Italian Beef

Update 6/2012: This recipe has been around since the beginning of time (ok, so maybe just since the beginning of this here blog – over three years ago but you know what I mean), and let me tell you, it is one of my very favorite ways to cook up beef in the slow cooker. It is perfectly seasoned, melt-in-your-mouth tender and absolutely heavenly served on crusty rolls (I love to use this roll recipe, in fact) with provolone cheese. I’ve adapted the recipe by tossing the prepackaged seasoning mix and upping the everyday spices that probably reside in your pantry right now. This one is definitely a keeper!

Italian Beef

What To ServeFrench Bread Rolls, or a Crusty Roll (for the bun)
An awesome side like this: Barbecue Macaroni SaladColeslaw, or these Boston Baked Beans
Fresh vegetables and/or green salad

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Slow Cooker Italian Beef


  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 pounds chuck roast


  1. In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine water and beef broth with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, and bay leaves. Whisk to combine.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker and pour seasoning mixture over the meat. Cover, and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork (keep the shredded meat in the slow cooker with the juices). Serve on crusty rolls with cheese, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from

111 Responses to Slow Cooker Italian Beef

  1. Kathie says:

    Hi Melanie! I want to thank you for posting this recipe. I am not fond of recipes that call for Italian dressing mix as that has some pickling mix in it. This is perfect! I am from Chicago and we add halved sweet peppers and onion to the cooking process and serve the sandwiches with hot peppers, dill spears and thick fries. I make my own bread and this recipe is fantastic on the homemade bread! This is good! And I do not have to go out for a good beef sandwich ever again.

  2. Lisa says:

    Wondering how many pounds of chuck roast it would take to feed 25 as the main dish at a potluck?

  3. Kristin says:

    Mel, my family and I all loooove this recipe! Any ideas how to adapt it to the Instant Pot? I’m an instant pot newbie and very intimidated by it!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kristin – for a full roast (not cut into pieces), I’d probably cook it in the InstantPot for 75 minutes (manual –> dial up to 75 minutes). If you cube the roast into pieces, you can probably cut 15-20 minutes off the time. Hope that helps!

      • Kristin says:

        Thank you so much, Mel! I’ve used the instant pot as a slow cooker but have yet to pressure cook ( scaredy cat!!). What a time saver though, I’ll have to give it a go!

  4. Tami says:

    My family of 5 loves this recipe & we love to make nachos with the leftovers!! Excellent roast!

  5. Natasha says:

    Yum, yum! None of the ingredients looked like anything special, but magic happened in the crockpot. Great recipe!

  6. Gail says:

    This was great and I will make again when our boys come home for a visit this summer. It’s so nice to have recipes like these when we are out having fun and I don’t want to be tied to the kitchen. I only found a 3 lb chuck roast but I kept all the spices and liquids the same…turned out fine. We really liked dipping the sandwiches in the extra juice. I chose to use muenster cheese and add sautéed mushrooms because we love ’em! Also I thought the salt amount was fine and even added another pinch to the cooked meat. We had extra since it’s just two of us and I’ve frozen the juice and meat separately. Looking forward to another meal of this in the future. Thanks Mel…I love your website!

  7. Rebecca says:

    I know this is an old recipe but i had a question for you before I tried it. We don’t have a slow cooker so was wondering if I could make this on the stove or in the oven? Any suggestion for how long or temp? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Usually baking it in a covered, heavy stockpot (that’s oven safe) at 250 degrees for about 4-5 hours should do the trick.

  8. Raquel says:

    We made this a few times now, and we love it! Though I usually use only a 3 pound chuck roast without changing any other ingredients, it still works great!! I make your French bread rolls, and top the sandwiches with provolone as suggested. So good! Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Gilliane says:

    I am trying to mix up our dinner routine with 2 new recipes a week-this week they were both from your website. I made this one yesterday and it was delicious! I was a little nervous that it was just spices, broth, and meat-but it’s just like life-often times simplest is best. Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe.

