Slow Cooker French Dip Panini

Beef, Crock-Pot, Main Dish, Sandwiches | 22 comments

I don’t utilize my slow cooker nearly as often as I should. Which is ridiculous since every time I do I realize what a helpful kitchen appliance it is.

The truth is, I don’t have a lot of slow cooker recipes so I often forget to use a slow cooker on a busy day. And slow cooker recipes can be difficult to photograph in an attractive manner.

Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe

When my sister moved to Colorado she told me about an easy slow cooker French Dip recipe that a friend in Austin had prepared and wanted me to give it a try.

The shredded beef for the French Dip Sandwich is pretty easy and low maintenance to prepare, but here are a few of my favorite Slow Cooker tips to help you get the best results.

Tips for Cooking in a Slow Cooker

1. Always sear all sides of the meats first to brown the meat and seal in the moisture.

Bonus: if your slow cooker sleeve is stove-top safe you can sear the meat in it which eliminates an extra dirty dish and leaves all those tasty browned bits from searing in the pan for deep flavor.

2. Saute aromatic ingredients like onion, carrot, celery, and garlic before adding to the slow cooker to avoid a raw taste and add deeper, more fragrant flavor.

Bonus again if your slow cooker sleeve is stove-top safe. I have one that is and I highly recommend looking for a model like that.

3. Cook low and slow for a longer period of time rather than quick and hot for fall apart in your mouth moist, tender meats.

4. Add dried herbs at the beginning of cooking and fresh herbs towards the end. The flavor of herbs and spices can diminish with the long cooking times, particularly with delicate fresh herbs.

It is best to taste just before serving and add a boost of flavor with additional spices and/or fresh herbs if needed.

Slow Cooker French Dip Panini

Of course being me, I couldn’t resist tweaking things up a bit with this French Dip recipe.

Instead of serving the shredded french dip beef stuffed inside a sliced loaf of french bread, we made the french dip sandwiches into a panini recipe.

The insides of sourdough bread are slathered in herb and garlic Boursin cheese and gooey melted provolone seals the whole thing together.

We found that the crispy toasted bread is a great medium (even better than traditional rolls) for soaking up all that delicious au jus served on the side.

If you prefer a traditional French Dip sandwich, you can still use this meat recipe and serve it in your preferred bread.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Do you use your slow cooker or do you often forget about it like me? What is your favorite recipe?

Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe

Yield: serves 6 - 8

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3 pounds beef chuck roast, trim extra fat off
kosher salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 3/4 cups beef broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Sourdough bread, sliced thin (I like La Brea loaves or Udi's Sliced Sourdough)
Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
Sliced Provolone Cheese


To Prepare the Slow Cooker French Dip Meat:

Add the oil in your slow cooker's insert if it is stove top safe, if it is not stove top safe, then heat the oil in a cast iron pan or dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Season the beef chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of the meat in the oil over medium-high heat until each side has a nice brown crust. Remove and set aside on a plate.

In the same pan, saute the onion for 3 - 5 minutes, until golden, adding more oil if necessary. Then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the meat and any juices that have collected on the plate along with the onion and garlic to the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves, Worcestershire, red wine, tomato paste, beef broth.

If you're using fresh thyme, add the sprigs during the last 30 - 60 minutes of cooking. If you're using dried thyme, add it at the same time as the beef broth.

Cover with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the meat easily shreds using a fork. Remove the meat and shred it or cut in into thin slices, however you prefer. Set aside in a bowl. Ladle off excess fat from the top of the au jus and discard the fat. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Keep the remaining au jus in the slow cooker to keep warm while you prepare the sandwiches. If desired, you can thicken the jus with flour or cornstarch. After adding flour or cornstarch and whisking to combine, bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Then lower heat to keep warm.

To prepare the panini:

Spread the inside of two pieces of bread with Boursin cheese. Top one of the insides with a slice of provolone and then shredded beef, then top the beef with another slice of provolone. Put the remaining slice on top and grill using a panini press or a cast iron skillet.

If grilling the panini using a cast iron skillet, press down on the top of the sandwich using a brick covered in foil or a heavy sauce pan. After the first side has toasted and become a golden brown, flip and repeat.

Serve with a side bowl of the au jus for dipping.

