Skip to Content

The Best Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe (So Easy!)

In this Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe, Classic French Dip Sandwiches are converted to a Panini Recipe with crispy sourdough bread. This sandwich has flavor overload thanks to the tender slow cooker beef, 2 types of cheeses, toasty bread, and rich au jus.

photo of french dip panini on a plate with sweet potato fries and a glass of beer

My Favorite Things About this French Dip Panini Recipe

5 reasons I think this is the best french dip recipe:

  • My recipe is a unique take on a classic, popular recipe.
  • The tender beef has tons of great flavor
  • Using 2 types of cheeses makes this hot sandwich extra tasty. I love all the melty cheese in this easy French Dip Panini!
  • The golden brown toasted bread soaks up all the rich au jus sauce.
  • This french dip sandwich recipe is a good recipe for busy weeknights because the beef slow cooks in the crock pot while you’re getting other important things done in your day.

Creating this Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe

I don’t utilize my slow cooker nearly as often as I should, and that is ridiculous because 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.

When my sister moved to Colorado she told me about an easy slow cooker French Dip recipe that a friend in Austin had prepared. She said we should give it a try. Of course being me, I couldn’t resist tweaking things up a bit with this French Dip recipe.

photo of bread and cheese to make a french dip sandwich recipe

What You Need to Make Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Sandwiches

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. Here are the ingredient’s you’ll need:

For the Slow Cooker French Dip Meat

  • Chuck Roast or Rump Roast
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Bay Leaf
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Red Wine
  • Tomato Paste
  • Beef Broth
  • Fresh Thyme

For the French Dip Panini Sandwich

  • Good Bread – I like Sourdough Bread, cut in thin slices
  • Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
  • Sliced Provolone Cheese

Ingredient Substitutions

  • You can substitute Swiss cheese for provolone cheese slices.
  • If you can’t find the garlic herb Boursin cheese at your grocery store, try substituting a small amount of garlic and herb cream cheese.
  • If you prefer a traditional French Dip sandwich, you can still use this meat recipe and serve it in a French roll or hoagie rolls in place of the sourdough bread. However, we tested it both ways and 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.

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

step by step photos of preparing a recipe for a french dip panini

How to Make a French Dip Panini

This recipe might look like it has a lot of instructions, but it actually comes together really easily!

Cooking the Slow Cooker French Dip Meat:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Season the beef chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper, then sear all sides of the meat until a nice brown crust has developed. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  2. In the same pan, saute the onion until golden. Then, add the garlic. Next, add the meat, onion, and garlic to the slow cooker.
  3. Then, add all the good stuff: the bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire, red wine, tomato paste, beef broth.
  4. Lastly, cover with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the meat easily shreds using a fork.

Preparing the Shredded Beef:

  1. First, remove the meat and shred it, and place the shredded warm roast beef in a bowl. Then, spoon off excess fat from the top of the au jus and discard.
  2. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Keep the remaining au jus warm in the slow cooker while you prepare the sandwiches.

To Prepare Each Panini:

Assembling the panini is easy. First, you’ll butter the outsides of the bread. After that, spread the boursin cheese on the insides of the bread.

Then, add slices of provolone, shredded beef, then top the beef with another slice of provolone.

Put the remaining slice of bread on top and grill using a panini press. When one side is toasty and golden brown, flip, and repeat to cook the other side. Make sure the cheese is fully melted before serving.

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

photo of seared meat for making beef french dip

Tips for Making the Best French Dip Panini

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.

  • Trim the roast and remove excess fat from the roast before cooking. This will make the pan drippings less greasy.
  • A large roast will have a longer cooking time. If using a large roast, then you can cut it in to two smaller beef roast pieces to shorten the cooking time. You’ll know the meat is done because it is tender and shreds easily.
  • Always sear all sides of the meat 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.
  • For the easy way to shred meat, check out my how to shred chicken tutorial because the method will be really similar.
  • Skim fat off the top of the pan of meat drippings so the dipping sauce isn’t greasy. This is important because the flavor of the au jus will be so much better without the excess grease.

How Can I Make this without a Panini Press?

If you want to make this French Dip Panini without a panini press, you can use a heavy skillet or frying pan and grill the sandwich over medium low heat.

Then, to mimic the panini press, you can press down on the sandwich with a weighted plate, a bacon press, or a brick wrapped with aluminum foil. Although you won’t get the nice grill marks, the panini will still be super tasty!

Can I Make this Shredded French Dip Beef in the Instant Pot

Yes, this recipe is easy to adapt for the Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Just follow the recipe as instructed, but using an Instant Pot instead. Then, cook on high pressure for 60-75 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release completely before opening.

Precautions: Do not touch the steam escaping because it is very hot and can burn. Do not remove the lid until all of the pressure has released.

photo of sliced beef for preparing french dip sandwiches

How to Store Leftover Slow Cooker French Dip

Transfer the cooled, tender roast beef to an airtight storage container. After that, transfer in to the refrigerator and use within 4-5 days.