  10. April says:

    I love this recipe with your French Bread Rolls! I did reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp. I also add 8 oz of pepperoncini rings and 8 oz of Chicago-Style Giardiniera Italian Sandwich Mix to the slow cooker, set it and 9 hours later you have an absolutely delicious meal. My husband requests this often. Thank you!

  11. Heather says:

    Just made this with your Loaded Baked Potato Salad for a Memorial Day party of 16 adults and 14 children tonight. (I also had hot dogs for the littles.) It was a smashing success, and I loved being able to “fix dinner” at 7 am and be done with it! Thanks!

  12. Stephanie Watson says:

    Would it be okay to make the mixture the night before? Thanks!

  13. Ellen says:

    Hi Mel,
    This is my first time cooking a chuck roast. So it has a bunch of ribbons of fat that seem to hold it together. Are you supposed to try to trim any of that, or leave it on?

  14. Sheila says:

    I made this today for Sunday supper with your French Bread rolls. Another favorite Mel recipe! So easy and convenient with the method using a slow cooker. And another “thumbs up” from the whole family for the deliciousness of the meal.

  15. Caro says:

    Used rolled brisket. Fresh garlic and onion.
    Sealed tight in creuset casserole
    2 hours AGA baking oven 180C
    Basted and 2 hours simmering oven
    Moist and gorgeous

  16. Janette says:

    Do you drain the juice/liquid before serving this? I’ve made something similar and it was so juicy and the bread got soggy. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Janette – I usually shred this and put it in a 9X13 pan and pour a bit of the cooking liquid over it so it is moist but not dripping with liquid.

  17. Robin says:

    I make this with 2 frozen tri tip roasts. Delicious! One of our faves. Thanks!

  18. Angela says:

    Tastes great on day one, then reheating the leftovers with some A-1 and served on more rolls with cheese tasted Philly cheesesteak-ish. Yum! Great meat to have around. Thanks!

  19. SBakes says:

    Another one of your recipes that hit the mark with my family! You have yet to fail. 🙂 My 15-year-old son said, “This isn’t just good, it’s awesome good!” The mix of seasonings was spot on. The hubby and kids devoured the entire roast in one sitting! I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂

  20. Denise McEntee says:

    It may have already been suggested, but to make it more like true Chicago Italian Beefs, use shaved beef, available from a local butcher or the meat counter at some grocery stores. Definitely tastes more authentic to me that way. Trying your french bread rolls now for a batch I’m making tonight! Yum!

  21. Mel says:

    Laura – I think the original recipe from allrecipes has the seasoning packet but I haven’t made it that way in years.

  22. Laura says:

    Mel, I have used this recipe a couple times and have loved it! Am I crazy or did this recipe used to have a packet of Italian seasoning mix in it?

  23. Slow Cooker Italian Beef | Another Bite Please says:

    […] I am going back to my fav fav blogger Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I love the fact that her recipe did not call for one of those awful italian seasoning packets. […]

  24. Angela @ AnotherBitePlease says:

    This italian beef went over so well with my boys. I love your recipe that it does not call for one of those awful italian seasoning packets…uck. Hubby said the seasoning really made the difference. Another Great Recipe Mel!!!!

  25. Bethany says:

    I just made this for the first time last night and the whole family loves it. We will now be using it instead of our regular shredded beef recipe. I made your French Bread rolls to serve this on and it was all so yummy! Thanks so much!

  26. Bethany says:

    This recipe was PERFECTION. I will never use another shredded beef recipe again. Thank you so much for posting this–it is now going on our regular meal rotation. I love that it’s freezable too. I just make it in bulk, freeze, then have delicious shredded beef meals to make in the future! Thank you.

  27. Andrea says:

    Let me second that thank you. We’re waiting to confirm our one year old has a
    soy allergy. Soy is in everything! Even though I make most of our food I still have to
    watch things like soup mixes and condiments. So thanks for sharing this adaptation.
    This is my favorite way to cook roast.