Adapted from Slow Cooker French Dip, via my sister's friend Fran.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Meaghan - January 07, 2013 @ 6:31 am

    This recipe looks so good. I made a similar recipe a couple months ago, but I love the idea of using Boursin cheese…sounds amazing. I always forget to use my slow cooker as well…



  • 2
    Tiffany - January 07, 2013 @ 7:02 am

    how good does that look! wow! right up my husband’s alley… :)


  • 3
    Allison - January 07, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    Wow! These look delicious. I am a huge fan of crockpot meals – I use the crock pot at least once a week. My favorite crock pot recipe these days has been Lazy Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls from Simple Bites – - so yummy!!


  • 4
    Erica Lea | Cooking for Seven - January 07, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    This looks so good, Katie! We just got our slow cooker so I’m on the lookout for good recipes. :)


  • 5
    Bev @ Bev Cooks - January 07, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    Oh my gosh I’m dying for this.


  • 6
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots - January 07, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

    This looks like the ultimate sandwich! Yum! Thank you for including me in your links, Katie! :D


  • 7
    Cassie | Bake Your Day - January 07, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

    These look so good, Katie! I love french dips and slow-cooked is even better!


  • 8
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - January 07, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    Looks incredible, Katie!! I’m not pregnant, but now you have me craving a midnight snack. ;)


  • 9
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking - January 08, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    I had to laugh at the tips but only because I’m lazy and don’t follow any of them. I guess that really proves how amazing slow cookers are! I’ve always been astonished at how yummy everything comes out, despite my “dump it in and get it done quickly” method. ;) But you’re right, I have to try it the proper way! Thanks for including my link. :)


  • 10
    Purabi Naha - January 09, 2013 @ 1:44 am

    Wow, this is so different! I loved your slow-cooker panini recipe.


  • 11
    Tony B | Simple Awesome Cooking - January 09, 2013 @ 8:13 am

    Hey Katie – This is the most scrumptious recipe I’ve seen all week! I’m discovering a new appreciation for the slow cooker and definitely will give this a go. Cheers for sharing!


  • 12
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes - January 09, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    This looks delicious! I love french dip sandwiches :)


  • 13
    Sarah - January 15, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    This sounds so yummy and perfect for the cool weather we are having here in the Pacific Northwest.
    What would you suggest to use instead of the red wine? We are not much drinkers here and the rest of the bottle would go to waste. Thanks!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 15th, 2013 @ 6:53 PM

      Just use additional beef broth or you can use red cooking wine.

  • 14
    Karen Petersen - January 15, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

    Hi Katie,
    Great post! I love slow cooking (as evidenced by my blog) and these are great tips. Do you have a slow cooker that you can use on the stove top? What kind is it? I look forward to meeting you next week in Chicago!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 15th, 2013 @ 9:32 PM

      Hi Karen,
      Really looking forward to meeting you as well – I have been hearing about you for years from friends both in and out of the blogging world. Here is the slow cooker that I have I love that you can use the actual pot part of it on the stove top to sauté or sear in. Makes for less cleanup!

  • 15
    Morgan - January 18, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Hi Katie,
    Host the Toast featured this recipe in our “Link Love” post today!
    You can see it at http://blog.hostthetoast.com/link-love-10-crock-pot-recipes-you-will-love/
    What a great idea this recipe is. I absolutely love it! The picture is wonderful, as well.
    -Morgan from Host the Toast


  • 16
    melissa d - March 01, 2013 @ 3:43 am

    I am going to make this on sunday – i had planned on making the classic french dip but it looks too good smashed and grilled together like that. i dont have access to provolone – i will just use dutch cheese.


  • 17
    Sarah - August 19, 2013 @ 6:56 am

    There aren’t many Crock Pot recipes which make my husband’s eyes light up with joy, but this is one of them! I generally use chicken broth instead of beef because that’s what I have in the freezer, and I skip the red wine because we never have any around the house. Still tastes amazing. Thanks for the recipe. :)


  • 18
    Melanie - October 03, 2013 @ 11:54 pm

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it 2 times now and it’s definitely made it into my favorite recipe book. Thank you!


  • 19
    Alex - November 17, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    This looks awesome! Have you tried freezing this successfully? (It’s only my husband and I, so we are going to have a ton of leftovers!)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — November 18th, 2013 @ 8:56 AM

      I have not tried freezing it, but I have tried freezing similar meats so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Good luck!

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