers…and leftovers on a cold winter day are pretty much the best thing ever. Haha! Thanks so much, my friend!

  3. 5 stars
    You can call them Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches, you can call them American New York Italian Beef Sandwiches, just call me when they’re ready. That is one fine looking sandwich, a meal in itself.
    Explaining what a food or life blogger can be a challenge. I tried explaining to a banker in our new hometown what a food/life blogger was and I gave up and told them I was retired and left it at that.

    1. Hah! I’ll absolutely call you when these are ready, Ron. And here’s the thing…they require very little work thanks to the slow cooker! Hah. I’m imagining the conversation with you and the banker about the blog. Sometimes it’s just easier to say I work in ‘social media.’ It really is a challenge to describe what we do! Either way, thanks so much for the comment, my friend!

  4. Hi David! I always thought that the Italian beef sandwich originated in Chicago ?? Chuck roast is such a versatile piece of meat and is so flavorful! I love a good pot roast, but I also use it for beef stew and slow cooker French dip. These sandwiches are making me hungry and will be on the table one day very soon!

    1. The Italian Beef Sandwich totally did originate in Chicago, and I’m thankful to the Windy City for this creation. Oh man, these made for some amazingly tasty sandwiches! Definitely put these on the menu soon, Dorothy! 🙂

  5. I’m actually surprised he was that nice about it, calling it new york italian food! I would definitely call it Americanized… just like a lot of Chinese food. I have this whole Sicilian family that I only met maybe 20 years ago. We visited them for a family reunion. For dinner, when I saw the Ragu come out, I was so disappointed. But these were, to be fair, generations removed from my father, who came across on a boat when he was 14. Anyway, really nice sounding roast. I should use my slow cooker more often!

    1. You’re totally right about that one, Mimi. We have Americanized a lot (most?) cuisines to the point that they are now a different cuisine entirely. I think it’s definitely worth appreciating both sides of the equation here. After all, food is the universal language, right? Thanks, my friend! And, yes, pull that slow cooker out! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    We loved Murano. I love it that you braved bringing a hand blown glass piece home!

    Whether it’s Italian or New York Italian, sign me up for this sandwich! 😉

    1. Oh, to be fair, we had that glass shipped back home this time. We did visit Murano for our honeymoon almost 10 years ago, and that time we brought the glass back on the plane. This time we decided to avoid the effort! Also, I hear ya on the sandwiches. I don’t care where it originates from, this sandwich is one heck of an awesome meal! Thanks, Marissa!

    1. I totally agree with you about a nice slow-cooker braised roast. This beef was delicious in its own right, but add it into this sandwich form? So tasty! Thanks, Gerlinde!!

  7. 5 stars
    David, nothing beats a good sandwich! This Italian Beef sandwich nails it! And the slow cooker makes it so convenient. Heartfelt gratitude to our Italian Americans – whichever city they’re in – for giving us such amazing food!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Kelly! A good sandwich is pretty much impossible to beat in my book. And I’ve gotta say that these sandwiches are worth adding to the dinner menu. So easy and so delicious! And I agree with you 100% about gratitude to our Italian Americans! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

  8. 5 stars
    My cousin has a collection of Venetian glass pieces that are so stunning — I can only imagine how pretty that centerpiece you got is. And whatever type of Italian food you classify this sandwich as, I’m in. The meat looks so succulent and tender. YUM! Just pinned to my sandwich board. 🙂

    1. I love Venetian glass! It’s so incredible to watch them make it right there on the spot. And the creations they’ve made…I mean entire chandeliers made from pieces of blown glass. It’s crazy! Thanks so much for pinning this one, Valentina. This sandwich is hands down one of my favorite comfort food meals on a cold winter day! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    I imagine most foods are a blend of cultures. Recipes adjust over time to meet all our different tastes. I love these sandwiches – especially that they can be made in the slow cooker! There’s nothing better than coming home and smelling dinner already cooking!

    1. You’re totally right, Kathy. Over time, all foods change and morph based on the other influences in the area. And I’m ok with that! This Italian Beef Sandwiches are super tasty, and they’re so easy to make. In fact, I need to put these on our menu again soon as we’re all out of leftovers. Oops! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I love a good beef sandwich, David! And this one looks especially delicious, especially with those lovely veggies! I get it that American-Italian isn’t the same as Italian-Italian. When we were in Italy, a waiter once asked us if we wanted “macaroni” because we are American. Hmmm. So much for trying to blend in.

    1. Ouch. The waiter offering you macaroni is kinda funny, though. I could eat Italian food every single day of the year and not get tired of it! These sandwiches might be a blend of Italian and American cuisines, but man are they delicious. Thanks so much, Laura!

  11. 5 stars
    What a great idea for a quick and delicious meal David. As you know I love my slow cooker. I often use it on a Sunday to give myself a break from all the cooking during the week (you’ll understand that as a fellow food blogger). This recipe is exactly the sort of thing I would do. Thanks! It’s added to the “must try” list.

    1. Yes! I totally understand and appreciate giving yourself a break from cooking. Before starting the blog, I used to do all of my cooking on the weekends. Now I enjoy taking a break from the kitchen on the weekends! Although I have been known to get in there on a Sunday afternoon to play around with a new bread recipe. 🙂 Definitely put this one on the list. These sandwiches aren’t really ‘authentic Italian,’ but man are they delicious!!

  12. Yesterday I searched for Italian beef slow cooker recipes and today Google recommended your blog post. I enjoyed the post, and would love to see the centerpiece you brought home. Of the 4 recipes I read, yours was the only one with tomato sauce. What prompted you to add tomatoes, and do you think they add to the recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hey Cindy! Funny how Google works, huh? 🙂 As far as the tomato sauce in this recipe, I got the idea from my wife – she comes from an Italian family so I usually listen closely when she recommends ideas for Italian food! With that said, though, I do think the tomato sauce adds quite a bit of flavor to the beef in this recipe. I highly recommend it!

      And I’ll have to edit this post to add a photo of that centerpiece. We literally just put it back out today once we packed up the Christmas decorations.

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