  28. Emily says:

    Thank you for taking the prepackaged soup mix out! It seems like most slow cooker meat recipes use soup mixes. Due to my husbands health concerns we have to live a low sodium life. I appreciate the use of individual spices do I can judge how much salt we can handle. Thank you for doing this blog!

  29. Mel says:

    Lauren – yes, this cooked and prepared meat freezes well. I usually reheat it in the slow cooker or on the stovetop.

  30. Lauren says:

    Hey I just had one quick question- would this meat freeze well? I figure it would but thought I should ask. Because I would love to make this and then freeze leftovers for future meals. It looks divine!

  31. Alicia says:

    Okay, I was given a recipe for “Roast to Die for” and I’m pretty sure it was the one off of that you modified for this recipe, or at least very similar. Let me just say that it didn’t hold a candle to your version. It didn’t smell as good while cooking, wasn’t as tender, and just wasn’t as good. I love your version and will be craving it now for awhile until it’s time to make it again.
    Oh and by the way, it was what I was making for Easter Dinner, so it kind of turned out to be a flop! Bummer!

  32. Mel says:

    Courtney – I’m kind of nervous to say this but every time I’ve made this, I actually think it could use more salt. I know that sounds crazy with the amount of salt in the recipe (and granted, I usually use a very low-sodium beef broth) but it seems to be the case for me. However, if you are worried about salt content, I’d use onion powder instead of onion salt but I’d keep the 1 teaspoon salt.

  33. Courtney says:

    Mel, I made your Chili Verde last week in the oven and it was awesome. Now I want to try this Italian Beef. It seems like there is a lot of salt in this recipe (beef broth, salt, onion salt and the salt in the dressing mix). Is it overly salty? Do you think it would be ok if I cut out the teaspoon of salt and just used onion powder instead of onion salt? Besides overcooking stuff, my other biggest fear is oversalting. I am still new to this cooking thing

  34. […] — Kielbasa, Oven Fries Tuesday — Chicken Tortilla Soup, Sandwiches Wednesday – Italian Beef Slow Cooker Sandwiches, Fresh Vegetables, Chips Thursday — Pork Chop Candied Yam Bake, Peas Friday — Honey […]

  35. Mel says:

    Hi Kristyn – try googling homemade Italian-dry mix. I know there are a lot of recipes online that might help! I have one I’ve tweaked over the years but I hesitate recommending it for this recipe since I haven’t tried it in this recipe. Glad you are enjoying the recipes!

  36. Kristyn says:


    Any ideas how to make my own dry Italian-style salad dressing mix? I live overseas and can’t find that in the stores here.

    Thanks! I cook from your site at least 2-3 times a week and everything is always super yummy!


  37. Tanya says:

    Made this tonight and even used your french bread recipe for the first time. They both turned out amazing! Your site continues to be my go-to for recipes. Thank you so much!

  38. Nicki A. says:

    Made these tonight for dinner and they are AMAZING on toasted steak rolls with melted garlic butter & sliced provolone!!! THANK YOU for a great and easy recipe!

  39. Melanie says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Delicious. It may possibly replace my favorite french dip sandwich recipe. The whole family enjoyed it. Thanks!

  40. Such a nice, easy, recipe! I made it yesterday and it was delicious! The only thing I’d do different next time is make sure I’m out of the house all day. The house smelled so good that I felt hungry all day. 🙂

  41. Evelyn Ross says:

    Made this one a few days ago and we LOVED it. I will be honest…wasn’t so sure as I was putting it together. Something about the combination of spices. But I was 100% wrong in my doubts! Another amazing recipe, Mel…thanks!