Freezing Slow Cooker French Dip Meat

This recipe is easily doubled, or even tripled if you have a larger crock pot. The shredded beef can be frozen in portions for later use.

Tips for Freezing this Recipe:

  • First, cool the leftover roast completely first.
  • Then, make sure you use a freezer-safe, airtight container if using a storage container.
  • For a space constrained freezer, freeze the shredded beef in vacuum sealed bags. It will take up less space this way.
  • The best way to freeze this slow cooker french dip meat without it drying out is to keep a little au just sauce to add to the containers. This will help prevent the tender meat from drying out while it is frozen.
  • Next, label and date each frozen portion with the quantity and date.
  • Use within 3 months for best results.
  • Thaw the shredded beef overnight in the refrigerator.
photo of a man holding a french dip panini

What to Serve with Slow-Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

First, you’ll want to make sure to serve this panini recipe with a small bowl of warm au jus at each plate for dipping.

For a side dish, make these easy beef sandwiches a complete meal by serving them with easy homemade french fries. My favorite for serving with these sandwiches are Parmesan Garlic Sweet Potato Fries!

A side salad makes a great vegetable dish to go with these French Dip Panini Sandwiches. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all. We often use mixed greens, lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrot, and tomato for a basic side salad. Check out these 3 Simple Salad Dressing Recipes to go along with your salad.

Other popular items to serve along side a French Dip Sandwich are:

photo of french dip panini on a plate with sweet potato fries and a glass of beer

More Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes

Looking for more favorite slow cooker recipes to add to your dinner table? Maybe some of these suggestions will become family favorite recipes for the whole family!

Slow Cooker Ham Soup with Potatoes and Kale is both easy to prepare and flavorful, thanks to the use of a slow cooker and the rich flavor that a leftover ham bone imparts.

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken is the perfect shredded chicken recipe for your next Mexican recipe. Packed with flavor and super tender thanks to hours in the crock pot, this recipe is sure to please!

Slow Cooker Southwestern Pulled Pork, featuring the flavors of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cilantro and jalapeño, makes dinner easy on a busy day.

Slow Cooker Baked Bean Trio with Bacon and Peppers are loaded with flavor thanks to three types of beans, bell peppers, poblano peppers, and bacon. A perfect, easy side dish for game day entertaining! 

Get New Recipes via Email!

Love this recipe for Slow Cooker French Dip Panini?
Sign up for Good Life Eats email updates and never miss another recipe!

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

Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe

Yield: serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes

In this Slow Cooker French Dip Panini Recipe, Classic French Dip Sandwiches are converted to a Panini Recipe, crispy sourdough bread being the perfect medium to soak up the delicious au jus.

Ingredients

For the Slow Cooker French Dip Meat

  • 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

For the French Dip Panini

  • Sourdough bread, sliced thin (I like La Brea loaves or Udi's Sliced Sourdough)
  • Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
  • Sliced Provolone Cheese

Instructions

To Prepare the Slow Cooker French Dip Meat:

  1. 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.
  2. Season the beef chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. In the same pan, saute the onion for 3 - 5 minutes, until golden, adding more oil if necessary.
  5. Then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the meat easily shreds using a fork.
  9. Remove the meat and shred it or cut in into thin slices, however you prefer. Set aside in a bowl.
  10. Ladle off excess fat from the top of the au jus and discard the fat. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
  11. Keep the remaining au jus in the slow cooker to keep warm while you prepare the sandwiches.
  12. If desired, you can thicken the jus with flour or cornstarch.
  13. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Put the remaining slice on top and grill using a panini press or a cast iron skillet.
  3. 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.
  4. After the first side has toasted and become a golden brown, flip and repeat.
  5. Serve with a side bowl of the au jus for dipping.

Notes

The meat can be made in advance and frozen for a later use. Perfect for busy days!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 502Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 147mgSodium 588mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 46g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Try this French Dip Panini Recipe at Home

Next time you’re searching slow cooker meals to prepare, give this delicious french dip panini recipe a try! When you do try it, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and give these beef dip paninis a review for others to see.

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Rachael from Set the Table.

Christa

Sunday 24th of January 2016

Thank you!  This is delicious- and I adulterated your recipe quite a bit!  I can't eat garlic and oinions, so I left that out entirely. For the same reason, I didn't use the spread cheese. I had white wine to get rid of, so I used that. Hubbie can't have dairy, so his had no cheese at all. I had no fresh thyme because it's winter in Wisconsin, and I can't get myself to buy it. Your fantastic recipe held up through all of that!  My family and I loved it!!

Katie Goodman

Sunday 24th of January 2016

Yummy! Glad you liked it :)

Alex

Sunday 17th of November 2013

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

Monday 18th of November 2013

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!

Melanie

Thursday 3rd of October 2013

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

Sarah

Monday 19th of August 2013

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. :)

melissa d

Friday 1st of March 2013

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.

Skip to Recipe