  42. Joyce says:

    Whoa! This was good! Amazing! I’ve never had such tender meat before. I searched everywhere for a 5# chuck roast, but they are over $4 a lb. Yikes! I was too impatient to wait for them to go on sale, so I bought a cross-rib roast, which the butcher assured me would be tender. I also put foil between the crockpot and the lid (I swear, my crockpot doesn’t have a tight seal—stole the idea from Cook’s Country) and my roast was unbelievably amazing! Thanks so much! My husband also thanks you…we’ve been married 10 years and this is the first time I’ve managed to cook a roast and have it fall apart. Delicious!!!

  43. juliann says:

    Another GREAT meal. I am not a huge slow cooker person since everything comes out mushy and blah, but this was really good. Perfect for a holiday buffet, or family get together. I made it with Potato Soup…I think it was your recipe for that too. It had really great flavor and it was so tender it did melt in your mouth.

  44. Ed Mishefske says:

    I have been making pretty much the same recipe for a long time and it is just great! A couple things that I have found that I like is; adding a couple cloves of garlic; slicing the roast into thin slices with my meat slicer before putting it in the slow cooker( not cross slicing but rather with the grain), using venison instead of a beef roast (after all we are from Wisconsin and venison is BIG here) ; I add both green peppers and a couple seeded jalipinos, ( I was using pepperacini but their flavor took too much away from the meat and sauce; and of coarse dipping the bread rolls in the sauce before adding the meat. I have NEVER had anyone not like this recipe!

  45. Diana Shrome says:

    this looks delicious…I will try it this week…

  46. Karen says:


    to you I declare my undying love and gratitude! I am on your site ALL the time and have yet to make one thing that my family hasn’t loved! You are a lifesaver!…who cooks with real ingredients that you can actually get AND pronounce!
    I tossed my ingredients into the slow cooker before running out to do pick-up/gymnastics/swim team/baseball drop off….then do the same for pick up. I am taking these sandwiches out to the ball field tonight so that my girls will not be eating snack shack food for dinner!
    Love your mad cooking skills! thank you, thank you!

  47. Amy M says:

    This was a great meal! I LOVED that all the herbs/spices were each in equal amounts so I could just take my teaspoon measure and whack out the spice mix quickly. The biggest roast I could find was only 3.75lbs but I didn’t adjust the liquid at all. Since I was serving on crusty rolls I just used the extra juices as an au jus for dipping. YUM! Next time I make this, and there will definately be a next time, I will rub the salt directly into the meat to help it absorb into it better. I think you would need to salt the beef if you were eating it alone and without dipping it in the au jus…otherwise the salt is perfect.
    I felt like a rockstar walking into the kitchen after work to a house smelling great and dinner already 75% done. I do have leftover beef which I plan on freezing with the extra provolone cheese and extra crusty rolls (all in seperate baggies) and make an “Italian Beef Sammy” kit so I can throw this meal together easily sometime in the next couple of months.

  48. Andrea says:

    Mel- Being the mom of 3 kids, it’s hard to find a meal everyone will eat (let alone actually LIKE). Well, everyone in my family LOVES the slow cooker Italian beef recipe! I am not a beef lover at all, but even I look forward to this awesome meal. Not only is it great coming home from work to an already cooked meal, it is absolutely delicious! Thanks for this great recipe.

  49. Tracy says:

    Melanie- My family thinks I am an amazing cook, but what I really am…is an AMAZING RECIPE follower. Your blog has turned me into quite a superstar. I served this meat for sandwiches after my son’s baby blessing to fabulous reviews! Every time I need to try something new, I check here first! Thanks!

  50. Tami G. says:

    I made this for my new mother and father in law. So the stress was on trying to impress them. I needed something that would be fast to put together for after church. It was such a sucess. I loved the smell of it in my home and the meat was so tender, my husband kept raving on about it the rest of the night. Which made me very, very, very happy. This is a great dish that is so simple! It is a keeper in my book and a must try for everyone else 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Tami G. – I’m thrilled this dinner worked out well, especially considering you were cooking for your in-laws! Thanks for letting me know.

  51. Jennifer says:

    Yum! We made this tonight and it was a huge hit! My 4 year old actually said “this is the best dinner ever!” Thanks for the great recipes.

  52. Amy says:

    First of all, I love your website and I use it often-thank you for all of the great recipes! It is just my husband and myself so I often have to cut recipes in half or figure out how to make a meal into 2. Do you think I could freeze leftover meet and use it later for sandwiches, let me know what you think or what the best way to do this would be?

    • Mel says:

      Amy – yes, I think you could definitely freeze the leftovers of this meal. In fact, I do it all the time. One thing to remember is that you only want to freeze the leftovers if the meat was properly thawed in the first place or cooked fresh (before being frozen). Thaw the meat in the refrigerator and you’ll be ok to refreeze the leftovers.

  53. Alicia says:

    Does the roast have to be thawed or does it matter? I want to make it this week, but I’ll have to defrost my roast if that’s necessary. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Alicia – I’ve never tried this with a frozen roast so to be sure, I would thaw your meat first. If you don’t have time, try adding on another hour or so to the cooking time, just to make sure the roast gets good and tender.

  54. Kristi says:

    Hey Melanie!

    I made these tonight and we absolutely loved them. Normally when I make stuff in a crockpot I am so sick of the smell by the end of the day that I don’t even want to eat the food (I blame some bad pregnancy experiences for that 😉 ), but I smelled this all day long and absolutely devoured them come dinnertime. Thanks so much for another great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Kristi – I hear you on the crockpot-smell-makes-you-want-to-vomit thing. I’m glad this meal didn’t have that effect on you!

  55. Melanie says:

    Emily – glad you liked these – thanks for letting me know!

  56. Emily says:

    I made these sandwiches last night and they were so delicious! We absolutely loved them and will definitely be making them again. Thanks for the great recipe!

  57. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – I’ve never used bottom round roast in this recipe but I assume it will work fine since a bottom round roast works best when cooked low and slow with liquid – which is what is called for in this recipe. I’d say go for it!

  58. Anonymous says:

    Hi Melanie, the meat on sale this week is “bottom round roast”, can I use that to make these sandwiches?

  59. Melanie says:

    Leslie – your comment was so nice, thank you! I’m glad you liked this recipe.

  60. Leslie says:

    It was a big hit at our house too! Thanks so much for your awesome blog! I keep coming back to it when I need some cooking inspiration.

  61. Melanie says:

    Paige – thanks! I’m really glad that this was a hit, especially with your five year old. Thanks for letting me know!

  62. Paige says:

    I made this last week and it was A W E S O M E! ! ! ! ! Even my super picky 5 year old loved it! I will definitely be making this one again. Thank you!!

  63. Melanie says:

    Hi Gina – so glad you like this. Simple meals are the best!

  64. Gina says:


    I’ve made this twice already and we still want more!!! Soooo good!! I love the concept of throwing everything together into the crock pot and walk away!! Soooo simple yet soooo delicious!!

  65. A and R says:

    Did anyone else think it ended up too salty? We still liked it, but next time I am going to leave out the salt.

  66. Jamy says:

    Hey!!! What are you doing posting when you’re about to have a baby? You are wonderwoman, I swear! I just made this 2 weeks ago. I got it from and that recipe said to add mushrooms and red/green peppers. We really liked it! I thought the sandwich was a bit dry, but we added some mayo. I LOVED eating the left-over roast just plain the next day! It had a wonderful taste!

  67. Tammy says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I have been on a mission to make a delicious (read “edible”) chuck roast and this recipe made that happen. I LOVED it! MMMMMMM. I don’t think I’ll ever even try another recipe. Congrats on the new arrival!!

  68. jenny says:

    I make something very similar to this, but I add a jar of pepperoncinis a few hours before it’s done. It melts in your mouth!

  69. Jenn says:

    Made this last night for dinner. It was great, and I got an “Mmmm, this is good” from my husband. Only thing I did differently was I only found a 3.5lb. roast and used the original amount of seasoning. Very, very tasty. I’m hoping that baby is here. Right?

  70. camille says:

    We tried this the other night and it’s definitely on our “tried and true” list!

  71. Melanie says:

    Danielle – your comment reminds me I need to make this again! I’m glad you liked it!

  72. Tycksen Family says:

    My sister found your blog and we have been trying a lot of your recipes…and every single one is fabulous. This one is a favorite! With 7 kids and 4 in baseball/softball…this hits the spot after a long day at games. Thank you for sharing all your recipes!!

  73. Melanie says:

    Tammy – thanks for your sweet comment. Don’t you just love super easy meals like this??? I’m a sucker for quick slow-cooker meals. So glad this was a hit.

  74. grace says:

    i’m becoming good friends with my slow cooker (note to self–she needs a name!), but i haven’t tried this type of thing yet. will do. 🙂

  75. Danielle says:

    I made this for dinner one night last week & it was delicious! I was so happy to find a recipe for the chuck roast in my freezer! I threw it in the crockpot in the morning & when I got home from work the smell in my apartment was unbelievable! It tasted even better. The beef was so juicy & flavorful. Thanks!

  76. Melanie says:

    Jenn – no baby yet, but thanks for asking. I’m hoping today is the big day. I’m glad your husband approved of the dinner! And glad to know that a smaller roast works great, too.Camille – glad this made it to the tried-and-true list. I like it perfectly for how easy it is to throw together!

  77. Melanie says:

    Liz – yay! I’m glad this caused rave reviews for your husband. I love, love slow cooker meals too for the exact same reason.

  78. teresa says:

    Yum! I will definitely be trying this one, and that’s a great picture too!

  79. Melanie says:

    Wow! It seems like this is a very popular recipe – in all it’s forms. I love all the adaptations everyone has mentioned. Thanks for commenting, everyone!

  80. Melanie says:

    Tycksen Family – wow! 7 kids in extracurricular activities? That just makes me tired thinking about it! I’m glad you like this recipe – it is great on those nights when you need a fast meal! Thanks for letting me know.

  81. Loralee and the gang... says:

    I hope that you have pre-dated a bunch of recipe posts so that you aren’t typing away during labor…this recipe does look delicious! I will try it this week with a roast that’s been in the freezer a while…gotta use them up, right?Best wishes for you and your family. May the birth be quick and easy, and the baby arrive before the end of the year!😀

  82. Dixiechick says:

    I think I’ve seen this on allrecipes before. You made it look more yummy and worth trying. I think I will. 🙂

  83. Peregos says:

    This looks awesome! And if you’re in a hurry with a new baby a chuck roast, italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic salt and 1 cup water in the slow cooker works too. Like I said, I think this one may taste better but for my picky eater husband the above works well too. Just thought I’d share since #4 is at the door!

  84. Anonymous says:

    Melanie, you have done it again! My husband loved these! Not only did they taste great but it was so easy to make. I love when the slow-cooker does all of the work for me! -Liz K.

  85. Jessica says:

    how many people does this recipe serve?

  86. Jessica says:

    also, do you have any side dish and dessert serving suggestions?

  87. Melanie says:

    Jessica – if you are making sandwiches with this meat, it easily serves 6-8. As for side dishes, I would serve it with a vegetable platter and potato or pasta salad (I have recipes on my site for those if you look under “salads”). Since it is a casual meal, serving it with brownies and ice cream for dessert would be divine, in my book. Good luck!

  88. Anonymous says:

    Another Great recipe! I made this today as I had 12 people coming over to watch the football(It was our AFL Grand Final)and everyone loved it! I took out some broth and added a little cornflour to thicken then added the shredded meat and gravy into a frypan to saute together. Absolutley delicious with fresh crusty rolls, cheese & lettuce. Well done! Christie from Australia!

  89. Melanie says:

    Hey Christie – I’m glad that you liked this. It sounds like it was an exciting event and something like that needs great food, right?? Thanks for detailing your changes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *